Castle Howard Things To Do

Castle Howard is one of the most expensive days out in Yorkshire. It is cheaper if you don’t visit the house but that would be a shame as it is magnificent. Although expensive it is one of our favourite days out and we have visited quite a few times over the years. The play areas are the real highlight. So much so we wrote a post dedicated to them which you can read here.

Castle Howard is a stately home in North Yorkshire located 15 miles north of York. It has been home to the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for over 300 years. The house is not a castle itself, however, it sits on the site of Henderskelfe Castle. It even featured in Brideshead revisited.

Castle Howard Things To Do Review

As you can see from the photo below the house at Castle Howard is incredibly impressive. It is palatial in design and harks back to Italian design both inside and outside. There is a sprawling lawn in front of the house which is mown in the warmer months so people can enjoy picnics with a stunning backdrop. There is also the most incredible fountain which I will mention more about below.

Parking is free at Castle Howard and you park next to the stable courtyard entrance. Here there is a cafe, shops and toilets. It’s always worth picking up a map of the site so you can find your way around. They often have trails for the kids as well so make sure you ask if there is anything available. They also host a number of special events including concerts.

Castle Howard Things To Do

The house won’t disappoint and it really is worth paying the extra to look around. It would be nice to see more rooms than you do but what you do see is incredibly impressive. We were offered a couple of child-friendly tour leaflets to take around the house. My son chose one that had him looking for different things around the house.

Castle Howard Things To Do

The main entrance hall rivals places that we have seen in Rome and Venice. There are Renaissance frescoes everywhere you look plus some magnificent statues. It’s worth spending a bit of time in here marvelling at your surroundings.

Castle Howard Things To Do
Castle Howard Things To Do

There are quite a few lavish rooms you can look around and don’t miss a visit to the chapel as that is equally impressive.

The Atlas Fountain is equally as impressive as the house, It is situated in line with the front of the house and it usually runs from 12 pm every day until around 4 pm so try and time your visit as you don’t want to miss seeing the water running. It is a fantastic spot for a family photo.

Castle Howard Review

There are also some beautiful grounds to explore at Castle Howard. If you walk up the grass to the Temple of the Winds you will see some pretty impressive statues along the way. Sadly you can no longer go inside the temple, you can’t even walk up its steps but it’s worth the walk. You can also see some great views from here.

Castle Howard Things To Do
Castle Howard Things To Do

If you head in the other direction towards the walled garden there is a photo frame that’s great for family mementoes. Kids are always a bit short though but it’s a bit of a standing joke for us.

Castle Howard Review

There is also a huge lake and we always take some proper duck food with us. They also have some fish that we save some of the food for in the walled garden. My son loves how close he can get to the fish and will always spend ages sitting at the water’s edge.

Castle Howard Review
Castle Howard Review

There are also some woods that you can take a walk around. They often have themed family-friendly trails around the woods especially at Easter time.

Finally onto our favourite part of Castle Howard, the play areas. Don’t forget you can find out even more about these in our review that is linked at the start of this post. The older section has had a bit of an upgrade recently and this is now even better than before.

The play areas are a good 10-minute walk from where you park. They are behind the house and down a steep hill. I can recommend arriving as soon as Castle Howard opens as it can be really quiet for the first half an hour or so. There is plenty to climb on and slide down. They also have lots of little things like balance boards, roundabouts, bouncy tyre swings and much more.

Castle Howard Things To Do
Castle Howard Things To Do

You can also cross over to the island where their newer play area of Skelf Island is located. There is a long rope bridge over the water if you dare. If not you can always access this area via a low-level walkway.

Castle Howard Review

Skelf Island is great fun and I struggle to get my son back out. There’s a series of walkways with a couple of slides, rope tunnels, hideouts and more. It’s a lovely wooden play area and I wish we had things like this when I was a kid!

Next to the adventure playground, you will find the Boathouse. This has toilets and a small cafe with tables inside and out. They run pleasure boats from here which costs a few pounds per person. They also sometimes have a land train running between the back of the house and the play areas. This only tends to run in peak season.

Castle Howard Review

Castle Howard FAQ & Further Information

Address: Castle Howard, York YO60 7DA, North Yorkshire. Phone: 01653 648333

Category – Historic Attraction – Indoors and Outdoors – Suitable for all ages.

What are the ticket prices?

Prices are between £13 to £18 per adult online in advance only, it costs more on the day. Children are just under £10 each and under 4s are free. It is cheaper if you purchase a ticket just for the grounds.

What are the main facilities and things to do?

Historic house with rooms you can look around, an impressive fountain, two fantastic play areas and fantastic grounds to explore. There are places to purchase food and drinks and there are toilets dotted around the place.

When are they open?

The grounds are open almost all year round, the house tends to shut after Christmas for a few months. Please see their website for up-to-date opening times.

Is there food available?

There are a variety of places where you can purhcase food and drinks with more options in the warmer months. You are welcome to bring a picnic.

Is there parking?

There is free parking.

Are they dog friendly?

Dogs are welcome in the grounds but not the play areas.

Are they accessible?

Information on accessibility. They strive to make Castle Howard as accessible as possible.


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