Castle Howard York Review + Photos

One of the most beautiful stately homes to visit in Yorkshire is Castle Howard near York. It has a beautiful interior to walk through and admire, as well as large gardens, a lake, and a great playground for the kids.

We visited Castle Howard as part of our 3 day York pass and we spent the final day of our York Pass there. Its such a beautiful place and was a great day out for us and the kids.

castle howard york

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Castle Howard

During the planning stages of our York 3 Day Pass, we wanted something away from the main York City Centre for our 3rd day.

We knew day 1 and 2 were going to be hectic as we ran from one attraction to another as we wanted to make the most out of our days.

So, the plan for day 3 was one place that offered value for money.

Day 3 was a close call between going on the York Moors Railway and doing the Pickering to Whitby route and going to Castle Howard.

What made us choose Castle Howard is that you got the full package like a paying customer would get, whilst the steam train offered a cheaper service.

We had also not been to Castle Howard since we did Castle Howard at Christmas, and the kids had wanted to play in the playground and the weather was bad, so we had always sad that we would bring them back.

bad weather at castle howard
This was the poor weather when we first went to Castle Howard for their Christmas Narnia special. You can see why we didn’t take the kids to the playground and instead headed home for a hot chocolate.

Then time got away with us, we went to other great places, and its nice to say we are now at Castle Howard again and can enjoy the full experience.  

Arriving At Castle Howard

When you arrive at Castle Howard, you will find yourself driving through the woods as you get to the main entrance. Its so beautiful and like something out of The Black Forest or Dalby Forest.

Then after parking your car, you head up towards a beautiful square. In the square they have a little bakery, the farm shop as well as toilets.

Beat The Queue!

If you want a cake for later, or maybe a cupcake, we recommend going to the bakery as it opens. There is zero queue compared to later and you can place your baked treats in your picnic bag.

Another tip is to bring your own picnic because these sandwich prices in the bakery are very inflated. We are in love with our local pub in Beverley. It’s called The Queens Head and does amazing takeaway afternoon tea.  They charge £12 a box and you get so much. It also includes sandwiches and a fraction of the cost compared to paying for sandwiches at Castle Howard.

£5 for sandwhiches at castle howard omg
Check this out for yourself. £5 for a single sandwich vs afternoon tea for £12. There is no comparison and we love afternoon tea sandwiches.

Then once you have picked up any snacks, taken the kids to the toilets its time to enter Castle Howard. Or if you just want the bakery and the farm shop you haven’t paid at this point so its good just for using the shops.  

Where Is Castle Howard

Castle Howard is halfway between The North York Moors and York City Centre. If driving from one of the York Pass attractions in York, its about 32 minutes north. Or if you are heading from Dalby Forest then its about 35 minutes south to Castle Howard.

Castle Howard is known as Castle Howard York because its still in York or I like to think of it as York countryside.

Is Castle Howard Owned By The National Trust?

No, Castle Howard is not owned by the national trust and is instead owned by the Howard family and has been for generations. Its so nice to see a beautiful estate like this passed through the family.

Who Owns Castle Howard?

The owners of Castle Howard are the Howard family and Castle Howard is currently managed by Nicholas Howard and his wife Victoria. 

Castle Howard has also been open to the public since 1952 which was then run by Lord Howard of Henderskelfe.

When Was The Fire At Castle Howard?

The Castle Howard fire occurred on the 9th November 1940. During the Second World War. It started out as a chimney fire and then swept rapidly through the building. It was devastating the damage that was caused by the fire at Castle Howard. 

What Was Filmed At Castle Howard?

Because Castle Howard estate is so big and beautiful it has been the host to many famous people over the years and a lot of filming.

Sophia Loren was at Castle Howard in 1965 filing Lady L. Then there was famous movie director Stanley Kubrick filming Barry Lyndon in 1975.

Or you may know Castle Howard the most for Brideshead Revisited that was filmed at Castle Howard originally in 1981 and then the new version in 2008.

Or you may remember Death Comes To Pemberley which was filmed here in 2013.

There have of course been more things filmed at Castle Howard, but these are the most popular ones.

Castle Howard Gardens

When you arrive at Castle Howard you will be in love with the huge gardens and how beautiful the place is. The gardens are huge, and it reminds me of the size of the land at Chatsworth House.

We had decided for our itinerary for Castle Howard to do the inside first and enjoy the Howard family history, then do a bit of the gardens and visit the playground.

We like this this way because:

  1. We can bribe the kids (school calls it rewarding good behaviour) with the playground after the house.
  2. They are clean for the view of the house.

But of course, this backfired on us because the kids so a grass hill and decided to roll down it. Plus, Castle Howard had JUST cut the grass and the kids ended up covered in grass….literally covered.

But at least they were having fun even if they didn’t look the part for Castle Howard.

castle howard gardens coverd in grass
Here is Sofia absolutely covered in grass as we head inside Castle Howard!

Castle Howard Inside

Inside Castle Howard is so beautiful and so full of history. When we arrived, we were given a ticket to the house and that we could use them any time during our stay.

What we did was give the ticket to a nice lady who then had a safe room for our bag so that we didn’t have to carry it around the house with us.

Then it was time to explore inside Castle Howard and see if it lived up to the hype.

It sure did and is so beautiful. I read in an article recently that Castle Howard has been voted as the most beautiful inside stately home and you can see why.

I couldn’t stop taking photos and here are a few of my favourites.

china at castle howard
This is of the china they have on display. I literally got neckache starring up at the full display. So beautiful but OMG a lot of it to admire.
statues at castle howard
There is also plenty of statues for you to admire. Jorge is 6 and loves to look at statues and is fascinated with Castle Howard.
sofia learning abou thte fire at castle howard
If you are interested in the Castle Howard Fire of 1940, there is also plenty of information about it so that you can learn all about it.
statley home bedroom castle howard
There are also many stately home bedrooms for you to check out and admire. See the designs of each of the bedrooms and think how much you want a 4 poster bed.
bathrooms inside castle howard
There is also lots of beautiful bathrooms to check out like this one. I saw Sofia admiring the tub and imagining having a bubble bath in it.
castle howard view from the house
Though if you head over to the window as you head up and around the house, you have the best photo opportunities of Castle Howard. I just love the view from up here, its spectacular.
the stairs at castle howard
But one thing I remember from Christmas at Castle Howard was going down these steep stairs. They are quite steep so be careful when you are heading into the other part of the house.
the chapel at castle howard
Then after heading down the steep stairs, you have the chapel which is beautiful, and many people go in there and have a seat and admire the beauty.

Plus, I may add, note to myself to go and collect our bag on the way out as its very easy to forget!

Castle Howard Boat House Cafe

We have been to Castle Howard before for the afternoon tea and loved it, so this time we wanted something a little different so opted for the boat house café. We could be sat in front of the lake and admire its beauty.

I was surprised for a busy school holiday day trip that there was outside space. And ordered two pizzas and two portions of fries for us all and we just loved the pizza, and it came in take out boxes making it easy for outside eating.

castle howard boathouse buzzer
They also operate a buzzer system and when your buzzer beeps, you know its time to go and collect your food.
castle howard boathouse pizza
Here is what our pizzas looked like, and they were delicious. I just love a cheese pizza.   
castle howard ice cream
Then afterwards we had a delicious ice cream each, and of course a flake was involved as it must be a 99.
castle howard lake view
If you are wondering where to eat, just check out the view of the lake and we were right by the edge and what a great view for eating your pizza.

Then with us all fed and watered, we headed to the Castle Howard Playground.

Castle Howard Playground

Next on the list was the Castle Howard playground, which the kids had patiently waited to go in and have a blast and get rid of some of their energy!

Castle Howard Playground is very good for what you get, compared to other stately homes and it feels like the area is never ending.

castle howard playground
The playground is easy to walk into and you have a little walking section that joins you to another small playground.
jorge castle howard playground
Here is Jorge climbing up into one of the play areas. He must have spent about an hour and a half at the playground that day.
sofia playground castle howard
The same with Sofia and she loves any playground and is not fussy as long as she is in one.
castle howard zipline
Sofia was also impressed with the zipline. Its her favourite thing to do and she went on it a lot and so did Jorge and there was hardly any queues for it.
rope bridge at castle howard
But for the kids that don’t have a fear of heights there is also the rope bridge. Way too high up for me but didn’t stop Dom, Sofia and Jorge from going across it.

If looking for the playground its very close to where we ate at the boathouse so no wonder most call it the lake house playground.

Castle Howard Land Train

Have you ever been to the grounds of a stately home and thought that was a lot of walking to be done and be exhausted with your small kids?

Well, let me introduce you to Castle Howard’s Land Train. It goes from where you enter when you arrive, to the entrance to going inside the stately home, to the playground.

It is also very cute, with a lovely friendly driver which always helps.

castle howard land train
This is the Castle Howard land train that we got it back from the playground to the main house and was perfect for two tired kids.

Castle Howard Farm Shop

Visiting Castle Howard would not be the same without a visit to the farm shop. We have been several times and love the choice of fruit and veggies, the meat at the butchers and the duck eggs.

castle howard farm shop
They have the fruit and veggies on display outside + more of them inside to enjoy. Plus plenty of seating in the courtyard so if you are with people that don’t want to shop (husbands seating) they can sit outside.

The only annoying thing is with your hands full you pay right at the far end of the gift shop which if you are having a big stock up for your next few meals is a challenge in itself!

I normally get some of their burgers, marinated lamb, and plenty of duck eggs. We then took our Duck Eggs with us when we had a weekend in Scarborough staying at Primrose Valley.

Things To Do At Castle Howard

If you are wondering about things to do at Castle Howard and cant make a decision of what to do then this is what we suggest:

After parking at Castle Howard that you head on one of the many Castle Howard Walks, this can be a long one or a short one and is great for getting to know the grounds.

Then after your walk, that you go inside Castle Howard and have a good look around this beautiful stately home as it really is full of history and amazing beauty. They also have a lot of helpful staff that will answer any of your questions and be your information hub.

Have a bite for lunch. You could have a picnic and find that special spot. Stop for Castle Howard Afternoon Tea, or how about homemade pizza at the boathouse like we did?

Then explore the kid’s adventure playground and take a break whilst they burn off their lunch. Maybe do the rope walk with them if you have the guts.

Finish with the Castle Howard Land Train and make your way to the Castle Howard Farm Shop and stock up on fruit, veggies, meat from the butchers or even some duck eggs.

Or come to Castle Howard for a seasonal adventure such as Christmas at Castle Howard, or how about Easter or Halloween?

Castle Howard York Review

We loved our trip to Castle Howard York. We feel like a few of the York Pass attractions give you a limited service such as York Cocoa Works but with Castle Howard you get the everything.

This is our second recent visit to Castle Howard and we will visit again and again because it is lovely. The food is also lovely that they serve and the staff go out of their way to be kind and helpful to you.

Castle Howard Visitor Information

  • Where is Castle Howard located? Castle Howard is located 30 minutes north of York city centre in North Yorkshire. It’s considered as York, but I think of it as York countryside.
  • Castle Howard Postcode. The Castle Howard postcode is YO60 7BY.
  • Does Castle Howard have parking? Yes, there is plenty of Castle Howard parking available even during busy times.
  • Castle Howard prices. The Castle Howard entry fee is £81.00. These Castle Howard tickets are for a family of four (2 adults and 2 children) and based on July prices, so it might differ depending on party size and time of the year.
  • Does Castle Howard have a café? Yes, it has more than one café and the Castle Howard Café options are rather good and we highly recommend them. You can have afternoon tea, or you could sit by the lake and enjoy homemade pizza.
  • What are Castle Howard opening times? The usual opening times are from 10am to 3pm for visiting the house, then 10am to 5pm for everything else including the gardens and the courtyard.
  • Can you just turn up at Castle Howard? Yes, you can but they don’t want you to. They want you to pre-book that way they know how many are coming in at each time, plus they don’t want to have to turn you away. So they offer at payment the chance to choose your entry time.
  • What is York Pass? I have mentioned our York Pass a few times. Basically, it’s a York ticket where you have access to loads of York attractions for a set price. Kind of like when you get a special pass for theme parks. I recommend you read our York pass review here because we explain how to do it and save money as it’s easy to waste money on it. Plus, we run through all the attractions we did for the pass including our trip to Castle Howard.

Pin Visiting Castle Howard For Later!

Well, that’s a wrap, do you have any questions then do ask below and if you want to refer back, to this later for planning your day out then don’t forget to pin it to your travel board or days out board on Pinterest.

our trip to castle howard york(1)

you should plan a visit to castle howard
About the author

Run by Sam, Dom, Kyle, Sofia & Jorge it documents our family’s love for eating out, day trips, road trips and great holidays.

We just love a trip, we love to travel, and here we will show you with a little planning, how to have a great adventure and create new memories along the way!

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