Featured image of Castle Howard

The History of Castle Howard

LocationYork, North Yorkshire, England (Google Maps)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byCastle Howard Estate Limited
Official WebsiteCastle Howard
Rooms AvailableYes (Weddings, Events, Filming)

Castle Howard is a spectacular 17th Century stately home located beautifully in the civil parish of Henderskelfe, in North Yorkshire, England. The castle and estate account for 1,000 acres of landscaped gardens and woodlands with rich horticulture, making it a beloved tourist site.

History of Castle Howard

Castle Howard is situated on the former location of the ruined Henderskelfe Castle. The construction of the castle started in 1699; however, it took almost a century to build under three Howard Earls. The castle was envisioned by Charles Howard, The 3rd Earl of Carlisle, who was diligent in building a grand home for his family. His successor, Henry Howard, 4th Earl of Carlisle, did not share his father’s enthusiasm for making modifications to the physical structure of the castle. Still, he was responsible for accumulating a significant collection of Classical statues. In the early 1770s, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle, completed the west wing’s interiors which were left incomplete since the time of Charles Howard, and filled them with sarcophagi collected on his Grand Tour in various exotic countries. It can be deduced that each successor has added significantly to the development of the castle, which seems more like a palace today.

Unfortunately, much of the original house was destroyed in the fire in 1940 and did not survive into the modern day. The fire began as a chimney fire in the southeast corner of the South Front and carried on towards the West side of the castle, destroying rooms in the basement, principal, and upper levels, along with the dome, which collapsed into the Great Hall. A large amount of the structure had to be restored and has since been brought back to life via the long and tedious refurbishment process. The present majestic state of the castle is the fruit of George Howard’s restoration efforts in the 20th century. Even after the tragic situation following the Second World War, when the castle and estate were expected to be sold off, George prioritized the refurbishment of the castle and opened it to the public in 1952. The chic and stately castle that we see today has faced many challenges and hardships spanned over 300 years, which helps us see the castle in a whole new light.


Castle Howard”, by Andy, is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Castle Howard is a majestic masterpiece built at the hands of the architect John Vanburgh. The work for the castle began in 1699 but still remained incomplete when the Earl died in 1738. Castle Howard houses a central nine-bay block in a dazzling design, built to impress. It is surmounted by a spherical arch and two curved wings enclosing a forecourt on the north front of the castle, and the entrance is marked by The Atlas Fountain, a beautiful addition to the courtyard. Presently, it accounts for 8,800 acres and 145 rooms. Its magnificent hall and chic saloon were ready to be painted by the Venetian artist Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini in 1709. Many paintings like Fall of Phaeton in the dome’s ceiling and depictions from the Life of Aeneas in the high saloon were destroyed during the fire in 1940.

The present-day castle is a mixture of Palladian architecture and English Baroque, depicting both the past and the modern-day with its classic interiors and magnificent structures. Castle Howard allows the people to experience the art, architecture, and history with its showcase of numerous paintings, tapestries, sculptures, and furnishings garnered over the various Howard generations.

Movie Features

Barry Lyndon (1975)– Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the Adventure-History drama movie Barry Lyndon features Castle Howard in its essence.

Brideshead Revisited (1981)– The castle is also featured in the mini Romantic-Drama TV series Brideshead Revisited stars Jeremy Irons, Diana Quick, and Roger Milner as leads.

Victoria (2016-2019)– The iconic History Drama TV series created by Daisy Goodwin depicts the early life of Queen Victoria, shot beautifully in Castle Howard. 

Bridgerton (2020)– Castle Howard is majestically featured in the all-famous TV Drama Series Bridgerton. It is adapted from the book series written by Julia Quinn and was created for television by Chris Van Dusen.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who owns Castle Howard?

Castle Howard is privately owned by The Howard family company, Castle Howard Estate Limited.

Who lives at Castle Howard?

Nicholas Howard, a descendent of the Howard family, presently resides in Castle Howard with his wife, Victoria. He took over the castle in 2017 from his brother Simon.

What is Castle Howard famous for?

Castle Howard is famous for its presence in a number of cinematic and television projects like Brideshead Revisited, Bridgerton, Victoria, and other popular films and TV series. It is widely used as a location for filming in England.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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