Most people are familiar with the lavish elegance of Castle Howard from screen adaptations of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. My kids, however, are most familiar with its adventure playground, and as adventure playgrounds go, it’s a good one! It covers a large space and all ages are well catered for. There are benches scattered around and large picnic tables nearby, conveniently sited outside the little cafe serving coffee and cakes. Not as fun, but just as important, that is where one of the toilet blocks is also situated.
There is a lovely little land train that stops at the adventure playground which is very welcome when your little ones are tired (and not just the little ones!) as the return trip is uphill. It’s included in the cost of your entrance, so make use of it, the children love it.
Boat Trips on the Lake
If you are lucky there will be boat trips on the lake running from just near the playground. This is a nice treat and priced reasonably at a pound or two each. You can also admire the many swans.
The gardens around the castle are magnificent and worth a wander round. There are some nice hide and seek opportunities in the Eighteenth Century walled garden.
If you choose to look inside the house they will provide a ‘treasure hunt’ for the children. It keeps them entertained competing who can spot the item first in each room. The guides are all very friendly and happy to chat to you and the children about anything you would like to know more about. Keep an eye out in the long gallery for a picture showing a group of people with a man’s head on a platter. This picture is probably the biggest thing my two remembered about the inside of the house. They were fascinated and appalled in equal measure!
Lots of Choice for Food
To the side of the main house entrance there is a self-service cafe with lots of tables both inside and out. On a nice day you can sit outside and there are lawn games for the children to keep them occupied while you sit with a well-deserved latte. There is a further cafe in the stable block as you enter or leave as well as an assortment of gift shops (for the children to make themselves thoroughly unpleasant by nagging you to buy them something). On a more positive note there is also a very reasonably priced farm shop with a butchers, a bakery and a large garden centre.
Family Friendly Events at Castle Howard
During school holidays Castle Howard run various family events so it’s always nice to time your visit with one of those.
Family admission (2+3) is £44 to the house and gardens or £26.90 to just the gardens. They accept the Castles and Gardens and Historic Housing Association’s cards. More information can be found on their website www.castlehoward.co.uk.
Like Castle Howard? Then try:
Burnby Hall Gardens
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