Castle Howard Gardens
OS grid reference:- SE 715 701
Castle Howard is an eighteenth century palace with parkland and a superb garden. With 1,000 acres to explore, the palatial mansion is a haven of peace and tranquility with extensive woodland walks, temples, lakes and fountains.
Work on the palace which was designed by the architect and dramatist, John Vanbrugh, commenced in 1701. The building was theatrically positioned on the saddle of a natural ridge, and this was exploited to create an English landscape park, which opens out from the formal garden and merges with the park. The Great Avenue was also started. Charles Howard, Third Earl of Carlisle, was steeped in classical poetry and wished to recreate an ideal landscape.
The monumental landscape offers breathtaking views at every turn, taking in the countryside of the Howardian Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Two major garden buildings are set into this landscape: the Temple of the Four Winds at the end of the garden, and the Mausoleum in the park. There is also a lake on either side of the house. The Temple of the Four Winds (circa 1728), inspired by Palladio's Villa Rotunda, provides a stunning vista which includes a three-arched Roman Bridge (1744), a Pyramid and the superb Mausoleum, designed by Hawksmoor.
There is woodland garden, Ray Wood, and the walled garden contains decorative rose and flower gardens. Further buildings outside the preserved gardens include Hawksmoor's Pyramid, an Obelisk and several follies and eyecatchers in the form of fortifications which have been restored in recent years. In nearby Pretty Wood there are two more monuments, The Four Faces and a smaller pyramid by Hawksmoor.
As well as the dramatic landscape, Castle Howard is well known for its annual displays of daffodils, rhododendrons, bluebells and roses.
Between 1850 and 1853 William Andrews Nesfield added a parterre garden and installed a great fountain which had been made, by John Thomas, for the Great Exhibition of 1851.
From March to October free daily outdoor tours take place covering a range of topics including The Walled Garden, The Temple of the Four Winds, twentieth Century Landscape and Waterways.
Located on the Estate, but operating separately to the house and gardens and run by an entirely independent charitable trust, is the 127 acre (514,000 mē) Yorkshire Arboretum.