The crѐme de la crѐme of Yorkshire’s stately homes is this estate of epic proportions 15 miles north of York. For many visitors, it’ll be instantly recognisable as the filming location for Brideshead Revisited. Castle Howard starred in both the original Granada Television 1981 adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh novel, and the 2008 cinematic remake, which was produced with investment from Screen Yorkshire. Take a tour of the magnificent house and you’ll find displays with photographs from the productions. Its sumptuous rooms also feature in ITV’s global hit series Victoria – the Long Gallery is where the young queen first addresses her Lords.
Castle Howard is special for many reasons, but where to start? Building work began in 1699 but took over 100 years, spanning the lifetime of three earls. The Earl of Carlisle who kicked off construction hired his friend Sir John Vanbrugh, who worked with architect Nicholas Hawksmoor to create a mansion that was an unrestrained model of luxury. It is crowned by a baroque cupola modelled after the one on St Paul’s Cathedral in London, which was the first of its kind to grace any domestic building in England.
Its grounds are full of follies, temples and fountains, making it a versatile location to film and its interiors and gardens have been cast in a number of roles on screen over the years. It’s also hosted Sky’s The Queen & I, BBC drama Death Comes To Pemberley and feature film Garfield 2. Remarkably, alongside its many production credits and its popularity with tourists, Castle Howard is actually still a private residence. It has been the home of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for more than 300 years.