Days out: Bluebells and aliens at Castle Howard

Bluebells bloom in the Castle Howard grounds. Photographs: Richard McDougall
21 Jun 2013 @ 5.01 pm
| Entertainment

Bluebells bloom in the Castle Howard grounds. Photographs: Richard McDougall
Bluebells bloom in the Castle Howard grounds. Photographs: Richard McDougall
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Majestic and much loved, televised in the classic Brideshead Revisited, Castle Howard is a great day out for a lively family says Richard McDougall


The approach to Castle Howard, along The Stray, has a lovely sense of theatre. Travelling along the perfectly straight undulating road, through a small stone arch, then the stone pyramid arch and up towards the obelisk, you really get a sense of increasing grandness.

Today though, we were merely taking in the grounds. Mainly to get the six children in our party to run off some of the pent up energy, from too many rainy weeks stuck indoors.

Maybe it’s the Yorkshire in me, but the £25 price tag for a family to enter just the grounds felt a little on the steep side. Still the sun was nearly shining, the lake glistened under the its rare appearance and the children ran off into the distance.

Being a family day, we spent most of the time down at the adventure playground. My daughter Imogen is at a difficult-to-please 11 years old, but she gave it the thumbs up. The younger ones were in heaven. Actually, I think they were on the planet Zog and fighting lots of killer aliens, but whatever, they loved it.

All is peace… the Castle Howard lake
All is peace… the Castle Howard lake
Taken for a ride: Imogen looks after her young apprentice
Taken for a ride: Imogen looks after her young apprentice
See all, hear all, say owt… the boys survey the Howardian Hills
See all, hear all, say owt… the boys survey the Howardian Hills

We took a picnic and bought ice creams each for the children. They were £2 each but the flavours were interesting (we had apple and cinnamon) and everybody enjoyed them. Reasonably priced tea was on hand too.

Walking off our sandwiches, we took the path up through the woods, carpeted with bluebells, to the Temple Of The Four Winds. This was just about a perfect length walk for seven year olds. They grumbled a bit (when don’t they?) but clambered over and under anything they could find. The adults enjoyed the lovely views across the Howardian Hills.

A gentle perambulation back to the house took us down to the playground, where we left one injured member of our party (not a child!).

To finish off, a tractor and trailer ride up to the entrance and a quick visit to the farm shop. Quick was my intention, being allergic to shopping, but actually once inside I couldn’t help myself. We left with a boot full of fantastic meats for a barbecue later that day and enjoyed every piece of it.