Oxford, Day 28: Day Trip to Castle Howard and York, UK

Originally published June 24, 2012, this blog post series is an undergraduate short-term study abroad trip in Oxford, UK in partnership with Salve Regina University and St. Clare’s Oxford. The blog post may have been edited for clarity and updated with relevant travel information and links.

  1. Getting to Castle Howard
  2. Facts About Castle Howard
    1. The Entrance of Castle Howard
    2. The Interiors of Castle Howard
    3. The Grounds and Gardens of Castle Howard
      1. The Atlas Fountain
      2. The Temple of the Four Winds at Castle Howard
  3. Getting Around York, UK
  4. Facts About York, UK

Going to York was a great way to wrap up the England trip—we visited Castle Howard and York Cathedral then had lunch in the city.

Even if we were in the car for a grand total of eight hours, the extravagant elegance of both places was well worth witnessing firsthand.

Before getting to Castle Howard, we made a pit stop on the “motorway.” Judging from the list of restaurants it looked as if we were transported to a more elegant version of a rest stop in New Jersey that had a Starbucks, McDonald’s, KFC, WHSmith, and a Krispy Kreme donut machine.

Getting to Castle Howard

Castle Howard is nearly 4 hours away from downtown Oxford.

Visit the Castle Howard website for directions and additional recommended modes of transportation.

Facts About Castle Howard

Castle Howard is another excellent example of historic preservation in the United Kingdom:

Castle Howard is one of Britain’s finest historic Houses, situated just outside York in the Howardian Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Marvel at dramatic architecture and interiors.

Built over 300 years ago by Sir John Vanbrugh, today it remains home to the Howard family.

Discover the house at your own pace, admiring its awe-inspiring architecture and interiors, with something to capture everyone’s imagination. Friendly and knowledgeable guides are on hand to share stories of the House, family and collections with visitors of all ages.

Enjoy stunning scenery all year, with almost 1,000 acres of Grade 1 listed parkland and gardens to explore. Spend the day in a monumental landscape studded with statues, temples, lakes and fountains and admire sweeping countryside views. Meander along woodland paths and in the tranquil walled garden.


When we went to Castle Howard, we saw the main house, the Atlas fountain, the Temple of the Four Winds, and a view of the mausoleum, which is closed to the public at the time of writing.

Castle Howard serves as the inspiration for the Brideshead estate in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, one of the books for the Literature of Oxford course.

During our visit, there was a dedicated exhibit focused on the restoration of Castle Howard over the years.

In addition to tours, Castle Howard also has an exciting catalog of events throughout the year.

New Jersey-esque rest stop
Making an attempt to read Brideshead Revisited on the way to Castle Howard

The Entrance of Castle Howard

The map of the grounds at Castle Howard in York, UK
Castle Howard

The Interiors of Castle Howard

The interior of Castle Howard in York, UK
Sculpture inside Castle Howard in York, UK
Bedroom interior at Castle Howard in York, United Kingdom
Interior at Castle Howard in York, UK
Interior at Castle Howard in York, UK
Brideshead Revisited has been adapted to a 1981 mini TV series and a movie in 2008. Because of the filming projects, the parts of the house that were still in disrepair from a fire in November 1940 were lightly restored and used as sets, as well as the rest of Castle Howard. 
Library, still used today
Castle Howard depicted in artwork
Interior of the chapel
You know a British tourist site’s gift shop is complete when you see a ton of “Keep Calm…” souvenirs
Noisy Dino Puppets–the most random and unexpected thing to have at a British tourist site gift shop

The Grounds and Gardens of Castle Howard

The Atlas Fountain

The Temple of the Four Winds at Castle Howard

The Temple of the Four Winds
A view of the mausoleum from the Temple of the Four Winds
We were fortunate that a tour group came by and the guide opened the Temple briefly. Since 2001 when  Simon Howard married his wife in the Temple, it is licensed for civil ceremonies and open to public use for weddings for roughly 1,500 pounds. Though, compared to getting married in the Great Hall of Castle Howard, which costs 7,500 pounds.
Driving away from Castle Howard on the way to the city

Getting Around York, UK

The city of York is a half-hour drive from Castle Howard and its countryside. The spires of the York Catherdral—better known as York Minster—are visible from the motorway and are just as spectacular up close. It is a really big cathedral.

My roommate and I ate at a diner called Wackers for dinner, which is a five-minute walk from the cathedral.

Facts About York, UK

York, UK is reportedly the most haunted city in Europe and the United Kingdom:

The International Ghost Research Foundation declared York the most haunted city in Europe. It has 500+ hauntings, and its bloody, volatile and violent history includes the Civil War, Conquest by the Normans and Viking Invasions.

Ten fun facts about york

The image of Diagon Alley was based on the city of York:

Inspiration for the famous street came from York itself – The Shambles helped JK Rowling to create the image of Diagon Alley in the Harry Patter novels.

10 things you maybe didn’t know about York until now

I wasn’t kidding when I said that York Minster is quite large—it’s actually the “largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps.”

York Cathedral
The facade of York Cathedral
The interior of York Cathedral
The Crypt–one of the oldest parts of the cathedral
Chicken Nuggets and Chips at Wackers–America seems to be subconsciously creeping up on me
The World’s largest “softpot” garden, which refers to the  special way the plants are potted using fine cheesecloth instead of traditional pots
Photo journal of Castle Howard in UK

Posted by

A Francophile based in coastal New England

3 thoughts on “Oxford, Day 28: Day Trip to Castle Howard and York, UK

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s