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The Castle Howard is a stunning castle home, one of the most beautiful private estates in Britain. The castle was built between 1699 and 1712, designed by Sir John Vanbrugh for the 3rd Earl of Carlisle. This home is not considered a true “castle”, but actually the word castle is used to mean country home, and is used as a home and not for military purposes. 

Castle Howard has been home to part of the Howard family for the better part of 300 years. Today, it is part of the Treasure Houses of England Heritage Group. The house was a baroque design, featuring two symmetrical wings and a central crowning dome. The house has full baroque detailing like cherubs, coronets, urns, and ciphers.

Once the house was completed, the attention was turned to the estate. The design would remain incomplete when the Earl died in 1738, but was quickly picked back up by the 4th Earl, who chose to have the west wing finished in a Palladian style, contrasting the 3rd Earls design.  This would not be completed in his lifetime either, and the entire house would not be finished until 1811. A fire destroyed much of the house in 1940, and was superficially restored in 2008 for a movie filming. The house is open to visitors, with the current owner growing up in the castle. 

The Gardens of Howard Castle are formal and diverse. There are two buildings on these grounds, the Temple of the Four winds and the Mausoleum. A lake sits on either side of the house. The idea was to create an English style garden that opens up and merges with the park. A separate Arboretum was added in 1975, located close to the castle and gardens, but has its own separate entrance. This is called Kew Gardens and was opened to the public in 1996. 

Perhaps the highlight of the castle grounds is the enormous Atlas Fountain. Named after a mythological Titan of Greece, Atlas’s burden was to carry to support the heavens on his shoulders. This image is the focal point for the fountain, and was commissioned to be built in 1850 by the 7th Earl of Carlisle. Around the titan are sea gods, also referred to as tritons. Water is pushed through jets out of the four large triton shells, cooling Atlas as he carries his burden. A cascade of water is also produces as jets push water into the lower scallop shell basins, which overflow into the basin below. The fountain is fed from a reservoir located at the top of the hill in Ray wood. Gravity sends water into the chamber below the fountain, and piped allows the water to be directed into the various jets to create stunning sprays and cascades. 

This fountain is the centerpiece of the entire estate grounds. The sculpture is a world class piece of art, not just for its beautiful design, but also because it is crafted from Portland Stone. The fountain was restored in 1983 repairing and conserving the fountain so it can remain a centerpiece of the ground for years to come. 

The Howard Castle is an iconic place in history, and boasts one of the most beautiful homes in Britain. The home took over 100 years to complete and features elegant and exciting formal gardening, a truly inspirational fountain, as well 10,000 acres that include several villages, farms, lakes, and monuments.