Sunday, October 30th, 2011 Windermere
The time changed in England early this morning so when I woke at 7:30 am it was really 6:30 am. As the girls slept on; I worked on my computer in the dark. We’d gotten to bed by 10:30 pm last night so it was a good night’s sleep for all of us. Weather wise it started to rain lightly just after we checked in to the hotel; hopefully we have another nice day today. If not, we do have rain ponchos that we haven’t used yet! We always carry our umbrellas in our coat pockets. Sure glad that I was able to recover my coat from the airplane in Minneapolis….I’ve worn it constantly.
Breakfast was another wonderful English breakfast; this time there was also two bangers…English sausage. I ate one plus a slice of ham with my mushrooms, tomatoes, and scrambled eggs. It’s a big meal that gets one off to a good day!
Packed the car and headed out just before 11 am. We had about a ten minute drive to our destination: Castle Howard. This is the country estate of the Howard family; built in the middle of nowhere about fifteen miles north east of York. It was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh for the third Earl of Carlisle three hundred years ago. It’s located between Malton and Hemsley. We drove to Malton yesterday and spent the night very nearby. The family still lives in one wing of the castle with their young children. The castle is closed from the end of October until mid-March except for a brief period from Thanksgiving to Christmas when it is decorated for Christmas. Today was their last day.
The castle was severely damaged in 1940 from a fire; the large dome collapsed and the damage has not been completed repaired to this day. However, the film and miniseries called Brideshead Revisited have been filmed in this castle and two of the rooms that are still not finished were used as stages for production. The chapel in the castle was one of the largest ones that I’ve seen over my many visits to castles, chateaux and palaces.
The docents told us that when the house is closed the family uses all of the rooms and the wing that we are in is used for house guests. We asked about the beds and they said yes except they change the mattresses. Those on now are of straw and are replaced with modern mattresses for the guests.
It was a marvelous experience; the castle is far enough from the entrance that they had a small train for us to ride on…we could have walked but this was easier. After touring the castle we rode the train down to the lake and playground before returning to the entrance gift shops and farm store.
We had spent nearly three hours at the castle; it was after 2 pm before we started on the three hour journey on country roads North West to Windermere in the Lake District. Along the way we spotted the ruins of Castle Brough and stopped for some photos. There was an ice cream shop next to it and we decided to take a rest stop and have some ice cream so that we qualified for using the facilities.
We arrived about 5 pm and after a few stops found our nights lodging at Ellerthwaite Lodge on New Road. The season ended this weekend; it’s colder here and so we may or may not spend three days. We did make it to Mass just before the collection; it had started at 5:15 pm. When we talked to the priest after mass he was a bit miffed that we’d arrived so late in the service. But, better late than not at all; we thought we’d be here earlier. Best laid plans….
After Mass we went to the little grocery store down the street and picked up food for ham and cheese sandwiches at the hotel. Used Skype to call the husbands…cell phones still are not working very well. We need to go to a phone shop tomorrow among other things.
Hope you enjoy the photos of Castle Howard.