This gorgeous setting near Drewsteignton is home to the majestic Castle Drogo, with its stunning views over the countryside and its plentiful, colourful and vibrant gardens. We were greeted by friendly and informative staff right from the very start our day. We collected all the helpful information leaflets from the welcome desk, these included maps and entertaining activities for the children such as nature trails and clues for finding different plant species in the gardens. Within the castle we were entertained by lots of interesting facts about the family who gifted the castle and its six hundred acres of surrounding land to the National Trust in 1974.
As you may already know, there is currently some major restoration work going on around the castle particularly with the flat roof. The conservation work is all safely hidden inside a million pounds worth of scaffolding.
Just as you would hope, inside the castle is full of amazing features, architecture and valuables that are steeped in history. This is a modern castle built in 1930 and was the last castle to be built in England. The staff are all very helpful, knowledgeable and chatty and are dotted all the way around this magnificent building.
First you enter the library, always a favourite thing to do for me as I love books and the history of this collection makes the mind boggle, just think of all the people that have read through the pages of these books over the years! I recently watched a BBC program called ‘who do you think you are?’, which included a historian talking about something called jappaning. Jappaning is an old interior design technique and you can find lots of great examples of this at Drogo especially in the library.
We then went on to find out more about the Drewe family, particularly about their five children. The children’s activity inside the castle was to hunt for the five boxes, each box included a unique hat to try on, a riddle to solve and a game to complete in order to discover the name of one the children. My girls had a great time doing this, they found some of the old fashioned names particularly entertaining!
As you step back outside, there is a giant time line displayed so you can clearly see the history of the castle and family tree going right back to the beginning of the Drewe family. At this point, you have the opportunity to go up and view the ongoing building works… You do have to be of a certain height to do this for safety reasons, hard hats and high visibility vests are provided and must be worn. After climbing the 58 steps to the viewing point, you get amazing panoramic views of the surrounding area and a birds eye view of the current project to make the castle water tight. The scale of the work going on and what is involved in the process is truly a huge undertaking.
A highlight for us whilst visiting the Castle Drogo estate was their extensive and stunning gardens, we headed over to the recommended picnic spot in the orchard where there were plenty of tables to choose from, you are then surrounded by beautiful wild flowers and plentiful wildlife. A real moment of peace and quiet in the great outdoors to enjoy some family time. They have a huge mixture of amazing flowers in the grounds and a really impressive rose collection in the formal garden. We loved walking around enjoying all of the colours, aromas and variety. There is also an adorable miniature bunty house complete with a table and tea set inside for the children to play with, our girls loved this. We then enjoyed more fun and games on the lawn, including tennis, croquet and even a little hoola-hooping!
Overall this is a lovely day out for the family. The estate is well equipped with wheelchairs and an all terrain mobility scooter for anyone who may need a little more help getting around. Baby hip seats are also available for inside the Castle as no buggies are allowed to be taken inside, and all the general facilities including baby changing are well maintained.
The café is also very modern and spacious, it opens out onto a children’s play area with outside seating. The National Trust shops are always full of beautiful items to buy and this shop was no exception. They also stocked a great selection of plants and trees that are actually from the estate itself, lovely to be able to admire something in the gardens and then plant it back at home!
Who doesn’t love a day out in a castle… Thanks again to Dartmoor Accommodation for arranging our visit and keep your eyes peeled for lots more National Trust Blogs we hope to do this summer.