Castle Drogo: Discover the Intriguing History and Timeless Beauty of England’s Last Castle
At A Glance
🏰 – Castle Drogo – magnificent architecture and historical significance
🌳 – Lush gardens and surrounding woodlands
⚔️ – Medieval weaponry and armour
🌄 – Panoramic views of the Teign Gorge and Dartmoor National Park
🎨 – Art collections and exhibitions
☕ – On-site café
🌺 – Seasonal flowers and plants in the gardens
🚶♂️ – Guided tours and trails – various ways to explore and learn about Castle Drogo
🛍️ – Gift shop featuring souvenirs and unique items for purchase to remember the visit
🅿️ – Parking facilities
🎟️ – Entrance fees and any possible discounts or group rates
📆 – Seasonal activities or unique experiences
Nestled within the rolling hills of Dartmoor National Park in Devon, England, Castle Drogo is a historical marvel and a sightseeing delight. As the last castle to be built in the country, this enchanting edifice offers a rare glimpse into the fascinating blend of architectural innovation and timeless elegance. With its imposing stone façade and verdant gardens, Castle Drogo is a captivating destination that invites visitors to step back in time and discover the rich history of this captivating attraction. In this article, we will guide you through the key features, highlights, and practical information to help you make the most of your visit to Castle Drogo.
Designed by the renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, Castle Drogo was commissioned by Julius Drewe, a wealthy businessman, as his dream home in the early 20th century. Construction began in 1911 and, despite interruptions caused by the First World War, was completed in 1930. Though built in the 20th century, Castle Drogo’s design takes inspiration from the medieval fortresses of yore, creating a unique blend of modern ingenuity and historic charm. In 1974, the Drewe family bequeathed the castle to the National Trust, ensuring its preservation and allowing future generations to marvel at its splendour.
Key Features and Highlights
- Architecture: Castle Drogo’s striking appearance is a testament to Lutyens’ architectural prowess. The castle exudes a sense of grandeur and strength with its granite exterior, battlements, and grand turret. However, the seamless fusion of modern conveniences, such as electricity and central heating, with the medieval aesthetic truly sets Castle Drogo apart.
- Gardens: Surrounding the castle, visitors will find a variety of beautifully landscaped gardens. The formal terraced gardens, designed by Lutyens and George Dillistone, boast lush lawns, vibrant flowerbeds, and intricate stonework. The Rhododendron Walk, a tranquil woodland path, offers a peaceful retreat and stunning views of the Teign Gorge.
- Interiors: The castle’s opulent interiors are a must-see for visitors. The Great Hall transports guests back in time with its impressive fireplace and intricate woodwork. The Drawing Room and Dining Room display a wealth of period furniture, artwork, and personal items that belonged to the Drewe family, providing a fascinating insight into the lives of the castle’s original occupants.
- Teign Gorge: Just a short walk from Castle Drogo, the Teign Gorge offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll or hike through the winding trails, discovering ancient woodlands, dramatic waterfalls, and rugged moorland along the way.
Hours of Operation: Castle Drogo is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, with the last entry to the castle at 4 pm. The garden and estate are open from dawn until dusk. Note that the castle may close for special events or maintenance, so it’s always a good idea to check the National Trust website for any updates before your visit.
Admission Fees: As a National Trust property, Castle Drogo offers free entry to National Trust members. For non-members, admission fees are as follows: Adults – £14.00, Children – £7.00, and Family – £35.00. These fees include entry to both the castle and gardens.
Nearby Accommodations and Dining Options
For a truly immersive experience, consider staying at one of the nearby National Trust holiday cottages, offering rustic charm and easy access to Castle Drogo and the surrounding countryside. Alternatively, the picturesque town of Chagford, just a 10-minute drive away, offers a range of accommodations, from quaint bed-and-breakfasts to luxurious hotels.
For dining options, the National Trust operates a café on the Castle Drogo estate, serving delicious light meals and refreshments. In Chagford, you’ll find an array of restaurants, pubs, and tearooms catering to a variety of tastes and budgets.
Accommodation we recommend
- Home in the heart of Chagford (sleeps 4, no pets)
- Arch Cottage
- Cob Cottage (sleeps 4, pets allowed)
- Little Torr (sleeps 2, no pets)
Tips for Maximizing Your Visit
- Attend a Guided Tour: To fully appreciate the history and architectural details of Castle Drogo, consider joining a guided tour. Knowledgeable guides will share captivating stories and anecdotes about the Drewe family, as well as Sir Edwin Lutyens, providing a more enriching experience.
- Bring a Picnic: On a sunny day, there’s nothing more delightful than enjoying a picnic on the castle grounds. Pack a blanket and your favourite snacks, and find the perfect spot amidst the gardens or along the Teign Gorge to relax and soak up the picturesque surroundings.
- Don’t Rush: With so much to see and do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Allocate ample time to explore the castle, gardens, and Teign Gorge at a leisurely pace. This will allow you to truly appreciate the beauty and history of this remarkable attraction.
- Visit during Special Events: Throughout the year, Castle Drogo hosts a variety of special events, such as outdoor theatre performances, art exhibitions, and seasonal celebrations. These events add an extra layer of excitement and entertainment to your visit.
- Insider Tip: For a unique perspective of Castle Drogo, take the path that leads to Sharp Tor, a nearby rocky outcrop. From here, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the castle and surrounding landscape – an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts.
Castle Drogo is a remarkable testament to the enduring allure of historical architecture and the boundless creativity of its designers. Its intriguing history, magnificent gardens, and stunning surroundings make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the enchanting landscapes of Devon. With our tips and practical information, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your visit to this timeless attraction. So, pack your bags and prepare to be captivated by the charm and grandeur of England’s last castle – Castle Drogo.
Check out other things to do in Central Devon
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