It cost £20-00, after concessions, for 2 people to visit the Castle and grounds, and then another £10-00 for a tour of the private apartments of the resident family. Regrettably, we didn't find the experience value for money whilst this is clearly not an attraction for anyone who has a mobility problem or is confined to a wheelchair as the exhibition and the private apartments are accessed only via staircases and we saw no sign of ramps, lifts or notices advising on disabled access within the house or apartments.
Unfortunately, compared to many other country houses we have visited, the Victorian restoration of the building was rather disappointing whilst the ruins (Tythe Barn and some of the original Castle) were both photographically beautiful and eerie in their settings of trees, flowering shrubs and water. The Civil War certainly took its toll but the ruins provide a poignant reminder of our History although it does seem that a large 'Country House' had been masquerading as a 'Castle'!
Katherine Parr is interned in the Church, on the estate, after her remains were located in the ruins of the original Castle and removed to be formally laid to rest. The Church seems to be still in use but has little, other than her tomb, to warrant a visit.
We do however question the 'private apartments' we toured as we came away unconvinced, by the 4/5 rooms we saw, that members of the present family actually live in them, apart from the odd visit to the snooker table, and not in the wing across the courtyard where there are other 'family/private apartments'. There was no sign of actual life and the bedroom we viewed contained an early Four Poster Bed which would only accommodate the short statures of the century of its birth and not the statures of the 20th and 21st centuries not to mention a wardrobe without a hanging rail! It was impossible to imagine that anyone would wish to sleep in there or, indeed, could do so.
Our guide was informative but most of the information wasn't really relevant to the house as it now stands.
There are some interesting modern metal sculptures, mobiles, by Calder scattered across the grounds but they really don't fit with the ruins, the house or gardens.
At least parking the car is free and you can find a green spot to have a picnic!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
August 20, 2013
Hand on heart, the private apartments most certainly ARE lived in! And indeed the Charles I bed is regularly slept in. There is a Campaign Tent next to the antique wardrobe in which clothes are hung. I am very sorry that you came away with the impression that these rooms are not part of the family home. Evidently the cleaners are doing possibly too thorough a job of clearing the tour route!
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We operate a policy of clarity on accessibility. All of the gardens, St Mary's Church, the pheasantry, coffee shop and the ground floor exhibitions are accessible to wheelchair users. We have dedicated disabled parking and facilities and where possible we provide alternative access to the upper exhibitions for those with mobility issues.
I am delighted that you enjoyed the beautiful ruins and appreciated the Calder sculptures - thank you for visiting and for taking the time to comment.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.