The first thing you should know is that this is not a castle as you may think of one. It's more like a grand manor house or stately home.
We paid £10 for access to the castle and gardens, but you can just pay £5 for access to either the castle or the gardens if you wish.
On first arrival at the small gatehouse where we had to pay we were greeted by a very friendly member of staff who was very informative of the different options we had and in giving us directions.
At the car park there is a dog walking area, a children's play area and a picnic area, surrounded by large grassed open spaces this first impression is great.
We went straight on to the gardens which were fantastic and then onto the river walk which was very peaceful and pleasant.
By the time we got back to the actual castle it was nearing lunch time so we had a quick rest room stop. The first thing I would say here is how amazing the toilets are, they are grander than many rooms I have seen in people's houses. A real treat for you as you take relief!!
After that we decided to eat at the cafe, we had sandwiches, drinks and a slice of cake each, the staff were very helpful and friendly. The atmosphere in the cafe is lovely and incorporates a small gift selling area. The thing I liked about this is that you don't feel under any pressure to buy anything unlike some places.
The food from the cafe was very good indeed, no complaints here and the service was speedy and pleasant. We also thought it was very good value for money indeed.
The lady staffing the gift area was very pleasant and obviously lives on site in one of the smaller houses, she happily engaged us in conversation about the books on sale and the red squirrels that are frequently seen in her garden.
The house itself is still lived in by the family and there are many interesting photos, pictures and furniture pieces to see.
There are some steep winding steps which would be inaccessible to wheel chairs and people of a nervous disposition. A map of the outside area is available from the staff and there are information cards in each room with history of the room and the pieces to see in each room on them.
All in all a very worthwhile and enjoyable visit don't miss the short film before you enter the castle it provides a good introduction.
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