The term ‘castle’ has been attached to the building at Grimsthorpe for around 800 years, even though today it is clear to visitors that the building is a large house.
The castle has been in the Willoughby de Eresby family for 500 years. It was granted by Henry VIII to William, Baron Willoughby de Eresby on the occasion of his marriage to Maria de Salinas, lady-in-waiting to Katherine of Aragon in 1516. The oldest part of the castle, King John’s Tower, was built in the early 13th century. It is the main front which gives the castle its grandeur and dramatic scale. The final masterpiece of Sir John Vanbrugh, architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard, it was commissioned in 1715 by Robert Bertie, Baron Willoughby de Eresby, to celebrate the family’s elevation to Dukes of Ancaster and Kesteven, The Willoughby de Eresby family is one of three in England who still fulfill the hereditary office of Lord Great Chamberlain, the Monarch’s representative at the Palace of Westminster.
Visit the Castle
A visit to the castle is something you should consider doing at least once. On weekdays you will be given a guided tour that lasts around one hour.
If you are here on Sundays you can stroll through the castle at your own pace.
Access to the first floor is by two flights of stairs. These have handrails but of course stairs also need to be descended when you are about to leave. There is a ‘virtual’ tour of the State rooms that can be watched on our laptop for those unable to gain access to the first floor.
In order to protect the tapestries and other furnishings curtains are drawn closed in the state rooms.
The Castle collection includes tapestries, furniture, ceramics and paintings.