The Castle is the centrepiece of the Estate. It is a large quadrangular house with a central courtyard. Each section has a different appearance, reflecting the different architectural styles that have been employed here since building began in the 13th century.
Once inside you can see the collection of paintings, furniture, tapestries and objects d’art that fill the state rooms. Thrones and furnishings from the House of Lords are some of the more unusual items on view.
Grimsthorpe Castle has been in the Willoughby de Eresby family for five hundred 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. Rising majestically from the undulating landscape of south Lincolnshire, the castle is set in extensive parkland of great antiquity, now consisting mainly of oak trees replanted in the 17th century. 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. Th e 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.
Castle, gardens and park are open to visitors five days a week from June to September and twice a week in April and May
Gardens surround the Castle on three sides. To the South lies a formal lawn with topiary squares beyond. These contain small ornamental pools. Further from the Castle the garden becomes a semi-wild woodland garden, filled with spring bulbs. If you venture beyond this you will reach the walled garden where an exhibition of lettering art is on show.
To the West of the Castle a long herbaceous border provides colour during the summer months. The neatly trimmed yew hedge is cut low enough to give spectacular views to the lake.
On the East of the Castle a formal rose parterre is lined with small box hedges. Beyond it lies a walled kitchen garden. This ornamental fruit and vegetable garden is a haven of tranquility on a quiet summer afternoon. It contains apple and pear espaliers and a collection of Quince and Medlar trees.
Parents: please note that there are two small ornamental ponds in the gardens and a fountain in the main courtyard. Young children should be supervised at all times, particularly when close to the water features mentioned above.