Tel: 01647 433306
As the last castle to have been built in England, Castle Drogo is an interesting fusion of archaic Britain and modern nuance. Thanks to the National Trust, the public are now welcome to visit this fantastically designed granite building. Situated at the heart of Dartmoor, the castle was built by Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1910 and 1930 for India tea baron Julius Drewe, after Drewe discovered he had baron ancestors who lived on the land. In addition to the castle itself are the wonderful grounds, all 700 acres of them. During your visit you can take a misty river walk along the wooded gorge of the River Teign before picnicking or playing croquet in the pretty formal garden. You can also see stunningly expansive views of Dartmoor from Sharp Tor. Dogs are welcome on leads.
This National Trust property perhaps comes with a little more drama than most; it is at risk of ruin. Due to water damage, the castle's infrastructure is severely threatened and in recent years the National Trust have set up a huge restoration project to save the property. Not only does this mean that you can be part of an exciting effort to save a grade 1 listed building, but the castle's attractions differ slightly to normal. The reconstruction work has been modelled to look just as an Edwardian building site would have done, giving you an authentic sense of what it would have felt like to be 'on set' of the building of England's final castle. New rooms which have never before been opened are now open to the public and although the showcasing may not be as polished as other properties due to the work, visitors are able to get closer to the castle's precious treasures than ever before. A postcard theatre, representing the dreams and aspirations of the Georgian age, has been set up in one of the rooms. Learn about how the Drewe family made their money in the tea-chest castle and take a look at the memorial to the stonemasons who fought in the Great War. Other outdoor attractions include the vibrantly coloured rhododendron valley and rose gardens, as well as the endearing Bunty House, or Wendy House, which little girls will fall in love with instantly - it even has its own miniature garden. You can take an 'inside out' tour of the castle and grounds to ensure you find everything that there is to see, as well as learning about how this was actually a castle of home comforts including central heating and a lift system! After discovering all that the castle has to offer you can relax with a generous wadge of cake at the café as well as browsing a selection of books, cards, plants and locally produced food at the National Trust shop.
Castle Drogo plays hosts to several interesting events throughout the year, including Wild Tribe on the first Sunday of the month where visitors are invited to learn new outdoor skills from Dartmoor rangers such as fire lighting, den building, tracking, river dipping and willow weaving! This is usually held in Fingle Bridge Meadows and adults and children are welcome. Alternatively you can stay closer to home with the traditional stalls and entertainment at Grand Drogo Country Fair or tuck in with British Food Fortnight at the café. Green fingers may be interested in the Gardener's Seasonal Snippets talks and the Autumn Morning Deer Walk and Breakfast Event could prove one of your most memorable memories on Dartmoor. Other events include the Drogo 10k run, Christmas Calligraphy and Illumination workshops, a Medieval Garden Workshop and the opportunity to write letters to Father Christmas before following a trial to find him in the garden.
Opening hours tend to vary from season to season, so do check out the website before you visit.
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