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Castle Howard, Walled Garden


The Walled Garden lies to the south west of the house and contains three rose gardens which are open to the public. The Venus Rose Garden, the Sundial Garden and Lady Cecilia's Garden. There is also a plant centre.



The Walled Garden is constructed from brick and is made up of several areas.

Only some of these are open to the public. These include the Venus Rose Garden and the Sundial Garden, which contain over 2000 modern roses, and Lady Cecilia's Garden, which is filled with old roses. The final section of the garden open to the public is the Plant Centre.

Some of the Walled Garden is sectioned off for use by the family and part is given over to vegetables and cut flowers. The remainder is used by the groundkeeping staff or is lying fallow.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details or telephone 01653 648621/620


Castle Howard is located 15 miles north east of York, just off the A64 in the direction of Malton. If travelling from the north turn off the A1 onto the A61 to Thirsk and then take the A170 to Helmsley. Turn onto the B1257 just before Helmsley and follow the brown signs. From the south turn off the A1M at junction 45 onto the A64 and follow east to York. Once past York follow the brown signs. Castle Howard can also be reached by public transport by going to Malton which is 5 miles away.


Hon. Nicholas and Simon Howard


The Walled Garden was the first section to be created at Castle Howard because of the early need for horticulture at the site (Hussey, 1967: 122). The original garden covered three acres (1.2 hectares).

The first evidence for the origins of the garden dates from 1703 and concerns the construction of the gardener's house and the walls of the kitchen garden. Work was carried out by Matthew Nettleton and Philip Clarke, two local labourers, and William Smith, who was a mason (Saumarez Smith, 1988: 121).

In 1705 Samuel Carpenter was paid to create the Satyr Gate. He carved the satyr heads which gave the gate its name (Saumarez Smith, 1998: 122) and the baskets of ornamental flowers on the pillars above. He also carved lions' heads on the opposite side of the gate.

The garden was expanded slightly in the 1740s, but by the 1750s it was clear that it was still too small. Sir Thomas Robinson, who was already making alterations to the west wing of the house, made proposals for alterations to the garden in 1755. A plan of this date (Castle Howard Archives) shows that the east wall was extended from 297 feet (90.5 metres) to 825 feet (251 metres) in length. This more than doubled the extent of the garden from 3 acres (1.2 hectares) to 9 acres, 2 rods and 29 perches (3.6 hectares). Surviving structural evidence for the extension of the wall is indicated by a single pillar which marks out the original corner of the garden and now stands alone in the brickwork (Lee, 2003: 7).

The walls were heated and hothouses were also created at this stage. Robinson also proposed the siting of a new gardener's house and office at the centre of the garden between the boundary of the old and new kitchen gardens. Robinson's plan shows a flower garden for this area, in front of the conservatory.

A new entrance was created in the form of an ornamental gate which was positioned so that visitors would enter the garden closer to the conservatory (Lee, 2003: 7-8).

These changes brought a host of visitors to Castle Howard during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Sir John Cullum (Saumarez Smith, 1998, 122), The Reverend MacRitchie (1897: 9-13) and Ibbotson (1851, 38) all list the wealth and quality of the produce at Castle Howard.

In the early 20th century a new conservatory costing £5,650 5s (Castle Howard Archives, F5/76), a new boiler room and chimney and 19 glasshouses were added to the garden. An early 20th-century plan (Castle Howard Archives) shows that the gardens layout had been simplified.

Events during and immediately after the First and Second World Wars meant that produce was cheaper to purchase on the open market than to grow in the garden. Castle Howard fared better than most because of its size, but by the 1970s the garden had been much neglected and lay fallow (Lee, 2003: 13).

In the 1970s three rose gardens were created by James Russell and another section was converted into a plant centre in the 1990s.

In 1993 soil sickness was diagnosed in the Sundial Garden and Venus Garden resulting in 22,000 cubic feet (623 cubic metres) of soil being replaced with uncontaminated soil taken from another part of the estate. In 1994-5 these gardens were replanted with modern roses.

In 2006 a new section was added to the gardens in the creation of an Ornamental Vegetable Garden.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Gate
  • Description: The Satyr Gate was carved by Samuel Carpenter and is located on the north wall of the Walled Garden. It is an ornamental stone gateway with carved satyr heads on one side and lion heads on the other side. Baskets of ornamental flowers are perched on top of the gate.
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  • Garden House
  • Description: The Garden House was created by Sir Thomas Robinson. It is located at the boundary of the old and new kitchen gardens, close to the hot houses. The house is a square two storey stone building in the Palladian style. Some alterations took place in the 19th century.
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  • Conservatory
  • Description: A glasshouse costing ??5,650 5s at the time of its construction.
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  • Statue
  • Description: A statue of the goddess Venus which is located in the centre of the Venus Rose Garden in the north east corner of the garden.
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Key Information






Part: standing remains



Open to the public


Civil Parish





  • Sarah Collins