August Roadtrips: Grimsthorpe Castle

The opportunity to get out of Melton and go and ‘see something unique’ presents itself pretty much every day.  All sights here are new to us so even the simplest things, like visiting a pub, take on an air of excitement due to its newness.  We have found that if we do not get the kids out of the home they tend to get antsy or bicker with each other (or us).  Zachary has made a friend with a boy who lives on the block, but Annika has yet to really find someone nearby to connect with.  The little boy has an older sister her age, but she is away at camp for the week.  She did meet the daughter of Zachary’s football coach, as they are the same age, and they both mentioned looking forward to the next practice so that they can hang out.  Getting them started in school will benefit the family.  Zachary is a member of the Mowbray Rangers Football Club.  He held his own quite well in his first practice.

What can be hard about getting out everyday is that most of what we want to see costs some money.  They are not free (we have done plenty of free things already), but we bite the bullet, so to speak, so that we do get out and see something neat.  Then we need to pack accordingly so that we have some snacks and water, just like at home, plus a map (which we have forgotten before), in order to save a little quid.  And then someone has to drive.  I have done most of the driving, in turn each roundabout presents less of a challenge.  I am actually looking forward to bigger and better roundabouts!


This castle is located in Lincolnshire, which is the county just East of us.  Getting there was about a half hour drive strictly through the countryside.  There we saw the tiny hamlets, and boy were some of them tiny!  Rebecca commented that she is much happier in a city where amenities are not a drive away.

Grimsthorpe Castle has had some sort of home on this land since 1100, but the basic shape and size of it today was finalized around the mid 1500’s.

This castle has HUGE gardens in front and behind it.  Zachary asked why the gardens were so big.  I tried to explain that the nobles who lived in these home did not have tv or radio, but they did want to be entertained by sights.  Thus they hired gardeners to design and build lush gardens, so that when friends came over they could walk in them and find solitude.  Or the nobility just wanted graceful places to look at.  The idea of an English Garden is very old.  Zachary enjoyed watching the butterflies flit about.

We paid to enter both the garden and take a castle tour, which cost us 24 pounds, roughly $40.  Bringing a picnic lunch helped offset the need to keep feeding the kids, who are currently on a hunger binge, wanting to eat every two hours!  The castle did not allow photography, and I was polite enough to not sneak photos of the interior.  I may be sneakier next castle!  Lots of paintings of the nobility of the area for the past 500 years or so.  Saw a painting of the Earl of Portland, and a couple paintings done by van Dyck, a pretty famous Flemish Baroque artist (hey, I even recognized the name).  We also learned that Prince Charles and Lady Camilla had stayed there less that 18 months ago, meaning that it is still used by the occasional royal visit.  Apparently Henry VIII stayed there on his way to York some years ago.  We saw the room they stayed in.  No tv or internet connection.

The rear of the castle, and we are no where near the end of the property. We walked quite far back, past what we took as gardener’s quarters. We saw two gardeners working, and I figured they had enough to do full time to upkeep its beauty.

We beat the rain on this day, as it began to fall once we decide we had had enough fun “storming the castle” so to speak.  Rain has been infrequent, with the past two days quite warm by British standards, around 33 Celsius.

Next up, The Robin Hood Festival in Nottingham!


4 thoughts on “August Roadtrips: Grimsthorpe Castle

  1. Jeff, you’ll be mighty interested in a series of books by C.J. Sansom set in the mid- to late
    1500’s, focussing on the tidal changes in the church and its interactions with royalty. Especially “Sovereign, ” which centers on Henry VIII’s visit — called a “progress” — to York, in 1541 [will send you a map of his stops via email] Thanks for all the work you’re putting into this very informative schtick!
    Bruce Reeves

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