When we go on holiday I like to go on days out so we can see some of the sights near where we are staying. This year on our camping trip we only managed to go out for one day. Being in Devon again meant we had already visited most of the places nearby. Plus visiting anywhere in Devon means quite a long drive due to the roads and traffic. With tourist attractions usually opening at 10am, it means half the day is gone before you even get there. It’s a shame because we’re always up and ready to leave by about 8:30 so it’d be nice for more places to open earlier.
This year I’ve spotted a few places that we fancied visiting but the nearest that N agreed to was National Trust’s Castle Drogo. It was unfortunate that the construction work to make the castle watertight is still ongoing, which meant photography was limited to the grounds and inside. The building work is due to finish in 2018. What it does mean is that if you’re over 1.5 m tall you can go up to the tower to see the work being done.
Castle Drogo is an interesting place. It’s a modern Castle built between 1910 and 1930 which N couldn’t get his head round at all. To him a castle means blood and gore, and much longer ago in history.
It’s a short walk down to the castle from the car park and once you arrive you’ll immediately see the sculptures by Peter Randall-Page, made from Kilkenny stone and weighing 13 tonnes each.
You can also read about the history and timeline of the castle against historical events around the UK and world. We, of course, whizzed by this because wasn’t interested.
There is a children’s trail for Castle Drogo providing them a list of things to watch out for as they walk around the building. After deliberation N decided he would give up halfway round, so he wouldn’t do the trial. There were still plenty of things in different rooms to keep him entertained and thinking about some of the people who lived in the castle back when it was built.
The guides in the rooms are welcoming as always and tell you about the rooms, but more often than not were speaking to N and suggesting things he could look out for.
There were also children’s detective boxes in various rooms and corridors providing an activity and making children think about the people who lived in the castle previously. These are a great idea and more often themed, having something to dress up in or a book to write in when answering the questions. N love looking out for these and was determined to get everything right.
The castle didn’t take long to look around as only the downstairs was set up as it would have been. Three of the upstairs bedrooms have been turned into rooms about the building work so you could find out more about it.
There’s also a chapel at Castle Drogo just behind the castle but we couldn’t work out how to get round to it with the building work seeming to block it off. This wasn’t too much of a worry as there are nice gardens to walk in and a croquet lawn with lots of mini garden games set up to play if you fancy that. We didn’t play anything because it was a little warm when we were there and N was on a mission to get to the beach. We did manage a walk through the woods and gardens to capture some of the pretty flowers.
If you walk through the gardens you’ll also see a small playhouse that the children of the house used to play in and a little hut which shows the story of tea at Castle Drogo.
There was time for a quick lunch in the tea room before we left, which was surprisingly empty despite the numbers in the car park. We also spotted a small playground with a couple of pieces of equipment for younger children next to the cafe.
Compared to some National Trust places, Castle Drogo is fairly small without the extensive grounds that many have. It’s still good for a couple of hours stop off on the way to somewhere else. And it’s another National Trust location ticked off our list.
Have you ever visited Castle Drogo or other similar modern castles? Where else would you recommend to visit in Devon?
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