Things to See and Do

 
Fireplace

Cooking at the Castle

Step into the castle building and you can see the buttery, servery and kitchen which would have been an impressive room with its two tall windows - can you see the bread ovens in the fireplace? To the right of the kitchen windows is a lion head which once held a pipe from the roofs to the water tank. Look on the walls in the kitchen to see the Stonemason marks showing where they had finished their days work in order to be paid.

Stairs at Old Wardour Castle

Features in Stone

As you walk around the castle ruins, you can see many features in the stonework including the bust of Christ from the 1570's above the entrance with shell headed alcoves set in the wall below. In the wine cellar, see the vaulting around the walls, or the chimney and fireplaces still visible in rooms. Find the archway in the courtyard with Doric columns - can you spot the lions?

Tower at Old Wardour Castle

The East Tower

Climb the stone steps of the east tower to reach rooms on the higher floors offering stunning views across the surrounding countryside. See the remains of the a fireplace and latrines as you climb and when you reach the top room, your view is extended to the sky. Contiuning up into the air above you, the staircase with its elegant design is well worth the climb.

 

Great Hall

The Great Hall and Great Parlour

The Great Hall would have been one of the most elaborate rooms in the castle along with the Great Parlour where the household would have played cards, embroidered and gossiped. Above the stairs to the hall, you can see the swirling foliage in the central boss of the rib vault in the ceiling and to the side, the four great windows framed by slender columns and a richly carved cornice.

Siege at Old Wardour Castle

The Lovell and Arundell Families

Originally built by Lord John Lovell, the castle passed through the generations of this important family before being foreited to Henry VI and was held by the Crown until 1461. It passed back and forth between the Crown and the Lovell family for many years and was modernised by the Arundell family after acquisition in 1547. It survived two sieges before abandonment when New Wardour Castle was built nearby.

Banqueting House at Old Wardour Castle

The Banqueting House

The charming little building overlooking the lake with Gothic battlements is thought to have been a place for refreshments for visitors to the castle in the 18th and 19th centuries. When not being used for wedding ceremonies, it can be visited and you can see the beautiful stained glass windows and a small exhibition on the history of the gardens - it's also a great place to enjoy views out over the lake and beyond.

View of Old Wardour Castle

Listen to the audio tour

Take the free audio tour to hear the history of the castle brought alive. Highlights include the Civil War in 1643, where Lord Thomas Arundell went to war, leaving his 60 year old wife Blanche to defend against attack; the second siege later that year saw the castle battered into submission. Later the grounds were transformed into a pleasure garden and romantic ruin.

Stone Grotto at Old Wardour Castle

Explore the Woods

Discover the 18th century stone grotto amongst the trees as you explore the woodland surrounding the castle ruins. Built by Josiah Lane of Tisbury, a reputed stonemason, there are also some standing stones and two stone seats, one topped with a 16th or 17th century fountain base - can you find them?

Take a walk along the path along the outer wall to find the stone arch, hidden away from view and if you look closely you can see the ammonites in the Grotto.

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