Old Wardour Castle

Things To See and Do

What you need to know

We've made some changes to help keep you safe, and things might be a little different when you visit. Here's everything you need to know.

  • Do we need to Book?

    You don’t need to book your ticket in advance, but you will always get the best price and guaranteed entry by booking online ahead of your visit.

    If you are a Member and wish to book, your ticket is still free.

    Your booking is for the site/event only and does not guarantee a car parking space, which may carry an additional charge.

    Book Tickets

    Booking FAQs

  • How are you keeping us safe?

    Our staff are still working hard to keep everyone safe. We’re continuing with enhanced cleaning and you’ll find hand sanitiser stations on site. Our staff are continuing to wear a face covering in our busy areas and indoor spaces, and we encourage you to do the same. You can also help us keep you and other visitors safe by not visiting if you have symptoms or have been asked to self-isolate.

    General Safety Information

Fireplace at Old Wardour

Cooking at the Castle

Step inside the castle 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.

Stonework at Old Wardour

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 1570s 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?

The East Tower

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 fireplace and latrines as you climb and when you reach the top room, your view is extended to the sky. Continuing up into the air above you, the staircase with its elegant design is well worth the climb.

The 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

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.

The Banqueting House

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.

Landscape view of Old Wardour

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.

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