in the county of Leicestershire
a Seaside Town in the county of Essex
in the county of Nottinghamshire
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Many fascinating tales remain from the time when Sherborne Castle was lived in by Sir Walter Raleigh, a favourite of Elizabeth I. Raleigh, a seasoned charmer, had coveted the Sherborne estate for some time, he admired the superb location of what was then a hunting lodge, and somehow he managed to persuaded the Queen to request the tenure of the castle from the Bishop of Salisbury. Once Elizabeth acquired the lease, she immediately passed it over to Raleigh, and when two years later he was banished from Court, he built himself a new house which he called "The Lodge", a name which stuck until around 1800. The house was a handsome square structure, with mellow walls standing four storey's high. It was adorned with graceful towers, pinnacles, heraldic beasts and magnificent chimney stacks, all of which stood out against the warm Dorset skyline. Unfortunately, Raleigh's tenancy was short-lived, he was executed in 1616, and after this Sherborne Castle estate was granted to Sir John Digby, who later became Earl of Bristol. Today, this family still live at Sherborne castle.
The Digby family enhanced the castle by the addition of four long wings, and yet more towers. In later years "Capability Brown" set out the magnificent landscape, making it a fitting backdrop for what is arguably one of the most romantic looking of all English castle's. The interior, although lavish, has smaller rooms than one would normally expect to find. That said, the scale of the state rooms is impressive, so too is the Solarium and Library. There are other more intimate rooms, each is special and all have stunning views over the garden, with its lovely flower beds, shaded bowers and picturesque lake with its abundance of wildlife.
In this wonderfully serene place visitors can enjoy a variety of experiences. Although the house was extensively redecorated in the 19th century, some of the rooms escaped, and these have remained largely untouched since the 17th century. Thus, the visitor is able to see unique interiors from most decorative periods of English architecture and interior design.
During its history the castle has opened its doors to the great and the good of several centuries. Past "Royal" visitors have included Prince William of Orange who visited in the 17th century, and George III who stayed at the castle in 1789.
Collections include fine Georgian furniture, porcelain, many splendid family portraits and other interesting paintings and works of art.
In the grounds you can explore the Adam-style Orangery, enjoy afternoon tea in the Tea Garden and hunt for souvenirs in the well stocked gift shop. In the distance, across the park you can catch a glimpse of all that remains of the old 12th century Norman castle.
Sherborne Castle is open from March until October.
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