Castle Howard is a stately home in North Yorkshire, England, 15 miles (24 km) north of York. It is a private residence, the home of the Howard family for more than 300 years. Castle Howard is not a true castle, but this term is also used for English country houses erected on the site of a former military castle. It is the fictional “Brideshead”, of Brideshead Revisited.
The house is surrounded by a large estate which, at one time, covered over 13,000 acres (5,300 ha) and included the villages of Welburn, Bulmer, Slingsby, Terrington and Coneysthorpe. In 1952, the house was opened to the public by then owner, George Howard, Baron Howard of Henderskelfe. It is currently owned by his son, the Honourable Simon Howard, who grew up at the castle.
A large part of the house was destroyed by a fire which broke out on 9 November 1940. The dome, the central hall, the dining room and the state rooms on the east side were entirely destroyed as well as valuable paintings and mirrors. Some of the devastated rooms have been restored over the following decades. In 1960–61 the dome was rebuilt and in the following couple of years, the frescos on the dome was recreated. The East Wing remains a shell, although it has been restored externally. Castle Howard is one of the largest country houses in England, with a total of 145 rooms.