The current fairytale castle was built in the 1830s, but there has been a castle on the site since the Norman Conquest.
Here’s our guide to the castle and its sumptuous grounds.
Where Is Belvoir Castle?
The castle is situated between the midlands city of Nottingham and town of Grantham in Lincolnshire – although it is officially in the county of Leicestershire.
The castle has changed hands many times over its long history and today it is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Rutland. But where exactly can you find this remarkable place?
To be precise, it lies within the hamlet of Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir – just off Junction 24 on the M1 motorway.
How to Get There
For those travelling by car from London or other points south, take the A1 northbound towards Peterborough until you reach junction 24 for Grantham/Newark Upon Trent (signposted “Grantham South”).
Follow signs for Belvoir village then turn right onto B676 at top of hill before entering village – follow road up through woods and past Gate Lodge; entrance to Belvoir will be found one mile further along lane beyond lodge.
For public transport users there are regular bus services linking nearby villages with larger towns such as Melton Mowbray and Newark upon Trent which have rail links direct from London St Pancras station.
- Train: Kings Cross Station – Newark Northgate Station (~55 mins)
- Bus: Newark Northgate Station – Belvoir Village (~20 mins)
Those visiting Belvoir Country should also consider taking time out to explore some other local attractions including
- Belton House National Trust property & gardens,
- Harlaxton Manor Grade I listed building set amongst 40 acres of parkland,
- Burghley House Elizabethan country house near Stamford
- Notts Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves at Idle Valley
- Attenborough Nature Reserve
History of Belvoir Castle
Construction and Early History
It has been around for centuries, first established as a wooden motte-and-bailey castle by Robert de Todeni in 1067.
Over time, it was rebuilt several times: first with stone in 1150 by his son Hugh de Todeni; again between 1217 and 1223 when it was passed to William d’Aubigny; then between 1467 and 1508 during its ownership under Richard Woodville (1st Earl Rivers).
The castle underwent significant changes over the course of the 16th century. After being burned down by Parliamentarian forces during the English Civil War, Belvoir was reconstructed from 1654 onwards into its current layout – a magnificent Tudor mansion surrounded by landscaped grounds.
This project was overseen by John Webb who had previously worked on projects at Hampton Court Palace, Chatsworth House, and Blenheim Palace.
As we’ve already seen the castle was effectively rebuilt in the 1830s – with minor alterations over the next 80 years – to produce the existing castle.
Belvoir Castle’s historical importance cannot be overlooked – particularly due to its connection with royalty throughout many centuries.
It served as a home for kings such as Edward I when he visited Leicestershire before embarking on campaigns against Scotland or France; Queen Elizabeth I also stayed here for ten days during her royal progress through England in 1575-6.
Today it serves both as a private residence owned by 5th Duke & Duchess Rutland family but also open parts are available for visitors all year round so they can learn about this majestic place’s rich past – making it one of Britain’s most important heritage sites!
Visiting Belvoir Castle: Things To Do
Exploring the Castle
Belvoir Castle is an impressive sight and a joy to explore. This 11th century castle, located in Leicestershire, England, stands proudly atop a hill overlooking its beautiful surrounding landscape.
From the outside it appears imposing and grand; with four towers at each corner of the building plus two additional towers on either side of the main entrance gate.
Once inside you’ll find yourself immersed in centuries old architecture that has been lovingly restored to its former glory.
The Great Hall is especially noteworthy with its intricately painted ceiling depicting scenes from British mythology as well as other historical figures such as King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.
You’ll also be able to explore many of the other rooms within Belvoir Castle including The Morning Room, Library, Long Gallery and Drawing Room – all boasting unique pieces from around Europe collected by generations past.
Touring The Grounds
In our opinion the best part of Belvoir Castle is actually its gardens and grounds.
The gardens were originally laid out by the 5th Duchess of Rutland in the late 18th century and were much influenced by Italian terraced gardens, which the Duchess observed on her traditional Grand Tour of Europe.
A walk through the grounds reveals plenty of delights – notably Britain’s largest yew maze which can be seen snaking across one end of the estate gardens; perfect for testing your navigational skills…
There’s also something special about walking around these gardens during summertime when vibrant colours from flowers like roses, lavender & dahlias fill every corner much like they would have done hundreds of years ago thanks to careful restoration efforts by dedicated gardeners.
Visiting Events & Attractions
Throughout most weekends throughout summer (and some weekdays) there are events held at Belvoir Castle specifically designed for visitors wanting that extra bit more than just touring castles walls or wandering landscaped gardens.
Special attractions include falconry displays featuring birds such as eagles & hawks up close followed by tours around areas usually closed off due to renovation work or private use only accessible via guided tour groups organised ahead-of-time online or via phone enquiry (usual charge applies).
Other fun activities include puppet shows designed specially for children’s entertainment but parents often enjoy them too!
How To Get To Belvoir Castle: Directions & Transportation
The easiest way to reach Belvoir Castle from London is by car or train.
If travelling by car, visitors should head east on the M1 for approximately 90 miles until they reach Junction 24 (for East Midlands Airport). From here, follow signs for A46 over Leicester Forest East and past Melton Mowbray until turning onto B676 towards Redmile then onto Grantham Road. At Redmile turn left following signs for Woolsthorpe-by-Belvoir before finally arriving at Belvoir Castle itself.
- M1 | Junction 24 | A46 | B676 | Grantham Road
Alternatively those wishing to travel via public transport may find it more convenient and cost effective to take advantage of regular trains leaving London St Pancras station that stop off at nearby Bottesford Station. From here passengers will need arrange their own onward transportation – either via taxi or bus – directly to Belvoir which is around 5 miles away (check timetables here.)
- London St Pancras Station | Bottesford Station
No matter your preferred method of transportation upon arrival at Belvoir Castle guests are sure be taken aback by this majestic building’s impressive architecture and surrounding countryside beauty; made all the more magical with a visit during one of Britain’s famous summer months!
Belvoir Castle: Tickets & Opening Times
Visitors to Belvoir Castle can purchase tickets online or on-site at the ticket office.
The castle offers several different admission packages, including individual tickets and family passes, with discounts available for children under 16 years of age and senior citizens.
Tickets are valid for a full day’s access to the castle grounds, which include formal gardens, woodland walks and art installations.
For those interested in exploring more deeply into the history of Belvoir Castle there is an additional fee to join one of their guided tours or special events – such as afternoon tea or a candlelit tour – which must be booked in advance. \Group bookings are also possible with discounted rates applicable for groups over 10 people.
Belvoir Castle is open from 10am until 5pm during peak season (April – October). During this time visitors have access to all parts of the castle complex including cafés, restaurants and shops located within the grounds.
From November onwards opening hours are reduced slightly; visitors will find that many areas close earlier at 4pm while some attractions may not be accessible due to seasonal weather conditions.
The castle offers late night openings throughout December when guests can explore its festive illuminations until 8pm – these dates should be checked prior to visiting if they wish reserve their spot before it sells out.
On certain days throughout the year Belvoir may operate shorter than normal opening times – usually occurring during special events such as weddings held at Belvoir’s chapel or private functions taking place within its stately rooms; check before you visit if you plan your trip around these dates!
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