Places to visit in Europe

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The construction of Castle Howard took more than 100 years before it could be said to have been finally completed, and spanned the lifetime of three earls and numerous architects and craftsmen. As the house was built and decorated so the grounds were filled with lakes, temples, monuments and a grand mausoleum. A thriving estate grew up encompassing several villages and acres of farmland.

But the story of Castle Howard is really one of incessant change. The house and grounds have grown and altered through successive generations of the family, and it is this essential dynamic, continued through the unbroken occupation of the house, that has made Castle Howard so special today.

The single most significant event since the day it was built has been the calamitous fire of 1940, which destroyed the dome and nearly 20 rooms, as well as numerous treasures. For the next few years much of Castle Howard was open to the skies, its once splendid rooms gutted shells. George Howard, who inherited the house, after the deaths in action of his two brothers in World War Two, determined that the house should be lived in once more, and made the bold decision to recover Vanbrugh's architectural masterpiece.

It is largely due to his remarkable efforts that Castle Howard is today still home to the Howard family, and enjoys such popularity with the public welcoming nearly 200,000 visitors each year.

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