Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wray Castle, England

Wray Castle in the Lake District looks like a rather gaudy version of a medieval castle. It is in fact the product of the Victorian Gothic craze.

Wray Castle entrance (with working portcullis!)

Back of the castle

James Dawson had the castle built in 1840 after his wife inherited a large fortune. He died in 1875 and the castle and lands passed through various relatives. In 1929 the estate was donated to the National Trust. It came without furnishings so most of the rooms are empty.

The castle is being refurbished a bit. In the library, they are recreating the  original look by painting shelves on the wall. The project is ongoing as we visited, so there were plenty of books without any titles!

Adding bookshelves the easy way

The library fireplace

The children were more interested in the castle building room, which is a large room by the front (maybe the original dining room?) that has foam blocks perfect for making one's own castle.

J makes a tower taller than himself!

L makes a roof for her castle

Inside L's castle

The former office had a display on the restoration and maintenance of the castle, including a computer hooked up to a camera on the roof. A small joystick let visitors move the camera around. We almost couldn't get J away from this!

L dressed up as a worker in the office

Further on is the Morning Room, which has a nice breakfast nook and various samples of wallpaper they are thinking of putting up.

Morning room with swatches

Very ornate fireplace

Down the hall is the servants' quarters and kitchen, no longer in use and still in need of some TLC.

Cupboard in need of restocking!

Fireplace in need of some work

Upstairs has even more interactivity for the children. A small closet had "jellyfish bean bags" as L called them. They are perfect for crashing on, if you are a small child. Next door is a crafts room where children can make crowns or draw pictures.

Cushy room

Crafty Room

Across the way is the dress up area, featuring a throne room and indoor castle. J also loved this and had a hard time leaving the castle within the castle.

Dressed up for the throne room

Queen Mum and Sir J

The castle will not be left undefended!

Other rooms upstairs chronicle the (relatively) brief history of the castle. Beatrix Potter (she of Peter Rabbit fame) spent a summer here when she was 16 years old. She later moved to the area and bought up a lot of the nearby property.

Photo of, um, Beatrix Potter

At the front of the castle is a billiards room. The National Trust has acquired a table and is in the process of putting it back together so visitors can play a bit.

Billiards Room with pieces of the slate table on the sides

Nice ceiling!

Another upstairs room has been converted into countryside, including some tree stumps that showed how old the trees were.

Enter through the gate!

The house is quite well outfitted for children to play and is probably very popular on rainy days in the Lakes District. We had nice weather during our summer visit and couldn't complain of crowds.

View from the front door gate of the castle

The children really enjoyed visiting this castle and were sad to leave. We bought ice creams at the shop on the way out, so that brightened at least L's mood.

No comments:

Post a Comment