History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Castle Drogo is currently undergoing a complete restoration to prevent catastrophic collapse of the building. Until 2017 the house may be covered in scaffolding. However, it is still open, and indeed, even more rooms have been opened to the public, and you can also watch the restoration work being undertaken.
About Castle Drogo
A twentieth century "castle" built by Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1910-30 to satisfy the aspirations to gentryhood of successful merchant Julius Drewe. Lutyens designed a Tudor fantasy of projecting battlements, a fortified entrance tower, and a portcullis to create a sense of medieval heritage. Each block of granite was specially quarried for the house. The foundations are hewn into the rock of the hillside, to the point of having exposed granite in the bathroom.
The house is built upon a spur of land that rises 900 feet above the River Teign, with superb views of Dartmoor. Despite the forbidding aspect of the exterior, the interior of the house is designed for comfort, with exquisitely furnished rooms and a fine collection of Spanish furniture.
Castle Drogo is an ode to ambition, but a fascinating place to visit for all that. The gardens surrounding the house are some of the finest in Devon, to a design by Gertrude Jekyl. There are also enjoyable walks along the Teign gorge.
I've visited Castle Drogo on several occasions. At first I wasn't sure I liked it. Certainly the gardens are lovely, and the setting above the Teign is wonderful, but I'm a traditionalist at heart, and I wasn't sure what to make of the early 20th century architecture in the form of a medieval castle, or the ornate interiors that seem to defy any attempt to categorise them!
But Castle Drogo grew on me, and I realised I was trying to compare it with either much earlier stately homes or a real medieval castle. It is neither, and deserves to be appreciated for what it is. And what it is is sumptuous, a period piece; one of the last great private houses to be built in England, before the changes brought about by World War I ended the golden age of the country house forever. It is a time capsule of an age, the twighlight of the noble house, and a fascinating look back in our social history.
About Castle Drogo
Address: Drewsteignton, Exeter, Devon, England, EX6 6PB
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: off A30
Website: Castle Drogo
Phone: 01647 433 306
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: SX723 904
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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