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The Atlas fountain at Castle Howard, York. Courtesy of Castle Howard
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Located just 15 miles north-east of York, Castle Howard is one of Britain's finest and grandest stately homes. Built in 1699, it remains the private home of the Howard family, but now receives hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

The magnificent house, distinguished by its famous dome, was built by the architect Sir John Vanbrugh with the assistance of Nicholas Hawksmoor. It is on such a grand scale that it took almost 100 years to complete. Inside there are important paintings by Canaletto, Holbein, Gainsborough and Reynolds as well as a magnificent collection of antique sculpture. The porcelain collection includes the spectacular Crown Derby botanical dessert service.

The gardens are equally as grand. Set in 10,000 acres, they are home to such delights as Ray Wood, which is filled with one of the finest collections of rhododendrons in the world and the rose gardens, which are planted with thousands of old and new roses of all types. There are temples, lead statues and a startling array of monuments, as well as lakes, fountains and waterways.

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