Belvoir Castle has launched its biggest season in a decade with a packed visitor programme for the Leicestershire castle and garden to follow the opening of its £2.5 million artisan shopping village.
The Castle has greatly increased its opening days over the last three years with 2019 seeing it gear up to welcome more visitors than ever from 2 March onwards.
The new and improved offer includes opening up The Dooms, the castle’s underground tunnels, and the introduction of characters from upstairs and downstairs to bring the 1,000 year history to life for visitors of all ages.
Emma, The Duchess of Rutland launched the 2019 season at Belvoir Castle ahead of its public opening on Saturday 2 March, with the help of The Knights of Nottingham proudly wearing the blue and gold ducal colours of the Leicestershire Estate. The popular jousting weekend returns this summer for the first time in 10 years.
The Duchess of Rutland said: “I’m delighted to be launching this new and exciting season which promises to be our biggest in more than a decade. We feel so very fortunate to be acting as custodians for what is a short time in Belvoir’s many centuries of history and we hope to share Belvoir’s many treasures, history, stories and art with an inviting offer for visitors.”
Once inside the turreted Regency castle – which doubles as Windsor in Netflix’s The Crown – visitors will meet a host of historical characters including the 5th Duchess Elizabeth Manners, instrumental in rebuilding Belvoir Castle after it was destroyed in a fire in 1816; the Housekeeper Elizabeth Stanley and Butler Thomas Douglas going about their duties in the Castle’s grand rooms. New for the 2019 season, they are just some of the characters who will be bringing the history to life for visitors this year.
In the early 18th Century, along with
Trentham and Chatsworth, the gardens at Belvoir were regarded as some of the
greatest north of London – and the Duchess is determined to continue
redeveloping these beautiful gardens to restore them to their former glory.
This year marks the beginning of a £200,000 restoration of the Rose Garden, following the rediscovery of the original plans drawn up by the 19th century designer Harold Peto in the Castle archives. These reveal that the Rose Garden is shaped like a boat, with the Chinese horse at the bow, and the circular seat at the stern. Visitors can explore the classical formal gardens, woodlands and views across the rural countryside from the castle’s hilltop position.
An Annual Pass has also been launched to provide an affordable way for children, adults and families to visit the Castle and Gardens throughout the year. With tens of thousands of people enjoying the Engine Yard offer right next to the castle since its opening in October, the pass will enable the regular clientele to visit as often as they wish.
A packed events programme is planned for the year ahead with more to be confirmed throughout the season.
Easter Eggstravaganza: 19-22 April
Get egg-static this Easter at Belvoir
Castle and Engine Yard, with exciting activities for all the family, including
a Nursery Rhyme Treasure Hunt, chocolate egg decorating, face painting, a visit
from the farm animals and a chance to see incredible birds of prey in flight.
The Easter Bunny and her friends will also be popping in. Easter Afternoon Tea
will be available at the Castle.
A Knight’s Quest: 1 & 2 June
The Knights of Nottingham will be back to Belvoir for the first time in 10 years for the ever popular jousting weekend. See the beautiful horses and knights dressed in all their glory. Meet and greet with Belvoir’s Birds of Prey, and experience Belvoir in the Middle Ages.
Belvoir Flower and Garden Festival: 13 & 14 July
An expansion on the Flower Festival from 2018, this will be a quintessential British day out packed with garden inspiration and ideas. Specialist plant growers, garden furniture, sculpture artists, show gardens, border displays, tools and crafts as well as Expert Horticulturists will be on hand to answer gardening questions.
The Castle is open on selected dates from Saturday 2 March throughout the year from 11.00am – 5.30pm (check website for up-to-date opening schedule). Ticket prices for the Castle and Garden start from £18 adult, £9 children (under 4s free) for a free flow, with family tickets for 2 adults, three children now available at the new and lower price of £50. Discounts available for online advance bookings.