On a recent holiday to Devon we decided to make a return visit to Castle Drogo. (I wrote a review about this back in 2014 when it was in the middle of being restored and we had to climb some scaffolding to look at how they were making the reparations). We had heard that the renovations had only just been completed and so, as we were staying in the area, we decided to go and see how our visit compared that that one of 7 years ago! One thing that was different was the fact that 7 years ago my grandson, who was with us, was 9 years old. This time we had a 6 foot ,16 year old with us who was not quite as excited as his smaller, younger self had been in 2014!
The Castle is not a real castle at all, more of a rich man’s folly. It was built between 1910 and 1930 by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens for the self made millionaire Julius Drewe. Despite the outside resembling a castle the inside is warm, welcoming and very much a cosy family home. It was the first time we had seen it without the scaffolding around it and in my mind it resembled a castle that some children had built out of cardboard boxes! The scaffolding and builders had left very recently and you can see that the landscaping now needs to be sorted out as the front of the castle is just bare earth. (Maybe a visit in another 7 years will see it blooming with flowers!) there are a few short walks on the site, one to Sharp Tor where you can see the views across Dartmoor and The Teign Gorge. (You can also get great views from the battlements of the Castle). We also wandered through the formal Lutyens garden which was very colourful and is shaded by Persian Ironwood Trees. There is a Bunty House where the Drewe family children used to play and inside the house there is the most wonderful dolls house that is being totally restored to it’s former glory. (Having had 3 grandson’s I always regretted that I never had a granddaughter to buy a doll’s house for, this one would have been my exact choice!) We walked Mr Drewe’s Path with stunning views of the gorge and we passed the Chapel and walked through the Rhododendron Garden. We then sat for a while by the Croquet Lawn (you can actually borrow the equipment from reception if you so wish).
Seven years ago, in my review, I questioned why the National Trust was spending a fortune restoring this folly but having seen it now in it’s restored glory, I think they were right to do so. The inside is wonderfully welcoming and you could spend hours in the grounds. Well worth a visit if you are in the area.