We visited Castle Howard on the warmest day of the year, so we had a massive advantage. Strolling round Ray Wood with its beautiful magnolias and stunning rhododendrons was a pleasure. It was so peaceful and quiet. The walled garden with rose collection and ornamental vegetable garden were also quite delightful. The Atlas fountain is an incredible thing of beauty, as is the house itself. This 18th century grand house will simply take your breath away. The temple of the four winds is also well worth walking to, as the views are awesome. The only negative for me was the boathouse cafe, which could be put to much better use. The view over the lake was fabulous, but the choice of sandwiches and cakes was very limited. Food was served on paper plates with a plastic knife, and tea came in a paper cup. The café was self-service, and yet for all this the prices were exorbitant, and far more expensive that a decent tea room, with china tea pot and cups. The seats were also very uncomfortable.