A tour of the house takes about 30 minutes and includes the Great Hall, Library, Dining Room, Drawing Room and the Billiard Room, where there is a short video about the bedrooms. When I visited in July, these were not included in the tour.
Photography is allowed in the castle.
Entrance is through a doorway in a side tower beneath the Pennington crest, and leads directly into the “Great Hall,”:http://www.muncaster.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/The-Great-Hall.jpg an impressive room with red walls and family portraits on the walls. There is also a portrait of Henry VI showing him holding his drinking bowl, the Luck of Muncaster.
In the oldest part of the castle, this would have been the main living area with a central fireplace, panelling around the walls and rushes and sweet smelling herbs on the floor. It was part of the Savin makeover in the C19th.
A stained glass of the family coat of arms is in the top of the window with the five blue diamonds on a yellow background. The Ramsden coat of arms is above the fireplace. Below is a model of a wild cat, symbol of the family.
The “Dining Room”:http://www.muncaster.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/muncaster-dining-room-800×533.jpg is off the Great Hall. A large window overlooks the lawn at the back of the house. The dining table will seat 34 people, but is usually used for conservation work. When we visited one of the large tapestries was being restored and covered the table.
The base of the walls are panelled. Above they are covered with Moroccan leather embossed with gold leaf, dating from around 1800. It is in poor condition in places but apparently almost impossible to restore.
The furniture is heavy oak with buffet and display cases with china.
next to the dining room was the medieval kitchen but during the Savin modifications, the kitchens were moved and this room became the library. It is a stunning room, octagonal with a gallery round the first floor and a Gothic vaulted ceiling.
The ceiling is deep blue and decorated with stars as they would have appeared in 1208.
The library contains over 6000 books. It is a ‘busy room with comfortable armchairs around the fireplace, family photographs and belongings.
The “Drawing Room”:https://www.muncaster.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/drawing-room.jpg on the opposite side of the Great Hall is completely different with its pale grey walls, darker grey and white barrel vaulted ceiling. The walls are covered with family portraits. The lady in the white dress above the mantle piece is Elizabeth Ramsden and was painted by Joshua Reynolds.
This used to be an outside courtyard but this was enclosed in the 1790 restoration. The present decoration is the work of Anthony Salvin in the C19th who employed Italian plasterers for the ceiling.
The tour finishes in the “Billiard Room”:https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/photos/item/DP020883 beyond the Drawing room. This has panelled walls and an elaborate plaster ceiling. The room is now used to show a brief video of the bedrooms which are not visited during tours at the moment
This was an interesting visit, although there weren’t that many rooms to see. The guide was knowledgeable, worthy and a bit boring!