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How Many Rooms Are There Inside Castle Howard?
Chris Ridgway
By Dr Chris Ridgway  //  Fri 3rd April 2020
Curatorial, History, Collection
We receive many a question from visitors everyday about everything and anything to do with the House and Estate. We thought it was about time we asked our Curators for some answers, so this blog from our Curator, Dr Ridgway, looks at one of our most asked questions... Just how many rooms are there inside Castle Howard?

This is a frequently asked question, and it is surprisingly difficult to answer. Not because there are too many rooms to count but because today parts of the building remain voids after the fire of 1940, so how do we define those empty spaces? There is also the question, what exactly constitutes a ‘room’? Does it include lobbies, staircases, corridors, or is a room simply a confined space with a specific purpose – kitchen, pantry, bedroom, drawing-room bathroom? There are different ways to approach this calculation.

Perhaps the simplest is to consult a floor-plan of Caste Howard 100 years ago before the fire ravaged much of the building. These plans are very useful but they do restrict one’s view to a horizontal plane; it is important to remember that houses are planned and built on a vertical axis too. So, looking at Castle Howard from the outside there are three main levels to the house – ground, principal, and upper; but added to them is a subterranean cellar space in one wing of the house, and also an attic storey in the central block. People move about the house on single or multiple levels, and the distances covered in the course of a day, back and forth throughout the building, up and down the stairs, can be quite considerable. It is not hard to notch up several thousand steps in a day.