The jewel in Northamptonshire's rather glittering crown when it comes to historic houses, Rockingham Castle is an absolute must-see
Having initially been built on the instructions of William the Conquerer almost a thousand years ago, Rockingham passed from The Crown to the Watsons 450 years ago and the family, James and Elizabeth Saunders-Watson and their three grown-up children, still call the castle home today. Luckily for us though, they don’t like to keep it all to themselves.
The castle and grounds are open to visitors in the summer season and the views from the ramparts, taking in five counties, have to be seen to be believed. Obviously there was a reason William the Conquerer chose this spot. There are twelve acres of sweeping lawns, a beautiful rose garden, ‘Elephant’ hedge and a wild woodland garden with many rare trees and shrubs for the green-fingered to enjoy.
Inside, visitors can explore the Servants Hall, The Street, Old Kitchen, The Great Hall, Naval Lobby, Panel Room and Long Gallery, giving an overview of below and above stairs life throughout the castle’s history. A great friend of the Watson family at the time, Charles Dickens was a frequent visitor and performed plays in the Long Gallery, even drawing inspiration from Rockingham for Chesney Wold in his novel Bleak House.
Rockingham hosts a number of large events each year, from Tudor history days to outdoor theatre and cinema, contemporary art exhibitions, medieval jousting, a buzzing food and drink fair and the famous Rockingham Horse Trials. Not forgetting plenty of kids’ activities that take place throughout the year to keep your Mudlets entertained, as well as the essential tea room and gift shop.
Looking for a spectacular wedding or corporate venue? Rockingham certainly has the wow factor and you can also arrange private group tours as well as candlelit suppers for that extra special touch.
Rockingham Castle, Rockingham, LE16 8TH
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