Belvoir Castle (pronounced Beaver) is a stately home in the English county of Leicestershire, overlooking the Vale of Belvoir (UK). It is a Grade I listed building. The castle is near several villages, including Redmile, Woolsthorpe, Knipton, Harston, Harlaxton, Croxton Kerrial and Bottesford, and the town of Grantham. A corner of the castle is still used as the family home of the Manners family and remains the seat of the Dukes of Rutland.
A Norman castle originally stood on the high ground in this spot. During the English Civil War, it was one of the more notable strongholds of the king's supporters. It eventually passed into the hands of the Dukes of Rutland and following a fire, was rebuilt by the wife of the 5th Duke, and gained its present Gothic castle look. The architect James Wyatt was chiefly responsible for this restructuring, and the result is a building which bears a superficial resemblance to a medieval castle, its central tower reminiscent of Windsor Castle. The present Castle is the fourth building to have stood on the site since Norman times.
Belvoir was a royal manor until it was granted to Robert, 1st baron de Ros in 1257. When that family died out in 1508 the manor and castle passed to George Manners, who inherited the castle and barony through his mother. His son was created Earl of Rutland in 1525, and John Manners, 9th Earl of Rutland was created Duke of Rutland in 1703. So Belvoir castle has been the home of the Manners family for five hundred years, and seat of the dukes of Rutland for over three centuries.
The castle is open to the public and contains many works of art. The Queen's Royal Lancers Regimental Museum of the 17th and 21st Lancers was established here in 1964 but was required to leave in October 2007. The highlights of the tour are the lavish staterooms, the most famous being the Elizabeth Saloon (named after the wife of the 5th Duke), the Regents Gallery and the Roman inspired State Dining Room.
The castle sits in a vast estate of almost 15,000 acres (120 km²). The landscaped grounds, nearer the castle, are also open and the Root Houses, built by the fifth Duke's wife, can also be seen. The present Duchess is restoring Belvoir Gardens, which includes the Secret Valley Garden and the Rustic Summerhouse of 1800.
The estate is open to the public and offers a range of outdoor activities - shooting, fishing, quad biking and four-by-four driving. Throughout the year they host sheep, duck and dog exhibitions.
The Duke and Duchess of Rutland also manage Manners Arms, a country hotel and restaurant on the Belvoir estate.
A corner of the castle is still used as the family home of the Manners family. The castle's name means beautiful view.
"The name "Belvoir", is in fact, a Norman import by the French-speaking conquerors, though the native Anglo-Saxon population was unable to pronounce such a foreign word, preferring to call it "Beaver Castle". Belvoir Castle is still pronounced "Beaver" -- despite its spelling -- to this very day, which may actually go a long way to explaining the age-long animosity between the insulted French and the traditionalist English..."
Several films and television programmes have used it as a location, notably the film Little Lord Fauntleroy starring Sir Alec Guinness. The castle itself was used as a location for The Da Vinci Code - it represented Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence. It also featured in the 1985 film Young Sherlock Holmes starring Nicholas Rowe and Alan Cox. In September 2007, it was used as a location for The Young Victoria. In the 2001 Jim Henson production of Jack and the Beanstalk: The real story, the castle is where the giant bones have been discovered.
Since spring 2006, the castle has been the venue for an annual folk music weekend. Organised by volunteers, and run on a shoestring, performers from all over the region forgo their usual fees and expenses, for the chance to play in Belvoir's ballroom, guardroom, old servants' hall and the Regent's gallery.
Belvoir Castle is the host of Belvoir Fireworks, a pyrotechnic and firework competition.
Castle & Garden
|Family (2A 3C)
|Family (2A 3C)
Castle & Garden
Mothering Sunday - Sunday 14th
Easter Opening - Friday 2nd to Monday 5th inclusive
Bank Holiday - Sunday 2nd and Monday 3rd
Whitsun Bank Holiday
(Sunday 30th and Monday 31st)
Open Sunday to Thursday throughout the month
Belvoir by Candlelight - Wednesday 1st to Friday 3rd
Christmas Fantasia - Sunday 12th to Friday 17th December (closed Sat 11th)
The gardens are open Sunday to Thursday inclusive from 14th March 2010 to 3rd October 2010
The Ticket Office Coffee Shop will be open on all garden open days.
RHS Members have free garden-only access on the days the gardens are open in April and July (excluding Sundays)
National Garden Scheme Open Days - Monday 14th June and Monday 21st June 2010
+44 (0)1476 871002
+44 (0)1476 870443