Sunday, May 22, 2011

A man's castle is his home

No trip to the Cumbrian coast would be complete without a visit to Muncaster Castle.

Muncaster Castle is believed to stand on Roman ruins.  The Pennington family has lived in the castle since 1208, and possibly earlier.  Today three generations of the family live in the castle, which they have opened to the public for viewing and staging private events.  You can even spend the night in one of the rooms at the Coachman Quarters.  Wouldn't that be a special treat?

Here is the visitors' entryway.

There are massive gardens around the castle with amazing floral displays.

Perhaps this photo will give you an idea of how massive some of plantings are!

This bird was really enjoying himself as he took a bath in a stream.

Our first stop was at the stone church which was built in 1140.

Here is the castle as viewed along the path from the visitors' entrance.

Now a side view--I love the flowers on the castle wall.

Now approaching the castle from the front...

Hmm-looks like they watch tv in the castle.

Sadly, Mrs. Pennington had died on May 10th, so the castle's flag was flying at half-staff. Her funeral service was Friday, May 20th, at the church on the castle ground.

This carving is above the entry door.

Upon entering the castle we were given audio wands.  They told us about the castle and the furnishings as well as some Pennington family history.  This was particularly interesting because the commentators were members of the Pennington family.

Can you imagine our surprise to meet Mr. Pennington upstairs in the castle?  He had come out of his bedroom with newspapers under his arm, perhaps headed to the kitchen as it was lunch time.  Mr. Pennington asked several of us where we were from and thanked us for visiting the castle. I'm not sure everyone realized who he was.

You aren't allowed to take any photos of the inside of the castle, so I can't show you how lovely it is.  I wish that professional photos or postcard pictures of the inside were available for purchase, particularly of the various tapestries. 
Here are some amazing views from the castle of the beautiful countryside!

Muncaster Castle is also the home of the World Owl Trust.  There are more than 50 different kinds of owls in the center, and each afternoon they put on a wonderful owl show.  The location varies, and the day we were there it was on the castle front lawn.  Here is one of the "performers".

After visiting the owl center, it was back to the castle to view the heron feeding, a daily ritual at 4:30pm.

Here is a close-up of several of the herons waiting in the trees for feeding time.

Dinner time!  What an amazing view!

As you can see, I packed a lot into my trip to Cumbria!  There's so much to do in this area--Fobbles, St. Paul Ironton, Ravenglass, Muncaster Castle, and more!

I promise that my next blog post will have some needlework photos-- lace from the Ruskin Museum in Coniston. 


Sandra said...

Lovely photos Ellen, the scenery in Cumbria is quite spectacular, it's such a pity it rains so much, but if there was no rain we wouldn't have the lakes or the wonderful green fields. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

♥marylin♥ said...

Oh very lovely your photos !

bisous de France

Margaret said...

Thank you so much for the tour! Can you imagine having your family live in the same place (much less a castle!) for that long? So cool! One can almost imagine what it must have been like back in 1208. Love it! Those plants/bushes are huge! And how cool to meet Mr. Pennington himself!

Mouse said...

ooo wonderful tour .. those rhodedendrums(sp) are huge ... and the views spectacular...glad you enjoyed your visit .. hope to see you next time over :) love mouse xxx

krayolakris said...

Thank you for sharing these photos. The scenery is spectacular!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful day. You aren't just kidding about the massive gardens. Love the photo in front of the white massive tree thing. Amazing. The photo tour, as always is much appreciated and a great way to travel for us homebound folks stitching away on our projects. What inspiration are you getting from your trip? Lot's I'm sure. ;)

Sheila said...

Glad you enjoyed your visit to Muncaster Castle - you took some spectacular photos. And what a treat to meet the Man of The House. I "met" him when he was out gardening :)

geeky Heather said...

Goodness gracious, I thought the azaleas at Kew Gardens were that a rhododendron you're under?? It's ENORMOUS!

Those photos are so lovely; thank you for sharing them!