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“Last Castle built in England.”
Review of Castle Drogo

Castle Drogo
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Attraction details
Owner description: Castle Drogo a twentieth century masterpiece set on Dartmoor is undergoing a major conservation project.
Reviewed 5 June 2014

It's a building site so if that offends you, don't bother going until 2017. You will though miss out on a restoration project of epic proportions. We have visited Castle Drogo many times over the years so we've seen it looking magnificent.
The water ingress has been a problem for years. In fact, according to information in the building, the water ingress was first noted in 1913. Building of the castle began in 1911 and wasn't finished until 1930. The great artist, Edwin Lutyens, was not in favour of the the large expanse of flat roof we are told. Julian Drewe whose dream of building a castle in a beautiful setting was not to be swayed, and he was paying the bill. So a flat roof it was.
This is one the Trusts most ambitious projects and I feel the public are lucky to be able to experience the enormity of the undertaking. Of course, on entering, the grandeur is not obvious. It's gloomy. Panelling is encased in plywood. In many instances there are no obvious windows. The windows are being removed and replaced throughout so where this is happening there is plywood. The guides are wonderful and very helpful. It's possible to come across an expert on building and hear more about the work. Some of the rooms have treasures on display. Not an ideal way to see them but try to view it as a once in a lifetime chance to see work that normally only goes on behind the scenes.
There are lots of furnishings and objects that are covered or protected in special covering. Carpets and curtains have been cleaned and stored. There are notices detailing what it all is. It's a giant inventory. There are TV screens in some of the rooms showing them as they were, and will be again. Only they will be better.
I have seen a comment that someone felt ripped off. It's not the intention of the Trust to do that. They've done the right thing in allowing the public see the work. We were told that it will all look different next year as the work progresses. It will still be a building site only the work will be more advanced. We will definately return to follow progress.
The cafe is excellent with plenty of seating inside and out. The shop too is very good. Today was a great day.

Thank Pamela B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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in 48 reviews
"worth a visit"
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"national trust property"
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"guided tour"
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"car park"
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"under renovation"
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"gardens are lovely"
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"few years"
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"formal gardens"
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"interesting visit"
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"taking place"
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538 - 542 of 780 reviews

Reviewed 3 June 2014

Had a great visit and enjoyed seeing all the incredible restoration that is going on at the castle. True the rooms are dreary with everything packed up but credit to the National Trust they are doing their best to give visitors an insight into this massive project. A must is a visit to the top of the viewing tower if you have a head for heights don a hard hat and high vis jacket and start climbing!
The tea-room is excellent with friendly staff and delicious cream teas.
Reading some other reviews I do think you should read up before visiting and then you will not be disappointed when you arrive.
Do visit and experience a once in a lifetime restoration project which is due for completion in2017.

Thank dollymix7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2014

I went on 2 successive days last week. Firstly to see what state the house is in during the extensive renovations and then returned the following day having booked for a tour of the roof areas, with a guide from the building company explaining what was going on.

Having viewed the castle about 5 years ago, I was fascinated to note the damage which water ingress had created. Yes, lots of the room contents had been removed but this made it easier to see the damage, and understand why the national trust is spending £11 million putting matters right. If anyone ever had any doubts about the effects that water has upon structures, then a granite built castle looking sad and forlorn is a salutary experience. The castle guides were their normal enthusiastic selves amply providing information on how the castle used to be, and indeed why the damp problems needed fixing now.

Even better was a guided tour up the scaffolding stairway, under the plastic tarpaulin to view the roof areas, looking very sad. There are huge stockpiles of granite slabs laid out on the grass outside the castle, as they have had to be removed to permit the builders access to the flat roof areas which they now have to drape with a new water repellant surface to keep the rainwater out. Make no mistake this work is a huge challenge as the experts are coming across new problems almost daily and have to change the work programme frequently to accommodate the new challenges. Equally important has been altering the routing of the many iron gutters and pipes which have previously made mainly feeble attempts to drain moisture away from the building. In many respects it is precisely because the original architect and builders tried to hide the surface water drains within the building rather than drape them down the outside, is why the subsequent damage has been so extensive. Also bear in mind that some of the single storey areas of the castle, such as the chapel and kitchens have had obvious damp problems right from when the castle first opened in the 1930s. I am grateful to the National Trust for taking the bold step to repair this unusual castle, but also for having the courage to allow members and the public to see what all the money is being spent on. I loved it all!!

Fairly obviously the castle is not looking at its best during all this renovation work; but it is remarkable to see the newest castle in the country being repaired with such care and enthusiasm. I do think that NT ought to make this very clear before the public pay to visit right now. I am an annual member and love the 'mechanics' of old buildings, but would otherwise be aggrieved to see it as it is now

1  Thank manrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2014

Visited here a few days ago but knew nothing of the extent of the renovations. It was mentioned briefly upon taking our payment which was quite expensive anyway, let alone after seeing virtually nothing. I may as well as looked at pictures on the internet of the place because the whole downstairs consisted of walking around a building site, with random words and phrases printed on plywood boards and photos of what the rooms should look like just shown on digital photo frames. When you stand in the rooms though it is very hard to imagine what they really look like and text on boards is all very well if you have the time to read them but visiting with a 4 year old this was not practical at all. Upstairs was better but really not much to see, although I was excited to see an old 1920's retro lift which was quite cool but viewing tower off limits due to young child and it was raining outside so gardens were out too (ok that's not their fault but it added to the terrible day out).

I completely understand that renovations need to take place but the price to enter should reflect this if they don't plan to close. Unless you have a huge interest in architectural renovations and have a very good imagination then don't visit here because the theme was very much based around this theme and there is very little to see. It is also very noisy because of the work taking place.

Cafe food pretty good though and the over-all setting is pretty although you can't see the actual building so not even sure what the place looks like after this very bizarre visit!! I will probably wait until renovations are finished before visiting again but then I'm not often in Devon so probably not. Staff very helpful though, nicest staff I've met at a National Trust place to date actually.

3  Thank its-all-about-travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 May 2014 via mobile

We have been meaning to go for ages and glad we waited until the renovations had started as we got to see a view of the castle that most others won't.

The walks around the site are excellent and they range from a short stroll to a proper stomp of 2.7 miles (via a very lovely riverside pub) it can in places be a little rough but with a decent pair of walking shoes most can walk it.

1  Thank Gxrbabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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