Belvoir Castle: its history, owners and how to visit

Based in the Vale of Belvoir between Nottingham and Grantham, Belvoir Castle is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland. We introduce you to its history and the people who live there

Published: September 20th, 2022 at 1:07 pm

Belvoir Castle might have the appearance of an ancient castle, but it is in fact a mock castle, built on the site of a historic stately home. Its history dates back to the 11th century, but since 1067, four different castles have stood on its grounds. From its vantage point, you can see landscapes from the surrounding counties of Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.

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'Belvoir' is a name taken from the French for 'beautiful view'. Surprisingly though, 'Belvoir Castle' is actually pronounced today as 'beaver'.

Where is Belvoir Castle?

Belvoir Castle is located in Leicestershire, between Nottingham and Grantham.

We included Belvoir Castle in our round-up of the best dog-friendly stately homes in the UK to visit.

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The history of Belvoir Castle

The first castle was built on the Belvoir Castle grounds in 1067 by Robert de Todeni in a typical motte-and-bailey design.

After the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century, the castle was in disrepair, but a second castle was soon constructed by Sir Thomas Manners. His grandfather Sir Robert Manners had married into the Todeni family, but it was Thomas who was the first Manners to live at Belvoir.

A third castle was completed in 1668 after the second was destroyed by Parliamentarians during the 17th-century Civil War. This third castle was designed by John Webb, who was a pupil of Inigo Jones. It was rebuilt in a different style to the previous iterations, due to the fact that Frances the Countess (the wife of John the 8th Earl) insisted that it was designed to be a palatial country house, rather than a castle.

The fourth castle still stands today. This was designed by the Gothic romantic architect James Wyatt, who also worked on Windsor Castle. It was built between 1801 and 1832 for the 5th Duke and Duchess of Rutland. When the Duchess arrived at the castle in 1799 it was very run down. It is an example of Regency architecture.

Who lives at Belvoir Castle?

Belvoir Castle is the ancestral home of the Duke of Rutland. The 11th Duke of Rutland, David Manners, lives there with his wife Emma Manners, Duchess of Rutland, and their five children.

Can you visit Belvoir Castle?

Yes, Belvoir Castle and its grounds and gardens are open to guests throughout the year.

You can also take afternoon tea in the castle's Recency-style tea room, view the castle and family's art collections and even stay on the estate. There's also a retail village in the Engine Yard.

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There are glamping and camping spots with views of Belvoir Castle and the Vale of Belvoir, as well as several luxury country houses and apartments to stay in.

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