Gothic Tower & Tower Cafe
Open weekends, 11.30am – 3.30pm
Built at the Park’s highest point, the 27-metre tall square tower contains a narrow 99-step circular staircase and dominates the landscape at its western end.
From the Hermitage, the path leads back towards Alpine Valley and a view of the slender, four-storey Gothic Tower beckons you. Its pointed Gothic revival windows are decorated with Y-tracery, an exterior stringcourse marks each storey, and at one corner of the crenellations, you will see a mock Gothic-style watchtower with spire and weathervane. Built of Painshill red brick, the Tower was originally lime washed – traces of the wash still remain.
Constructed in the late 1750s, Hamilton sometimes called it his “castle”. It appears that he used the Gothic Tower as a gallery to exhibit his collection of antiquities. Today, it exudes an air of romantic mystery.
The Tower first became a residence in the late 19th century. But by the 1970s gales had damaged the crenellations – and the folly was semi-derelict when vandals set fire to it in 1973. That left only a brick shell, plus a few charred window frames.