Lord Egerton’s magnificent castle

It is one of those blissful calm weekends as we head to one of Nakuru’s well-known legendary castles.

The Lord Egerton Castle at Ngata, Nakuru County. Photo/Suleiman Mbatiah  

BY Chebet Caroline

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It is one of those blissful calm weekends as we head to one of Nakuru’s well-known legendary castles.

Commonly referred to as ‘The place where the suitor missed the target’ the magnificent 53-roomed Lord Egerton Castle is situated in Ngata farm, 15 kilometres off the Nakuru-Eldoret Highway and is managed by Egerton University.

The first sight of the legendary castle of love-turned-sour is breath-taking. Its architectural structure is from the colonial era, portraying wealth and extravagance.

It was built in 1938 by Lord Maurice Egerton Tatton the fourth and the last Baron Egerton of Tatton for a lady to whom he wished to become engaged.

As the story goes, the lady refused to marry him, twice, even after he built her the castle, which sits on a 100-acre piece of land. She said it was a museum, leading to Egerton’s heart break and move to hate women in his entire life.

Lord Egerton is said to have banned women from ever setting foot on the ground where the castle stand, to an extend of putting up a signs that women risked being shot if seen entering the compound.

He lived a lonely life in the big house for four years before succumbing to chest complications in 1954. He died a bachelor.

Despite the gloomy story the castle is today a major attraction for both local and foreign tourists amongst lovers who have found the spot a favourite place for tying the knot.

The luring beautiful flower gardens and well-trimmed lawns undisputedly provide a perfect scenic setting for memorable events.

Children playing

The grounds, which were opened to the public in 2005, pose as the most sought-after for garden weddings, corporate functions, picnics, cocktails and office parties. Adults are charged Sh150 while children pay between Sh50 and Sh75 to tour the castle.

Outside the expansive green lawns, both local and international tourists, school children, families, among lovers engage in different outdoor activities.

Majority of young children plays hide and seek, Katie, Mablican, football while others are wildly running and shouting off their weekend.

My colleagues and I joined the children skipping rope and playing hide and seek. This was definitely a great break from the daily hustles. The place is also a home to Llamas, tortoises and ancient machinery.

Visitors take turn to tour the extensive castle with the rooms being numbered to avoid visitors getting lost.

Ironically most of us visiting on that day were women curious to tour the mansion once declared as a no-go-zone for us.

One of the rooms is a classic ball room with a broken piano in one corner portraying Egerton’s architectural prowess. The room was once used for high caliber meetings, entertainment and celebrations.

Fully furnished

The inside stairway and the floor of the castle are made of oak, which is said to have been imported from Britain while the roof is beautifully designed in zinc tiles.

The mansion is fully furnished with children’s rooms, a master bedroom for him and his wife, confinements, passageways, barricades, secluded venues and artistic rooms.

As we wind up the walk through the busy castle, we are undisputedly tired climbing up and down the many stairs which however Lady Victoria would have had a choice of using an elevator within the mansion.

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