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With the nights drawing in and a chill in the air, pumpkin carving season is a very atmospheric time of year. Where better to spend Halloween than in a spooky castle? When English Heritage contacted us this October we were very excited about the prospect of carving pumpkins in their beautiful and historical castles. They had seen our pumpkin portraits on our professional pumpkin carving website and wanted their own 3D pumpkins depicting some of the figures from history that had interesting connections to their sites.

English Heritage care for over 400 sites in England covering over 6,000 years of history! Many of the sites have links to some of the most famous people in English history, who would be perfect for a Halloween pumpkin. We carved the 3D pumpkin portraits in our studio in Yorkshire and the pumpkins then made their way across the country to these historical properties. Visitors to the castles could spot the pumpkins on their trip and enjoyed finding out more about the link between the location and the person depicted.

Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn, wife to Henry VIII travelled to the beautiful Eltham Palace on the outskirts of London, where she had spent many happy days with her daughter, the future Elizabeth I. Professional pumpkin carver Richard Spence is caught here doing some live pumpkin carving, adding the finishing touches to the famed beauty.

pumpkin portrait uk
©Jim Holden/English Heritage

Mary, Queen of Scots spent 2 months at Carlisle Castle after escaping from Scotland. This began her long life in captivity in England.

3d carved pumpkins
©Jim Holden/English Heritage
live pumpkin carving uk
©Jim Holden/English Heritage

Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight is a favourite with holiday makers and leisure and pleasure seekers alike – indeed Charles I would play bowls on the green here. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t on holiday but was imprisoned here after losing the Civil War. His pumpkin portrait hitched a lift to the game in this wheelbarrow.

carved pumpkins uk
©Jim Holden/English Heritage

Sir Walter Raleigh’s pumpkin travelled the furthest, which is quite apt for the seafaring explorer – he went all the way to Pendennis Castle in Cornwall!

The gothic ruins of Whitby Abbey are most famous as a location in the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, during the reformation Thomas Cromwell ordered the dissolution of the abbey in 1539.

3d pumpkin carving
©Jim Holden/English Heritage

Coincidentally we made a pumpkin carving of Dracula for our pumpkin trail in Bradford this year. We’re often to be found at Whitby, usually making our sand drawings.

socially distanced events uk

The Halloween pumpkin portraits of these famous figures made their way into the news once more, featuring in local and national press, including the Times.

professional pumpkin carvers
©Jim Holden/English Heritage

We love working with English Heritage and getting to look round their fantastic castles and sites. A couple of years ago we had the opportunity to do just this when we made a giant sandcastle at Dover Castle and ran sand sculpting workshops at several castles, including some of those that our pumpkin portraits ended up at. 

Special thanks go to Emma Gough at English Heritage who has been very helpful on every occasion we’ve been lucky enough to work at their wonderful locations.

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