Last Updated on March 15, 2023 by Louise
Gloucestershire is home to two spectacular castles, Sudeley Castle and Berkeley Castle. In addition, there are numerous stunning castles which are just a short drive from the county borders.
The castles in and around Gloucestershire are steeped in history with fascinating stories to tell. Many have magnificent grounds and gardens to explore. In addition, a variety of events are held in these beautiful castles throughout the year, so it’s well worth taking time to check them out.
Step back in history and discover 8 impressive castles in Gloucestershire and the surrounding areas.
Located in the Costwolds area of Gloucestershire, Sudeley Castle dates back 1000 years. The site was occupied as far back as Roman times and the castle itself was built in the 15th century.
Being one of the best-preserved medieval castles in England, Sudeley is popular with tourists. There is lots going on here with events including concerts, festivals, and historic reenactments hosted through the year. In addition, an adventure playground in the grounds makes Sudeley a great castle to visit with kids. It’s also ideal for couples and solo travellers.
The history of the castle is fascinating with connections to many famous characters in history including Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII. Katherine Parr lived at Sudeley Castle during the last years of her life. She is buried in the castle’s chapel. The castle also has connections to Richard III and Queen Elizabeth I.
Sudeley Castle is renowned for its stunning gardens, which feature a variety of different styles and plants. The gardens were created in the 19th century and have been restored and expanded in recent years. The castle also features a number of historic buildings and exhibitions, including a collection of medieval and Tudor art.
Berkeley Castle is a historic fortress located in the town of Berkeley in Gloucestershire. The castle was originally built in the late 11th century, shortly after the Norman Conquest of England, and has been continuously occupied by the Berkeley family ever since.
The castle has a rich history. In the 12th century, the castle was the site of a major siege during the conflict between King Stephen and Empress Matilda.
Berkeley Castle is perhaps most famous for holding King Edward as prisoner in the 14th century. He was kept in a windowless room above the dungeon for 5 months. After this he was brutally murdered at the castle, allegedly by a group of his own supporters. Visitors can see the cell where he was held and the dungeon too.
Other must sees include the medieval larders, buttery and kitchen as well as the Great Hall, Armoury and the Grand Staircase.
In addition to its historical significance, Berkeley Castle is renowned for its architecture and art collection. The castle features a mix of architectural styles, with elements of Norman, Gothic, and Tudor design. The interior of the castle is decorated with a range of artwork and furnishings, including paintings, tapestries, and furniture from different eras.
Berkeley Castle has a varied events programme throughout the year. Events include Tudor days, re-enactments, a car rally, outdoor cinema and lots more.
Goodrich Castle is a ruined medieval castle located in Herefordshire. The castle was built in the 12th century and played an important role in the turbulent history of the Welsh Marches, a region along the border between England and Wales.
Goodrich Castle was strategically situated on a hill overlooking the River Wye and served as a key defensive stronghold during the Middle Ages. The castle saw action during numerous conflicts, including the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War. During the latter conflict, the castle was besieged by Parliamentary forces and ultimately surrendered in 1646.
Today, the castle ruins are open to visitors and offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The castle’s inner keep and walls are mostly intact, while the outer defenses and some of the buildings within the castle have been lost over time. Visitors can explore the castle’s many features, including the spiral staircases, the great hall, and the battlements. There is also a visitor center with exhibits and displays about the castle’s history and significance.
Eastnor Castle is located in the Malvern Hills, near Ledbury in Herefordshire.
One of the main draws of Eastnor Castle is it’s beautiful parkland and gardens which include a lake and woodland walks. It’s a popular attraction for families with an adventure playground and maze that is very popular with kids!
The castle’s interior is decorated with a mix of period furnishings and artwork, including tapestries and paintings. Visitors can tour the castle’s grand rooms and learn about its history and the lives of the families who have lived there over the years.
Another of the castle’s most popular attractions is its arboretum, which features a wide variety of rare and exotic trees and shrubs from around the world.
Anumber of events and activities held at Eastnor Castle throughout the year, including outdoor concerts, falconry displays, and vintage car rallies. One of the biggest highlights of the annual event calandar is the chilli festival, Eastnor Chillifest. Held in a bank holiday in May, you can try all things chilli related. There’s also hot tasty food, cocktails, beer and local cider.
Eastnor Castle has also been used as a filming location for a number of movies and television shows, including the James Bond film “Die Another Day” and the BBC series “Merlin”.
Chepstow Castle is a historic fortress located in the town of Chepstow in Monmouthshire, Wales, near the border with England. The castle was built in the late 11th century by the Norman lord William FitzOsbern, and it played a significant role in the conflicts between the English and Welsh during the Middle Ages.
The castle’s most famous feature is its massive gatehouse, which is one of the oldest and most impressive surviving examples of its kind in Britain. The castle also features a number of other impressive structures, including the great hall, the chapel, and the remains of the medieval curtain wall.
Over the centuries, Chepstow Castle saw a number of conflicts and changes of ownership. During the English Civil War, the castle was garrisoned by Royalist forces, and it was eventually captured by Parliamentary forces in 1648.
The castle’s location near the River Wye and the scenic Wye Valley make it a popular destination for walkers and hikers as well.
Photo Credit: KamrynMatika
Caldicot Castle is a medieval fortress located in the town of Caldicot in Monmouthshire, South Wales. The castle dates back to the 12th century and is one of the oldest surviving castles in Wales.
Caldicot Castle was originally built as a motte-and-bailey castle by the Normans, but it was later rebuilt in stone by the de Bohun family in the 13th century. The castle played an important role in the conflicts between the Welsh and English during the Middle Ages, and it was besieged and captured numerous times.
During the English Civil War, the castle was used as a Royalist stronghold, and it was eventually captured by Parliamentary forces. In the 18th century, the castle was converted into a stately home, and it was extensively renovated and expanded in the Victorian era.
Visitors can tour the castle ruins during the summer season. Highlights include a 12 pounder muzzle-loading HMS Foudroyant’s cannon in the courtyard and the dark chilling castle dungeon. Caldicot Castle is reputed to be haunted by a number of ghosts!
Another highlight is exploring 55 acres of country park which include tranquil gardens and a wooded park which are open for the whole year. A variety of events and activities take place in the grounds here including an outdoor cinema and classic car shows.
Picture Credit: Niki.L
Raglan Castle is a ruined castle located in the village of Raglan in Monmouthshire, South Wales. The castle was built in the 15th century by William Herbert, a prominent Welsh nobleman who supported the Lancastrian cause during the Wars of the Roses
Raglan Castle is renowned for its architectural beauty with impressive structures, including the Great Tower, the moat, and the gatehouse.
Over the centuries, Raglan Castle saw a number of changes of ownership and uses. During the English Civil War, the castle was garrisoned by Royalist forces, and it was eventually besieged and captured by Parliamentary forces in 1646. Following the war, the castle was partially demolished and stripped of its valuable materials.
The castle’s highlights include the Great Hall, the well-preserved kitchens, and the chapel. A range of events and activities take place throughout the year, including living history days, Tudor & Elizabethan weekend and falconry displays.
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