Set in an estate of lush parkland and glorious Tudor gardens is Thornbury Castle. Spend a day enjoying the regal elegance and sumptuousness of this one-time residence of British monarchs. Treat yourself to a night of romance in the castle’s ornate rooms. Dine on meals inspired by food grown in the castle gardens and indulge in therapeutic massage treatments.
The estate dates back to the 10th century and was taken by William the Conqueror from the Saxon aristocrat Brictric. Fast forward to the 1500s and the duke and nobleman Edward Stafford began the construction of a private manor house. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed here during their honeymoon and it stayed in the hands of royalty until 1558.
Stroll around the walled, tree-shaded gardens while looking up at the castle’s imposing turreted towers. Notable features include arrow slits and chimneys with intricately carved brickwork. Find out about the opportunity to take part in archery and falconry activities in the garden. Inside, antique sofas, grand fireplaces, mahogany bookcases and royal portraits decorate the reception rooms.
In the restaurant, chefs create contemporary meals infused with edible flowers and seasonal fruits and vegetables sourced from the castle’s kitchen garden. Actors Sophia Loren and Laurence Olivier are among many esteemed guests to have dined here. Choose between atmospheric dining areas such as a Baron’s sitting room, Tudor hall and the former dungeon, which is also a wine cellar. A selection of pastries is served for afternoon tea.
For the complete castle experience, book an overnight stay in one of the 27 luxury rooms. Each features a four-poster bed and Tudor-style furnishings. The Duke’s Bedchamber is the very room occupied by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in 1535.
Located in the South Gloucestershire town of Thornbury, Thornbury Castle is 15 miles (24 kilometres) north of Bristol. Some areas of the castle might be off limits to non-guests due to private events.