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Thornbury Castle, near Bristol

Follow in the footsteps of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn by staying in this 16th century Tudor castle, a mix of old-world opulence and 21st century luxury.

Weekend Escapes

Why stay in a run-of-the-mill hotel when you could stay in a fairy-tale castle? Sure, a lot of hotels play up their historic heritage, but this is the real deal. Named The TimesRomantic Hotel of the Year in 2021, this iteration of Thornbury Castle dates back to the 16th century, has played host to both Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and positively oozes Tudor opulence. How does the largest four poster bed in any UK hotel sound? Just wonderful, thanks!

After a hefty, multi-million-pound refurbishment, Thornbury spares no detail. Complimenting the gorgeous oriel windows, proud battlements, and luxe wood panelling are walk-in showers, unthinkably plush bedding, and sleek roll-top baths. There are spiral staircases and thrilling, hidden castle nooks, yet it’s warm and gently glowing with modern comforts. (Phew.)

And then there are the gardens — oh, the gardens! Fifteen excellent acres of them. There are labyrinths of wildflowers to wander through, a heavily-perfumed rose garden, a well-stocked kitchen garden that supplies the restaurant and, naturally, a croquet lawn. Why not partake of some archery, axe-throwing, clay-pigeon shooting, or observe some falconry while you’re there? It’s all part and parcel with staying in a castle, my lady!

For when you’ve worked up an appetite, there are four dining rooms (all decked out in royal finery, natch, we’re getting used to this) serving seasonal, thrillingly fancy dishes or knockout afternoon teas. Sophia Loren and Laurence Olivier both frequented the restaurant here — so you’re among friends.

Want to really lean into the Tudor princess thing? The Castle now offers a fun experience where you can dress up, dine like, and have your photo professionally taken as a Tudor lady. It lasts 10am – 4pm and includes lunch, afternoon tea, a lady-in-waiting (!), falconry, mead, and more. Or, you can opt for a historical tour of the castle and grounds, or go on a wine tasting experience from July-November. Decisions, decisions! It’s a tough old gig, eh?

This month in gloucestershire

Thornbury Castle Castle St, Thornbury Gloucestershire, BS35 1HH
+44 (0) 1454 281 182

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