An imposing fortress built during the Tudor period, this majestic castle turned hotel is brimming with history and the ideal getaway for anyone who has ever romanticised about going back in time. Thornbury Castle comes complete with gargoyles, secret chambers and suits of armour. From hanging tapestries to dark wooden furniture, the interior is designed to stay true to its history and feature four poster beds, luxurious embroidered blankets, spiral staircases and arrow slit windows. Mmm a castle weekend trip, I cannot think of a better way to escape the hustle and bustle of London and indulge in a luxurious retreat fit for royalty.
WHAT I LOVE
- Henry VIII and his second wife, the infamous Anne Boleyn honeymooned at Thornbury Castle in 1535. If that isn’t reason enough for all you history buffs out there, you can actually stay in the exact room they slept in, now called ‘The Duke’s Chamber’.
- Luxury is not a question at Thornbury Castle Hotel; your surroundings are plush, the staff are attentive and the food scrumptious.
- Far from being a cold old castle, this hotel is stylish and modern without losing any of its historical charm. Warm open fires, cosy armchairs and brightly lit stone halls make this hotel a welcome escape from colder English temperatures.
- Four poster beds and hanging tapestries decorate the gorgeous bedrooms. This is my all time favorite hotel for a morning spent curled up with breakfast in bed and a good book (preferably about the Tudors!).
- If you arrive early for your room, activities on offer include croquet and a spot of archery which certainly makes time go much faster.
WHERE TO STAY
The hotel has twenty-seven suites aptly called ‘bedchambers’ in which each room is proudly unique. Most of the rooms come furnished with fine-looking four poster beds, opulent embroidered curtains and heavy fluffy carpets. Though traditional in sight the rooms are adequately fitted with contemporary comforts, and have built-in strong heating and modern bathrooms complete with rain showers and shiny ceramic tubs. For those who want to relive history, go for the Duke’s Chamber where Henry VIII spent his honeymoon with Anne Boleyn. Otherwise I would highly recommend the ‘Rope Chamber’ room, our little haven that featured a beautiful four poster bed, fireplace, a walk in wardrobe and a secret little entrance to our bath chamber.
WHAT TO EAT
The hotel has two restaurants and also offer private dining in the dungeon. When you go in for dinner you are seated in the cosy lounge and offered cocktails and canapés while you peruse the menu, after ordering and polishing off your drinks you are then led your seat at a white clothed table in the restaurant. They offer tasting menus as well as a la carte and feature traditional English fare and game meat; think venison and pheasant. The wine glasses are generously large here so indulge in an evening tipple with your meal. Breakfast is generally included with the room rate and is a buffet of continental choices such as cereal, yogurts and pastries.
WHAT TO WEAR
A mix of cosy sweaters and jeans for daytime exploring and dresses and heels for a bit of evening glamour. Why not dress up a bit fancier for dinner and make an occasion of it – this would be the place as the décor is quite grand so you won’t feel out of place.
WHEN TO GO
Low season is the best value for money, so aim to go during then. With the cosy roaring fireplaces, definitely try to go when the weather is colder out. Aim for Autumn to enjoy the beauty of the orange and red leaves on the vines of the castle walls.
- 14 acres of beautiful private gardens and landscaped grounds to wander around and explore, featuring a kitchen garden where fresh fruit and vegetable is grown for the restaurants.
- A grand hall that is available for your own feast, party or ball.
- Activities on offer include falconry, archery and croquet.
- In-room spa and massages are available.
- A dungeon dining room can be hired for private dinner parties up to eight people with a minimum spend of £300 on drinks.
STEPH YT TRAVEL TIPS
- The castle offers quite a range of short breaks and romantic deals that include gourmet dinners and fun extras, so be sure to check them out before booking!
- Make sure you request a room that has a four poster bed as some bedchambers come without.
- One night is enough for you to fully enjoy the grounds, anything more than that nights might be too much as there isn’t much to explore in the surrounding areas.
- While you wait for your room, wander into town and pop into the little italian La Piazza Bristol for some delicious Aglio Olio pasta and a cold glass of Pinot Grigio.
- Be sure to try out archery whilst waiting for your room to be ready for check in, the side of the castle quite a façade to be shooting a bow and arrow against.
- Request a late checkout and fully enjoy your last morning in the grand rooms with breakfast in bed on a silver tray and tea in your fluffy robe.
Rooms start at £180 a night. Take a look here to book – http://www.thornburycastle.co.uk