Tucked away within the Cotswolds, this historic 15th century castle is the perfect destination to learn more about England’s history.
Walk in the footsteps of kings and queens at Sudeley Castle, a large late-medieval property which once belonged to King Ethelred the Unready and Queen Katherine Parr. The Castle, located in the Cotswolds near Winchcombe, has played an important role in England’s history. Royalties such as Queen Katherine Parr, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Charles I, all stayed in here. Yet, the history of this place is far more interesting than just its historical connection to the royal names.
You’ll be taken by the award-winning gardens at Sudeley Castle which are every gardener’s dream. Here, within stunning 1,200 acres of beautiful grounds, you may find the elegant parkland, nine elaborate Victorian gardens and romantic 12th century ruins of the original structure. Nestling amongst the ruins is Persian Knot Garden, a style originally popular in the Elizabethan era and a reminder of one of Elizabeth I’s visits. Shaped into a design inspired by her dress featured in a portrait which hangs in the Castle – ‘Allegory of the Tudor Succession’ by Lucas de Heere.
Another attraction is Pheasantry, a home to a collection of 15 rare and endangered species of birds from around the world. Amongst its exotic collection of birds the snow owl seems to be the most popular amongst visitors.
Sudeley, built in 1442 by Ralph Boteler Baron of Sudeley, is the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within the grounds. It’s also one of the few castles left in England that is still a residence, the home of Lord and Lady Ashcombe. It’s so easy to spend in here a day or longer exploring the beautiful grounds, romantic surroundings and discovering the rich history of one of England’s most royally-connected castles.
Queen Katherine Parr lived and died here at Sudeley Castle.
The castle was once home to Queen Katherine Parr, Queen of England and of Ireland (1543–47) and the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII. She not only outlived the dangerous serial bridegroom King Henry VIII but managed to die a natural death.
Her grave laid in St. Mary’s Chapel at Sudeley was rediscovered by mistake in 1782 after the Castle and Chapel had been left in ruins by the English Civil War in the mid-17th century. The lead casket was opened and when unwrapped she still had her hair, teeth and nails, and her flesh was “soft and moist and the weight of her hand and arm as those of a living body”. The Castle is said to be haunted by Queen Dowager Catherine Parr as sightings of her ghost, in green Tudor attire, are reported to this day.
Want to see more? Visit the full gallery and get to know Sudeley Castle better.
While the castle remains a family home, visitors can see more of the 16th century venue than ever before thanks to the Lady Ashcombe, Sudeley’s current chatelaine, who opened the castle to the public in the 1970s.
Inside, the castle contains many fascinating treasures like the extensive exhibitions which include a rare textile collection, Katherine Parr’s love letters and written by her rare copies of original books, lacework reputedly made by Anne Boleyn, bed hangings made for Marie Antoinette and Charles I’s personal beer jugs. The uniquely decorated Sudeley offers a rare insight into the life of some very prestigious royal personas which you can explore by visiting the red and gold Tudor Document Room, the light and feminine Sewing Room and richly panelled Library, where you can see Charles I’s despatch box, the exquisite 16th Century Sheldon Tapestry.
The grounds and nine magnificent gardens are as compelling as the castle itself providing a variety and colour from Spring through to Autumn, each with a unique style and design.
The crowning glory of a trip to Sudeley is visiting the Queens Garden, named because four of England’s queens – Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I. This particular spot is best known for its stunning display of roses (over 70 varieties) and its heavy scent. Make sure to spend your time luxuriating in its fragrance!
The original “rosa mundi” or Tudor Rose with white with a red border, was named by Anne Boleyn.
During your visit take the Herb Garden Walk leading to the Tudor Physic Garden, homage to the ancient plants used to create medicines and cures during the Tudor period. Here you’ll be able to find wild plants with both nutritional and healing properties, from herbs which can help to relieve stress and anxiety, to therapeutic drugs.
Tickets and Prices:
Concessions (Over 60s / Full-time students): £13.95
Children (5-15 Years): £6.00, Children under 5 Years Free
Family Ticket (2 Adults & up to 3 Children): £43.00
The Terrace Cafe & Shop:
Enjoy a range of hot and cold food and drink at the Terrace Cafe. Make sure to visit as well the Visitor Centre Shop to buy products inspired by the castle’s romantic Tudor history.