We had a Cotswold Tourist on board today who was fascinated when we passed the entrance to Sudeley Castle & Gardens near Winchcombe; just eight miles from Broadway. The castle is a grade I listed building and is unusual because it’s one of the few in England still with a residence and the only private castle in England to have a queen buried within the grounds. Lady Ashcombe and her two children – Henry and Mollie – live there. The castle has been open to the public since 1969; with further rooms opened up earlier this year. This allows you to walk in the footsteps of kings and queens including Richard III, Elizabeth I and Lady Jane Grey. It’s best not to turn up without checking first, as its only open on certain days.
The castle has a rich history; believed to have been built on the site of a 12th century castle. The sixth wife of Henry VIII, Queen Katherine Parr, is buried there in the chapel and some say she haunts the place, having seen ‘a tall woman wearing a green Tudor styled dress’. Sudeley is famed for its textile collection, spanning 400 years, called The Threads of Time exhibition; said to be one of the finest in the country. On your walk around the castle you might see Katherine Parr’s love letters, Anne Boleyn’s lacework or Charles I despatch box.
Throughout the year regular events are held including jazz performances, family fun days, picnics and talks. In addition it’s used for high profile events – yet another reason not to turn up without prior checking! In 2007, English actress Elizabeth Hurley was married there. Some believe that Sudeley was the inspiration for Blandings Castle in the novels by P. G. Wodehouse.
Outside; set in a breathtaking 1,200 acre estate, the castle boasts nine world famous and award winning gardens which provide colour and variety throughout the seasons. At the centre is the Queens Garden filled with roses reportedly admired by four of England’s Queens. The Knot Garden, containing over 1200 box hedges, is based on a dress pattern worn by Elizabeth I while the herb garden is filled with plants that have been cultivated for the medicinal properties for thousands of years.
If you’re a Cotswold Tourist and fancy a day out with a difference, why not book our Secret Cottage Tour? You never know what you might see!