A picturesque piece of Cotswold countryside, one of the most magnificent castles in England, a collection of exquisite gardens and the chapel where Queen Catherine Parr was buried; Sudeley Castle is all of these things, and so much more. It is one of the best days out in the UK and all just 25 minutes’ drive from our Cheltenham North West hotel.
Depending on who you believe, word has it there’s been a castle on the site of Sudeley Castle ever since the reign of King Stephen in the 12th century. One thing that is for certain is that the castle standing today was built in the 15th century using riches earned in battle during the Hundred Years’ War.
This blood money helped to pay for the grand features of the castle grounds, many of which still survive today, including the moated double courtyard, and The Chapel, which would come to be known as St. Mary’s Sudeley, the final resting place of Henry VIII’s sixth wife, Queen Catherine Parr.
Sudeley Castle also happens to be one of the few castles in the country that is still a permanent residence. As such, while the castle is open to members of the public to explore for much of the year, we recommend checking online whether or not the castle grounds are open before you make the journey from Cheltenham.
Inside, they do a great job of bringing Sudeley Castle’s rich history to life, from Roman times through to the present day, with all manner of exhibitions, including a popular showcase of Catherine Parr’s love letters to Thomas Seymour, and original writings – she was the first queen of England to have her work published.
It’s worth making the trip to Sudeley Castle just to walk around its nine individual Cotswold gardens. They’re the oldest gardens in the Cotswolds, and some of the best loved in the UK. The real showstopper is the Queens’ Garden, which is aptly named as not one; not two; not even three, but four of England’s queens – Anne Boleyn, Catherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey, and Elizabeth I – have admired its magnificent range of roses.
The White Garden borders St. Mary’s Sudeley, where Catherine Parr is buried. Plus, in the ruins of the 15th-century tithe barn, you’ll find a picturesque romantic garden with a carp pond surrounded by wisteria.
When you consider Sudeley Castle is one of best days out in the country, the reigning champion of Cheltenham attractions, and then factor in all of its wonderful exhibitions, the world-class gardens, plus the restaurant and café, the price of entry is very reasonable, particularly when you make the most of the online discount by booking in advance.