When I visited England in 2010, I decided to make it happen. Castle hotels are expensive, so the plan was to find a castle not too far from London where we were spending the majority of the vacation, and book just one night.
We ended up in the Village of Thornbury and stayed at the Thornbury Castle Hotel. It was built in the 1400s by Thomas Woodstock who was killed by the king when he was charged with treason, but the story is that it really is just because the king didn’t like Woodstock.
The story was posted in our room.
When we arrived in Thornbury, we found out that there was a free charity concert being held in the gardens in a couple of hours. People drove from hours away to attend this rare event. We were so lucky to have timed our stay so well.
We also decided that you can’t be in England and staying at a castle and not partake in afternoon tea. We made a reservation upon arrival for 4 PM and got the light version…if we had done the full tea I don’t think we would have been eating dinner that night.
Pamela and I absolutely loved the entire experience. I’ve never had tea with cream and sugar before, but we took our waiter’s advice after he asked us how we liked our tea and we both responded that we had no idea. It was wonderful. They also brought out 2 of a half dozen little desserts.
But I think what we liked best about the experience was we were able to witness the 3 generation family sitting next to us. There must have been 20 of them sitting at one long table. Clearly this was a special treat in honor of the grandparents. It was fun watching them interact and get to see an English family enjoying this tradition.
Thornbury Castle – Our Room in the Turret:
While there were less expensive rooms in the main part of the hotel, they didn’t inspire us when we saw pictures online and opted for a more expensive room in the turret. We were so glad that we did.
Thornbury Hotel – Public Rooms and Gardens:
While our room wonderful, we spent much of our time exploring the castle and grounds. Here are pictures of most of the common spaces.
We loved every minute of this experience. Even the night walk back to the castle from town because I let us park in a restricted lot…not realizing there were gates that would end up locking in our car until morning.
Staying at the Thornbury Castle Hotel, or any other castle, could break your budget if you tried to stay there for the entire trip. It’s worth splurging for just one night like we did. I’ll definitely be looking for more castle hotels on future trips.
Have you ever stayed in a castle?
Share your experience in the comments below.