Arts & Culture Experience
Built in 1153 and still home to the Berkeley family, Berkeley Castle is a remarkable ancient fortress. Your whole family will find something to love here. The castle is rife with interesting stories, quirky features and famous connections. Special events are on their calendar during school holidays and throughout the year.
The castle is one of the March Castles which has defences to protect against the Welsh. The keep has trip steps, arrow slits, murder holes and impressive barred doors. Children will love pretending to be archers defending the castle. At certain times of the year you can try archery in the castle grounds or watch a jousting display. In the King’s gallery find the cell and dungeon where the murder of King Edward II took place. Then wander the halls gazing upon the collection of paintings and see how the castle ran in the larders, buttery and kitchen. The Great Hall and Armoury is the magnificent centrepiece of the castle where kings and queens throughout the centuries have been wined and dined.
There is something to see at every turn and the collections of historic artefacts collected and treasured by the Berkeley family over the years is a marvel. Furniture belonging to Francis Drake and Queen Elizabeth I’s bedspread are among the displays.
Once surrounded by carefully controlled defensive stretches of water, the gardens at Berkeley Castle are now a delightfully colourful and softer space created for beauty rather than war. Rare plants, roses, a lily pond and also a kitchen garden invite wildlife with butterflies often flitting by. The roses are a particular highlight in June and the gardens also overlook beautiful countryside.
During its time, the castle and gardens have been used for filming as it is a one of a kind location. Poldark and Wolf Hall are among some of the well-known productions that you can spot scenes from as you wander the castle halls.
If you would like to learn more about the castle, guided tours fill in any gaps in your knowledge. They are a great way to have a more personal experience. Learn about the Berkeley’s connection to Shakespeare and the scientist Edward Jenner. After your tour you can then visit the café and gift shop in the walled garden.
Guests of Bolthole Retreats receive a 10% discount on entry to Berkeley Castle. Visit the Guest Login for more details.
To note: Berkeley Castle is open for the season until 5 November 2023.