There are not many places in the UK where you can walk, sleep, or dine in the footsteps of royalty. Overlooking the Gloucestershire countryside, Thornbury Castle was one of the last regally recognised castles to be built in England in 1511. Today, Thornbury is the only Tudor castle in the UK open as a hotel. Developed initially in the 16th century as a castle and then a palace, Thornbury Castle is unique. Its battlements and gunports facing the River Severn portray its fort-like intentions, yet its highly elaborate Tudor design and style beholds its function as a royal home.

A recent multi-million-pound refurbishment has made this Relais & Châteaux castle-hotel a unique and special place to visit – a true escape from the everyday.

If its walls could talk, tales of royal rivalries, would-be kings and several one-way visits to the Tower of London for its inhabitants would be rife. A favourite of the Tudors, the castle was visited by King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn in 1535, a year before her untimely death. You don’t need to close your eyes here to imagine the royal social soirees that took place at Thornbury Castle!

As the days grow cooler, the fireplaces glow brighter at Thornbury Castle, warm and inviting, there’s plenty to see, do and experience in and around the hotel. Whether you’re looking to relax with spa treatments followed by fresh, local food and great wines, or .you’re keen to explore the Christmas markets at nearby Bath or Bristol, or meander through charming Cotswold villages, Thornbury is your sparkling, if not very regal, base for autumn and winter. And for the family looking to build on skills any Tudor would be proud to possess, the hotel can arrange clay pigeon shooting, long bow archery and falconry (advanced bookings recommended).

Ahead of the festive season, there are Christmas cooking masterclasses and wreath making sessions which sound like the perfect way to prepare for the most celebratory time of year, details can be found here.

Festive experiences

Celebrating the festive season in a castle sounds like a fairy tale to us.

The three-night Christmas at Thornbury Castle package includes accommodation, afternoon tea, champagne and canapés before dinner on Christmas eve. Christmas day is all about feasting and relaxing, just as the Tudors would have done, and on Boxing Day a four-course Gala Farewell dinner will set the tune for the festivities well after you’ve returned home.

If you’re looking to recharge after the Christmas excess (and have someone else do the cooking and washing up for a change), book a night at Thornbury between Christmas and New Year and enjoy regal accommodation, along with sumptuous breakfast and dinner.

If bringing in the new year in style is your style, Thornbury is the place to be for a two- or three-night extravaganza. The New Year Celebration package includes afternoon tea, a black-tie drinks reception and dinner, followed by dancing in the Tudor Hall and more sparkling surprises… if only those walls could talk.

For more details on this year’s festive packages at Thornbury Castle, please click here.

King of the Castle

A member of Relais & Châteaux, Thornbury Castle is one of the most historic, if not the most romantic places to stay in the UK. Combining 16th century aplomb with 21st century splendour, this has to be one of our most unique country hotels. With 26 ‘bedchambers’ and suites, this is more of a private residence, albeit with a royal twist, with four-poster beds, 24-carat gilding, tapestries and stunning views across to Wales. Choose the bedchamber in the Castle Tower and you’ll be in regal company with past guests including King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Couples and families can step back in time here, literally, with experiences such as ‘Become a Tudor Queen for the day’, where, in full Tudor regalia you can channel Anne Boleyn and enjoy lunch, afternoon tea, falconry and more, along with your very own lady-in-waiting (just in case you lose your head). More fun both at the Castle and nearby comes in the form of longbow archery (Tudor England’s national sport), croquet, clay pigeon shooting, falconry and history tours. For budding gardeners, there are special tours of the grounds and wine lovers can take part in tastings. And if all this sounds a little strenuous, relax with a massage in The Castle’s new spa treatment room overlooking the Privy Garden.

Advance bookings required, experiences and prices may be subject to change.

Well behaved dogs are welcome.

For enquiries and bookings, please call 01454 281 182

This is a sponsored post by Thornbury Castle.