Set in deeply wooded countryside, beneath the Cotswold escarpment, Sudeley Castle incorporates the remains of a magnificent medieval mansion. It also has spectacularly colourful ornamental gardens. During its Tudor and Elizabethan heyday, Sudeley was a place of eminence. Henry VIII is believed to have visited with Anne Boleyn in 1532. His last wife, Catherine Parr, eventually married the ambitious Sir Thomas Seymour, Lord High Admiral of England, in 1547 and moved to Sudeley. She died here after childbirth, and was buried in the chapel. Strangely this then seemed to be forgotten about, as her coffin was ‘discovered’ there again in 1782, and opened – souvenirs including locks of her hair and a tooth are still on display today. Queen Elizabeth I visited the castle on three occasions, and King Charles I found refuge here during the Civil War, when his nephew Prince Rupert established his headquarters at the Castle. It was damaged during a battle, and on Cromwell’s post-war orders was left neglected and derelict for nearly 200 years. After this long period of neglect, brothers William and John Dent, from a rich family of Worcester glovers, bought Sudeley in 1830. After their deaths their cousin, John Coucher Dent inherited the castle. His wife Emma devoted her life to the enrichment of Sudeley, and restored the house with the help of architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, who designed the tomb of Catherine Parr, over 300 years after her death. Visitors enter the castle apartments through the Rent Room, or the North Hall, which displays a portrait of Charles I by Van Dyck. Sudeley Castle’s gardens were laid out during the Victorian restoration. The Queen’s Garden is famous for its rose collection; and the fine terraces offer spectacular views over the ancient trees in the Home Park.
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Facilities – at a glance
Suitable for all child ages
- Parking onsite
- Parking nearby
- Most of exhibition up stairs, gravel & grass paths
- Facilities: 2 manual wheelchairs available
- Accessible toilets
- Opening Times: Open Mar-Oct, daily 10-5
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About The area
Gloucestershire is home to a variety of landscapes. The Cotswolds, a region of gentle hills, valleys and gem-like villages, roll through the county. To their west is the Severn Plain, watered by Britain’s longest river, and characterised by orchards and farms marked out by hedgerows that blaze with mayflower in the spring, and beyond the Severn are the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley.
Throughout the county you are never far away from the past. Neolithic burial chambers are widespread, and so too are the remains of Roman villas, many of which retain the fine mosaic work produced by Cirencester workshops. There are several examples of Saxon building, while in the Stroud valleys abandoned mills and canals are the mark left by the Industrial Revolution. Gloucestershire has always been known for its abbeys, but most of them have disappeared or lie in ruins. However, few counties can equal the churches that remain here. These are many and diverse, from the ‘wool’ churches in Chipping Campden and Northleach, to the cathedral at Gloucester, the abbey church at Tewkesbury or remote St Mary’s, standing alone near Dymock.
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