Thornbury Castle, once owned by Henry VIII, has stood firm through many of history’s most pivotal and dramatic events.
Today, its surroundings are a little more peaceful: nestled in the leafy landscape of South Gloucestershire, it offers a luxurious step back in time from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
An ancient manor
The manor of Thornbury dates back to the 10th century and the time of the Domesday Book. In a disastrous ancient love triangle, Brictric – one of the manor’s earliest recorded owners – lost possession when he spurned the advances of Matilda of Flanders. Matilda later married William the Conqueror, who seized Thornbury, awarded it to his Queen and imprisoned her one time love.
Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham, built the castle during the reign of Henry VIII, though he wasn’t able to enjoy it for long. After being betrayed to the king by a disgruntled servant, Stafford was arrested for high treason and executed on Tower Hill. Henry claimed the castle for himself, spending ten days here while on his honeymoon tour with Anne Boleyn. It remained royal property until the death of his daughter Mary I, when it was returned to the Duke’s descendants.
For two centuries, the castle was unoccupied, falling into ruin. In the 1850s, it was saved and turned into a family home. Its more recent occupants have included the Howards, the Clifford family, Kenneth Bell MBE and the Baron and Baroness of Portlethen.
Now a luxurious hotel
Today, visitors can enjoy Thornbury Castle at its best. Tudor style meets modern excellence, with comfortable four-poster beds, magnificent open fireplaces, a dungeon dining room and a grand hall for balls, feasts and parties.
Outdoors, there are a variety of activities to conjure up the atmosphere of Tudor England. Play croquet on the lawn, have a go at archery, or learn the basics of falconry. Wonder at the unique opportunity to stay in a real castle, while enjoying top quality food, drink, and spa treatments. We’ll always go the extra mile to make things special: after all, whatever century you’re in, from the 16th to the 21st, time well spent is the greatest luxury of all.
*Please note we welcome children aged eight and over at Thornbury Castle.