Pocket Britain
Britain > Cotswolds > Berkeley Castle

The ancient home of one of England's oldest families


Great Hall
King's Gallery
KItchen & Larder
Guided Tours
Two dozen generations of Berkeleys have occupied this Norman fortress. Along the way they've played their part in political intrigue, bloody wars and murder mysteries. King Edward II was brutally murdered here in 1327, and Cromwell's troops besieged the place in the 1600s. Today, the Berkeley family's hard-earned collection of treasures and stories is proudly displayed.
Guided tours are available. The staff will show you the cell where Edward was imprisoned, and the damage the Civil War did to the castle's keep. In happier times, monarchs dined in the Great Hall; their portraits line the walls of the King's Gallery. Francis Drake, the infamous sea captain, was another regular visitor. Other rooms are decorated with tapestries, silver and furniture - all made by masters of their craft. You can see the household's backstage areas too: the kitchen, buttery and larder, which retain their 14th century appearance. The beer cellar even still smells of hops!

Photo DaveOnFlickr
Outside is the Berkeley Estate, with its Elizabethan terraces, ornamental ponds and themed garden trails. The space is often used for outdoor theatre, classical concerts and night-time ghost hunts. There's a tea room, serving homemade scones, and space for picnics. In summer, hundreds of the planet's most colourful creatures fly freely in the Tropical Butterfly House.
Particular fans of the castle may be interested to know that it's licensed to hold weddings. Incidentally, it was for a Berkeley family marriage, a few hundred years ago, that Shakespeare wrote 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.

Photo DaveOnFlickr
Visitor Information
Berkeley Castle is open daily April to October, 11am to 5.30pm. Entry costs around £10. Berkeley GL13 9BQ. Tel: 01453 810 332

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