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If you are looking for the best castles in the Cotswolds to visit for the day or maybe castle hotels to stay overnight on an unusual romantic UK break, then this post has you covered. From movie like castles to beautiful manor houses we have compiled a list of the most stunning castles in the Cotswolds.
Best Castles in The Cotswolds for a Day Trip
The highest castle in The Cotswolds, Broadway Tower has expansive views over 16 counties on a clear day and is one of the best things to do in the Cotswolds on a day trip. You can climb to the top of the tower and take in the beautiful scenes over the Cotswolds and across towards Wales.
There is a short circular walk around the grounds of Broadway where you can see the local red deer and the onsite war memorial. Also in the ground there is a gift shop and a café for visitors to enjoy.
Location: Broadway Tower, Middle Hill, Broadway, Worcestershire, Cotswolds, WR12 7LB
Prices start from: £14
Berkeley Castle is technically just outside the area of the Cotswolds but is still a wonderful place to visit and one of the best castles for a Cotswolds day trip.
The castle gardens are very pretty with multiple gardens for visitors to enjoy including a stunning lily pond, rare plants and shrubs, and the walled garden which would have originally produced fruits and vegetables for the kitchen but now houses the onsite café and gift shop.
Berkeley castle itself is very impressive with loads of historic artifacts on display and many of the rooms feature recreations of their original uses in Berkeley castle over the years.
Immerse yourself in the Keep which is the oldest part of the castle dating back to the 12th century, visit the Kings gallery, cell and dungeon where King Edward II was murdered!
View the current exhibition in the dining room and wander the rest of the house to find the kitchens, larder and marvel at some period furniture that was once owed by Sir Francis Drake.
The great hall is probably the standout feature of the castle where you can see some fine tapestries and stained-glass windows depicting various scenes from the families.
Location: Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BQ
Price: £14.50 for adults, £7.50 for children, concessions £13
Prettiest Castles in The Cotswolds with Gardens
Sudeley Castle is an important part of British history and oozes Tudor charm and elegance, once home to Katherine Parr (Henry VIII’s 6th wife) it is arguably the prettiest castle in the Cotswolds. Dating back to the 15th century it was the private residence of Katherine Parr and has seen many royals pass through its doors, including King Charles I during the English civil war. It is the only private castle in England with a former Queen buried in the grounds.
The castle features 10 beautifully manicured gardens to explore and amongst the gardens there are medieval ruins, koi ponds, hidden sitting areas and lovely romantic hideaways. The secret garden is a must visit for couples in the Cotswolds.
Also, within the grounds of Sudeley castle is St Mary’s Church where Katherine Parr lies to rest. The church which was in ruins after the English civil war was fully restored between 1855 and 1863 and is now a fully functioning church where weddings are frequently held.
Location: Sudeley Castle & Gardens, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, GL54 5LP
Price: £19.50 for adults, £8.75 for children
Another castle that is technically just outside of the Cotswolds Broughton Castle is stunning and great for a day trip from the Cotswolds. Privately owned and still lived in by the 21st Lord and Lady Saye and Sele, Broughton castle has been in the same family since 1447 and is arguably one of the best castles in England.
The main castle is surrounded by a defensive moat and although originally just a manor house the addition of the moat, battlement walls and gatehouse allowed it to be declared a castle in 1406. Over the years the castle fell into disrepair more than once but the current owners have put lots of time and resources into restoring it to its original glory.
The Ladies Garden is one of the best features of the castle and was created in the 1890’s. Inside the garden is a beautiful colourful mix of flowers and shrubs including a lavender garden which smells amazing.
Location: Broughton Castle, Banbury, OX15 5EB
Price: £11 for adults, £7 for children and £10 for concessions
Although technically not a castle Highgrove House is the formal residence of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Highgrove House was built between 1796 and 1798 and has been the family home of King Charles since the 1980s.
The house itself is not open to the public but the spectacular royal gardens can be enjoyed by visitors throughout the year on pre-booked tours. Since moving to Highgrove House his royal highness has overseen many changes to the gardens which form an interlinked series of different gardens including the terrace garden, sundial garden, wildflower meadow and the arboretum.
Various gardens are filled with trees and flowers including over 40,000 snowdrops which can be seen during the winter months. The wildflower meadows is a haven for local wildlife and during the summer it is cut for hay and then sheep are allowed to graze in the meadow in the autumn.
Location: Highgrove House, Doughton, Tetbury, GL8 8TN
Price: Starting from £30 for a group tour.
Palaces in the Cotswolds
Blenheim palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only palace in the Cotswolds. It was commissioned and built in the 18th century by Queen Anne as a gift to John Churchill for winning the Battle of Blenheim. John Churchill was the 1st Duke of Marlborough and the palace was handed down the family line and became the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill whose grandfather was the 7th Duke of Marlborough.
Blenheim palace is still in the Churchill family to this day and many treasures can be found in the palace state rooms. The famous Marlborough tapestries are the standout feature though and can be seen in 3 of the state rooms, there is also a long library which is home to over 10,000 books some of which are hundreds of years old and have historic significance.
Take a free guided tour and learn all about the palaces history and the uses of the various rooms and their contents. Inside you will also find the Churchill exhibition where you can learn all about the life of Sir Winston Churchill, often considered ‘The Greatest Briton’.
You can also have an exclusive ‘upstairs’ or ‘downstairs’ tour where you can see the inner workings of the palace and the rooms that are still lived in today.
The palace also has formal gardens, a walled garden featuring a butterfly house and the Marlborough maze for visitors to enjoy exploring. The grounds can be walked and enjoyed freely and many areas are accessible for wheelchairs.
Afternoon tea and other lunch items including roast dinners on Sundays can be enjoyed at Clementine’s on the lawn restaurant, a beautiful glass building with views across the south lawns of the palace. There are several other cafes and coffee shops dotted around the palace to enjoy and don’t forget to stop at the souvenir shop on your way out.
Location: Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, OX20 1PP
Price: £22.50 for adults, £11.50 for children and £19 for students
Castle Hotels in The Cotswolds
The Castle at Edgehill
The Castle at Edgehill is one of the only true castle hotels in the Cotswolds you can stay in. Built in the 1740s The Castle at Edgehill was not a castle built for defence but a decorative feature built on the Radway Grange Estate by Sanderson Miller who was the owner at the time.
The main octagonal tower is said to have been inspired by the nearby Warwick Castle and other buildings were added later when it became an Inn. It is now a Grade II listed building owned by a local brewery and is a 4* hotel and Inn with free wifi where guests can relax in the lovely garden, enjoy a barbeque or some delicious pub food.
Location: Main Street, Edgehill, Banbury, OX15 6DJ
Price: Double rooms start from £160 per couple.
Check availability and book a room here.
Slightly outside the Cotswolds Thornbury Castle is perfect for a romantic couples break. Originally the site of Thornbury Manor in 1510 Edward Stafford, the 3rd Duke of Buckingham who owned the manor, was granted license from King Henry VIII to build a fortified castle. King Henry beheaded Edward in 1521 and took possession of the castle himself.
Thornbury Castle was visited by many of the Tudor family over the years including King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and later Queen Mary I who returned the castle to the 3rd Dukes son Henry Stafford.
Situated in 15 acres of parkland there is plenty to do at Thornbury Castle including axe throwing, archery and falconry. The castle is also open for guided tours with a local historian where guests can explore the castle rooms and the gardens.
The unique atmospheric bedrooms and suites decked out in full Tudor style are perfect for a unique romantic break in the UK and will make you feel like a King or Queen.
Location: Thornbury Castle, Castle Street, Thornbury, Bristol, BS35 1HH
Price: Double rooms start from £270 per couple.
Check availability and book a room here
The ruins of Beverston Castle medieval stone fortress are located close to Tetbury in the heart of The Cotswolds. The stone Norman castle was originally built in 1220 but prior to this it is believed there was a timber castle on the site from as early as 1051. In the mid 14th century the castle was extended, a gatehouse was built and portcullis and drawbridge were added over the inner moat for defence.
Unfortunately, you cannot gain direct access to visit Beverston Castle ruins now because it is located on private land but the gardens are sometimes open to the public for special events.
The gardens incorporate remnants of the medieval moat and a paved terrace leads over the moat to the lawns and shrub gardens and there is also a walled kitchen garden which is a common feature with castles and manor houses.
Although you can’t stay in the castle itself the current owner has converted the surrounding buildings and outhouses around the castle into private rooms which are available for stays throughout the year.
Location: Beverstone Castle, Tetbury, GL8 8TU
Check availability and book a room here.
Although you can’t stay at Sudeley Castle itself The Castle Gatehouse has been fully modernised for guests. Comprising two en-suite bedrooms in two separate wings where you can fully embrace the royal life as you stay at the entrance to historic Sudeley Castle.
Dogs are allowed at the property and it has a fenced garden area with a stone courtyard in the centre. Minimum stay is 2 nights for the whole property.
Location: Castle Gatehouse, Vineyard Street, Winchcombe, Cheltenham, GL54 5LP
Price: Starting at £795 for up to 4 guests.
Check availability and book your stay at The Castle Gatehouse here.
Dumbleton Hall Hotel
Dumbleton Hall Hotel is a beautiful Grade II listed manor house in the Cotswolds perfect for a couples break in the UK. The original hall was built in 1534 but fell into disrepair in the late 18th century and was later demolished.
The current Dumbleton Hall dates back to the mid 19th century and was built using local Cotswold stone meaning it is the charming honey colour that the Cotswolds is famous for. Set in 19 acres of private gardens and woodland with its own lake Dumbleton Hall Hotel has spectacular views over the Cotswolds hills.
It is the perfect location for couples to explore the Cotswolds by car or by foot and the hotel is dog friendly for a small supplement which means your furry friend can come along. It is also close to the Cotswolds way which is one of the best things to do in the Cotswolds for couples.
Location: Dumbleton, Near Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 7TS
Price: Double rooms start from £139 per couple.
Check availability and book a room here.
Whatley Manor is not a castle but we think it’s worth a mention as one of the best places to stay in the Cotswolds. Perfect for a couples weekend break Whatley Manor is dog friendly and one of the things we like best is that children under 12 are not allowed in the hotel.
Built in the 18th century the original building was a farm house but has since been added to and is now a beautiful country manor house. Whatley Manor house now has multiple wings and is set in over 12 acres of gardens with 26 different manicured areas complete with garden rooms to enjoy.
It has a wonderful spa where you can relax and enjoy a selection of treatments during your romantic break. The hotel also has its own cinema where you can snuggle up as a couple. Watch something from the DVD library or bring your own film to watch for a private cinema experience its £40 which includes drinks and snacks.
Location: Whatley Manor Hotel and Spa, Easton Grey, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, SN16 0RB
Price: Double rooms start from £318 per couple which includes breakfast.
Check availability and book a room here.
Another honourable mention that is castle worthy is Lucknam Park hotel which is a 5* luxury mansion in Chippenam. The history of Lucknam Park is unclear and it is thought that the main part of the house was built first around the 18th century and the wings and the pillared portico were added by a different owner around the 1820’s.
Now Lucknam Park has over 500 acres of parkland and is set at the end of an impressive mile long tree-lined drive. The walled garden is particularly impressive, built in the 1830’s with a beautiful dovecote at the centre, it has sculpted hedges and well tended flower beds.
Lucknam Park is another dog friendly hotel in The Cotswolds and there are lots of onsite activities to enjoy. Couples will love horse riding, playing croquet, clay pigeon shooting and tennis amongst other things. Check out our post for more things to do in The Cotswolds for couples. There is also a luxurious spa so you can unwind after a fun activity filled day.
Location: Lucknam Park, Colerne, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 8AZ
Price: Double rooms start from £295 per couple.
Check availability and book a room here.
Best Manor Houses in The Cotswolds for a Day Trip
Horton Court is a grade I listed manor house in the Cotswolds dating back to the 16th century. Owned by the National Trust the Norman Hall at Horton Court is open to the public but Horton Court Manor House is now a holiday home for paying guests. It does have open days which you can book tickets through the National Trust to see inside the restored manor house.
Location: Horton Court, Horton Rd, Chipping Sodbury, Bristol, BS37 6QR
Check availability and book your stay here.
Rodmarton Manor is a stunning mansion in the Cotswolds and makes a great day trip. Built in the early 20th century it’s one of the newer manor houses in the Cotswolds but it is still worth visiting for the stunning handmade furniture and interior design.
Set in 8 acres of gardens Rodmarton Manor is particularly beautiful in the summer months when everything is in full bloom. However during the winter you can witness the fantastic snowdrop displays which flower from October to March.
Please note Rodmarton Manor is only open to the public on selected dates usually May-September, check the website for more details.
Location: Rodmarton Manor, Rodmarton, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 6PF
Price: £12 for adults (House and Garden) or £9.00 per person for garden only.
Westbirt House is a neo-elizabethan mansion based on Wollaton Hall which one of the top Nottingham attractions. Built between 1863 and 1872 Westonbirt House is a fantastic example of Victorian architecture.
The house features a massive library, reading room and saloon which are extravagantly decorated; the gardens were a slightly later addition to the grounds and were laid out between 1830 and 1885 and feature a large lawn area, lake and Italian gardens.
The house and gardens can be viewed by guided tours and on open days throughout the year. Check the website for more details.
Location: Westonbirt House, Westonbirt, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8QG
Price: £10 for garden only and £15 for house and garden. Children under 16 are free with a paying adult. Tickets must be booked in advance.
Stanway House & Fountains
Stanway house is a perfect example of a Cotswold manor house, built in the 16th century you can wander the house and listen to the audio guide to learn all about the history of the house.
While the house is beautiful the standout feature has to be the Stanway watergarden with the world’s tallest gravity fed fountain in the canal which sits on a terrace above the house. The grounds are the perfect place for couples to wander and enjoy a romantic stroll.
Also in the grounds is Stanway Watermill which is a fully restored working flour mill with a massive 24-foot overshot waterwheel currently the 8th largest waterwheel in England. The mill produces produce stone-ground Cotswold flour from wheat grown on the Stanway Estate and visitors can purchase the flour to take home.
Open Tuesdays and Thursdays in June, July and August from 2pm until 5pm.
Location: Stanway House, Stanway, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 5PQ
Price: Stanway House and gardens £11 for adults, £5 for children and £8.50 for concessions. Stanway Watermill £3 for adults, £2 for children.
Owned by the National Trust Chastleton House is a fine example of Jacobean mansion, built in the early 17th century. The house remained in the same family for almost 400 years and was virtually untouched by modern day meaning you can step inside and really imagine you have stepped back in time.
Inside you can find period furniture and decoration which have been preserved and restored by the National Trust. There are also some gardens to explore including the Best Garden, Kitchen Garden, Wilderness Walk and Croquet Lawns where the rules of the game were invented by Walter Whitmore-Jones, who was born and lived at Chastleton House in the 19th century.
Location: Chastleton, near Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxfordshire, GL56 0SU
Price: £12 for adults and £6 for children
Newark Park has a vibrant history and has had many uses since being built in 1550 and it is now owned by the National Trust who fully restored the property. The Tudor manor house is full of historic artefacts one of the most fascinating is the Victorian wallpaper dating back to 1881 which has been restored and preserved for people to enjoy for many more years.
The manor house has a commanding position on top of the Cotswold escarpment, looking down into the Ozleworth valley and out towards the Mendips. Previously a Tudor deer park and hunting lodge the expansive tiered gardens are now a place to relax and have a leisurely stroll through the woodlands.
The lakeside garden is perfect for couples to have a romantic wander and watch the ducks swimming on the small lake or keep an eye out for the many birds around the grounds. You can also visit the quaint summerhouse for a hidden moment together or sneak a moment on one of the beautiful carved benches around the grounds.
There is a tea pavilion which serves light refreshments and offers fantastic views of the surrounding countryside, there is also a second hand bookshop inside the manor house where bookworms can find a bargain.
Location: Newton Park, Ozleworth, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 7PZ.
Price: £12 for adults and £6 for children.
This is our complete guide to the best castles in The Cotswolds and some absolutely stunning manor houses for day trips too. If you get to stay in one of the castle hotels in The Cotswolds featured in this post let us know what you think!
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