Steeped in history, with royal connections spanning a thousand years, Sudeley Castle and Gardens in Winchcombe is one of Gloucestershire’s most popular attractions.
Take a virtual tour of famous Winchcombe attraction Sudeley Castle and Gardens, near Cheltenham, with SoGlos.com’s photo gallery.
Set against the backdrop of stunning Cotswold hills, Sudeley Castle is steeped in history – having played home to Henry VIII’s last wife Queen Katherine Parr, no less. Today, the castle and grounds in Winchcombe near Cheltenham continue to be one of Gloucestershire’s most popular tourist attractions for residents and visitors alike.
SoGlos.com spent the day roaming around the extensive gardens, trying to identify the brightly coloured exotic pheasants, climbing great heights and getting up close and personal with a king himself.
Don’t miss SoGlos.com’s review of Sudeley Castle and Gardens and, to find out about more about this fantastic attraction, visit sudeleycastle.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01242) 602308.
Monday 05 May 2008
SoGlos gets the royal treatment on a day trip to the glorious Sudeley Castle and Gardens in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.
Just a few miles from Cheltenham town centre, there’s no missing the majestic Sudeley Castle as it slides into view as car loads of families meander along the country lanes leading towards Winchcombe. Its regal setting emanates a timelessness utterly fitting for a Gloucestershire attraction steeped in so much history.
Dating back to the 10th century and recorded in the Domesday book in 1086, the castle and grounds have unsurprisingly changed hands more than a few times over the years; with Harold de Sudeley, William de Tracy, Ralph Boteler, Edward VI, Richard Duke of Gloucester, Henry VIII, Jasper Tudor, Sir Thomas Seymour and William Parr having all called Sudeley home at some point in the history books.
But perhaps the most famous resident of all was Queen Katherine Parr – the last and only surviving wife of Henry VIII – who lived in Sudeley Castle during the mid 1500s. Today the permanent exhibition Six Wives at Sudeley pays homage to the Tudor period as a whole, with mannequins clad in costumes from David Starkey’s BBC television series The Six Wives of Henry VIII alongside a collection of the castle’s period treasures – including relics belonging to Katherine Parr herself.
All of the ongoing exhibitions housed in the Long Room and adjoining galleries – including The Emma Dent Collection and Threads of Time – are well worth allocating an hour or two of your visit to, while Letters from Khartoum, featuring a vivid short film and recovered shrunken letters smuggled out of Sudan, reveal some of Sudeley’s more modern history and far-reaching connections.
On SoGlos.com’s visit, however, Sudeley’s extensive gardens, bathed in glorious afternoon sunshine, proved all too tempting to while away the hours. Having been carefully restored by Emma Dent in the 19th century and Lady Ashcombe in the 20th century – the ancient tumbling ruins and mature manicured beauty have become one to make for a truly glorious English garden.
An elaborate knot garden hints at the Elizabethan era with a design taken from a dress worn by Elizabeth I, The Secret Garden boasts raised beds brimming with tulips bright with deep pink and purple tones, while The Victorian Kitchen Garden is plump with old varieties of onions, asparagus and purple-flowered beans – grown by traditional techniques passed down through the ages. Not to be missed come summer, The Queens Garden takes centre stage thanks to its breathtaking array of roses, including an international collection of varieties, some predating even the castle itself.
As we worked our way from garden to garden and through tall hedges, under arches and past a plethora of postcard-perfect picture opportunities, it quickly became clear that younger visitors too were making the most of their day out – as a sprightly would-be knight charged past wielding a miniature wooden sword and shield emblazoned with the Sudeley coat of arms. The only surprising thing was that his parents had managed to drag the brave warrior away from Sudeley Castle’s adventure playground – a superb new addition which was reopened this year, unmissable as it towers up into the surrounding woodland, bustling with excited explorers on our visit.
Families can also expect to enjoy Sudeley’s dedicated pheasantry, if not for the fascinating facts about the 15 rare and endangered species including the Blue Eared Pheasant from Tibet, the Javanese Green Peafowl from Java and the Golden Pheasant from China, then for the striking colours of the birds’ feathers, revealed as they cautiously came closer to the camera-wielding visitors.
So rich is Sudeley Castle’s history that a number of books have been written on the subject, and so varied will your visit be that you’re sure to want to return again. Having since heard about the Connoisseur Tours taking in Sudeley’s private quarters – today owned by the Dent-Brocklehursts and Lord and Lady Ashcombe – the SoGlos.com team are already looking forward to tracing the footsteps of royalty again.
By James Fyrne
Tuesday 06 May 2008
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