Today you will get to enjoy a Guest Post from my good friend, Ali Propst. She, along with her husband, daughter, and their friends, recently went to England for vacation and to attend a match at Wimbledon. Along the way, they spent the night in a gorgeous castle. I invited her to give us more information and her own personal insights. Thank you, Ali. Be sure to click on the pictures to be able to enjoy all of the details.
Have you ever dreamed of being a princess or prince? Well, I got to live out that dream at Thornbury Castle just outside of Bristol, England. The castle began in 1511, as a home for the Duke of Buckingham. However, after his unfortunate beheading by Henry VIII, it was confiscated. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn spent a ten-day portion of their honeymoon at Thornbury.
Upon arriving in London at Heathrow we purchased a ticket and rode the bus to Bristol, England. It was about a three-hour journey from Heathrow. From the Bristol bus depot, we got in a taxi and rode the additional 20 minutes to the castle. The town of Thornbury is a beautiful, quiet and quaint village. Colorful window boxes and very small streets lead you right to the beautiful castle grounds. The castle takes up about 15 acres, and I felt my blood pressure immediately drop as we entered the beautiful estate.
The castle went unoccupied and was in ruins until the 1850’s, when a family made it their home. Today it serves as a hotel and restaurant for all to enjoy. There is croquet offered on the lawn, archery lessons, and a full service spa.
- Some things to know – children over 10 are allowed at the castle. My daughter Mary-Peyton was as amazed by it as the adults and was eager to explore the grounds and discuss the history of the castle. We booked through expedia.com, but you can also book directly through the castle website www.thornburycastle.co.uk. Both websites offered the same rates for the rooms and allow you to pay now or pay upon arrival.
We had our first Royal Afternoon Tea at Thornbury. It was a treat to have our first tea in this amazing property. It was also a way we could test the food for a much less expensive “trial run”. We loved the sugary treats!
After reviewing the dinner menu we decided not to eat dinner at the castle. Within walking distance there are cute restaurants offering fish & chips, pizza, fresh vegetables, or anything you might imagine. The bar menu included much more recognizable foods for us good ‘ole Southern folks, but exploring the town was fun too! If you are wanting the full adventure and have unlimited funds, they do offer a special dinner in the dungeon! However, a minimum bill of around $1000 US comes with that! When you check in, they will help you map out lunch, dinner and breakfast options for your group.
Dress for meals was smart casual. We did not feel a need to “dress up” at any point in our stay here. For breakfast we even observed people in blue jeans. So, unless you are celebrating something special – there is no need to dress in a certain way even though you’re in a castle.
Our entire family loved the experience of being here on this lovely property. There is a nice walking city tour that is available, and we did a part of that when we arrived. (Maps are available at check in). I can’t imagine someone not enjoying this beautiful place. I believe it is a hidden treasure of England!
The castle only has 26 bedchambers, so it does require some planning to make sure you can get a reservation. We booked three months in advance, and they only had two rooms available at that time. Rates will vary based on time of year, but expect to pay about $550-700/night for this adventure (for the suite). I will tell you it is worth the expense for a night to be taken back in time and to imagine what it would be like to live like a royal. The bathrooms are exquisite and hard to resist taking a plunge in the enormous bathtub. (Not your standard European bathroom!!!)
This was our bedroom. It was a suite with a dining area, seating area and enormous closet and bathroom.
Anything I would change? If I had to do it over again (and we have already started planning our return visit), I would spend the extra $100 and get the best room in the castle. Our room was divine – but for just a little bit more we could’ve been in the Tower Suite looking out over the town. The staff was more than gracious with our every need. It does require some patience to make the journey, but how often do we get to live out a fantasy of being a princess?!
Well, Ali, you have certainly convinced ME! Thornbury Castle is now on my Bucket List!