The Best Castles in Gloucestershire

The scenic county of Gloucestershire in the South West of England is home to a vast array of gorgeous market towns, sleepy villages, and a plethora of fascinating historical landmarks, hotspots, and areas of immense natural beauty.

Among the historic treasures of Gloucester are a selection of castles, all of which have their own unique and fascinating heritage, that attract history-lovers and tourists from across the country, and even further afield.

Here are the best castles to visit in the county of Gloucestershire:

Best 3 Castles to visit in Gloucestershire

1. Berkeley Castle

Occasionally known as Barkley Castle, the famous Berkeley Castle is an enormous and historic castle situated in the pretty town of Berkley in the county of Gloucestershire.

The castle was first constructed in around the year 1067, by William FitzOsbern, in the traditional motte and bailey style; the castle remained in the hands of the Berkeley family for three generations, and it was rebuilt by them in the 12th century.

Under this rebuild, the castle took on the contemporary medieval style, with a curtain wall and a circular shell keep; however, the majority of the castle that stands today was built in the 14th century.

One of the reasons that this castle is so famous is that it is believed to have been the site in which King Edward II was murdered in 1327; this has captured the imagination of visitors for years, and tourists continue to flock to this site to get a taste of the mystery themselves.

Where: Berkeley, Gloucestershire

When: 1067

Style: Tudor

Open for visit: 10:00am – 17:00pm

Check out the best castles to visit in England.

2. Sudeley Castle

In the heart of the picturesque and quintessentially English Cotswolds, lies the beautiful and enormous Sudeley Castle. The earliest history of this castle is believed to date back to the reign of King Stephen, during the mid-12th century, though in the mid-14th century, the current castle was erected, upon the commands of Ralph Boteler, who was the newly appointed Baron Sudeley.

Over the centuries of the castle’s prime, it was at the centre of many critical historic battles and conflicts, and it was also resided in by many royals and noble individuals, which gives it a layered and fascinating heritage.

Today, the castle is open to the general public, where there is a Katherine Parr Exhibition, that features original books of her writings; there are also several rare love letters that she wrote to Thomas Seymour, which is completely fascinating.

Where: Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

When: 12th century

Style: Baronial

Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm

3. Winchcombe Castle

Situated in the Cotswold town of Winchcombe, in the county of Gloucestershire in England, lies the ruined Winchcombe Castle; this castle was originally constructed in the 12th century, likely between the years 1140 and 1144, in the midst of the growing disorder of the Anarchy, which was a violent Civil War between the Normans and the English.

Winchcombe Castle was originally constructed as a motte and bailey style structure, and was heavily fortified to protect itself during the growing conflict; it also was perfectly situated to keep a good lookout at the surrounding area.

Later, a new castle was constructed by Roger, Earl of Hereford, who vehemently supported Empress Matilda during the conflict; however, the castle was attacked by loyalist forces at the end of 1144, and it did not survive the violent attack. After this point, the castle was never rebuilt, and there are only small amounts of ruins left to view today.

Where: Winchcombe, Gloucestershire

When: 12th century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Always open to visit.

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