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Thornbury Castle

As we’re nearing the 6-month countdown of our trip to England my mom and I are starting to finally book things for our trip.  First were a couple of B&B’s that offered free cancellation and no deposit.  Then it came time to book our stay in a castle.

You heard that right.

We’re spending the night in a medieval castle.

It’s the Thornbury Castle to be exact.  I wanted to splurge for one night and stay in a castle in England but my mom was on a budget and couldn’t afford the price.  So Brandon and I talked it over and we decided to pay for her room as a gift.  I told my mom it would be all her Mother’s Day presents for the rest of her life rolled up into this magnificent castle stay.

Thornbury Castle
Thornbury Castle, image courtesy of vgm838 via Flickr Creative Commons

We chose Thornbury Castle because of its wonderful history as well as its close proximity to the cities that were on our original itinerary.  Thornbury started out as a manor house around 930, eventually falling into ownership of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham.  The Duke received permission to turn Thornbury into a castle in 1508 and the work began around 1511.  Unfortunately the Duke didn’t get to enjoy the expansive castle for too long because he was arrested for alleged treason by King Henry VIII in 1521, found guilty and executed at Tower Hill.  Thornbury Castle boasts that King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed at the castle for 10 days in 1533 or 1535, depending on which website you read.  Princess Mary, later to be known as Queen Mary I, also lived here for several years.  How’s that for some history, eh?

The rooms at the castle hotel range from small classic bedrooms to the magnificent Tower Room which holds the largest bed in all of England.  It’s 10 feet wide!  Brandon and I decided to pick a room somewhere in the middle of the range though, the deluxe rooms.  Each deluxe room is unique and the hotel was kind enough to send us a detailed Word document with descriptions and pictures of each room.  Some rooms are accessed via a stone spiral staircase and have arrow-slit windows, others are on the ground floor with walk-in showers for the handicapped.  One room even has its bathroom hidden behind the wall and can only be found if you turn the cross on the wall to reveal it.  Almost all of the deluxe rooms have large gas fireplaces or four poster beds, or both.

Brandon and I requested the Bedford room which has a large four-poster king size bed, hardwood floors, a fireplace and bathtub with separate shower.  For my mom we chose the Howard room, a queen size four-poster bed with a beautiful intricate ceiling, open fireplace and stone walls with a corner tub in the bathroom.  Both of the rooms are located in the castle’s North Wing and are accessed via a stone spiral staircase.  Each room comes with a complimentary bottle of sherry to enjoy.

Staying in this castle isn’t cheap but we’re confident that it will be worth it.  The two deluxe rooms for one night will cost about $1,225.  This includes breakfast for the three of us and afternoon tea for Brandon and myself (we couldn’t book a package online for tea for one person for my mom but they do have gift vouchers and Christmas is coming up).  We plan to check in around 2 pm and spend the entire afternoon relaxing, walking through the walled gardens of the castle and maybe even sampling some wine from their very own vineyard.  I know my mom is really looking forward to staying there and that in itself makes it worth the price.  After all, you can’t take money with you when you die!

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