3 reviews of Berkeley Castle in English
A lovely castle and home. Be sure to join one of the free guided tours. Some horrors – the oubliette, a 30 foot deep pit where prisoners were thrown and left to die (often with rotting animal carcases that emitted toxic gases, which hastened death. Not too inhumane, then?) Then there’s the red hot poker …
See: Queen Elizabeth I’s bedspread, and hear how it was acquired; Francis Drake’s room (he was a regular visitor); the lush red fabric from The Field Of Cloth of Gold (June 1520), which was donated by Henry VIII for his suite in the Castle. There are many family portraits, and also a stunning Stubbs with a good story attached to it.
I found the family anecdotes and stories invest these, and other, historical characters with individual personality, and made them more accessible as human beings. Very intresting.
The Butterfly House is a delight. Beautiful, colourful creatures, some with delicate, transparent, filligris wings, some huge with owl eye markings. The little painted Quail, who eat the bugs, are equally delightful.
This is a beautiful and very undervisited castle, home to the Berkeley Family who built it in the 12th Century and still live in it. It is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in the country. You know the Berkeleys from Berkeley Square in London to Berkeley California, the Berkeley Hundred in Virginia, the murder of Edward II with a red hot poker at the castle in 1327, Civil War damage - the history goes on and on!
It is a genuine 13th Century castle still lived in, so the inside has been made more comfortable, but it is definitely a fortress with arrow slits, murder holes, weird “trip steps” 15 feet thick walls and a moat.
You can’t miss seeing the castle and Berkeley town, also still mainly medieval, the next door 13th century church has Civil War damage too, bullet holes and musket loops.
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