The earliest account of Thornbury and the manor exists in the time of King Athelstan (A.D. 925-940) who was grandson of King Alfred the Great. But in more modern days, building work began on this grand castle in 1511 (not a defensive one, but still with deep-set arrow-slit windows in the design); it was intended as a home for Edward Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham. The castle was almost finished by 1521, when the duke’s distant cousin, Henry VIII, accused him of treason, then had him beheaded and confiscated his castle. I am not sure he would get away with that today! Fourteen years later, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn enjoyed a ten-day retreat at Thornbury Castle as part of a honeymoon tour.
Step back in time in this extraordinary Tudor castle hotel on the edge of the Cotswolds. This property offers the perfect luxurious retreat – combining 500-year-old architecture with sumptuous facilities. Filled with unique bedrooms and wonderful public areas, Thornbury Castle is a place to de-stress.
If you would like to stay in the exact room that Henry VIII and Queen Anne Boleyn slept in during their visit, choose the Duke's Bedchamber – a deluxe four-poster bedchamber situated in the South Wing Tower with views over the Tudor garden and, in the distance, the River Severn into Gloucestershire and Wales. This octagonal shaped room was slept in by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn when they visited the castle for ten days in 1535 and has an open fireplace and en-suite bathroom with shower over the bath.
If you prefer the high life, the Tower Suite is at the top of the tower in the South Wing and is reached via a spiral staircase of 77 circular stone steps (we’ll find someone to carry your luggage!). The huge four-poster bed, sumptuous Tudor furnishings and stunning views across Gloucestershire make this, quite literally, the top suite in the castle.
You can ignite the imagination of older children with tales of ghosts, winding staircases and the chance to try their hand at archery or croquet, or just run free in the 15 acres of grounds and gardens. The castle welcomes children from the age of 10 upwards, when they are more likely to appreciate the sense of history and incredible experience of staying in a ‘real live castle’.
If you would like to learn more about Anne Boleyn and the Tudors and check out the On the Tudor Trail website.
If you want to read more about In the Footsteps of Anne Boleyn by Sarah Morris & Natalie Grueninger:
On the morning of 19 May 1536, a French blade stilled the heart of an English queen. Her name was Anne Boleyn and her story has made an indelible mark on history. This book will take you through stately homes, castles, chapels and artefacts with a connection to Anne. Explore Hever Castle, Anne’s childhood home where two breathtaking Book of Hours both signed and inscribed by Anne Boleyn herself are housed; Thornbury Castle where Henry VIII and Anne stayed during their 1535 royal progress and see the octagonal bedchamber where they slept; stand in the very room in Windsor Castle where Anne was made Marquis of Pembroke. Each location is covered by an accessible and informative narrative, which unearths the untold stories and documents the artefacts. Accompanied by an extensive range of images, including photographs, plans and sketches, this book brings the sixteenth century vividly to life – and takes you on your own personal and compelling journey in the footsteps of Anne Boleyn.