Discover the best castles in England's Cotswolds
The Cotswolds are famous for their quaint little buildings and old, cobbled villages. But there is another side to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – its castles! It's no exaggeration to say the Cotswolds has some of the best castles in England - there is a surprising amount of history hidden in these hills. Here’s how to discover it…
Due to our fabulous selection of holiday properties in and around the Cotswolds AONB, you are never too far from a castle. Have a look at our favourite ones below, and start planning your visit.
Check out our selection of Cotswold holiday properties here.
1. Sudeley Castle
Once home to Katherine Parr, Sudeley Castle dates from the 15th century and has seen many a royal guest in its long history. With a beautiful formal garden, a large lake and St. Mary’s church, which is the burial place of the former queen, the grounds have loads to offer. There are Medieval and Gothic ruins to explore and the castle itself offers tours.
Take a look at the website for prices and opening times.
2. Blenheim Palace
Ok, this one isn’t technically a castle. But it is impressive. And, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Blenheim is definitely worth a visit. You will discover 300 years of history in these walls and there are fabulous gardens too. It is still the family home of the Duke of Marlborough, so is beautifully presented both outside and in. The picture-perfect parkland was landscaped by Capability Brown and inside there is an extensive collection of art, sculpture, tapestries and furniture displayed throughout exquisite rooms.
Different areas of the estate are open at different times, so do check the website here for info.
3. Broughton Castle
This moated, fortified manor house is located in Banbury, just at the outskirts of the Cotswolds AONB. The manor is privately owned by the Fiennes family, as it has been since the 14th century. The house, garden and tea room are al accessibly to the public, but be warned opening days are limited to Wednesdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays. It’s worth checking the website before setting off, just to be sure.
4. Beverston castle
Right in the heart of the Cotswolds, close to Tetbury, Beverston is a ruined medieval stone fortress. It was founded as long ago as 1229 and the remains of its later 14th century stronghold and gatehouse can still be seen today. Because the castle is located in private grounds and surrounded by other buildings, you can’t actually access it. But the whole area is lovely for walks and the grounds have often been said to be a good place to see orchids.
5. Wallingford Castle
Another ruin, Wallingford Castle, was once a dramatic medieval motte and bailey castle. It was a pretty important stronghold during the 12th and 13th centuries and was passed from hand to hand by royalty, used both as a residence and a prison. It underwent alterations under Charles I in the 17th century but eventually fell into disrepair.
The castle gardens are usually open during daylight hours and here you’ll see the majority of the remaining ruins as well as extensive earthworks indicating just how large the site was. There are informative displays that will tell you a little more about the history.
Access the site from Castle Street in Wallingford. Castle Gardens are off Bear Lane.
6. Broadway tower
Broadway Tower in Worcester is actually just a folly, but at 65 feet tall and sitting atop the second highest point in the Cotswolds, this crenelated structure is rather impressive. Though it was built to resemble an older castle, it was actually built in the 18th century by Capability Brown and James Wyatt for Lady Coventry.
Now the tower is at the centre of a country park which is located on the Cotswold Way long-distance footpath, so a visit here is a fantastic opportunity for a walk. Find out more here.
7. Berkeley Castle
In the village of Berkeley, a magnificent castle dating from the 12th century makes for a brilliant day out. Still home of the Berkeley Family, as it has been since the 12th century, the castle remains in fantastic condition, having undergone many renovations in its time. It’s a really stunning building, both inside and out, and is home to beautiful gardens and a medieval deer park too.
Visitors can explore the interiors but it is best to check the website for opening times and prices.
We have an incredible collection of properties located throughout this stunning landscape. Check out all the places you could stay on our website and explore the Cotswolds for yourself.
Summary: Cotswolds Castles at a glance
- See the beautiful formal castle and a large lake
- Explore medieval and gothic ruins
- Stunning gardens in beautiful parkland
- See breathtaking architecture, paintings and sculptures
- Moated and fortified manor house
- Elegant garden and tearoom
- Photogenic medieval fortress
- Surroundings ideal for walks
- Historic ruin of medieval motte-and-bailey castle
- Gardens ideal for picnics
- Elegant and impressive folly structure
- Enjoy as a highlight of the Cotswold Way walk
- Stunning and well-preserved 12th century castle
- Surrounded by gardens and medieval deer park