Have you ever stayed in a castle? Thornbury Castle Hotel is the only Tudor castle hotel in England.
Have you ever stayed in a castle? Thornbury Castle Hotel is the only Tudor castle hotel in England.

If you’re in to history, the royal family, or have been re-watching The Tudors lately on Netflix, you’re going to love Thornbury Castle Hotel and Restaurant. I’ve never before had the privilege of staying in a castle, but I’ve always wanted to; I mean, who hasn’t? I didn’t, however, think the castle I would finally get to stay at would once have been owned by King Henry VIII. Turns out Thornbury Castle Hotel has a long and storied past, one that involves the royal we all love to hate.

Located just 25 minutes from Bristol and just under an hour from historic Bath, Thornbury Castle is in a very convenient location for visitors who want to experience the city, but stay in a remarkable hotel that far exceeds your typical hotel expectations. Thornbury Castle Hotel is located on the edge of the Cotswolds on meticulously landscaped grounds with the extraordinary St. Mary’s Church just a few steps away. It is the only Tudor castle to operate as a hotel in England.

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say about Thornbury Castle Hotel on TripAdvisor

The Hotel

Thornbury Castle Hotel
Thornbury Castle Hotel

The castle was built by Edward Stafford, the Duke of Buckingham, in the early 1500s, but was confiscated by King Henry VIII after he accused Stafford – his cousin – of treason, and ordered him beheaded. King Henry later spent a portion of his honeymoon there with Anne Boleyn. Of course, it doesn’t look now as it would have then. The decor is much warmer, and modern features and amenities have been introduced, but you can still imagine it as it might have been.

If historical significance was all Thornbury Castle Hotel had going for it, it would have been worth it, but the experience far exceeded just the historical value. Renovation has been taking place at the castle to restore and upgrade the property.

Each unique bedchamber is decorated with plush bedding and great architectural detail.
Each unique bedchamber is decorated with plush bedding and great architectural detail.

All of the 26 rooms are uniquely decorated, but each combines historical and modern details, like luxurious bedding and comfortable sitting areas.  In the room where we stayed, uniquely scalloped windows that replicate the ones originally chosen by Stafford, opened up to a spectacular view of St. Mary’s Church. The enormous four-poster bed was dressed with velvet linens and mounds of pillows. The bathroom even had tissue with royal crests on it.

Our room had a large table with seating, a vanity area, and an antique wooden wardrobe, all which fit the part very well. A decanter filled with complimentary sherry was a welcomed extra touch. You can also choose to stay in the Duke’s bedchamber, where King Henry and Anne Boleyn slept in, or the grand Tower Suite, that can only be reached by a 77-stop spiral staircase. No matter which room you choose, you’ll be wowed by the etched ceilings, enormous four-poster beds and attention to detail.

The Restaurant

One of Thornbury Castle's dining rooms
One of Thornbury Castle’s dining rooms

The restaurant at Thornbury Castle is run by head chef Stuart Shaw, who has been working in top restaurants throughout England for many years. His expertise and passion shines through in every dish served in the restaurant’s various dining rooms, and continuing the tradition of stellar food and atmosphere that has been carried out at Thornbury since the 1960s.

Tip: Book the Dinner, Bed and Breakfast rate for the best experience and savings. The package includes a 3-course a la carte dinner, along with a lavish breakfast in the morning.

We arrived at the drawing room prior to our dinner for a pre-dinner cocktail. We enjoyed our drinks in the drawing room, sitting by the fire, surrounded by the conversations of our fellow diners.

Thornbury Castle drawing room and lounge.
Thornbury Castle drawing room and lounge.

Just before our reservation time, we were given a menu, along with a few canapes to nibble on before dinner. Once we’d decided on our meal, we were moved to the restaurant. Lucky for us, we were again seated by the fire. The room wasn’t too formal or stuffy. It was just like a castle dining room should be, with a large chandelier and metal sconces, and a sword or two hanging on the walls.

I was really impressed with the food. You could see that care was taken with each dish to ensure quality. For a starter, I had a fois gras torchon with rhubarb, golden beetroot, Sauternes jelly, and toasted brioche. Nick had

For my main dish, I had guinea fowl with a sweet potato puree, braised red cabbage and a Madeira jus. Nick had pork belly and braised pork cheek, with carrot and cardamom puree, spiced lentils and a five-spice jus.

The Breakfast

The usual rate at Thornbury Castle Hotel includes bed and breakfast, and you definitely don’t want to miss this breakfast. They serve a full breakfast, made-to-order, in the dining rooms. You can choose where to sit, and then make your way to the well-stocked buffet table, full of many favorites like croissants, meats, cheeses, yogurt and fruits. You can also order from the Full Menu.

Thornbury Hotel's breakfast buffet choices were extensive.
Thornbury Hotel’s breakfast buffet choices were extensive.

I ordered the English breakfast (without eggs, because I can’t eat them), and Nick ordered scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon. We’d order these same dishes at Lucknam Park Hotel, so we could do a little comparison. I was really impressed with the English breakfast at Thornbury. Also, the presentation of Nick’s egg dish was impressive.

Sadly, we were only at Thornbury Castle for one night, which was just not long enough to full enjoy the amenities and get a true feel for the house. I would have loved to stay for a whole week to explore the grounds and explore all the nooks of the castle. For the time we were there, though, we had a fantastic time. Everyone was extremely helpful and welcoming. The room was very comfortable. We felt a little like royalty ourselves while staying there. The only thing that could have made it better is more time.

Read reviews of Thornbury Castle Hotel on TripAdvisor and check current prices.

A big thank you to VisitBritain for hosting our stay at Thornbury Castle Hotel. See all the coverage of our trip to the south west of England.

(As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own honest reflection on our travel experiences).

21 thoughts on “Thornbury Castle Hotel: The Only Tudor Castle Hotel in England

  1. Kaylene Chadwell says:

    Exploring castles was one of my favorite things about road tripping in England and Ireland. This looks like an amazing experience! How can you not enjoy spending the night in a castle! I’ll definitely be looking into this, sounds like something I’d really enjoy!

  2. Vicki says:

    The castle looks incredible. I love British heritage buildings, they’re just so majestic – and look like they served food to match! What a great experience!

  3. Nathan says:

    This castle is gorgeous but it was the food that had my attention! The plating on your dinner was amazing- all of it looked delicious.

  4. Kerri says:

    That looks incredible and the food looks awesome. One of the things I love the most about Europe/UK is the castles, and the access to them. I’m now off to check out the Tudors on Netflix! Never head of it before now.

  5. Kristina says:

    What a beautiful castle! It looks like such a magical experience – I know I’d love to stay there and experience such a historical and beautiful place! Thank you for all the information and tips!

  6. Criz says:

    Omg! I’m jealous. I would love to stay in a castle hotel too. The bedroom looks like in a Royal family or fairytale movie, amazing!

  7. Jo says:

    Oh wow this looks right out of a fairytale. I would totally feel like Cinderella 🙂 I love the rustic look and feel of the place – It is so majestic and royal.

  8. Harvey (H-Bomb's Worldwide Karaoke) says:

    It’s a beautiful-looking castle; I didn’t know that that was an accommodation option so close to London. Whenever one stays in a property that old, especially one where the original owner was beheaded, I have to wonder: have there been reports of any hauntings on the premises? 🙂

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