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Berkeley Castle


Visited August 2008

Location Berkeley, South Gloucestershire
Entrance Fee Yes 
Railway Station         No
Parking Yes
Facilities Toilet, Shop, Picnic Tables







This is an amazing castle, it is privately owned to this day by the same family, the Berkeleys, who have been in residence for 850 years! It was built originally to keep the Welsh at bay, and has been enlarged and improved over the years to create what is there for us to visit today.


First the practicalities. Just off the large car park is a lovely picnic area with clean toilets, and some space for the children to run around. As the castle does not open until 11am you can have a leisurely drive, arrive midday, have your picnic, then put your picnic bags back in the car and go into the castle, thus avoiding the need to lug your bags around with you (and in our experience children are a lot more receptive once they have their lunch inside them). The castle itself is still occupied so you can visit the beautiful and expansive grounds and then go inside and look around the great hall, the keep , the tower, the dining room, the chapel, and even the minstrel’s gallery from where the last court jester in England is said to have fallen (or was pushed?) to his death. On even more of a grisly note, it was here that King Edward II was first imprisoned, and then murdered.


I seem to recall there is a proper guided tour available, but with small children in tow we try to steer clear of tours and just go around on our own, it makes tantrum-avoidance easier if you can distract the kids by moving from one room to another at will. I always try to buy a guide book at the end of the visit though because the downside of not taking the tour is that you do miss out on historical detail.


A short walk from the Castle is Dr Jenner's Museum, dedicated to the life of Edward Jenner and the history of vaccination. Please see 'Other Places of Interest' for the web link. Also close by is St Mary's Church, an interesting church with a detached tower, built the opposite side of the grave yard to the main church so that it would not overlook the castle!


NB- Additional photos from December 2012 re-visit have now been added.






More info: Berkeley Castle

St Mary's Church, Berkeley

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