Sally has always wanted to stay in a real castle. After a bit of
searching around, we found Thornbury Castle, which is about 10 miles
north of Bristol (in Gloucestershire). The castle was built in 14xx
(actually, the house was older, but that's when Buckingham got his
license from King Henry VIII to "castellate"). The castle
was never actually finished, since he was arrested for treason and
We reached our room by going up a spiral staircase in the circular
The walls are 3-4 feet thick, so a window sill is a pretty substantial
piece of stone.
The room was actually a suite, with a bedroom and a sitting room,
with attached kitchenette and bathroom. Nicole slept in a nifty
pull down "Murphy bed" and Sami had the folding bed.
Sally and I slept in this huge four poster.
The assistant manager took us on a tour of the castle and we got
to see the original giant bread baking oven (the size of a room,
now converted to a small library/office for the 4th Earl), as well
as the main kitchen (with two hearths!). We also saw how the present
day woodworkers had incorporated hidden storage spaces in the mantlepiece
and a secret compartment holding a safe in the Earl's sitting room.
One evening we had dinnner at the castle, which was quite tasty.
Sally's cousin had looked Thornbury up on the web, and discovered
that they are famous for their puddings (dessert, to us). Indeed,
we had a wonderful chocolate dessert.
The other nights we sampled some restaurants in town: Thai, Indian,
and Chinese. An interesting thing we discovered walking in town
is that while digging for some sort of building expansion they discovered
some sort of underground passageway beneath the Chantry (a set of
buildings near the castle in town) that may lead back to the castle.
Of course it might also just be a set of water tanks or cellars.
While we stayed at Thornbury, we did some driving to other points
of interest, notably, the Cheddar Gorge
(in Somerset), and to Caerphilly Castle
At last, it was time to leave, as we were heading off to Guildford.
We stopped by the Uffington White Horse but that's for another
travel/engsum2004/thornbury.htm - 15 August 2004