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Friday, 16 June 2017

5 Reasons to See Shakespeare at the Castle This Summer


Once again, Shakespeare is coming to Berkeley Castle this summer, and here are five reasons why it cannot be missed!
 
1.     Can you imagine a more beautiful place to experience outdoor theatre than Berkeley Castle? With our spectacular gardens, and the majestic elegance of the Castle as a back-drop, it truly is a magical event, not to be missed.
Theatre goers can bring picnic blankets and chairs, along with their own scrumptious food and drink to feast upon whilst watching their chosen Shakespeare play unfold.
 

 
2.    Did you know that William Shakespeare’s most successful play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, was written for the wedding of Lord Thomas Berkeley and Elizabeth Carey over 400 years ago?
With its first ever performance taking place all those centuries ago, it really is a special experience to come and enjoy the play at its birthplace. Furthermore, the Producer of Split Second Productions, Tom Berkeley, is a descendent of the Berkeley family – such a happy coincidence.

3.     Having received a 4 star review from ‘The Stage’ for their sell-out performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year; Split Second Productions are returning to perform two wonderful Shakespeare comedies this year – A Midsummer Nights’ Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.
Featuring live music and set amongst the stunning gardens at Berkeley Castle, it really is the best place to soak up the atmosphere of these wonderful productions. The “youthful energy” of the actors creates a unique and exhilarating spin to these traditional and historic plays.
 
 
 
4.     Not only is Berkeley Castle the perfect setting for Shakespeare, we have also been the venue for some phenomenal dramas, including Poldark and Wolf Hall. Walk in the same footsteps as Aiden Turner, Mark Rylance, Hugh Bonneville and Benedict Cumberbatch, to name but a few of the iconic actors who have brought some incredible dramas to life whilst filming here at Berkeley Castle.
The historic ambience within the Castle itself and the beautifully scenic gardens makes it an ideal location for the filming and production of these wonderful dramas.
 
 
 
5.      Do you need the perfect excuse to have an evening out with your closest friends and family? What better place to come and enjoy some light-hearted drama, whilst sharing a bottle of wine and a hamper of treats. With the sun setting over the enchanted gardens, you can enjoy the company of your nearest and dearest, along with some culture and classic theatre. A perfect treat for everyone.
 
 

You can book tickets to see Midsummer Nights’ Dream and Much Ado About Nothing at Berkeley Castle between 25th June and 11th July for a matinee or evening performance.
 

 

Monday, 8 May 2017

The Cavalry of Heroes joust for glory!

Another cracking long weekend at Berkeley Castle to kick-start our summer season.  The highly popular King Henry VIII strode around the grounds, addressing visitors and issuing orders to his Court. He was joined by his beautiful Queen Anne Boleyn and a flurry of ladies-in-waiting, attending to her every need. The children were in awe of these majestic and regal characters, dressed in their historic costumes, and were awarded medals by the Queen herself (much to their delight!).


  
 
At two intervals during the day, the crowds were thrilled and entertained by the Cavalry of Heroes and their magnificent horses. Sir William of Berkeley and the Dark Knight wowed us all with a jousting “warm up”, showing off their accuracy skills. This was followed by a real Joust with Sir William securing a firm victory, much to the dismay of the Dark Knight. He was a terribly sore loser and he sprung an attack on our favourite Knight which finished with a sword fight and fisticuffs! Finally the Dark Knight was thrown into the stocks, and an ecstatic child threw wet sponges at him. The atmosphere was one of pure delight with plenty of laughs and participation from the crowd. They even had a nod of approval from the great King Henry VIII who watched on from the Gun Terrace.
 
 
 


 
If you would like to meet King Henry VIII and his Court, they will be returning to the Castle during the May Bank Holiday weekend (Sunday 28th & Monday 29th May). They will be joined by two gallant knights from Dressed to Kill, who will be teaching at Knight School where you and your child can learn sword fighting skills and much more!  Don’t miss the Warrior Show each day at 3.30pm on our Lower Lawns.
 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Dragons at the Castle


Dragons made their home at Berkeley Castle at the beginning of April for a weekend of fun and fantasy in the sunshine.  Two baby dragons, hatched from their eggs at a small dragon sanctuary in the Welsh Moors, were carried around by the wonderful Lizzie and Kevin. The children were able to pet the cute little reptiles, with Freya (the beautiful ice dragon) particularly enjoying a tickle under her chin. The children were spell-bound by these charming little dragons, and it was a great way to prepare them for the larger dragons they would be meeting later in the day.
 





 

After a fantastic dragon hunt around the beautiful grounds of the Castle, there was a colourful dragon display in the Inner Courtyard and Gun Terrace. “Sid” and “Madame Foo” glided amongst the crowds, posing for photos and chasing naughty children!

 


With the sun shining, the highlight of the day was the brilliant Dragon Procession. With the help of some willing, and very excitable volunteers from the crowd, this magnificent golden and red dragon, marched around the Castle followed by dozens of children waving flags.  It truly was a magical sight, with the stunning Castle as the perfect back drop.
 

 

Many thanks to Alchemy Dragons for such a splendid weekend of family fun, and watch this space...they may be back next Easter for more mythical entertainment!

Friday, 5 August 2016

Our top pick of properties which welcome Hen & Stag groups


We're always being told how difficult it is to find large holiday lets that welcome in Hen & Stag parties... we once had a girl on the phone who was so relieved to have found somewhere (our lovely accommodation Brook House on the Berkeley Estate) that we thought she was actually going to squeal in delight down the phone! 

With lots of couples choosing to take their do's to the countryside, we've rounded up some of our favourite finds from our friends at Kate & Tom's... 


Something in and around the Cotswolds


Alcester Farmhouse
Alcester Farmhouse - brand new onto the scene this cosy farmhouse sleeps 16 guests. With an outside hot tub but also warming fires and sumptious sofas inside.... it's the perfect place for warm or wet weather (we are in Britain after all)!

 http://kateandtoms.com/houses/alcester-farmhouse/


Alcester Farmhouse


Alcester Farmhouse


Churchill Wood
Churchill Wood - For an intimate gathering of between 12-16 guests and a great location if you have people travelling from all over... Churchill Wood fits the bill perfectly. A rural escape awaits you with a large garden, hot tub at the ready and gorgeous countryside surrounding you. There is plenty to do in the local area too... brave the heights at Go Ape Wyre Forest, head to Worcester for cocktails or go riding by horse back in the local countryside. 


Churchill Wood 



Churchill Wood 



Kingham Coach House & Cottages
 Kingham Coach House & Cottages - sleeping 20 guests, this would be perfect for a winter get away when you could make full use of the indoor heated pool & steam room!   
Kingham Coach House & Cottages

Peddington Manor
Peddington Manor - Situated just a short drive from Berkeley Castle and part of the Berkeley Estate, Peddington Manor sleeps upto 20 guests with lots of social space. If you're looking for somewhere you can host a formal dinner party then check out the large dining room. For the stags out there you've got the "Games Barn" too. On a practical note, this property is situated 10 minutes off the M5 so perfect for those travelling by car. Every room can accommodate twin beds too, so no awkward sharing for the chaps!  

http://kateandtoms.com/houses/pedington-manor/


Peddington Manor
Peddington Manor


Something by the coast
River Hall - Perfect for larger groups of up to 30 looking for something on the Devon coast. Those always on the look out for the perfect photo opportunity will just love the spiral staircase and grand atmosphere of River Hall too! 
http://kateandtoms.com/houses/river-hall/
 
















The Old Rectory Country House - If your thinking of a welsh retreat and are up for a drive then this house could be the one for you. Feeling active? Head to the longest toboggan run in Britain or get some fresh air by the seaside with lots to keep the adrenaline seekers amongst you happy. 

http://kateandtoms.com/houses/the-old-rectory/
The Old Rectory Country House


The Old Rectory Country House

River View Castle -  Under pressure to find an incredible house perfect for the bride or groom? Worry no more! Head down to the Cornish coast for the ultimate escape. Sleeping 20 guests with an outdoor pool and opulent inside settings. 
http://kateandtoms.com/houses/river-view-castle/



River View Castle


River View Castle



River View Castle



We've rounded up our favourite properties from Kate & Tom's but we couldn't leave off our very own Brook House aka Berkeley Townhouse. Often referred to as "The Tardis" because it is deceptively large, with views over to the Severn Estuary and the welsh landscape... our lovely townhouse sleeps upto 20 guests. 


Brook House

Explore Bristol or Cheltenham which are both just a short distance away, or spend your time walking in the Cotswold Countryside. Sit down to eat at the ancient dining table which seats 20 or head out onto the patio for a BBQ in the sunshine. 

Previous guests have commented on the beds and bedding being "so comfortable" and the dining table "excellent for large numbers"... a "home away from home" with the "little extra touches much appreciated". 

Stags can walk down the road to the Salutation Inn (CAMRA Gloucestershire Pub of the Year 2015 & 2016) and enjoy a range of ales, some of which are brewed on site! For the Hen's take a look at Calcot Spa where you will be sure to please the bride to be... 



Brook House





Brook House



Brook House


Brook House
Wherever you end up for your Hen or Stag do we hope you have the most wonderful time and make the most amazing memories... 


The Wedding Team at Berkeley Castle





Friday, 15 July 2016

My work experience week at Berkeley Castle

My week at Berkeley Castle 


Over the duration of a week, I partook in work experience at Berkeley Castle. I worked in a range of areas around the castle including outside in the gardens, inside in the office and I even had special access to view the castle from the roof. I met some lovely people and have had the most wonderful time. 


View over to the River Severn from the roof 


Helping in the gift shop


I was always kept very busy, having to complete a range of jobs every day. The various tasks that I would get involved in included setting up the castle in preparation for the visitors, ensuring that all castle tour guides knew where to be at what time; helping in the shop pricing up the items to sell and rearranging the shelves, and a surprise visit from BBC Radio Gloucester on the Wednesday morning made my week even more exciting.



My day in the shop

Plant Sales Area 
One of my favourite days was spent in the Butterfly House and Yurt Café. Given the task of removing the dead flowers in the butterfly house was made a little harder with the hundreds of butterflies flying around me, although it was a very relaxing and enjoyable experience. In contrast to the relaxing butterfly house, the hustle and bustle of the busy Yurt Café on a sunny Tuesday afternoon was very exciting. 






I was taught how to make the hot drinks for the customers and was tasked with delivering the freshly prepared food to the tables. I thoroughly enjoyed this as there was always something to do, and it taught me how to efficiently work in a busy environment.




With beautiful scenery, Berkeley Castle was definitely the right place for me to do my work experience. Spending a week here has given me an in depth view of the working world, and has provided me with experiences and skills that would help me to secure a job in years to come.


Written By: Heidi Sermulins 


Thursday, 26 May 2016

Tudor Festival at Berkeley Castle


Henry VIII, Queen Anne Boleyn & their Royal Court 


Next week during May Half Term we have a Tudor Festival taking place at Berkeley Castle! Each day there will be an exciting range of special activities taking place, suitable for the whole family. 

Normal admission prices apply, with all activities included in the ticket price. 


Falconry Display's on the Lower Lawns 



There will be Medieval Falconry Displays on the Lower Lawns with the chance to have your photo taken with the magnificent birds of prey. Raptorcare is one of the South West's premier falconry companies whose expertise lies in Medieval falconry - as part of the display learn how food was put on the table in Tudor times and more about these amazing birds. 

The Royal Entourage 

King Henry VIII, Queen Anne Boleyn and their Royal Court will be returning to Berkeley Castle by popular demand. Find out what life was like in Tudor Times, and marvel at their stunning outfits. Throughout the day they will parade around the Castle and assemble in the Great Hall for an opportunity for visitors to have an audience with the King & Queen. 

Bring your youngsters in their finest Tudor outfits on Monday 30th May for the chance to win a Tudor Trophy which will be awarded to the best Fancy Dress Outfit of the day. 



For those who love history there will be fascinating Tudor documents on loan from the Muniment Room, displayed in the Small Drawing Room. These items are rarely available for public viewing. Included will be a signed warrant by Queen Mary which dates back to 1554, a letter from Queen Elizabeth 1st to George Lord Hunsdon c1600 as well as a warrant to enlarge the Castle Deer Park dated 10 February 1522 which was also signed by King Henry VIII. 

On Sunday & Monday there will be guides situated in each of our public rooms who can tell you all about the history of the Castle and items in each of the areas. 

On Tuesday & Wednesday there will be guided tours of the Castle throughout the day.   

Deerhound Racing 


On this Sunday 29th May the popular 17th Century sport, Deerhound Racing, will return to Berkeley Castle on the Old Golf Course. See the dogs up close at 11.15am for the Deerhound Procession around the Castle, where there will also be a Scottish Piper leading the way. 

Family Fun at Berkeley Castle 





For parents looking for Half Term fun with their children, along with all of the above activities to entertain children, pop by the Education Room where Bev will be on hand for Arts & Crafts and youngsters can make a Tudor Keepsake to take home. Our ever popular Dressing Up Area is always good fun and a great spot to capture memories along with the Dragon Hunt around the Castle Grounds. 





The Yurt Cafe will be open for light bites, hot and cold drinks, ice lollies and yummy slices of cake or tray bake!


The Butterfly House will also be open throughout the Tudor Festival. With over 40 different species of Butterfly, transport yourself to a tropical setting! 


Tickets


Alternatively tickets can be purchased from the Ticket Office on arrival.   



Opening Times

Tudor Festival: Sunday 29th May - Wednesday 1st June

11am - 5pm 
(last entry at 4pm) 

Last Guided Tour for the day (Tuesday & Wednesday) - 3.30pm 
Free Car Parking with Admission 


We look forward to welcoming you to Berkeley Castle! 


 

 

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Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BQ

Email: info@berkeley-castle.com

Tel: 01453 810303

Opening times and directions

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