Celebrating Halloween this year has involved us visiting a Haunted Castle. This was Sudeley Castle for their ‘Halloweek and Halloween’ event. We will also be dressing up for the Fear Festival at Avon Valley, but let’s save that for another day.
Sudeley Castle was once home to Queen Katherine Parr (Henry VIII’s 6th wife). In fact, she is even buried in the Church of Sudeley Castle! Some of Henry VIII’s other wives also found themselves visiting the castle, but Queen Katherine certainly graced the castle with her presence longer than the others. It is this factor that seems to give Sudeley Castle its ‘haunted’ reputation, as well as many visitors and staff claiming they’ve seen, heard or felt ghostly activity there.
We decided to take a trip over to this ancient castle to see if we could experience anything, and even found ourselves on a free Ghost Tour around the castle grounds. Although we learned a lot about history and the inhabitants of the castle (dead and alive), we did not see any ghosts ourselves. What we did see, however, was an enchanting castle and grounds, Queen Katherine’s tomb, and even a free magic show!
The Castle and Grounds
What first strikes you about this castle is the sheer size of it. Once investigating the sprawling grounds and disorientating castle corridors, you can get an idea of the sheer magnitude of this castle and its grounds. (Even with half of the building missing due to falling into ruin beyond repair)!
Each of the rooms inside the castle still hold original fittings as well as many historical exhibitions. There were even some costumes there from a Channel 4 TV show about the Tudors, which really helped to bring the history alive for us.
A few of the rooms are kept dark to protect timeless pieces inside – either kept dark due to low lighting or due to leaves covering some of the windows. (Personally, I thought this gave the castle a even more beautiful look both inside and out).
The grounds are magnificent – I cam imagine them being even more beautiful during the summer months, but even in October, they are stunning. With water features, shaped hedges, secret gates and glorious statues, the castle grounds really are worth spending some time exploring.
Behind part of the castle ruins is the church, where you can find magnificent marble-work, charming woodwork and Queen Katherine’s tomb.
Queen Katherine Parr
Queen Katherine spent many of her living years at Sudeley Castle, which becomes very apparent when exploring the many rooms and grounds. There are multiple tapestries bearing the initials KP throughout the castle as well as fine jewellery and clothes she would have worn at the time. But that’s not all – as we know, she was also buried at Sudeley Castle.
In a chamber off the side of the church, you will find Queen Katherine’s crypt. What is most interesting about her story is that she was wrapped up in 7 or 8 sheets of linen to help preserve her body. Centuries later, her crypt was found – I have no idea what possessed the founder to open the coffin, but they did. And what they found was very surprising indeed.
Despite Queen Katherine being dead for hundreds of years, her body was perfectly preserved due to the many layers of linen she was wrapped in. That is, until her coffin was opened multiple times by the founders of it…
Free Magic Show
As part of the ‘Halloweek and Halloween’ event at Sudeley Castle, the staff were offering extra activities within the entrance fee. These included a Ghost Tour, Scary Storytelling and the ‘Cabinet of the Curious and Strange’ Magic Show.
This magic show was certainly a spooky highlight to the day – although it was mostly for little children, the magician was so clever to keep the adults entertained as well with some fascinating tricks and plenty of humour. The fact that this show was also conducted within the cellar of the castle was a perfect addition to the spooky vibe!
There are many ways of getting to Sudeley Castle either by public transport or by driving. You can find Sudeley Castle near Winchcombe, 8 miles north east of Cheltenham at this address:
Sudeley Castle & Gardens
Sudeley Castle offers a range of special events throughout the year – with the next to be their ‘Spectacle of Light’ event throughout December. I loved what Sudeley Castle had to offer, so I would certainly recommend visiting (and if you can combine that with one of their events like I did, then you really should do it)!
Would you dare to visit a Haunted Castle? Have you got any other plans for Halloween this year? Share your thoughts below…