Popular Places to Visit in Cheltenham
Cheltenham is a town with stunning historic architecture and is also a good base to visit nearby fine buildings since the town is one of the best places from which to visit the surrounding picturesque Cotswold villages. Here are some of the popular places to visit in and around Cheltenham.
Sudeley Castle & Gardens
Located near Winchcombe, historic Sudeley Castle was built in the 15th century and may have been on the site of a 12th-century castle. The chapel is the burial place for King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Catherine Parr who died in 1548. The castle once housing royalty is still a family home, so is only open to visitors on specific dates when you get to see fascinating treasures, from ancient Roman times to the present day. The castle is surrounded by a 1,200 acre estate and award-winning gardens.
Made famous as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies, Gloucester Cathedral sits in the centre of the city and was formerly known as the Cathedral Church of St Peter and the Holy and Indivisible Trinity. The architecture varies from the Norman nave to examples of Romanesque design. There are fan-vaulted cloisters, the monks' lavatorium, and medieval stained-glass in the great east window. The cathedral is also the burial site for King Edward II (1307–1327), whose coronation also took place here and Robert, Duke of Normandy and the eldest son of William the Conqueror.
In the hands of the National Trust property since 1951, the Manor was built in the sixteenth century from local honey-coloured stone. This historic English country house is best known for its eccentric twentieth century owner, Charles Paget Wade, who used the manor to house his eclectic collection of 22,000 objects, whilst he lived in one of the buildings in the grounds. The elaborate layout of the gardens at Snowshill are equally fascinating.
Despite being built in the earliest decades of the twentieth century this manor house in Cirencester was built in the arts and crafts style with local stone and completed by local craftsmen without the use of machinery. The house is considered one of the best examples of the Arts and Crafts movement. The central wing of the house was never a living space, but used for community events and teaching. During World War II (1939-1945) the house was used as an evacuation point for a London Catholic school, and a maternity home as there was a shortage of midwives.
Berkeley Castle was originally one of the buildings to keep out the Welsh, and includes trip steps, arrow slits, murder holes, enormous barred doors, slots where the portcullis once fell, and worn stones where sentries stood guard. It is also believed to be the castle where King Edward II was brutally murdered in 1327. Part of this historic castle remains a family residence, the rest is open to the public.
Chastleton House is one of England's most complete Jacobean houses, has been cared for by the National Trust since 1991, having been in the same family for 400 years. The National Trust has concentrated on conservation rather than renovation so many rooms are open to the public. Robert Catesby, the leader of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament owned the Chastleton Estate before 1605, in a house that existed before the one currently standing.
Standing at 1024 feet (312m) above sea level, Broadway Tower is the second highest point on the Cotswold Ridge. Built in 1799, on a clear day you may also see as far as the Welsh Mountains. It was built for Lady Coventry who wanted it built to see whether a beacon on this hill could be seen from her house in Worcester, 35 kilometres away. The answer was affirmative.
The privately owned Chavenage House was originally built in 1383 and since Tudor times, only two families have owned Chavenage. There are limited opening days, but the Elizabeth home offers guided tours by the owner or his family who live in the house or in houses within the estate. Be prepared to hear some ghost stories.