On Friday 25 November, my husband Roy and I had the honour of visiting Sudeley Castle and Gardens in Winchcombe in the south-west of England for a photoshoot and it was a truly memorable experience! Sudeley Castle is said to be “the most romantic castle in England” and Roy and I can certainly attest to that. I’ve visited a lot of stately homes, castles, and places of historical interest over the past twelve years during my time in the UK, but Sudeley Castle really stands out as the most breath-taking and fascinating estate I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit.
I visited Sudeley Castle with a purpose. I’m currently writing an article on Japan-related books by female authors for a website called Savvy Tokyo. This popular website provides an essential guide for international women and their families living in Tokyo. Savvy Tokyo asked me to provide a high-resolution photo for this article and I thought Sudeley Castle would be a fantastic location for the photos. I’d also been thinking of updating my profile photo for social media (this was long overdue) and we obviously couldn’t take any old photo of me with my phone for Savvy Tokyo so I decided to arrange a photoshoot somewhere special and this Tudor castle, with its glorious grounds and its fascinating library, was the perfect choice.
I called Astrid Martin, the Corporate Events and Weddings Manager at Sudeley Castle, and
when I spoke to her I was delighted to discover she was very professional and also absolutely
charming and obliging. Astrid met us on the Friday morning at the castle and guided us around the stunning gardens (the Knot Garden is pictured on the left) and the Banqueting Hall.
Later in the day, we were given permission to take some photos in The Dent Brocklehurst Family’s Private Library inside Sudeley Castle (pictured below). One of my favourite authors is Charles Dickens so I was very pleased to discover a copy of David Copperfield by Dickens on the bookshelf in the library. We were also shown Charles I’s despatch box which was used during the Battle of Naseby, a beautiful 16th-century Sheldon tapestry, and priceless works of art including a portrait of Rubens by Van Dyke, all of these exquisitely preserved in this resplendent library.
After the photoshoot, Astrid told us there were several ghosts haunting Sudeley Castle and one ghost in particular hovers in the hall between the library and the kitchen. Interestingly enough, we stopped walking exactly where the ghost is said to exist and we realised we had to head back to the library. Maybe this ghost prompted us to pause and turn around!
Sudeley Castle is steeped in history and contains treasures dating back to ancient Roman
times but it’s also very famous for being the only privately owned castle to have a queen buried in its grounds. On 30 August 1548, Queen Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII, gave birth to her daughter Mary here but unfortunately she died seven days later. She is buried in St Mary’s church in the grounds of Sudeley Castle. Queen Katherine Parr can be seen resting serenely in her marble burial place (pictured on the left) in this beautiful chapel, bordered by the very elegant and pretty White Garden.
Obviously, Queen Katherine Parr is extremely famous for being the final queen consort of the House of Tudor but as a writer I was immeasurably impressed by the fact that Katherine Parr (alternatively spelled Catherine or Kateryn) was the first woman in history to have a book published in English using her own name.
Sudeley Castle has a lot of royal connections: Henry VII granted the castle to his uncle Jasper Tudor after the Wars of the Roses but it was returned to the monarch and became the
property of King Henry VIII after his death. Henry VIII visited the castle with his second wife Anne Boleyn in 1535 but following Henry’s death in 1547 Sudeley Castle was passed on to King Edward VI who granted the castle to his uncle Thomas Seymour, the brother of Queen Jane Seymour and Katherine Parr’s fourth husband (Katherine Parr and Seymour married in secret because the Regency council didn’t approve of their union only six months after Henry’s death).
Sudeley Castle is definitely a must-see attraction for tourists and the perfect place for a dreamy wedding or an important function. Your special occasion here will become part of the castle’s history and your event will be remembered forever by your family and your guests. In fact, the English international model and actress Liz Hurley famously married Arun Nayar at Sudeley Castle in 2007. The castle and its grounds can provide spacious dining, catering, and waiting staff in the Banqueting Hall and Terrace Pavilion for up to 120 guests and the library can be used for more intimate events (pictured left).
Please contact Astrid Martin directly at Sudeley Castle on +44 (0) 1242 602 308
for all enquiries. I can assure you Astrid will go the extra mile to make sure you have a fantastic experience during your time at the castle.
I can also highly recommend Katy Pheiffer and Charles McArthur if you’re looking for a first-class makeup artist and an excellent photographer. Katy is listed as one of the top five makeup artists in Gloucestershire and both Charles and Katy are willing to travel all over the UK and abroad for events. Thank you, Katy and Charles for your professionalism and for the wonderful makeup and photographs. Below left is a photo of me taken by Charles McArthur at Sudeley Castle in front of the door leading to the Banqueting Hall.
Finally, I’d like to sincerely thank Astrid Martin, Lady Ashcombe, and the Dent-Brocklehurst family at Sudeley Castle for giving us the opportunity to visit the castle in November and for making our day extra special.
The photos in this blog post are courtesy of the Sudeley Castle & Gardens website, the Historic Houses Association website, and Charles McArthur Photography.