Berkeley Castle

I started my day with a plan – I was going to go to Caerphilly Castle, Chepstow Castle, and Tintern Abbey. I love all three of these sites, but I had been to all of them previously (Chepstow and Tintern – twice!). After spending a few hours rediscovering Caerphilly, I decided to skip Chepstow and Tintern and visit a place that I had never been. Because I had planned my own trip, and I was traveling solo, I had the freedom to do just that!

Caerphilly Castle

The Great Hall at Caerphilly

Berkeley Castle

I drove for a couple of hours towards my destination – Berkeley Castle. Berkeley Castle is where King Edward II spent his last days, before, as legend has it, he was sent on to his reward in a unique way. History holds that his wife, Isabella of France, and her lover Mortimer had him dispatched quickly. The murder needed to not leave any marks on his body. Hot poker, anyone? I’m not so sure I hold with this theory, but Edward II was replaced with his son, Edward III. My guide, Valerie, was incredibly informative as she took us around the castle. My first lesson? Berkeley is pronounced “Bahrkley”

The castle has been the home of the Berkeley family for more than 800 years. As such, it is chock full of family portraits and, as the history of the family and the country were intertwined, many historical objects.

Berkeley Castle

I was enamored with the light pink stone of the castle. Pictures weren’t allowed inside, to my regret, because the renovations of the castle have not taken away from the historical feel. I highly recommend a visit to Berkeley to get a feel of how a Norman castle survived several renovations while still maintaining its atmosphere.

I didn’t regret my decision to skip Chepstow and Tintern, but one day, I will return!

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