Thornbury Castle is an amazing trip back in time. A true castle experience that was first class in every way. We booked the lowest priced room (130 pounds) - it was large with 11 foot ceilings, a four poster bed, and huge windows that looked out on the garden and neigboring church. The grounds were beautiful with a vinyard on one side and an English garden that rivaled any we saw. The staff was very attentive and helpful. Dinners were outstanding with impecable service (by waiters in tails no less). Overall, we found it a good value and highly enjoyable experience.
Stayed at Thornbury Castle for one night. Wish we could have stayed longer. If you go, allow enough time to explore the castle as well as the adorable town it's in. We stayed in the Duke's Bedchamber, an octoganal room that Henry VIII stayed in. The room was large and fairly modern, but still had lots of "castleness" to it. It had a working fire place. The room key was this huge skeleton key that was worthy of a photo (see attached). The bathroom was sort of small, but adequate. The room could be reached in two ways, one being a stone spiral staircase. The restaurant is elegant and the food was quite good, but portions are small and price is large. Breakfast was included with our room and offered several choices. This is the kind of place you should stay for a special occasion or a very memorable trip. Our two little girls felt like real princesses!
A place not to be missed
We travel all over the country and enjoy fine wine and excellent food. We would not stay anywhere else in the Bristol area and have been regular visitors to Thornbury Castle over the last 3 years. Consequently we have stayed in most of the rooms which are all different and well appointed. There is always a friendly greeting and when you arrive in your room, sherry and chef's homemade biscuits await. All the rooms in which we have stayed have an open fire which gives a wonderful cosy atmosphere in winter.
The restaurant is superb with a good, well balanced and varied menu and the selection of fine wines should not be missed.
I was sorry to read about your Manchester trip advisor who stayed at the castle on 29th August. I believe his comments are rather misguided as we have found all the staff extremely polite and helpful, and we have never experienced any problems.
There is always piping hot water where one can soak up the atmosphere of the superb bathrooms and then relax in a soft bathrobe.
Thornbury itself is a small town with some interesting shops. In summer flower tubs abound to give a pleasing and welcoming look to the High Street. At Christmas the High Street is light with coloured lights and decorations and the town is good for Christmas shopping. If you want the big stores, The Mall at Cribbs Causeway is only 10 minutes away.
In our opinion Thornbury Castle is unique. A wonderful hotel, romantic setting and an absolute haven, yet a short distance from the M5 and 25 minutes to Bristol city centre. Definitely worth a visit.
Hugely overrated and dissapointing.
It's old and spooky but there isn't much else to commend it. At first glance Thornbury Castle appears to be a luxurious and historic country house hotel but the reality is sadly very different. Our room was shabby rather than characterful and the bathroom didn't have a shower, almost unheard of in this day and age. The hotel doesn't have any grounds to speak of, so forget any ideas you might have of a romantic stroll before dinner, particularly as T.C is located on the edge of a largely dreary and unispiring town. The restaurant was like the set of a horror B-Movie and the food was, at best, mediocre and CERTAINLY not worth £42 a head.
What levitated this from just a disappointing experience into a nightmarish holiday-from-hell was the entirely sleepless night my wife and I spent due to very VERY noisy ancient plumbing that thumped away all night like a possessed steam engine. The Eastern European night "manager" - who didn't speak English - was useless from any point of view (I think I actually woke him up) and couldn't even be made to understand the problem, let alone solve it. By 4am I was praying for daylight and deliverance and we scarpered before breakfast. Never again.
Would not return in a hurry
After wanting to stay here for 10 years, we finally got round to it when my husband booked us a 2 night stay for my birthday.
I couldn't wait, and we arrived about 6.30pm on the Friday night, checked in an were escorted to our room. We had booked a deluxe room, which on their website was described as "Well appointed traditional stone walled rooms with tapestries and real fires. The tradition is topped off by four-posted beds and wood paneling to create an historic and unique atmosphere. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stayed in one of our Deluxe rooms - the Duke's Bedchamber. Sleeps 3.".
We got to our room, and after a couple of minutes of looking round, were bitterly disappointed. The only thing in line with the description was the 4 poster bed and a stone windowsill. No open fire, no stone walls or tapestries, and it was a modern feeling room. We called to reception to check they had allocated us the wrong room type, (the lower grade classic perhaps) but were told this room was definately a deluxe. We again questioned this, but as we didn't have the description from the website with us, felt a little helpless.
Eventually, for the Friday night ONLY, we were put in a room in the tower. Wonderful room, and we truly felt the essence of the castle while staying in in it. It was appx. 30' octagonal shape, huge open fire, rich furnishings, high ceilings. Waking up briefly to at 3am and seeing the fire flickering across the room on this cold, dark night felt spectacular. A decanter of sherry and home made biscuits await. The bathroom was a poor, but overall the room was 100 times better than the last. How they class them in the same category is beyond me. For £295 a night, we expected what was described and purchased during the booking process.
Unfortunately, we had to return to the original room the next day (which we were assured was a deluxe room). It did cross my mind to say if it was a deluxe room, then why can't we stay in the tower for our second night, and the guests arriving that day can have our original room! But I bit my tongue, because we still feel any holiday or getaway is what you make of it.
Anyway, it was only when we returned home we checked the website to see we were right to expect the lovely stone walls, open fire etc, and wrote to them quoting the description of a deluxe room on their website and that it was not what we received. While we had a good time, rightly or wrongly we felt a bit 'done over' We received an interim response 2 weeks later, and then another response last week. It basically said the website was wrong to describe the room as it did and they will get it changed, the original room we were allocated WAS a deluxe, and that should we visit Thornbury Castle again they will make sure we are compensated in some way or another during our stay. In all honesty, the visit in February has left us with no desire to return at all as far as accommodation goes - and the website still hasn't updated the deluxe room description as of 21st April.
However, it's not all doom and gloom. The general atmosphere of the place is magical and historic, with the publi rooms all being beautiful.
I must admit the grounds are much smaller than I thought - I imagined miles of walks on the estate, but unless we missed something, the grounds are pretty small, albeit it with attractive and traditional gardens. We managed to laze three quarters of an hour away. Although it was cold that weekend so I owuld imagine in warmer weather you'd be more inclined to stay outside.
The staff are well trained and attentive despite most of them being quite young, most of them are foreign too so perhaps thats why the service is good. One night at dinner, there was a businees dinner party in the same room, there were many f's and c's amongst the roaring banter, and the staff apologised and offered several times to move us - but as we were in the middle of our starter we stayed put.
The highlight was the food - fantastic. There are 3 seperate dining areas, each room with space for between 5-8 tables, and all with open fires and stone or panelled walls. To begin with, you peruse the menu in the wonderful drawing room, with an aperetif, olives, nuts and vegetable crisps. Smoking is allowed in this room but not in the dining rooms. The 3 course menu is £42.50 per head, but you can have and pay for only 2 courses if you prefer as we did, because nothing took our fancy for dessert. The first night I chose from the vegetarian menu (whcih you have to ask to see), and had a risotto main course which was delicious, my husbands foie gras was excellent, and his the beef fillet equally good. The second night, we both had open ravioli of ham hock in a mustard sauce to start. This dish was superb and I still crave it now! Followed by the guinea fowl that tasted good, if a little bland after the starter. There is an extensive wine selection, and we recommend the Lebanese red.
I would recommend Thornbury Castle at a push, but on the proviso that you be aware of potential room disappointment. I would suggest that it is only worth visiting for the food experience, where you still get to enjoy the castles atmopshere. The restaurant is open to the public so it's wise to book ahead of your visit, as castle guests will not receive any priority over the public.
Please make an effort in your clothing for dinner. Gentlemean, wear a suit or at least a jacket, and ladies, a cocktail dress or similar wouldn't go amiss. It's all part of the experience and adds to the atmosphere I promise! I saw this because they were a coupe of people dressed VERY casually on both nights we were there.
So, we wouldn't return to stay the night, but would consider visiting again for the food experience.
A GREAT CITY
"PLENTY TO SEE AND TO DO"
There is plenty to discover in Bristol and the surrounding coast and countryside. The influences of days past are all around, from the city's maritime heritage to the marvels of Brunel's Bristol - a legacy of Victorian engineering that changed the face of the city forever.
The modern development of Harbourside and Temple Quay sit comfortably next to the Old City, and the many parks and gardens provide a breath of fresh air in the middle of a busy day. Broadmead offers a range of shops, including all the familiar high street names.
Explore the West End, Whiteladies Road and Clifton Village for a taste of gorgeous Georgian terraces and an incredible range of independent shops, cafes and restaurants - perfect to relax.
Bristol's East Side gives you the opportunity to discover another side of Bristol. You'll find restaurants serving food from around the world, small independent shops and a busy creative and cultural life.
As the city moves into the suburbs, bustling market towns await with a very different feel and pace of life. Thornbury, Castle Combe and Chipping Sodbury are all within easy reach of the centre of Bristol.
Bristol is also the gateway to the South West of England, providing the perfect base to explore the area, and Bath is just 15 minutes away by train, and is surrounded by beautiful countryside.
The Severn Bridges offer a direct route into Cardiff and South Wales, and regular train services provide an easy alternative to the car.
Born Archibald Leach in Horfield, Bristol, Grant's first role in theatre was working at the Bristol Hippodrome. He went on to make over 70 films and become one of the most respected, and best loved, actors of all time. But he never forgot his home town and was a regular visitor, usually staying in the Royal Hotel. This hotel is now the Bristol Marriott Royal.
Bristol celebrated its favourite son with the unveiling of a new Cary Grant statue on Harbourside. Unveiled on 7th December 2001 on the 70th anniversary of Grant's arrival in Hollywood, the sculptor Graham Ibbeson, has tried to capture the sophistication and poise of the great actor.
Blackbeard the Pirate
Bristol-born pirate whose real name was either Edward Drummond or Teach.
Italian-born explorer who sailed from Bristol to Newfoundland in 1497. Supposedly lived in St Nicholas Street and there is a statue of Cabot outside the Arnolfini and another outside the Council House (although this is disputed by some parties). The Cabot Tower was erected on Brandon Hill in 1897 in commemoration of his voyage.
Boy poet who killed himself by taking arsenic at the age of 17. His birthplace can be seen in Redcliffe Way opposite St Mary Redcliffe Church.
Schoolboy who scored 628 not out in a cricket game in 1899. This is still the highest individual cricketing score. A plaque commemorating this event can be seen in Guthrie Road, Clifton.
W. G. Grace
The cricketer W G Grace was born in Downend and later lived at 16 Victoria Square, Clifton from 1894 to 1896. He was a founder member of the Clifton Club, a gentlemen's club still in existence in The Mall, Clifton.
The Red Lodge
Bathing accessory for romantic bookworms
I'm staying at Thornbury castle next week, and on the Friday night we were hoping to go out of the castle for dinner. It's difficult to find somewhere local so thought we'd broaden the horizons a bit. Can anyone recommend a mid price restaurant within 15 mins drive of Thornbury? Chain restaurants are fine such as Prezzo and the modern Italians, or any other modern restaurant, but not over run with students is great too.
I looked at Brown but noticed it's near University Road, does this mean it's full of students? No offence, but I was one once, and I know what you're like!
Hi, hope this is not too late and helps.
Firstly, Browns is not full of students as such but is the kind of place where students would take their mums and dads if the parents were paying on a visit or graduation. It has good food and a good atmosphere. I would say it would take a bit longer than 15 mins from T Castle more like 25-30 mins but easy to find and most people would know where it is if you did get lost. Close by to Browns you will also find Pizza Express, Wagammas and Ask.
Secondly, take a look at my reply to an earlier question about veggie food in the Bristol forum.
Thirdly, having looked, if you see anything you like the sound of on The Venue website and want a second opinion on the food, how to get there etc then just add a reply to this and I'll let you know.
Hope you have a great trip :-)
Re: Re: Restaurants
Thanks for your reply!