An ages-old edifice rises from the English countryside, its sawtooth parapets pointing to the azure sky above the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire.
On the castle grounds, tendrils of clematis vines wind around seemingly brittle ruins that have endured centuries of weather and war, as well as a number of monarchs. Vestiges of the estate’s earlier days, the stones are what remains of the old Banqueting Hall and the Tithe Barn.
The gardens are simply breathtaking. Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, chatelaine of the castle, explains: “Sudeley’s gardens are made up of a collection of cameo gardens, each expressing a theme or period of [the estate’s] history.” Among these botanical inspirations is the Queens’ Garden, named for the four queens who have strolled the grounds, and the Tudor Physic Garden, which contains healing herbs and plants the Tudors and the Elizabethans would have grown.
Lady Ashcombe graciously allows visitors a glimpse of the splendor of bygone days. Many rooms in the castle are open during public tours; at certain times, a few of the private quarters are on view as well.
Lady Ashcombe, along with her beloved miniature wire-haired dachshund, Tulah, often stroll the garden paths or enjoy walks down the West Drive into the nearby town of Winchcombe. To read more about her life at Sudeley Castle, look for her blog on the estate’s website, sudeleycastle.co.uk.
Photography Kate Sears
To learn more about Sudeley Castle, see “Keepers of History” on page 41 of the September 2016 issue of Victoria.