What's On 2019
From Sunday 2nd June
Wire sculpture exhibition by local ‘Slimbridge Soldiers’ sculptor, Jackie Lantelli.
See Edward II, doomed in his cell; Elizabeth I, ready with her crossbow to kill the Earl of Berkeley’s prize stags and Dicky Pearce, the jester who fell from the Minstrel’s Gallery.
With many other sculptures to spot as you wander around the Castle’s grand rooms and grounds, this exhibition will bring the Castle’s intriguing history to life.
1st - 29th September
This September Berkeley Castle offers an intimate insight into the stories and artefacts that form part of the remarkable and significant history of the Castle. Lovers of history, castles, fashion, gardens, art, and intrigue will be captivated with talks, garden tours and exhibitions, with access to rarely seen exhibits and spaces.
Enter the very cell where King Edward II spent his final days before his notorious murder in 1327, and discover what Mrs Berkeley wore to Charles & Diana's wedding in 1981.
Talks & Tours:
‘The oldest family home, and its ever changing face’ with Josh Nash – Castle Custodian
Mondays 2nd/9th/16th/23rd/30th – midday (Small Drawing Room)
‘A History of Berkeley Castle and the Berkeley Family in 15 documents’ with Karen Davidson – Castle Archivist
Tuesdays 3rd/10th/17th/24th - midday (Small Drawing Room)
‘The makings of a Castle Garden’ tour the gardens with Chris Gill – Head Gardener
Wednesdays 4th/11th/18th/25th – meet at the Guides’ Lodge 12.15
‘Greek Myths, A Battle at Sea & a chosen Portrait’ tapestries and paintings tour with John Pinner – Castle Steward
Sundays 8th & 29th September – meet in the Guides’ Lodge at 12.15pm
Mrs Berkeley’s Dresses
Spanning three decades this display showcases Mrs Berkeley’s wedding dress from 1967. It also features a stunning Dior ballgown and a number of vintage Givenchy dresses.
This enormous Berkeley flag measuring 5m x 4m was found hidden in a drawer by our Castle Custodian in 2016. We are giving our visitors the opportunity to view this spectacular flag for the first time as we suspend it from the Great Hall ceiling for the month of September only.
It was last seen flying from the Castle flagpole in the early 1900s.
Picture Gallery Display Cabinet
The display cabinet in the Picture Gallery will be home to some fascinating finds that have been discovered both inside and outside the building. These include an exquisitely detailed Saxon ring which is rarely on view, it was discovered several years ago in the grounds by a gardener. See coins, candles, bricks with the maker’s fingerprints and much more. This eclectic mix of finds provokes thoughts of those who have dwelled here over the centuries.
A brief history of Nineteenth Century Sporting Arms
Meet Alan Gaze, one of the Castle’s volunteers, on Sundays 15th & 22nd September between midday and 2.30pm. Alan collects sporting arms and not only will he explain more about the guns on display, weather permitting he’ll let you try your hand at shooting one or two – with blanks of course!
Access new areas
King Edward II Cell & the Keep Garden
We’re also granting access to areas that are normally out of bounds to our visitors. The delightful dahlia-filled Keep Garden is a colourful contrast to the sinister history connected to Kind Edward II's cell, which will be opened up for the first time in many years.
Friday 20th September
6.30pm – 10.30pm
Sunday 22nd September
Meet Katharine Edwards, expert cake decorator, from Cherish Cakes. Learn how to decorate your very own cupcake to take home – all members of the family are welcome to take part. A small fee of £2 to cover costs applies.
Sunday 27th - Wednesday 30th October
• An audience with King Henry VIII and 2 beheaded wives
• The Grim executioner will prowl the castle with tales of gore
• Two of Henry’s less fortunate wives will mingle with visitors, telling their sorry tales of how they fell out of favour with the King and what became of them!
• Wise women tell of their latest cures for pesky persistent plagues or pestilent pustules ..... talk to them and maybe they could cure your ills but be warned, they may be healers ….or perhaps witches!
• Beware the gaolers, they are actively recruiting and will try to lure you into their less than salubrious accommodation ... so make sure you behave!
• Try your hand or rather feet at Tudor dancing
• Spooky stories
Pull on your wellies and set off on a spooky adventure around the grounds, hunting down our Halloween themed decorations. Get your *face painted in a ghoulish fashion, then swap your adventure stories over toasted marshmallows in the Wild Play area.
*Small fee applies