Britain has many castles in all states of repair and if you plan to spend your time travelling around Britain visiting castles a good reference can be found at Castles of Britain and Welsh Castles. However there are a number of castles within easy reach of Bath that can be seen as part of a days excursion.
Leaving Bath take the A46 towards Gloucester until you reach the M4 junction 18 and head towards Newport. Shortly after the M4 intersection the motorway splits and you should take the M48 to Chepstow.Chepstow is our first stop. The castle was commenced after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The castle lies on the River Wye and was in use for around 5 centuaries until its forticifcations were dismantled in 1690 and slowly allowed to decay over the next 300 years.
You now have a choice and depending on time you can complete an excursion to Cardiff to view the castle. Rejoin the M48 and then the M4 towards Cardiff.From junctions 29, 32 and 33 of the M4 follow signs to Cardiff city centre. Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’s leading tourist attractions. Situated in the very heart of the capital, alongside city centre shopping and the magnificent Bute Park, the Castle’s enchanting fairytale towers conceal an elaborate and splendid interior.
The next castle on our trip is located at Berkley in Gloucestershire. We now retrack our route along the M4 back towards Bristol until we reach junction 20 and then taking the M5 north to junction 14 where we leave the motorway and take the A38 towards Gloucester. After about 5 miles take the B4066 for Berkeley castle. Berkeley Castle is one of England’s most historical castles overlooking the River Severn on the borders of England and Wales. It was the inspiration for the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written by Shakespeare in the 16th century, which was originally written and performed for the Berkeley family. One of the most famous historical events that happened at Berkeley was the murder of King Edward II in 1327. Edward was held captive in a cell at the castle for 18 months before he met his death here.
Next to Berkeley Castle stands the Jenner Museum. Edward Jenner is most famous for the discovery of the smallpox vaccination. However this was only a small part of his many discoveries and if you have time, this museum is well worth a visit.
Now on to our final castle, Sudeley Castle just north of Cheltenham. Rejoin the M5 at junction 13 leaving at junction 9. Located on the edge of Winchcombe in the heart of the Cotswolds, about 10 miles from junction 9.The Castle was once home to Queen Katherine Parr, following her marriage to Sir Thomas Seymour, and Lady Jane Grey. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth I all visited Sudeley. King Charles I stayed here and his nephew, Prince Rupert, established his headquarters at the Castle, during the Civil War.
During your trip today you have had the opportunity to visit up to 4 castles today, all from different eras in British history, some still occupied by descendents of previous owners, others managed by the state.
It is now time to return to Bath and you have two options, take the motorway back to Bath or drive back through the Cotswolds. Head back towards Cheltenham, join the A46 and head back to Bath. Take the opportunity to stop at Painswick. Every other Cotswold town has been compared with Painswick. It is not necessarily the prettiest or the most unspoiled or the most characteristic small Cotswold town, but it has been used as the standard by which others are judged the rest and the town has even been titled “The Queen of the Cotswolds. Take a wander around and maybe a light supper before you return to the Windsor hotel.