Sovereign Travel’s first story of the English Castles Series
Sovereign travel is our new thing. We’re in love with English Castles and the story behind them. The beauty of living at the beginning of third millennium in the United Kingdom is that we enjoy a history that makes us proud! Whether you are local to this small island, living in a big city or just visiting the UK, there is a never ending fascination to learn from the magnificence of English Culture and Heritage.
Nothing could be more rewarding than showing you around another lifestyle available, where you eat, sleep and breathe high-end, the sovereign way. Enough said, we want to share those places with our readers and connect you with the people who make it happen.
We hand-pick the castles that we visit and whether you’re booking for the very last minute or planning your summer or winter sojourn ahead, chances are we’ll receive the royal treatment.
We discovered Studley Castle while writing an article to celebrate Shakespeare’s 455 birthday on 26th April this year.
Set in an 1830s manor house, this upscale country hotel is 4 miles from Coughton Court (dating from the 15th century) and 13 miles from the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Breathtakingly beautiful, with serene views onto green fields bleating of spring lambs, the castle benefits from a masterful restoration (£54 million) which makes this location the flagship of the Warner Leisure Hotels Group.
Once owned by the Lyttleton family before being bequeathed by Philip Lyttleton to his niece Dorothy, the building was designed in Gothic Revival style by the renowned theatre architect Samuel Beazley, and was completed in 1836 but it has never actually been used as a castle. The vision of Francis Lyttleton Holyoake, high sheriff of Warwickshire, started with £120,000 budget ( £14.5m today) and was an extraordinary home to his family. After seven decades of decadent living, Francis’ dream came to an end and he was declared bankrupt. Lady Warwick purchased the building and transformed it into Studley College in 1903 and the castle was used as a horticultural training establishment for ladies until early 1960s, and later as a Marketing Centre for Rover.
In 1969 the building gained its Grade II* listing, and in 2006 it was converted again, this time into a country house hotel.
A MUST HAVE EXPERIENCE – Away from it all
It’s Shakespeare’s county and Warwick’s castle, The wolds and tea rooms of The Cotswolds, and walks through the ancient Forest of Arden
Start the day with a perfect English Breakfast- to die for!
With everything that is on offer, you could escape the online life, but have no fear, Wi-Fi is free and if you really want to give a miss to the great outdoors, there are flat-screen TVs and stunning garden views.
I was promised Free amenities including breakfast and parking but I received so much more! There’s also a wood-panelled lounge/bar serving light meals, and an elegant restaurant. Market Food offers a delightful range of classic British and European menu, which during my stay had an abundant Chinese selection I did not expect- just to wow me again!
Other facilities include a fitness room, a sauna and a business centre, as well as exclusive meeting/function rooms and more than 20 acres of gardens. Imagine!
I’ve searched every nook and cranny, the view from the tower, and while I’ve got lost each time I tried to find my way back to my Sovereign quarters, I enjoyed it all, and I hope you do too!
Restaurants, Bar, Holiday shop and spa areas have a unique contemporary style and the attention received while residing in my own Castle suit was a pleasant surprise. Designed to suit a younger crowd, this Castle has it all!
I must congratulate the Team Studley for creating an oasis of total relaxation in the most divine setting. Make no mistake, when Francis is looking down on you, he can’t stop smiling!
JUST A STONE’S THROW AWAY:
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Walk in the Bard’s footsteps and build up the full picture of the man and his sonnets with access to his family homes and the places most important to him.
From his childhood dwellings and the Jacobean interiors of his daughter’s home, to his mother’s Tudor farm and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Get exclusive discounted entry to five unique properties in and around Stratford-upon-Avon. Tickets are valid for 12 months.
Prices from £17pp. Visit the Shop on arrival to book your ticket.
Purity Brewing Company tour
This award-winning brewery is based on a working farm just three miles from the hotel. Established in 2005, their mission is simple: brew great beer without prejudice, with a conscience and with a consistency and an attention to detail which is second to none.
Our bespoke tour includes the ins and outs of how the locally-crafted beers and ales are produced. Afterwards, enjoy a cheese board with chutneys and jams, featuring local produce, along with a generous tasting session.
This tour costs £25 per person. Reserve your place at time of booking, or visit the Shop on arrival.
This famous local landmark has a history stretching back almost 1100 years, and has survived attack, siege and fire. It makes for a great day out – take in the battlements and magnificent interiors then witness some of the darkest times in its history as you explore the dungeons.
There are spectacular shows that bring history vividly to life: birds of prey displays, the Castle’s resident bowman and the largest working siege machine in the world.
Prices from £17pp. Visit the Shop on arrival to book your ticket.
An afternoon in Bourton-on-the-Water
Places don’t get much more postcard-perfect than Bourton-on-the-Water. Famous for its low bridges and honey-coloured stone buildings, it’s as peaceful as it is inviting. There’s time for a wander along the water and a bite to eat. Coach travel is included, with departure from the hotel at 12 noon, returning by 4pm.
This tour costs £15 per person. Reserve your place at time of booking, or visit the Shop on arrival.
Experience the Cotswolds
This area of outstanding natural beauty has an abundance of stunning villages to explore, with quaint country pubs, gorgeous tea rooms and stunning views that roll on for miles. We’ve put together this three-stop tour that includes a visit to Broadway, Bourton-on-the-Water and Stow-on-the-Wold.
Coach travel is included. Departs from the hotel at 10am, returning by 4pm.
This tour costs £19 per person. Reserve your place at time of booking, or visit the Shop on arrival.
The Arden Way
Winding its way for 26 miles, this footpath traces the old byways of the ancient Forest of Arden, believed to be the setting for Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
The marked path cuts right through the castle grounds. Turn right towards Ullenhall and its old parish church, or left takes you through woodland and water meadows towards Coughton Court.
Team Studley created a great experience during my business travel. I arrived the day after the grand re-launch and despite the fact that they were double booked, I was given my own Castle Room. Enjoyed talking with the ladies from the Castle Shop and took much inspiration on how to get to know the Castle and explore the outdoors. Designed to suit a younger crowd, this Castle has it all! A heartfelt thank you!