Did quite a bit of driving today compared to the other days as I had to get closer towards London so was only able to see 2 castles today, I did spend most of the time in Taunton Castle as I had a late checkout and was enjoying staying in the Castle itself, also the breakfast was awesome so enjoyed that

DAY 15 ITINERARY

A – TAUNTON & TAUNTON CASTLE
B – TORRINGTON
C – SHERBOURNE CASTLE & GARDENS

D – ELCOT PARK – The Retreat

2hr 35mins driving today
Hung out in the Somerset & Dorset Counties today and ended up in Berkshire

TAUNTON CASTLE

Somerset

Taunton castle has its origins in the Anglo Saxon times then the Normans built a stone structure in its place in 12th c, the castle was built to defend Taunton – This whole area is now a castle museum and a military museum beautifully set up to recreate the old school feel

The inner courtyard of the castle complex with different era buildings
The castle hotel where im staying
The Norman gardens and the well
This was an original door left over from the reformation (the faces have all been ruined) and was found in someones garden and used as a chicken coop door! You can see the little hole cut out at the bottom for the chickens to use as a door
The castle had a 2nd hand bookstore, love how the brits really enjoy swapping and sharing their books, they really have heaps of 2nd hand book stores everywhere
The little norman shack where a family of 6-8 used to live
Plan of the old castle complex
Castle House – built in 1480s by the Bishop of Winchester and was part of the castle and lodgings for bishops guests.
The school room – for more than 100 years the castle house was used as a school, first girls school in later 1700s then in 1843 a boys school after that it becomes a private boarding school
The family home – was once the home of the Tongue family, from 1902-1906 Edward Tounge as the congregational minister in Taunton – then from 1907-1940s it was the home of the Gray family

SHERBOURNE CASTLES & GARDEN

Dorset

Sherborne has had a castle since the 12th c.. Roger Bishop of Salisbury built a castle to the east of the Town to administer the western part of his large diocese.

in 1969 this castle opened its doors to the public, but there is a lot of history to it…

The beautiful colours of the english countryside!
Looking out across the lake to the old sherborne castle, still beautiful!

In early Tudor times the Bishops built a small Hunting Lodge in the deer park attached to the Old Castle

1753 Capability Brown commissioned to install a lake.

The new sherborne castle
From the back – In 1617 the diplomat Sir John Digby acquired Sherborne Castle and he added four wings to Raleigh’s building, giving the house its present H-shape.
How cute are these ducks! (Match my shoes lol)
The old sherborne castle – Sir Walter Raleigh acquired the Old Castle in 1592

In the Civil War the Digbys fought for the Royalist cause and the Old Castle was garrisoned and suffered two sieges.

William of Orange visits the Castle during the Revolution and issues a proclamation here declaring himself King of England.

in 1914 The castle was used as a Red Cross VAD Hospital for wounded soldiers. There were 27 beds, and 192 patients were treated.

THE RETREAT AT ELCOT PARK

Berkshire

The Retreat is a newly re-imagined 18th-century country house hotel & spa set in magnificent grounds

One of the longer drives from Sherborne to the retreat

They have recently opened in June and already won an award for the best interior design for a hotel!

The resort from above
A welcome drink in the library
This was one of the large sitting areas with board games and where you can mingle with other guests
The grand entrance from the laneway
Fresh flowers and candles in the reception area
The awesome dinner
Complimentary ginger liquer in the room
Too much to choose from!

The staff are absolutely lovely and they all seem really happy to be working there, the few I spoke to say they love working there and they are well looked after, the general manager had a bit of a chat to a couple of us explaining a bit about the hotel and the design inspiration etc, everyone is just really friendly and the place is really welcoming!

I definitely recommend this retreat for a relaxing spoilt getaway if you are lucky enough to be in the uk!