The Best Castles and Stately Homes in the Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is a picturesque and much-loved region located in south-central England, known for its rolling hills, charming villages, stately homes castles, and stunning countryside landscapes.

Covering approximately 800 square miles, stretching across six counties, including Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, and Somerset. The Cotswolds is famous for its distinctive architecture, characterized by honey-colored limestone buildings, many of which date back to the medieval period.

The Cotswolds are packed with historic castles. From Norman castles to the site of a Royal murder. But you will also find many beautiful stately homes in the Cotswolds. These historic houses are among the grandest in the country and boast beautiful interiors with fine furniture and art as well as beautiful gardens and parkland if you prefer to be out of doors.    

These are the best Cotswolds castles and stately homes that you must visit on a trip to the English countryside. For the full countryside experience, make sure to stay at one of the beautiful country house hotels in the Cotswolds. But these castles in the Cotswolds can also be visited from historic cities like Oxford and Bath.

Castles in the Cotswolds

photo: W. de Jager / CC BY-SA 4.0

Sudeley Castle

Constructed in the 15th century, Sudeley Castle boasts a history that spans a millennium. The castle features 10 noteworthy gardens, covering a vast area of 15 acres.

Initially built for the Lord High Treasurer of England, the castle was later seized by the crown and came under the ownership of King Edward IV and King Richard III. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn also graced the castle with their presence. Moreover, Sudeley Castle is the final resting place of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife.

Visitor information: the castle and gardens are open to visitors. Visit the website for more information.

photo: C. Michael Hogan / CC BY-SA 2.5

Beverston Castle

Beverston Castle (or Tetbury Castle) is a stone fortress that was founded in 1229 by Maurice de Gaunt. The majority of the castle dates from the medieval period, in the 14th century a small stronghold was added to the structure as well as a twin-towered gatehouse.  

The castle has remained a private residence until the 21st century.

St. Briavels Castle

St. Briavels Castle, situated in Gloucestershire, is a Norman castle surrounded by a moat. Its construction dates back to the 11th century when it was established as the Royal hub for the Forest of Dean. It was later chosen by King John as his preferred hunting lodge. Nowadays, the castle functions as a youth hostel.

photo: Robin Poitou / CC BY-SA 3.0

Berkeley Castle

The Berkeley family has owned this castle since it was built in the 11th century, and it is one of the March castles originally constructed to protect against Welsh invaders. What sets this castle apart is that the structure, the family, the archives dating back to the 12th century, its contents, and the town have all survived through the centuries. Additionally, the castle is reputed to be the site of the murder of King Edward II in 1327.

Visitor information: the castle and gardens are open to visitors from Spring to Autumn. Visit the website for more information.

Stately Homes in the Cotswolds

upton house stately homes cotswolds
Upton House, Warwickshire by Len Williams

Upton House

Upton House, located near Banbury, is a sprawling country house with a low profile. Its construction dates back to 1695 when it was built for Sir Rushout Cullen. Over the centuries, the house changed ownership several times, including the 5th Earl of Jersey and Richard Motion, the grandfather of writer Andrew Motion.

In 1927, Walter Samuel, 2nd Viscount Bearsted, and his wife, Lady Bearsted, purchased the house. They transformed it into a 1930s country retreat and adorned it with a renowned art collection.

The primary attraction of Upton House is its garden. Lady Bearsted and Kitty Lloyd Jones designed a stunning garden, featuring a kitchen garden, terraced garden, and a lake adorned with water lilies.

Visitor information: the house and garden are owned by the National Trust. Visit the website for current opening hours.

photo: DeFacto / CC BY-SA 4.0

Chastleton House

Chastleton House is a Jacobean country house located in the Cotswolds region of England. The house was built between 1607 and 1612 by a wealthy wool merchant named Walter Jones.

It is a well-preserved example of a Jacobean country house, with many original features and furnishings still intact. The house is famous for its stunning architecture, intricate plasterwork, and impressive collection of 17th-century furniture. In addition to the house, the property includes a beautiful walled garden and a surrounding parkland with walking trails.

Visitor information: the house and gardens are owned by the National Trust. Visit the website for opening times.

Sezincote House

Designed by Samuel Pepys Cockerell in the early 19th century, Sezincote House is a manor house renowned for its Neo-Mughal architecture, making it one of England’s most notable examples. This style of architecture was inspired by the Mughal empire’s 16th and 17th century buildings.

This miniature version of India situated in the Cotswolds is open to visitors, with the garden accessible year-round (excluding December) from Wednesday to Friday, and the house open from May to September during the same days. The house is also available as a wedding venue.

Visitor information: the house and garden are open to visitors. Visit the website for more information.

stanway house cotswolds jacobean architecture
photo: Diana R. Knight / CC BY-SA 4.0

Stanway House

Constructed in the 16th and 17th century, the Jacobean manor house was commissioned by the Tracy family. It is renowned for its 300-foot single-jet fountain, which is the tallest in all of Britain.

During the 1920s and 30s, J.M. Barrie, the writer of Peter Pan, was a frequent visitor to the house. The house is also available as a wedding venue.

Visitor information: the house and gardens are open to visitors. Visit the website for more information.

blenheim palace stately homes cotswolds
photo: Dreilly95 / CC BY-SA 4.0

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is a Baroque-style palace and the only non-royal, non-episcopal country house in England to be titled as a “palace”. It is also one of the largest stately homes in England and was the birthplace of Winston Churchill. Since 1987, Blenheim Palace is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

See also: These Palaces in Europe are UNESCO World Heritage Sites

The palace was the ancestral home of the Churchill family, and later the Churchill-Spencer family, for over 300 years. However, in the 19th century, the estate faced financial difficulties and was saved when the 9th Duke of Marlborough married American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt.

Blenheim Palace is a popular filming location for both blockbusters such as James Bond and Mission Impossible, as well as period dramas like Cinderella, A Little Chaos, and The Young Victoria. Visitors can download a guide to the filming locations you can find at the palace.

Visitor information: the palace is open to visitors on a daily basis. You can visit the historic State Rooms, a Churchill Museum and a “Downstairs” Tour. But the grounds have much to offer as well. There are several gardens, a butterfly house and a maze. The estate offers plenty for children as well with fun trails and a miniture train. Visit the website for more information.

Lodge Park and Sherborne Park Estate

Lodge Park is the sole surviving grandstand and deer course from the 17th century in England. In the 19th century, the structure was renovated into a residential dwelling and has been under the ownership of the National Trust since 1982.

Situated within the Sherborne Estate, the manor house is surrounded by a vibrant wildlife population. The estate features numerous footpaths that incorporate a sculpture trail, and it is accessible to visitors every day from dawn until dusk. However, Lodge Park can only be viewed through pre-booked tours.

Cirencester Park

Cirencester Park on the Bathurst Estate is a country house and historic parkland located in Cirencester, a market town in Gloucestershire, England. The park is approximately 3000 acres and has been owned by the Bathurst family for more than 300 years.

In the early 18th century the grand country house was built and the beautiful landscapes garden was planted which includes the ruined folly Alfred’s Hall, one of the earliest Gothic garden buildings in England.

Cirencester Park is open to the public and is a popular destination for walking, cycling, and horse riding.

Rodmarton Manor

In the early 20th century, the Biddulph family commissioned Rodmarton, an Arts & Crafts style manor house. The residence, along with all its furnishings, adheres to Arts & Crafts principles. Furthermore, it is one of the few remaining houses constructed in a traditional manner, with all components crafted by hand from locally sourced materials.

Visitor information: the house and gardens are open from May to September. The gardens are also opened during snowdrop season. Visit the website for opening times.


Woodchester Mansion

Woodchester Mansion is an example of an unfinished Gothic Revival mansion house. The construction of the residence began in 1857 but came to a halt in the mid-1860s, resulting in a building lacking floors, ceilings, plastered walls, and glazed windows.

The mansion provides a one-of-a-kind glimpse into Victorian architecture, with the building’s framework visible to all visitors.

Visitor information: the house is open to visitors in the Spring and Summer months. Visit the website for more information.

Owlpen Manor

The origins of Owlpen Manor date back to the Medieval era, but the bulk of the structure was erected during the Tudor period by the Daunt family, between 1464 and 1616. The manor played a significant role in the Arts and Crafts movement and was the subject of literary works by writers such as Henry Avray Tipping and Christopher Hussey.

Presently, the manor is owned by Sir Nicholas and Lady Mander, who have successfully restored the Stuart gardens to their former glory.

Visitor information: the house is open to visitors and the estate also offers holiday cottages. Visit the website for more information.

chavenage house elizabethan country house

Chavenage House

Chavenage House, constructed in 1576, is a fine example of Elizabethan architecture, featuring Cotswolds stone as its primary building material. The historic residence is frequently employed as a filming location, most notably serving as Trenwith in the BBC’s Poldark series.

Despite remaining a family home, Chavenage is open to visitors on designated days, providing a glimpse into the 400-year-old Cotswolds manor.

Visitor information: the house is open on selected days. Visit the website for more information.

Newark Park

Newark Park originated as a Tudor hunting lodge commissioned by Sir Nicholas Poyntz. Later, in 1672, the building was expanded with a new four-story wing. In 1790, architect James Wyatt transformed the lodge into a four-square house.

During the 20th century, Newark Park was used as a nursing home and fell into disrepair. However, American architect Bob Parsons restored and preserved the manor house, which has since become an important architectural landmark.

Visitor information: the house and garden are owned by the National Trust. Visit the website for opening times.

Highgrove House

The residence of King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the former Duchess of Cornwall, is Highgrove, which was purchased by the Duchy of Cornwall in 1980. The 18th century Georgian house was later renovated with the addition of neo-classical features by Prince Charles.

Moreover, the Prince has designed various gardens within the estate, such as the wild garden, formal garden, and walled kitchen garden. These gardens are accessible to visitors.

westonbirt house cotswolds

Westonbirt House

The Holford family owned the Westonbirt estate for over 250 years, from 1665 to 1926. The present Elizabethan-style house, designed by Lewis Vulliamy, was constructed during the 19th century.

The estate features a garden that showcases exotic tree species and is also home to the renowned Westonbirt Arboretum. Westobirt has been hailed by Country Life Magazine as “The finest collection of Victorian architecture, landscape, and gardens in the Cotswolds.”

Visitor information: the house and gardens are open on selected days, you have to pre-book a ticket. Visit the website for more information.


Horton Court

Horton Court, located in Horton, is a 16th-century manor house made of stone. The building features a 12th-century Norman hall with early Renaissance decorative elements.

In addition to being a popular filming location for TV series such as Wolf Hall and Poldark, the manor house is now a National Trust property and can be rented as a holiday accommodation.


Badminton Estate

Badminton House, a grand country house, has been in the possession of the Dukes of Beaufort since the 17th century. In the Second World War, it served as a residence for Queen Mary. Nowadays, the house primarily functions as an event venue, although on occasion, private tours for groups of 15-30 people can be arranged. Visit the website for more information.


Dyrham Park

Constructed in the 17th and 18th centuries for William Blathwayt, Dyrham Park is a baroque country house located near Bath. The estate boasts a substantial collection of furniture and artwork, including Dutch masters.

The house is also used as a film location for the BBC series of Sense and Sensibility.

Visitor information: Dyrham Park is owned by the National Trust. The house and gardens are open to visitors. Visit the website for more information.    

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