Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire opens its doors to visitors this year on April 1 - and the picturesque medieval fortress and family home has announced an exciting programme of activities for visitors to enjoy throughout 2014, beginning with family-friendly "Dragons at Easter".
Berkeley Castle, which is one of the most remarkable buildings in the country and has been lived in by the same family for over 850 years - longer than any other fortress in England - will open every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from the beginning of April until the end of October.
The picturesque Castle boasts many treasures and tales from its long and rich history. The Castle's Keep was finished in the late 12th Century by the first of the Berkeleys, Robert Fitzharding, a wealthy provost of Bristol who was awarded the Castle by Henry II, the then Duke of Anjou. Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream is believed to have been written for a Berkeley family wedding and the murder of King Edward II notoriously took place here in 1327.
Today visitors can enjoy guided tours of the Castle’s apartments, which date from medieval to Georgian periods or can revel in the Castle’s dark history and medieval dungeon (King Edward’s Cell). There is also an historic exterior to enjoy including a picturesque inner courtyard and terraced gardens. The Castle also houses a popular butterfly house and an award-winning Yurt tea room.
Themed quizzes, trails and events for children take place on a regular basis and Berkeley Castle will begin its family activities on Easter Sunday April 20 and Easter Monday April 21 with the opportunity for children to meet "dragon handlers" and their "friendly dragons", hear dragon stories, join in the fun with a Chinese dragon and take part in a dragon egg hunt around the Castle and gardens.
Children's art and craft activities also take place from Easter Sunday until Wednesday April 23 and all dragon activities are included in the Castle entrance fees of adult £9.50, junior (4-16) £5.00, 3 and under free, family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £24.00 and concession (full time students and over 60’s) £7.50. Prices remain unchanged from 2013.
Other events and activities planned for the coming seasons include a Skirmish when the medieval world comes to the Castle meadow, summer holiday activities including archery, arts and crafts and story-telling, a rural festival of the Harvest and Christmas concerts at the year end.
Berkeley Castle can be found at Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BQ Tel: 01453 810303 Visit www.berkeley-castle.com