near Eastnor, Herefordshire, England
Eastnor Castle is set in a 5,000 acre estate in the Malvern Hills, about two miles from the market town of Ledbury in the village of Eastnor.
From a distance the 19th century rectangular castle gives the impression of a medieval fortress, it is built over two floors with tall circular turrets at each corner and square towers at the centre. The Norman revival style castle is built of sandstone and sits above the lake with views over the deer park and arboretum below.
The castle is home to the Hervey-Bathurst family but is open to the public
during the Easter and the May Bank Holiday weekends, Sunday’s from June until October and from Sunday to Thursday from the middle of July until the end of August.
During the summer months the castle organizes evens such as battle reconstructions, the Land Rover Challenge and children’s theatre as well as a maze and assault course, adventure playground and walks around the woodland and lake and even offers camping and caravanning in the deer park. The kitchen café serves homemade locally produced food and the gift shop is open for souvenirs.
Eastnor also operates as a wedding venue both for civil ceremonies and receptions. During the winter the Great Hall with its roaring log fire is a grand reception area and during the summer months the French windows are opened onto the patio overlooking the lake where drinks receptions are held. Ceremonies are held in the Gothic Drawing Room licensed for up to 80 guests, with dining taking place in the State Dining Room. Following the wedding the newly weds and their guests can choose to stay in some of the castle’s bedrooms, all decorated in individual styles.
The Cocks family purchased the land in the 16th century, their children married into the wealthy Sommers and Nash families and by 1810 the family was able to build a castle on the site as a defense against the Welsh.
The castle was left uninhabited from 1926 until 1945 when the family lived in Australia and after their return whilst it was made available to the government for use in the Second World War; although it was never used.
In 1945 Lady Sommers returned to live in the servant’s wing until 1949 when Elizabeth Sommers Cocks and Benjamin Hervey Bathurst moved in and started renovating and repairing the castle after years of neglect. The current family members arrived in 1998 and received grants from English Heritage for external repairs and now operate tourism and wedding ventures to help with the upkeep of the castle.
Each year in August the Deer park plays host to the ‘Big Chill’ Festival specializing in Indie, Dance, Reggae, Folk and Chillout music.
As well as music the castle has been used for many TV productions and was also the setting for the 1969 film “One More Time" starring Sammy Davis Jr. and an adaptation of Oscar Wildes ‘The Canterville Ghost’ in 1986.
Other Castles in the Area
Goodrich Castle, Herefordshire