Home to the same family for 27 generations and with 11th century origins, Berkeley Castle has a long and remarkable history. From the 2 – 29 September, the Berkeley Castle Uncovered exhibition is giving you a chance to dig a little deeper than ever before into the stories of the castle and those who have lived there. Expect talks, tours and exhibitions, with access to rarely seen exhibits and spaces. 

And it’s not just for history buffs! Here are five parts of the exhibition that prove lovers of fashion, gardens, art, castles and intrigue will all be captivated by the programme.

Aerial view over Berkeley Castle

Image credit: Berkeley Castle

Mrs Berkeley’s dresses

Admire some of the most special pieces from the wardrobe of Mrs Berkeley. A stunning selection of her dresses are on display, including her wedding dress from 1967 and the Emanuel Ungaro outfit she wore to Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding in 1981. A Dior ball gown and a number of vintage Givenchy dresses worn by Mrs Berkeley in the 1970s and 1980s also feature, making for a show-stopping collection of 20th century designer dresses.

Mrs Berkeley's dresses in the Berkeley Castle Uncovered exhibition

Image credit: Berkeley Castle

King Edward II’s cell

There is a notorious piece of history Berkeley Castle is known for – King Edward II was murdered here in 1327. Usually, the cell where he was imprisoned is out of bounds to visitors and you can only get a glimpse inside through a small barred window. But during Berkeley Castle Uncovered it will be opened up for the first time in years, giving a unique insight into this infamous time in the castle’s history.   

Wire sculpture in Edward II's cell at Berkeley Castle

Image credit: Berkeley Castle

The Makings of a Castle Garden

Just as impressive as the castle are the surrounding gardens, kept in tip-top shape by the Head Gardener of almost 30 years, Chris Gill. No one knows the gardens better and he will be treating visitors to guided tours throughout September. These will share his tremendous knowledge of interesting areas, features and plants, as well as cover how the gardens have evolved with help from old photos.

The gardens at Berkeley Castle

Image credit: Berkeley Castle

The Oldest Family Home

What purpose has Berkeley Castle served in its 900 year history and how has it changed over the centuries? Castle Custodian Josh Nash breaks it down into three key phases in his talk ‘The Oldest Family home and its Ever-Changing Face’. Head to the Small Drawing Room on Mondays at 12pm to hear him discuss the castle's beginnings as a regional stronghold, how the structure was adapted after the English Civil War and modernisations carried out at the turn of the 20th century.

Old painting of Berkeley Castle

Image credit: Berkeley Castle 

Historic artefacts in the Picture Gallery Display Cabinet

An eclectic array of objects have been found inside and outside at Berkeley Castle over the years and a selection of these will be on view in the Picture Gallery Display Cabinet. The most notable find is an exquisite ring dating all the way back to the Saxon era, which was unearthed in the grounds by a gardener. Rarely on display to the public, this is yet another example of the exclusive behind-the-scenes access you can enjoy during Berkeley Castle Uncovered. The ring will be displayed alongside everything from coins and candles to bricks imprinted with their maker’s fingerprints and much more.

Saxon signet ring found in the grounds of Berkeley Castle

Image credit: Berkeley Castle

The Berkeley Castle Uncovered exhibition is open Sundays to Wednesdays until September 2019 and entry is included in the usual admission fee. Find the full programme of talks and book entry tickets here.

Also on at Berkeley Castle in September:

This content was kindly sponsored by Berkeley Castle.

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Berkeley Castle is a beautiful and historic Castle, begun in 1117 and still remains the home of the Berkeley family. It is a great day-out for all the family, hosting special events on bank holidays and during school holidays

Berkeley Castle Uncovered
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Berkeley Castle Uncovered

This September Berkeley Castle offers an intimate insight into the stories and artefacts that form part of the remarkable and significant history of the Castle.