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REVIEW: Enchanted Sudeley at Sudeley Castle

Enchanted Sudeley at Sudeley Castle

It was only Monday morning of the Autumn Half Term, and if I'm brutally honest, I'd had my fill of plastic and garish Halloween paraphernalia. If I see another pretend spider web with plastic spider, plastic pumpkin and tub of orange coated sweets... it will be too soon. However, I also have two children who literally cannot get enough of this Halloween tide, and so, determined not to be a Halloween humbug, we set off in our wellies and wooly hats to Enchanted Sudeley, well braced to finding all of the above.

I cannot tell you my relief as it became clear to me that their fairy tale based trail would be a more subtle and clever affair; Sudeley Castle, in my opinion, have got this nailed.

Free to roam the grounds and house without forced direction, the children (and I) loved exploring Sudeley in our own time. With no forced trail, arrows and clues, it was up to us to explore the castle and grounds at our own pace, in our own way, to seek and stumble across enchanted fairy tale scenes. Subtle in their execution (the long hair of Rapunzle flowing out of a top tower window; the Frog Prince and golden orb sat on the edge of the pond), the scenes were beautiful well calculated and bold in their understated simplicity. We took it in turns to read the stories aloud. Enchanted Sudeley has showed that in this case, less is most definitely more.

Who needs plastic spiders when you've got castles, gargoyles, knights, and ruins to tell their own eerie beauty of Halloween tales and history, with plants creeping out of all the cracks, and empty arched windows framing the skies as we hope to catch a bat flying over. Who needs plastic orange pumpkins when you've got the spectacular orange leaves and dahlias offering the backdrop to the Little Red Riding Hood wolf?

With a gentle Halloween backdrop to the day, we had the most beautiful time slowly walking around the grounds, marvelling at the late autumn roses, watching squirrels chasing through the leaf litter under and up the trees, and with robins flitting around the corners of our vision looking for worms. We walked through the hedges and lawns watching the gardeners hard at work. We admired the rare breed pheasantry, sporting their bright autumn plumage, and laughed at the carp clamouring up from the depths to catch our dropped biscuit crumbs.

Having found and admired all the fairy tale scenes, we warmed up with hot drinks and scrummy Halloween cakes and biscuits in the café, while the children completed their trail quiz. This is where I admitted that yes, even though I had seen a plastic spider today, in the Forbidden Forest, it actually looked rather cool, creeping over towards the pumpkin headed scarecrow. And that all in all, Grimm fairy stories and a simple gothic beauty, was what Halloween (to me) is all about.

Enchanted Sudeley continues until Sunday 3 November from 10am - 5pm. Book online and save 10%.

by Rubalie
Explore Gloucestershire
Monday 28 October 2019

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