Just north of Bristol, in the provincial town of Thornbury, is the Thornbury Castle that has in its 500-year-old history hosted many well known guests – from Cardinal Wolsey and Thomas Cromwell in the 14th century to Lakshmi Mittal and Barbra Streisand in the present times. The most famous is of course King Henry VIII who twice visited the castle, and even today five centuries later the property continues to draw guests who are fascinated by the fact that he had stayed in the castle. Currently owned by Luxury Family Hotels, Thornbury Castle is the only Tudor castle in England that is a hotel.
Thornbury Castle has positioned itself as a MICE venue of distinction. “We are such an individual and unique property. Our clientele are companies that are looking for aspirational venues. We hold lot of high level meetings of major companies, who come here to plan their marketing strategies, sales and budget strategies, mergers and acquisition deals. They want to go somewhere which takes them out of corporate hotel space and puts them into an inspirational and aspirational property. This reflects on their conversation, their ideas,” says Faye Kelly, general manager, Thornbury Castle. The client organisation can use all of the grounds and assets of the castle. “We want people to feel very relaxed in this environment. Our property is different from the normal hotel environment, like your home and we cater to every need. During weekends we do lot of weddings and family events, but mid week it is all about the high-end MICE business and that's what we do well. We work with some agents and unique venue finders,” adds Kelly.
With close proximity to Bath and Bristol, London is only two hours drive from the castle, which attracts a lot of international business. Equally important is however local business enterprises, who want to entertain their clients at this historical property. “We are open to all markets. About 50 per cent of our business comes from those who are within two hours drive time, but equally 50 per cent would be American, Australian, Canadian, Asian, French and German operators and Middle East families as well. You can have a shopping experience in London and stay in this very prestigious historical castle,” states Kelly.
The property has hosted many guests from India, who have mostly been leisure travellers. “Indian clientele are generally wealthy