Berkeley Castle / David Bowd-Exwoth / Historic Houses Association
Located in Gloucestershire, Berkeley Castle has been in the same family since 1153. While the Georgians and Victorians modernized other medieval castles, Berkeley’s owners left it as it was: a Norman fortress enlarged into a massive family home. It earned its notoriety in the 14th century when King Edward II—who had abdicated the throne in favor of his younger son—was imprisoned there. The castle’s archives record his time inside, explaining that he initially lived a life of great comfort. But following his escape and re-arrest he spent a bit more time in the dungeon. It’s unclear how he was killed, but a popular tale suggests an assassin inserted a red-hot chimney poker up his rear. Also on display is a bedspread believed to have been used by Elizabeth I.
The owners of Britain’s most historic houses anticipate that the Diamond Jubilee will spark renewed interest in their properties—especially those with connections to royalty. “Visitors are interested in a house the moment they hear it has a royal story,” says Nick Way, the director general of Britain’s Historic Houses Association (HHA). “They want to know what the people were like, whether they had baths and what they did with their servants.” With that in mind the HHA has launched the “Great British Royalty Trail” to guide tourists through the places where royalty slept, wept and had affairs. Here are ten of TIME’s favorite stops.