About Blaise Castle Museum and Estate
Blaise Castle Museum and Estate is a Humphrey Repton designed landscape in in North Bristol, with a house, castle and folly on its grounds. It remains a popular spot for Bristolians at weekends as an escape from the centre of the city.
History of Blaise Castle Museum and Estate
The area around Blaise Castle has been probably been inhabited since Neolithic times – there’s definitely evidence of settlements from the Bronze Age onwards. It formed part of the Kingdom of Mercia prior to the Norman Conquest, and during this time, it gained its name: a chapel to Saint Blaise was constructed.
When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in the 1530s, the estate was granted to Ralph Sadler, whose family owned it until 1675.
The estate then changed hands four times in the next hundred years, until it arrived in the hands of John Harford, a wealthy Bristol merchant and banker, who bought it in 1789. He had Blaise Castle House constructed: designed by the architect William Paty in a neoclassical style. Later additions included the Orangery, and the Picture Room, which is open to the public today.
Harford also built the nearby Blaise Hamlet to house his servants and tenants: it is now under the ownership of the National Trust, having originally been sold to Bristol City Council in 1926 to prevent redevelopment.
Blaise Castle House has been under the ownership of Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery since 1949, and is rented out as a private event space, as well as being partially open as a museum primarily focusing on domestic and social history.
Blaise Castle Museum and Estate today
With 400 acres of parkland, Blaise Castle is a popular walking and running spot, particularly on weekends. Look out for the 19th century Gothic Revival folly – built in 1766, it’s said to feature in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey. It’s open some weekends in the summer, and there are fantastic views from the top on a clear day: look closely and you can see over to Wales. Take good walking shoes so you can explore fully!
The Castle Museum itself is also worth a visit, its costume collection alone amounts to 10,000 items, and the ‘Bristol At Home’ display is fascinating.
Getting to Blaise Castle
Blaise Castle Estate is located a couple of miles off the M5, near Henbury in North Bristol. There is ample parking nearby, including disabled spaces. Bus route 1 goes from Bristol Temple Meads / City Centre to just outside the estate. The nearest station is Bristol Parkway (5.1 miles).