Things to see and do
The Royal Oak
Following the execution of King Charles I in 1649, his eldest son made a brave attempt to regain the throne. In 1651 his hopes were crushed at Worcester in the final conflict of the Civil War. Following the defeat, young Charles was forced to flee for his life towards the River Severn. Finding his way blocked by Cromwell's patrols he sought refuge instead at Boscobel, hiding first in a tree, which is now known as The Royal Oak.
Today, the lost oak pasture has been restored including trees propagated from the original Royal Oak. The tallest oak you see here is the oldest descendant and beside it, is a replacement grown from an acorn of the oak, which was planted by the Prince of Wales in 2001, on the 350th anniversary of Charles’s visit.
Built in about 1632, Boscobel House, originally a timber-framed farmhouse, was converted into a hunting lodge by John Giffard of Whiteladies. The Giffard family were Roman Catholics, at a time when the religion suffered persecution, and tradition holds that the true purpose of Boscobel was to serve as a secret place for the shelter of Catholics in times of need.
Explore the history of the lodge by candlelight, including a priest hole where Charles II hid, with our interactive tour.
Boscobel's farmyard is a well-preserved example of a 19th-century small 'planned farm'. The farm buildings here feature agricultural exhibits where you can learn more about Boscobel's history as a farmyard as you explore the dairy, cowshed and farmyard.
Experience what life would have been like on a busy Victorian working farm as you meet the resident animals including Ryeland Sheep and Tamworth pigs.
Play Area and Trail
Continuing the 'hide and seek theme', our play area is great for children visiting Boscobel House. Young visitors will have fun hiding in the replica priest holes and letting off steam exploring the climbing frame, slide and swing. Located next to the cafe, parents can enjoy a hot drink and cake while their children play.
Plus, don't miss the interactive play trail which takes you around the house and grounds.
Boscobel’s garden is typical of the type which would have been at the house in the 17th-century, complete with characteristic box hedging and plants such as peonies and artemisias, commonly found in parterre gardens at the time.
Walk up the small mound, on top of which was a “pretty arbour” where Charles is said to have spent a few hours reading in 1651.
White Ladies Priory
The origins of White Ladies Priory are unknown, its first recorded reference is in 1186 and the unusual dedication to St Leonard - the patron saint of captives has led us to believe it may have been built by local gentry, in thanks for a release from captivity.
The pleasant, twenty-minute walk from Boscobel to White Ladies Priory is a must-see for all visitors due to the spectacular views and fascinating ruins, once another hiding place of Charles II before he moved to Boscobel House.
Go on an adventure as you explore the grass maze and 28 metre-long willow tunnel which snakes through a field next to the garden. Planted in 2020, with the help of volunteers, the willow tunnel is a brilliant place for young visitors to play.
Don’t forget to visit our tearoom situated in the former stables. It offers a delicious selection of cakes and light lunches, made from seasonal ingredients and sourced from local suppliers.
Look out for specials on the menu featuring fresh ingredients from Boscobel's kitchen garden.