Being American, I was very excited to stay in an 800 year old Norman castle and the hostel did not disappoint. We are a family of four with two young boys and we had a lovely, bright room (Isobel's room) on the first floor. The shower facilities and toilets were nearby and well maintained. The lounge was large and comfortable with a great selection of board games. The grounds were safe for the children to run around on their own. And the location was fantastic with easy access to Clearwell Caves, cycling in the Forest of Dean, Puzzlewood, and walking trails. The village of St. Briavels is very picturesque and the one pub had decent food.
The highlight of our stay was the medieval banquet and archery lessons for our boys. Simon was fantastic in teaching the kids archery, he could really relate to the kids and made my shy, timid boy come out of his shell a bit. He was also fantastic at the medieval banquet. My boys still talk about the dinner and how they ate without cutlery. We laughed, we ate, we wore fancy dress and we enjoyed every minute of it. After the dinner we had a brilliant time playing medieval Cluedo. All of the staff at the hostel were helpful and very kind. I especially want to say thank you to Simon for his helpful information and overall cheery disposition. He's a real laugh that adds more character to the castle. And thank you to Linda for running a great family establishment.
Just to inform potential guests, the self-catering kitchen is very small. Also, don't count on the wi-fi. You pay a fee and can only access it in two areas of the castle (neither one being your room). A weak router makes for non-existent streaming capabilities. But, neither of these issues affected our stay. The castle has so much character and the staff are so brilliant you don't need wi-fi. I would highly recommend this hostel for a fabulous family weekend getaway.