These days, you do not have to be of royal blood to stay in a castle. The UK, in particular, is packed with castles, often in stunning locations, brimming with character and full of heritage and history. But, unlike in the old days, most castle stays in the UK offer the rare chance to live inside your fairytale dreams and escape everyday life stresses.
Most castle stays have now been revamped into luxurious hotels, spa spots, and boutique retreats. They will often offer bed and breakfast to full hotel services, and you will also find some that even offer self-catering, giving you a chance to be your own lord or lady. These castle hotels are spread across the UK, from Cotswolds, Devon, and Cornwall in the south to Northumberland, Durham, and Yorkshire.
Why were castles built?
In the early days, the primary purpose of a castle was to protect the royal people living inside from an invasion brought on by enemy attacks. So, they were mainly designed and built with defense in mind.
Typically they featured tall outer walls, watch towers, buildings, and fortifications inside the walls. These structures were made of wood and earth but later out of stone and brick.
The other main reason castles were built was to claim ownership over large pieces of land. A castle would typically signify the power the lord or royalty that lived in the castle wields.
How are castles used today?
Not all castles have survived war, attacks, and years of bad weather. Most of them have been rebuilt but still portray their original designs and historic touches.
Nowadays, some castles function as tourist attractions and museums, while others have become homes to royal families. However, most castles have become hotels where people can relax or even host concerts and special events.
Therefore, you can book a night or two in some of the best castle hotels today. However, there are so many incredible options, and you might have difficulty choosing the perfect one. Here are some of the best castle hotels in the UK to make it easier for you.
1. Kinross House
One of Scotland's most illustrious castles, Kinross House has a history that stretches as far back as 1257. Sir William Bruce contracted the magnificent residence in 1685 as his own home. Through the centuries, the castle was added to and owned by various prestigious families, including King Robert II, until 2011, when it was transformed into a luxurious hotel.
image credit: historichouses.org
Since then, Kinross House has welcomed visitors to stay or hire the estate. You can hire the place for family gatherings, private parties, and the ultimate luxury experience.
The castle hotel has a beautiful mansion that can accommodate up to 48 guests simultaneously, with 14 guests getting amazing ensuite rooms. The amazing bit is that every room is named after an aspect of the estate's history, character, or location. Again all the rooms are luxuriously comfortable, featuring different furniture with modernized touches and uniquely designed bathrooms.
image credit: kinrosshouse.com
In addition to the amazing rooms, the castle also provides its guests with a first-class dining experience and an extensive Whisky Library. The Library allows guests to experience an array of sensational whiskies and discover the flavors of Scotland's most famous drinks.
2. Hever Castle
Hever Castle is another amazing hotel in England that will allow you to spend your night in the same bedrooms as some of the most famous English royalties. The castle was first built in the early 13th century. In the regnant of King Henry VIII, it became the family home to Anne Boleyn, the king's short-lived second wife. Shortly after the death of Anne Boleyn, Anne Of Cleves, one of King Henry VIII's wives, took over the castle.
Spend the day exploring Hever Castle in the 125 acres of formal gardens. This double-moated castle offers luxurious yet modern bedrooms with free Wi-Fi. There are 28 boutique rooms that are beautifully styled with some rich fabrics and antique furnishing spread across the Anne Boleyn and Astor Wings. Some of the rooms have oaken four-poster beds, while others are furnished with antique writing tables and log fireplaces.
image credit: hevercastle.co.uk
Amazingly, the Moat Restaurant serves lunch whenever the castle is open to the public, and there is a pub within walking distance for evening meals. Breakfast is served to all the guests in the Astor Wing or the Anne Boleyn Wing. The good bit is that you can easily access the castle hotel through the private gated entrance. The amazing bit is that guests have free parking in a private car park.
3. Langley Castle
Langley Castle is another one of the best castle hotels in England for a weekend getaway. This award-winning Castle Hotel is a beautiful 14th-century medieval castle in a woodland estate in Northumberland. It was destroyed by Henry IV and lay derelict until it was restored in the 19th century.
Image credit: offpeakluxury.com
Set in a 12-acre woodland estate, Langley Castle has modern facilities that will interest you. Used as a barracks during WWII and later as a school, the castle has certainly taken the chance to escape to the past.
It has nine grandest rooms, each with luxurious features such as four-poster beds, antique wooden wardrobes, tables, and chairs. Some rooms even have their own saunas and spa tubs. It also has 18 other luxury rooms that offer excellent views of the castle. The amazing bit is that all the guests in the castle can enjoy all the landscaped grounds and modern amenities, which include a restaurant, bar, and an attractive drawing room.
4. Amberley Castle
Amberley Castle in West Sussex was built as a mansion in the 12th century before being fortified in 1377. Over the centuries, the property has been upgraded into a luxury retreat, with luxurious bedrooms that have four-poster beds, Tudor-style windows, and working fireplaces. The good bit is that the walls, gates, and towers still give you the historic touch definitive of castles.
image credit: ar.trivago.com
Within the castle walls are 19 guest rooms designed to offer comfort and style but still reflect the structure's history. The rooms are completely furnished with antiques and fine fabrics alongside modern features. You will also enjoy the magnificent Queen's Room restaurant, which offers fine dining for all the guests.
5. Lumley Castle
Lumley Castle is another one of the best castle hotels in County Durham you can stay. The castle has accommodated many guests since it was converted from a mansion to a castle in 1389. The castle hotel features 73 uniquely designed rooms that will provide the luxury and comfort you are looking for.
image credit: countryhotelbreaks.com
Each room has four-poster beds, lavish carpets, feature baths, and window seats in thick stone walls. Amazingly the rooms also have stunning views and free Wi-Fi. At the castle, you will dine in the splendor of the refurbished Knights Restaurant, which offers seasonal Al a Carte Menus.
The amazing bit is that you will also be able to have an extensive selection of fine wines to complement your meal. Again, you can choose a bed and breakfast stay, take exclusive use, and indulge in unique accommodation.
6. Thornbury Castle Hotel
Want a romantic fairytale getaway? The Thornbury Castle Hotel on the edge of the Cotswolds is the place to be. It's not only a luxurious place, but Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn once owned it. This Tudor castle palace provides its guest with helpful workshops in archery and the basics of falconry.
image credit: smithsonianmag.com
This unique luxury hotel features an elegant stone archway, a rounded tower house, and authentic Tudor architecture. It has a beautiful inside view, romantic spiral staircases, gorgeous Victorian windows, and medieval-style open hearths. The rooms in the castle have rooms with arrow-slit windows, and every suit evokes the history and heritage of the castle.
You will also enjoy the dining experience offered at the Thornbury Castle hotel. Other on-site facilities you can enjoy include croquet, archery, clay-pigeon shooting, and falconry, which can be arranged with prior notice. However, you should note that these facilities will come at an extra charge.
7. Otterburn Castle
If you are looking for beautiful castle hotels in the UK that you can stay in, then you should consider Otterburn Castle. This historic castle dates back to the time of William the Conqueror when it used to function as a medieval tower for watching over the Scottish borders.
image credit: planetofhotels.com
The place was upgraded from a medieval tower to a picturesque country castle in the Victorian era. Over time Otterburn Castle was redesigned into the luxury hotel, restaurant, and bar it is today. It has 17 unique and exclusive rooms individually designed and furnished.
Every room is exceptionably well-appointed, with most of them having stunning views of the castle grounds. Again all rooms have LCD TVs, Tea/Coffee making facilities, and access to daily housekeeping services.
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This vast country estate restaurant welcomes residents and non-residents to dine. The restaurant offers a warm and conducive environment for everyone. You will truly enjoy your dining with a well-thought-out extensive wine list to accompany the menu.
8. Augill Castle
Augill Castle is another amazing choice that will allow you to enjoy the splendid beauty of Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines Area. Having been built in the early 1840s by a wealthy man in the neo-gothic style, it has all the castle essentials: turrets, towers, and ornate windows. Before the place got a makeover into a luxury hotel, it was used as a weekend retreat site.
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Augill Castle has 13 rooms, suites, and estate houses designed with a romantic, decadent and contemporary design. Some rooms suit couples, while others are suited for families. Amazingly, the rooms have a traditional feel, but the garden suites and estate houses are designed to give a modern vibe.
The family-friendly castle features an ESPA spa, a championship golf course, a swimming pool, archery, and a rifle range, for all the guests.
9. Bovey Castle
Bovey Castle Hotel is picturesque, set within 275 acres in the heart of England's Dartmoor National Park, and is an amazing place to stay whenever to need to relax. First opened as a hotel and golf resort in 1930, Bovey Castle Hotel and Spa has accommodated many prestigious guests over the years.
image credit: devon.muddystilettos.co.uk
The castle hotel has 60 fully serviced rooms and 22 self-catering country lodges. Each room is designed and built with comfort and luxury in mind. The rooms are individually decorated, with the finishing, furniture, and fabrics used to compliment the warmth and elegance of the place.
In addition, the castle offers one of the best and most stunning wedding venues in Devon. With its rich history, charm, and elegance, you can enjoy a castle wedding with loved ones. Again you can go for a walk on their historic 18-hole golf course.
10. Crossbasket Castle
Crossbasket Castle is a beautiful 17th-century residence that has been meticulously transformed into a luxury hotel. It is on 14 acres of well-manicured grounds with access to a riverside walk leading to a small waterfall.
image credit: crossbasketcastle.com
The castle hotel has spacious rooms that offer traditional and opulent tastes, with intricate gold leaf cornicing, chandeliers, ceiling roses, drapes, wood paneling, and antique furniture. All the bathrooms feature traditional Lefroy Brooks fittings, Quercus toiletries, marble floor tiles, and rainfall showers.
image credit: crossbasketcastle.com
This historic hotel has a Castle View Restaurant, which overlooks the castle as you dine. The Albert and Michel Roux Jr Restaurant serves up tasting, dinner, lunch, lounge, and afternoon tea menus, accompanied by an extensive wine list.
A luxurious retreat in an iconic castle is a must for that special UK getaway. You will have a lifetime opportunity to sleep in a four-poster bed and wake up in a room suited for a King or Queen. So relax and enjoy the beautiful British countryside. After all, you won't regret choosing one of these castles for a perfect getaway.