FIT FOR A KING

Whether you’re look­ing for tow­ers, tur­rets and four-poster beds or an­cient for­ti­fi­ca­tions dis­play­ing scars of bat­tles past, Bri­tain is home to some of the most unique cas­tle ho­tels in the world. We round up the 12 finest cas­tles where you can wake up in y

Exclusively British - - CONTENTS - WORDS by Chan­tal Bor­ciani

When you’re look­ing for tow­ers, tur­rets and four-poster beds, Bri­tain is home to some of the most unique cas­tle ho­tels in the world.

Gle­napp

A vi­sion of tow­ers and tur­rets, this 17-bed­room lux­u­ri­ous cas­tle ho­tel is tucked away on the breath-tak­ing Ayr­shire coast with views across to Ailsa Craig and Ar­ran. Set in 36 acres of gar­dens and wood­land, Gle­napp ex­udes ba­ro­nial splen­dour with looks lifted straight from a fairy­tale book. De­pend­ing on which lav­ish room you plump for, there are grand canopied beds and four­poster beds with panoramic sea views or fresh-air-gulp­ing views of Gle­napp’s wooded glens and the im­mac­u­late gar­dens. Take to the cro­quet lawn in balmy weather or shoot pheas­ant or par­tridge on the es­tate in sea­son. The lo­cal Gal­loway For­est Park is one of only four ‘dark sky parks’ in Europe, where a lack of light pol­lu­tion means visi­tors can en­joy spec­tac­u­lar stargaz­ing.

Ack­ergill Tower

Scot­land’s 15th cen­tury Ack­ergill Tower is set in 3,000 windswept acres and of­fers spell­bind­ing views across the dunes and sands of Sin­clair Bay. Its 17 rooms were pre­vi­ously only avail­able for ex­clu­sive hire and the pre­serve of royals and celebri­ties, but the cas­tle is now open to ho­tel guests. Tower suites are soaked in over 600 years of his­tory, while the sen­si­tively re­stored Sta­bles Cot­tage and Keeper’s Cot­tage are ideal for fam­i­lies. Amid the es­tate’s rolling for­est, Ack­ergill Tower’s pri­vate tree­house suite is a favourite for ro­man­tics. Built in a 150-year old sy­camore tree, it is the largest tree­house in Europe and fea­tures a cir­cu­lar bath and sump­tu­ous 7ft round bed with views out across the for­est. Spot dol­phins and seals in the bay, take to the beach with a plush pic­nic and en­joy the cap­ti­vat­ing coastal walks on the doorstep. A real High­land gem; guests are even played the bag­pipes ev­ery morn­ing to raise them from their slum­ber.

Bovey Cas­tle

Built on 5,000 acres of land pur­chased in 18 0 by newsagent WH Smith, this re­fined neo-eli$abethan five-star coun­try pile over­looks the wooded glades and moor­land of 'art­moor and is heav­ing with pre­served pe­riod fea­tures, sweep­ing stair­cases, mul­lion win­dows, oak pan­el­ing, beamed walls, ta­pes­tries, cosy nooks, hefty wooden doors and stone arch­ways. The dou­ble-height min­strel gallery and sump­tu­ous sit­ting room will send week­end get­away lovers weak at the knees, while the 60 re­cently re­fur­bished bed­rooms ex­ude el­e­gance and lux­ury and the ho­tel runs on well-mixed prin­ci­pals of taste, el­e­gance and authen­tic­ity. Bed­rooms and suites are lo­cated in the main house and the mews and 22 three-storey self-cater­ing coun­try lodges, hewn from lo­cal gran­ite, are dot­ted around the es­tate. Coun­try pur­suits are some­thing of a Bovey call­ing card with ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing fal­conry, clay pi­geon shoot­ing, fly-fish­ing, deer park tours and archery avail­able on site. Bovey’s 18-hole cham­pi­onship golf course is an­other big pull. 0ni­tially set up as a south­ern ri­val to Gle­nea­gles, when Great Western Rail­way owned the prop­erty, the course of­fers more dramatic views and vis­tas of 'art­moor. For those wish­ing to un­wind, the Elan Spa of­fers a dreamy place to chill. As you may ex­pect, af­ter­noon teas are stu­pen­dous and when evening comes Bovey’s three AA rosette Great Western is one of the finest es­tab­lish­ments in which to sam­ple 'evon’s larder 5 the menu of­ten fea­tures lo­cal game shot on the moors to lamb and aged Ex­moor beef.

Leeds Cas­tle

Set in 500 acres of rolling park­land in the heart of the Gar­den of Eng­land and recorded in the 'omes­day Book as the Saxon “7anor of Esledes”, 9eeds Cas­tle has a host of unique overnight­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. With his­toric guards­man and gate­keeper self-cater­ing cot­tages to rent within the es­tate, fam­ily friendly glamp­ing pav­il­ion tents and B;B rooms in the 16th cen­tury 7aiden’s Tower, this pala­tial pile in Kent of­fers the most va­ri­ety of any bat­tle­ment stay in the coun­try. Guests re­ceive en­try to the grounds, cas­tle and restau­rants dur­ing the day and can ex­plore the grounds in the evening once the cas­tle gates have been closed to day visi­tors. Set young imag­i­na­tions alight and camp as me­dieval knights would have done be­fore bat­tle in one of the eight colour­fully striped glamp­ing tents in the cas­tle’s vine­yard. The lux­ury pav­il­ion tents for­tu­nately are adorned with a four-poster bed, cosy wood burn­ing stove, crisp cot­ton bed­ding and snug furry throws. For larger groups, the 16th cen­tury 7aiden’s Tower of­fers five gor­geous pe­riod bed­rooms with breath-tak­ing views, en-suite bath­rooms and home com­forts. Book­ings for the 7aiden's Tower can only be taken up to 4 weeks in ad­vance.

Thorn­bury Cas­tle

Built in 150 and once owned by King Henry ?000, Thorn­bury Cas­tle has a his­tory that’s al­most pal­pa­ble as you walk its cen­turies-old halls. 0n 1535, Henry ?000 hon­ey­mooned here for 10 nights with his new bride Anne Bo­leyn and “The 'uke’s Bed­cham­ber” where the King and Aueen spent their hon­ey­moon nights, is still avail­able as a guest bed­cham­ber to this day. The 27 bed­cham­bers are fab­u­lously at­mo­spheric, re­gal and tra­di­tional. 7ost with coronet or four-poster beds, and fea­ture bath­rooms. Tu­dor ta­pes­tries and or­nate carved ceil­ings add to the am­bi­ence, with all bed­cham­bers in­cor­po­rat­ing high-end fa­cil­i­ties and fit­tings.

Pen­til­lie Cas­tle

This cap­ti­vat­ing peach-hued for­ti­fi­ca­tion on the banks of the Ta­mar River, 20-min­utes from Ply­mouth, is now an award-win­ning, fam­ily-run B;B and wed­ding venue. En­sconced in a 2,000-acre es­tate with 55 acres of wild wood­land gar­dens, a mag­nif­i­cent lime av­enue and even a ?ic­to­rian bathing hut, the five-star cas­tle B;B of­fers eight dou­ble bed­rooms and one four-poster suite. Guests can trace the cas­tle’s fas­ci­nat­ing his­tory and visit a pre­vi­ous owner’s pur­pose-built mau­soleum.

Hever Cas­tle

Co­cooned in ver­dant coun­try­side, Kent’s Hever Cas­tle was once the child­hood home of Anne Bo­leyn and later home to an­other of Henry ?000’s wives, Anne of Cleves. Drig­i­nally built in 1270, Hever was re­stored to lav­ish ef­fect by Amer­ica’s then wealth­i­est man, Wil­liam Wal­dorf As­tor, and to­day it fea­tures award­win­ning gar­dens and Eng­land's best col­lec­tion of Tu­dor paint­ings after the Ea­tional Por­trait Gallery. Guests can opt to overnight at the five-star B;B, lo­cated in the As­tor Wing and the Anne Bo­leyn Wing, or book the his­toric four-bed­room 7ed­ley Court, which dates back to 1 03 and is lo­cated within the As­tor Wing. En­foy four-poster beds, roll top baths, and views across the dou­ble-moated cas­tle’s es­tate. Guests get to ex­plore the grounds 5 in­clud­ing the an­cient yew ma$e, im­mac­u­late cro­quet lawn and fra­grant rose gar­den 5 out of hours and break­fast is en­foyed over­look­ing the or­chard. Goust­ing tour­na­ments and archery dis­plays bring more en­ter­tain­ment in sum­mer.

Swin­ton Park

Take a re­gal visit to God’s Dwn Coun­try and the 200acre Swin­ton Es­tate where the ivy-clad tur­ret and stout walls of Swin­ton Park stand amid the ver­dant dales and rolling park­land. Df­fer­ing an in­ti­mate, stately home ex­pe­ri­ence, there’s a real warmth to this 32-bed­room cas­tle ho­tel. The an­ces­tral seat of the Earl of Swin­ton, its rooms are fur­nished with an­tiques and fam­ily por­traits. For an authen­tic fairy­tale stay, book the sig­na­ture tur­ret suite, which oc­cu­pies three floors of the thick-set gran­ite tur­ret and fea­tures a lounge, bed­room and topfloor bath­room with mes­meri$ing views.

Borth­wick Cas­tle

Travel back in time to the best-pre­served me­dieval keep in Scot­land. 9ocated 15 miles from Ed­in­burgh, Borth­wick over­looks the brood­ing and beau­ti­ful 7idloth­ian coun­try­side with the River Gore wind­ing Fust be­low its ram­parts. The eight-foot thick me­dieval walls once housed 7ary Aueen of Scots after the death of her hus­band. She climbed out of the win­dow dressed as a boy to make her es­cape but to­day guests come from far and wide to stay in the authen­tic bed cham­bers of this at­mo­spheric me­dieval fort. While Dliver Cromwell may have un­leashed a can­non, which tore into the for­ti­fi­ca­tion’s east wall in 1650 Hs­cars of which are still vis­i­ble to this dayi, the cas­tle’s 10 bed cham­bers re­main un­scathed and the dark woods, vaulted ceil­ings, ex­posed hearth, hand-carved de­tail­ing, sump­tu­ous drapes, fab­rics and linens only add to the cas­tle’s authen­tic char­ac­ter. 9ux­ury touches, in­clud­ing ca­pa­cious rain show­ers and free-stand­ing baths, en­sure guests also en­foy a lav­ish stay, of course. The strik­ing Earl of Both­well suite is one of the most unique rooms, with a gar­gan­tuan four poster bed or­nately carved from solid oak, a replica of the bed King Games ?0, 7ary's son, slept in when he was crowned King of Eng­land. Borth­wick is avail­able for pri­vate hire only.

Bath Lodge Cas­tle

A small yet char­ac­ter-laden bou­tique B;B in a Grade 00 listed lodge com­plete with tow­ers, bat­tle­ments, tow­ers and portcullis. Drig­i­nally one of six gate lodges built for the Far­leigh Hunger­ford es­tate, Bath 9odge has 11 rooms, some boast­ing bath­rooms in tur­rets. Room dj­cor ranges from con­tem­po­rary to four-poster and are a lit­tle overly or­nate but the lo­ca­tion, six miles from Bath’s sights and Ro­man baths, makes it a great pit stop.

Am­ber­ley Cas­tle

Am­ber­ley Cas­tle is recorded in the 'omes­day Book and dates back 00 years so it’s lit­tle sur­prise coats of ar­mour, flag­stone floors, an­cient arch­ways, beamed ceil­ings and oak pan­elled rooms all sit within its 60foot high walls. Dne of the few cas­tles in Bri­tain with a work­ing portcullis, which is low­ered ev­ery night, Am­ber­ley re­tains its re­gal and im­pos­ing air. Rooms are a mix of con­tem­po­rary and more tra­di­tional and the gar­dens are a won­der­ful ad­ven­ture of crum­bling me­dieval walls, swinging chairs, lovers’ seats and rose-cov­ered arches.

Bor­ing­don Hall Ho­tel

The an­cient thick­set gran­ite walls of this splen­did manor house date back to the 16th cen­tury but to­day the lux­u­ri­ous cas­tle ho­tel of­fers one of the best spas in the South West along­side beau­ti­fully ap­pointed rooms. Charles 0 is be­lieved to have stayed at the manor in 1642 while Sir Fran­cis 'rake and Sir Wal­ter Raleigh may also have vis­ited for a ban­quet, and while these il­lus­tri­ous guests may be long gone, the stone arch­ways, flag­stone floors, pe­riod de­tails, oak pan­eled rooms and or­nate open fire­places re­main. Bor­ing­don 'erived from the Saxon “burth-y-don”, mean­ing “en­chanted place on the hill”, Bor­ing­don Hall sits on a steep hill a stone’s throw from Ply­mouth and a gen­tle hack to 'art­moor. 7ost of the forty rooms are lo­cated in the sta­bles and barns and have a con­tem­po­rary, clean-cut feel 5 if you want more pe­riod char­ac­ter, opt for one of the four-poster bed­rooms.

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mages top left-top right: lenapp as­tle, c ergill ower, view from eeds as­tle and the dam oom at ovey as­tle

mages top left-bot­tom right: deluxe ed­cham­ber at horn­bury as­tle, Pen­til­lie as­tle and &ever as­tle

mages left-bot­tom right: or­th­wic as­tle, mber­ley as­tle and or­ing­don &all &otel

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