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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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