The Five Most Impressive Castle Hotels in Britain
Not only do castle hotels boast historic features, many also offer a touch of luxury with spas, fine restaurants and sometimes even medieval banquets. They provide a unique glimpse in to the past and how British nobility once lived, something that no other type of accommodation can provide (unless, by some miracle, the Queen decides to rent out one of her spare rooms on AirBnB…).
If you love British history or simply want some Instagram-worthy photo opportunities, we’ve selected five of the most impressive castles with accommodation.
Thornbury Castle and Tudor Gardens
Located in 14 acres of glorious South Gloucestershire countryside, the castle’s story started in the 10th century before later being claimed by William the Conqueror. However, the modern Thornbury Castle was built in the era of Henry VIII; after his marriage to Anne Boleyn, he stayed here for his honeymoon. You can see hints of Tudor heritage everywhere. There are open fireplaces and suits of armour in its halls. Even the tapestries on the walls exude Tudor heritage. The hotel offers 28 rooms, many of which boast Tudor features such as carved ceilings and slit windows.
To get an exclusive experience, book the Tower Suite. It is located at the top of the South Wing tower. You will find 24-carat gilding, the largest four-poster bed in UK hotels, and great rural views. You can get in-room massages on request, but you can also spend the day playing croquet or learning falconry in its walled gardens. You can enjoy gourmet meals in the double AA Rosette kitchen or in any of the four beautiful dining rooms.
Bovey Castle Hotel
If you are looking for a luxurious castle hotel, the five-star Bovey Castle is the place to visit. The hotel was built in 1907 for the second Viscount Hambleden, and sits on a huge 27-acre estate in Dartmoor National Park. You can also play golf on the 18-hole golf course or take part in various activities such as falconry, clay pigeon shooting or even cocktail masterclasses.
Various dining options include the AA rosette-awarded Great Western restaurant that features a seven-course menu and afternoon tea. All 60 guestrooms come with a Nespresso coffee machine as well as ESPA toiletries. If you are looking for ultimate luxury, pick the Grand State Room that features a separate dining and sitting area, a view of the National Park, and roll-top bath. If you need a private getaway with friends and family, there are 22 three-story country lodges for hire in the grounds.
Leeds Castle, Kent
Leeds Castle began life as a Norman stronghold. Henry VIII renovated the castle in the 16th century, and he often visited it with Catherine of Aragon, his first wife. Over 900 years old, the castle is located close to Maidstone and is now a major tourist attraction. Visitors can visit its elaborate rooms and tour the garden maze. You can also participate in various themed events or watch the falconry displays. Various accommodation options exist including holiday cottages, bed and breakfast and eight striped pavilions in the vineyard. Each pavilion can hold up to four people and takes camping to a new level of luxury.
Here you will find a four-poster bed, a wood-burning stove and luxury linens. The tents feature Wi-Fi and electric lighting. You will be able to access bathroom facilities in the Knight Cottage nearby. There is also a cast-iron griddle and an open fire pit that gives you the chance to cook food just as the original inhabitants would have done.
Built in the thirteen century, Hever is a double-moated castle and was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife. Visitors can tour the rooms, which were restored by William Waldorf Astor in the 20th century. This castle also features two Edwardian wings designed in Tudor style.
There are 28 rooms, each one unique in terms of features, including walk-in showers, claw-foot baths and four-poster beds.
There are also modern essentials such as flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi in all rooms. Guests are able to enjoy the panelled lounge as well as the billiards room in the Astor Wing. Each morning, a complimentary continental buffet is served or you can enjoy a full English breakfast in the Tudor Suite Dining Room. Access to the gardens and the castle is included for the duration of the stay.
Warwick Castle was built on the site of a fort constructed by William the Conqueror and is now owned by Merlin Entertainments. It is both a theme park and a medieval fortification. During the day, families can explore the castle where the past is re-enacted by actors in costumes from the era. There are also other interactive attractions such as The Castle Dungeon and the Horrible Histories Maze.
For those who wish to stay the night there are various accommodation options, from luxury tower suites to glamping. The themed lodges in the Knight’s Village are awesome for families, with rooms designed to sleep up to five. Amenities include cable TV and free Wi-Fi, as well as a private terrace. On your visit, you will get two-day priority entrance to the main castle where you can enjoy archery classes, workshops for those who wish to be knights, and bird of prey experiences.