5 castles to stay in on your next trip to the UK
After 16 long months and a myriad of criticism, England is finally ready to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated visitors. This means that international travelers are officially invited to travel to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland without having to quarantine themselves at the other end. It has been a cause for celebration for friends and family of British citizens, as well as for the long-stagnant sovereign state tourism sector. So if you are eager to book accommodation for the coming months, you are definitely not alone.
And if and when you cross the pond, it’s the year – more than any other – you should consider getting big. Like really big. Large ditches and drawbridges.
You should stay in a castle.
After all, Airbnb said in January that 2021 will be the “year of meaningful travel,” citing an almost universal desire among tourists to prioritize safety, comfort, meeting with friends and family, and sharing. experiences they will remember for a lifetime. Fortunately, the opportunities in the UK for exactly these qualities are endless.
There are believed to be hundreds and hundreds of castles still standing in the country, although due to the ambiguity surrounding the exact constitution of a “castle,” the final number is unknown. That said, many of these castles have undergone, over the course of a century or two, an incredible renovation, mainly with the aim of restoring them, but also to give them a second life, this time in hotel. Or guest rooms. Or even Airbnbs, because that’s how castle stays became accessible in the UK
And why not? Where else in the world can you go to relax at the childhood home of the most infamous royals in all of history? Or a vacation on the grounds of a monarch refuge? Of course, it doesn’t matter that “a meaningful trip” is a little different for everyone. But the chance to stay in an almost millennial fortress – steeped in history and capable of accommodating large amounts of friends and family at once – will do the trick for most.
Below, find four castles you might consider on your next visit to the UK, as well as one you’ll find just across the Irish Sea to the west of Ireland.
Sudeley Castle in the Cotswolds, billed as having ‘played an important role in the turbulent and changing times of England’s past’, is the only private castle in the country to have a queen – Katherine Parr, the last surviving wife of England. King Henry VIII – buried on the property. And although you currently cannot stay directly in the castle where the said queen lived and died, you can stay in one of the 17 Sudeley Castle Cottages that line the edges of the estate. This particular cottage (chateau) is listed on Airbnb for £ 339, or around $ 470, for a minimum two-night stay, and acts as a sort of vanguard for the rest of the property. While all of the cottage layouts are slightly different, the gatehouse is split into two wings with separate entrances (both have their own king-size bedrooms), sleeps four, and accepts dogs.
OK, so this one is not in the UK, but it’s right next door, in Ireland. On a 350-acre estate in County Mayo is Ashford Castle, where it has been stationed for 800 years. Ireland’s “first and only five-star Forbes hotel”, the Ashford was originally founded by Angel-Norman de Burgo before changing hands, including those of the Guinness family, on several occasions to the during its long history. It was recently purchased by Red Carnation Hotels, which restored it to its former glory. The chateau is currently home to resident executive chef Philippe Farineau, who sources many of its ingredients – like violet blossoms, wild garlic and Irish strawberries – from the grounds for use in signature dishes and cocktails. , and also offers a variety of exclusive experiences which offer guests the opportunity to soak up traditional Irish culture. There are 83 rooms and suites as well as a hidden cottage, all beautifully and meticulously designed, with rates starting at € 725 or $ 860.
Originally built as a medieval defensive castle in 1270, Hever Castle would become the second wife of Henry VIII – and arguably the most famous – Anne Boleyn in 1503. Later, Hever would be passed on to another of the wives of Henry VIII, Anne of Cleves, before being eventually inherited by William Waldorf Astor, who used his personal fortune to restore the castle in the early 20th century. Described as “what every child wants a castle to be: crenellated, moated and haunted,” Hever is notable in its history and now also… a bed and breakfast. When it comes to a stay in Hever, guests have two options: one of the 28 five-star rooms located in the Astor Wings or the Anne Boleyn (“Edwardian Wing[s] attached to the castle and connected to the interior ‘), or to Medley Court, a four bedroom property which is part of the Astor Wing. Rates for a Standard Double Room in the Astor Wing start at £ 175.00.
Just an hour from Edinburgh and 15 minutes from St. Andrews is Dairsie Castle: a historic independent castle available for rent through Airbnb. “First located in the 12th century, Dairsie was the seat of secret Scottish parliaments, military seats and [a] refuge for escaped monarchs (Jacques VI and I in 1583). The castle became a ruin in the 19th century. In 1992 it was purchased and rebuilt by the current owner who worked hard to restore the castle to its original medieval character, with all the comforts of a modern family home, ”the listing says. For £ 1,050 per night and a minimum stay of three nights, guests will enjoy free reign over the castle and the six acres on which it sits, including access to the River Eden, a herb garden closed and an orchard. Rates start at £ 900 per night.
Over 800 years old and with walls five feet thick, Roch Castle was once “a group of border fortresses that fortified the Anglicized Wales of the independent Welsh to the north.” Located right on the border of English and Welsh speaking Wales, the castle was first home to a Norman knight named Adam de Rupe. Centuries later, it was transformed into a private residence before being acquired by the Griffiths Roch Foundation in 2008, which transformed Roch into the five-star guest experience it has since become. Placed atop a ‘volcanic rock outcrop’, Roch offers 360-degree views of Pembrokeshire and some of the most contemporary decorations of any of the castles on this list. Rates start at £ 500 a night and at certain times of the year expect a minimum night’s stay.
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