They say every Englishman’s home is his castle, but there are several real
castles around the country where you can feel like the King for a while (or
the Queen!) They have been converted into hotels which offer unique
accommodation for guests. These are some of the most impressive.
This castle is more than 600 years old and is found in North East England,
near Newcastle. It was built for Sir Ralph Lumley, a brave and popular
soldier, who met an unpleasant end, being executed for his part in a plot
against the King. The castle was the home of other members of the
aristocracy until it was transformed into a hotel in 1976. It has 73 quirky
guest rooms, where you might find your bed up a spiral staircase or in a
turret, and one magnificent suite, which has a 20 foot high four-poster
Queen Anne Bed, a reception room and a Jacuzzi with views over the grounds.
There is a fine dining restaurant in the hotel and you can participate in
the very English tradition of Afternoon Tea, with sandwiches and scones, in
the Library Bar every day.
This castle was built in 1350, in Northumberland, also near Newcastle. It
was a stately home until the 18th century when the owners James and Charles
Viscounts Langley were beheaded for their loyalty to the King of Scotland,
whom they believed was their lawful Sovereign. Its ownership was passed to
the Royal Naval Hospital until it was purchased by a local historian in
1882, who restored it to its former glory. One of its most interesting
features is the tower which has 12 Garderobes (mediaeval toilets) – a rare
and lavish provision in those days. There are 27 guest rooms, some with
four-poster beds and window seats in the 7 foot thick castle walls. Others
have saunas and spa baths, for a little bit of modern luxury. The
restaurant is candlelit and romantic and has been awarded two AA Rosettes
for its food.
This Tudor castle is in south west England, near Bristol. This is a
really regal experience – a place where King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
stayed. You can sample the wine from the vineyard within the castle walls,
where grapes have been grown for over 500 years. There are 27 fantastically
atmospheric guest rooms, including the bedchamber used by Henry VIII and his
wife. Most have four-poster or coronet beds, stone walls, tapestries, grand
fireplaces and carved ceilings. The hotel restaurant has a traditional
English menu which features a Sunday roast. Many herbs and vegetables used
in the kitchen are grown on the premises.