Thanks to the recent popularity of Netflix’s “The Crown,” the United Kingdom has become almost synonymous with the alluring world of aristocracy. Home to one of the world’s oldest monarchies, Britain (along with Scotland, Ireland and Wales), boasts a colorful political history that dates more than a thousand years. What remains of this are hundreds of picturesque castles, estates and country houses. Once occupied by a noble few, many of these accommodations are now available to be relished by us regular folk. From five-star hotels to bed and breakfasts, these destinations provide us a unique experience of history, while still enjoying modern amenities. As an ideal retreat for when the world reopens, here are 10 UK castles that you can actually stay in. Since everyone deserves the royal treatment from time to time.
1. Balvaird Apartment at Scone Palace
One of Scotland’s top tourist attractions, Scone Palace exists as a living artifact of the country’s past. The Palace was once both the seat of parliaments and the site of coronations, including that of the real-life Macbeth. This three-room apartment can be found in the North West wing of the Palace, complete with traditional decor and breathtaking views of the River Tay below. Included with the booking is access to all of the 100-acre grounds and a guided tour by the staff. (Bonus: when tourists leave for the day, the monumental estate is all yours to enjoy!)
You can find more information about the Balvaird Apartment here.
2. Ashford Castle
County Mayo, Ireland
This 800-year-old castle and former home of the Guinness family is easily the most decadent option on our list of UK (or UK adjacent) castles you can stay in. In addition to 83 individually crafted rooms, this hotel possesses three award-winning spas, six restaurants, a movie theater and 350 acres of manicured gardens to explore. If that isn’t enough, then you can also take part in one of the castle’s many outdoor sporting activities or cultural tours. Reopening on March 5, the opportunities at Ashford Castle are truly endless.
You can find more information about Ashford Castle Hotel here.
3. Swinton Park Estate
This sophisticated hotel within the Swinton Park Estate is the perfect spot for a stress-free weekend away. Decorated with antiques and photos from the Swinton family, this hotel retains all of the comforts of a royal country home. While the estate offers a country club and cookery school there is also much to be found beyond its borders. The North Yorkshire community is in proximity to amazing coastal views, cultural museums and national parks galore.
You can find more information about Swinton Park Hotel here.
4. Melville Castle
Though only six miles from Edinburgh’s city center, this castle feels like a cozy woodland escape. Originally a hunting spot for Mary Queen of Scots, this hotel allows you to experience a day in her life (minus the beheading). Wake up to a homemade breakfast, sit back by the roaring fireplaces, and feel all of your worries slowly fade. When you want a break from all of this personal treatment, the excitement of a city is only minutes away.
You can find more information about Melville Castle Hotel here.
5. Tregenna Castle
Longing for a peaceful beach getaway? Look no further than Tregenna Castle, located right in Carbis Bay. This ivy-clad resort overlooks both St. Ives and the cerulean waters of the Cornish coast, only a short walk away. In addition, the hotel offers its own pools, beauty treatments, golf courses and aquatic activities to further enhance your enjoyment. Depending on your desired level of luxury, you can choose between a self-serving room, hotel room, or entire wing.
You can find more information about Tregenna Castle Resort here.
6. Peckforton Castle
With its enchanting storybook appearance, it is no wonder that Peckforton Castle is a hugely popular location for weddings. Nestled on a hilltop in the Tarporley countryside, this castle offers the choice between classic, executive and four-poster rooms, each individually styled to ensure your one of a kind experience. Also the only intact medieval castle in England, Peckforton contains stone spiral staircases and towers right out of a movie. Though closed at the moment, the hotel plans to reopen soon so you can have a fairytale of your own.
You can find more information about the Peckforton Castle Hotel here.
7. Ballyfin Demesne
Co Laois, Ireland
Beginning in the 17th century, this estate was once home to Ireland’s most influential politicians and later landed gentry. Now, the Georgian house is elegantly remodeled and one of Ireland’s most opulent tourist destinations. Whether you admire views of the lake from a butler-drawn rowboat or partake in horseback-riding lessons, Ballyfin will soon have you channeling your favorite Jane Austen or ”Downton Abbey” character. If you aren’t already sold, the Condé Nast award-winning hotel was also the setting of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s honeymoon. Need I say more?
You can find more information about the Ballyfin Demesne Hotel here.
8. Inverlochy Castle
A loch-front stone castle with rolling green hills in the distance, this hotel embodies the idyllic image of Scotland. It also possesses a cultural significance, as the once-beloved vacation spot of Queen Victoria. Located in the highlands, Inverlochy hotel crafts specific packages for tourists to better acquaint themselves with the mystical area. Activities include tours of Loch Ness, the battle site of Culloden, Fort George and even Scottish whiskey distilleries. For the thrill-seeker, Inverlochy also offers mountain biking and white water rafting tours as well. Though they are closed for now, they are planning a grand reopening in February 2021.
You can find more information about the Inverlochy Castle Hotel here.
9. Leeds Castle
Considered “the loveliest castle in the world,” this converted hotel provides a quaint personal feel perfect for a romantic weekend. You can stay inside their contemporary Stable bed and breakfast for a little indulgence, or their Maiden’s tower bed and breakfast for a more authentic medieval experience. Another adventurous alternative is their vineyard glamping tents, equipped with a personal firepit and other luxurious amenities. Each comes with a full English breakfast, access to the 900-year-old Castle and amazing views of the river Glen. With all of this relaxation, you’d never know that London is only a stone’s throw away.
You can find more information about the Leeds Castle Bed and Breakfast here.
10. Château Rhianfa
Of our list of UK castles you can stay in, Châteaux Rhianfa is the only option located in Wales. However, this castle is actually filled with French influences; A gift from Sir John Hay Williams to his wife, the stunning castle was modeled after her favorite Châteaux in the Loire Valley. Situated on the Menai Strait, the stylish hotel allows you to explore the island of Anglesey and Northern Wales at ease. Make sure to check out Snowdonia National Park, only 40 minutes away, then head to the Chateau’s Le Dragon Rouge for a traditional Welsh dinner.
You can learn more information about Château Rhianfa Hotel here.
What other locations should be added to our list of UK castles you can stay in? Let us know in the comments below!