5 castles you can actually stay in

Have a royally good vacation at these turreted hotels and holiday rentals in England
Thornbury Castle, Bristol
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You might not be able to stay at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle but these hotels in England come pretty close. Live like British royalty by booking a stay at one these historic castles, some of which have been around since the 1100s. Be transported back in time to the period of lords and ladies and have a taste of what the fine life has to offer. This is the Downton Abbey experience you’ve always dreamed of.

1
Peckforton Castle, Cheshire

Peckforton Castle, Cheshire

This vast, grand castle is a popular celebrity wedding venue. Unsurprisingly, it’s extremely luxe and has a spa. Grade I-listed and built in 1876 by a lord, it’s two miles from the ruins of the Medieval Beeston Castle, where legend has it that Richard II hid his treasure. Plus, Cheshire Ice Cream farm is nearby, which serves up probably the creamiest iced goods you’ll ever eat – a consolation prize for any guests whose treasure hunts are unfruitful. Rooms start from $325 a night for a classic double or twin room.

peckfortoncastle.co.uk

2
Thornbury Castle, Bristol

Thornbury Castle, Bristol

Want a taste of 16th century life? Head to Thornbury Castle on the edge of the Cotswolds hills. It’s not only a high-end hotel, it was once owned by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (who was his new bride at the time). The hotel offers workshops in archery and the basics of falconry. There’s croquet on the lawn, a vineyard and a spa. And once you’ve escaped the castle’s vast grounds, you can explore the petite villages of the Cotswolds or head to the city of Bristol for its art and nightlife scenes. Rooms start from $325 a night for a classic double room.

thornburycastle.co.uk

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3
Langley Castle, Northumberland

Langley Castle, Northumberland

History buffs, this one’s for you. Head to Langley Castle in South Tyne and you’ll be able to go on a tour of this 14th century fortified building every day. The post-breakfast wanders take you around the castle, battlements, chapel and garderobes (medieval toilets). You can get the authentic experience by staying in one of the stonewalled rooms or you can wake up looking out over the castle from a modern extension next door. They offer a foodie mini-break, where you get a prosecco and charcuterie upon arrival – plus Hadrian’s Wall, a defensive fortification from 122AD, is just up the road, ready to be explored. Rooms start from $370 a night.

langleycastle.com

4
Blencowe Hall, Lake District

Blencowe Hall, Lake District

Blencowe Hall is so old that one of its walls has crumbled with age. It’s been turned into a dramatic modern feature though, the ancient ruins framing a modern glass building within. Grade I-listed, the building’s surrounded by greenery – which you’ll probably get a dramatic view of from your bedroom window. There’s a spa and a billiards table plus you’re right next to the Lake District, so you can spend your days sailing on Ullswater and going clay pigeon shooting. Rooms start from $80 a night.

therowleyestates.com/halls/blencowe-hall

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5
The Castle Hotel, Taunton

The Castle Hotel, Taunton

Once a Norman fortress, Taunton’s The Castle Hotel is a wisteria-lover’s heaven. The Grade I-listed 12th century building is decked out in flowers. The hotel’s home to two acclaimed restaurants – fine-dining joint Castle Bow and the more low-key Brazz. It holds champagne dinners and garden parties throughout the year and has the Cotswolds on its doorstep. It’s ideal for anyone who wants to feel like Kate Middleton. Standard rooms start from $270 a night.

the-castle-hotel.com

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