15 amazing UK castles you can actually stay in

Advice

All hotels have been independently reviewed and selected. We will earn a commission if you book via the links below, but this never affects our rating.

For those with a desire to experience something a little out of the ordinary, nothing quite beats the allure of a stay in a castle. And many of the best castles in the UK mix centuries-old architecture with the comforts of a smart hotel, dotted where possible with original features, furnishings and authentic events to really enhance the experience. You’ll also find that castle stays in the UK come with extra touches like free guided tours, or private, out-of-hours access to the grounds.  

Owing to their places in history, many fortifications are set in the wildest countryside – from the beautiful, mountainous, wooded areas of County Armagh to the warm shores of the Isles of Scilly – adding that extra layer of remote, poetic mystery to your staycation. Expect staggering medieval military architecture, bathrooms behind hidden walls, jousting tournaments, and the odd friendly ghost in our pick of the best UK castle holidays.


How we review

Every hotel in this curated list has been visited by one of our expert reviewers, who are usually hosted on a complimentary basis. They stay for a minimum of one night, test at least one meal and trial other experiences that the hotel might have to offer.


England

    

Hever Castle

Edenbridge, Kent, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

This 13th-century, double-moated castle in Kent’s High Weald was once the childhood home of Anne Boleyn before later ending up in the hands of Anne of Cleves. As a guest, expect to come across historic items such as the executed queen’s prayer books and England’s best collection of Tudor paintings after the National Portrait Gallery, along with the odd four-poster bed, rolltop bath, and gold-threaded chaise longue in rooms. You all also get to explore the grounds (with ancient yew maze, handsome croquet lawn, and pungent rose garden) out of hours. Jousting and re-enactments spice things up in summer.


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From


£
152

per night

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Lumley Castle

Durham, County Durham, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

A pugnacious medieval knight called Ralph Lumley built this commanding castle that bears over the River Wear. He was a bit of a troublemaker and executed for conspiring to overthrow King Henry IV. This isn’t a property that does things by halves, with its bombastic silk flower arrangements, heraldic wall coverings and staff scurrying about in medieval garb. Bedrooms boast heavily draped four-poster beds and original features like swags and pelmets. Some have bathrooms behind hidden doors. The dining room is well pitched for romance: think soft candles, stone pillars and vaulted ceilings.


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£
56

per night

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Augill Castle

Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Augill Castle is a rather histrionic testament to the power of sibling rivalry. John Bagot Pearson, “a gentleman of leisure and considerable means”, built it in 1841 to outdo his brother. And because he could. The result is a splendid ensemble of steep turrets, sweeping mahogany staircases and lattice windows as intricate as French lace. Rooms – all grand in scale – are furnished in a shabby country house style with rugs on wooden floors, acres of billowing curtains, antique furniture, and the odd contemporary accent. It may not be suited to the shy and retiring, but it’s spot on for families, and anyone who likes adventures.


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From


£
200

per night

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Warwick Castle

Warwick, Warwickshire, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

You get much more than a bed for the night when you stay at Warwick Castle. Guests can pick from two chambers in Caesar’s Tower, one being the Rose Suite, which once housed King Edward IV and comes with a door to the battlements. Certain quirks from across 600 or so years of English history are visible in the castle’s architecture and design, some of which date back to its 14th-century origins as a Norman motte-and-bailey castle. Other perks include a complimentary all-day dining card, access to the Castle Dungeon, and a private after-hours tour led by one of the historians.


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From


£
239

per night

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Langley Castle

Northumberland, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

With its battlements and seven-foot thick walls, this 14th-century castle is one of the last remaining British castle hotels that still has its original fortifications. Expect exposed-stone walls, wrought-iron candelabras, suits of armour plus gilt-framed portraits aplenty. The most expensive rooms are in the castle and go the full medieval hog with four-poster beds, lavish swags and window seats in thick stone walls. Food is taken seriously, serving up the likes of seared halibut with squid-ink arancini, parsnip velouté and paprika calamari in a bisque cream, or duck breast with confit potato in a spiced port jus.


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From


£
140

per night

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Amberley Castle

Amberley, West Sussex, England

8
Telegraph expert rating

Amberley Castle is initially forbidding, with a rare working portcullis (lowered every night) within its 60-foot high walls. The 900-year-old castle began life as a hunting lodge in 1103 and became a fortified manor house some 400 years later, passing through the hands of bishops and royalty, and hosting the likes of Henry VIII in 1526 (seeking divorce advice), Charles II in 1660, and Elizabeth II as a princess. Inside though, the style is comfortable and unassuming, albeit with suits of armour dotted about. Some rooms are traditional, with four-posters; others more contemporary.


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£
241

per night

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Leeds Castle

Maidstone, Kent, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

Dating back some 900 years, Leeds Castle luxuriates amidst 500 acres of glorious Kent parkland and gardens. In addition to self-catered cottages and medieval-style glamping tents, there’s a handful of elegant b&b rooms in the 1930s Stable Courtyard and 16th-century Maiden’s Tower. Breakfast and dinner are served in the 17th-century oak-beamed and timber-framed Castle View Restaurant which, as the name suggests, overlooks the castle. Guests can also explore the exhibition centres, tree-top adventure course, and playgrounds, as well as complimentary entry to the castle and out-of-hours access to the grounds.


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£
133

per night

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Star Castle Hotel

Isles of Scilly, Cornwall, England

9
Telegraph expert rating

During the reign of Elizabeth I, this star-shaped fortress was built in 1593 to defend the Isles of Scilly. Crooked-shaped rooms have been crammed into all eight points of the star, which only adds to the fun when it comes to exploring; bag a garden room for beautiful French windows that open directly onto the lawns. Heritage features dotted throughout the spaces reflect the hotel’s incredible history; think large wooden beams, open fireplaces, and the original staircase that captives were brought down to the dungeon. Eating here is also particularly atmospheric; the dining room was once the officer’s mess and guests can try wine from the owner’s local vineyard.


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£
270

per night

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Scotland

    

Glenapp Castle

Ballantrae, Ayrshire, Scotland

8
Telegraph expert rating

A fine example of 19th-century Scottish Baronial grandeur, set in a forest of giant redwoods with views over the Irish Sea. Sandstone battlements viewed from the Azalea Pond and Italian Garden evoke a fairytale, and imposing public rooms with Austrian wood panelling, period furniture, log fires and objets d’art create a warm, modern Victorian ambiance. There’s an all-weather tennis court, a croquet lawn, and shooting (pheasant and partridge are on the estate). Suites are palatial with curtained four-poster beds, fireplaces and flower arrangements worthy of Old Master paintings. Don’t miss the seven-course dinners either.


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£
342

per night

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Dalhousie Castle Hotel

Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland

8
Telegraph expert rating

This is the real McCoy, Scotland’s oldest inhabited castle with a turbulent history dating from the 13th century. Musket shot might be embedded in the stone battlements, but the interiors have been transformed into a luxury hotel and spa with fine dining. Individually designed rooms come with Scottish fabrics of tartan, tweed and twill, plus spacious bathrooms; the Mary Queen of Scots suite has a massive four-poster bed fit for royalty. You’re in good company too: Edward I spent a night here before marching to Falkirk to defeat William Wallace. Dine by candlelight among suits of armour and battle axes in the Dungeon restaurant for a truly authentic castle experience.


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£
118

per night

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Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Fort William, Highlands, Scotland

9
Telegraph expert rating

Queen Victoria said she ‘never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’ than Inverlochy Castle in 1873, and it remains as impressive as ever. Moving with the times means modern amenities like waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions hidden behind mirrors have crept in, while the unashamedly country house style and an all-pervading sense of time suspended – remains. Lying at the foot of Ben Nevis, girdled by a ring of highland peaks, this is a place of quiet beauty, with no indication that the hustling, bustling tourist town of Fort William is only a couple of miles up the road.


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£
410

per night

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Wales

                    

Castell Deudraeth

Portmeirion, Gwynedd, Wales

8
Telegraph expert rating

A Liberal MP built this early Victorian castle (and one-time prep school) on a private peninsula on the Snowdonia coast. Gothic and Tudor styles collide: think slate floors, froufrou plasterwork and an ornate fireplace guarded by a fearsome stone knight. There are 11 castle rooms to pick from, from contemporary Castle Doubles with kitchen areas and tea trays of Welsh products, to suites with separate lounges and pull-out beds. Enjoy lunch al fresco on the sun-kissed terrace of the Victorian walled garden; retire to the wood-panelled lounge after dinner for coffee by the roaring fire.


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From


£
194

per night

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Château Rhianfa

Anglesey, Wales

8
Telegraph expert rating

This fish-scale-turreted mansion was built for Lady Sarah Hay Williams as a dower gift from her husband, John (the name means “ladies abode”). The design is based on five castles in the Loire Valley, a region the couple loved. There are 27 bedrooms, 16 of which are in the main house and 11 next door in The Lodge, plus three self-catering cottages. On-site facilities include a sauna, hot tub, tennis courts and gardens, and there are plenty of rooms to explore, including a music room, drawing room, cloisters, and nooks filled with interesting artefacts. Views of the Snowdonian giants complete the picture.


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From


£
120

per night

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Northern Ireland

    

Ballygally Castle

Ballygally, Northern Ireland

7
Telegraph expert rating

An ancient castle with modern facilities, good food, friendly staff, open fires, sea views and a resident ghost. After James Shaw built the castle in 1625, he was so enraged when his wife Isabella gave birth to a girl rather than a son and heir that he locked her in this room to starve to death. Distraught, she flung herself from the window, and guests have reported seeing her ghost appear and disappear in their rooms, leaving a smell of musty vanilla. Aside from that, Ballygally Castle makes a cosy base for exploring the north coast, not to mention a number of Game of Thrones filming locations.


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From


£
90

per night

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Killeavy Castle Estate

Meigh, County Armagh, Northern Ireland

8
Telegraph expert rating

This 1836 listed castle, situated in a beautiful, mountainous, wooded region – known as “Bandit Country” during the Troubles and only now being discovered by tourists – has been transformed into one of the most stylish hotels in Northern Ireland. Guests will find fabulous food and a fine spa, and the property has picked up a number of national awards – including best romantic getaway, restaurant and head chef. The modern section has 45 rooms while the castle has four quirky Gothic-style bedrooms with four-poster beds. There’s also a three-bedroom self-catering gate lodge.


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From


£
205

per night

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Contributions by Telegraph Travel experts

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