6 Castle Hotels to Stay In on Your Next Visit to England

Chateau Rhianfa

England’s royal family is one of the most known royal families in the world. Queen Elizabeth II to Prince Louise and every member in between, has headlines dedicated to them. Lady Diana was mourned around the world for her untimely death. The extremely recent Prince Harry’s memoir ‘Spare’ created ripples across the United Kingdom and beyond. People are intrigued by them, some can’t get enough of them, and many others want to associate themselves with the royals. 

How about staying in the residences where once the English kings and queens resided? 

Unfortunately, Buckingham Palace with its mind-boggling 775 rooms, is yet to open its doors to guests. But the good news is that there are other castles that have opened their doors to the common man. The castles have been renovated and come equipped with all the modern amenities. The experience of staying in a castle hotel is a perfect blend of medieval and contemporary eras. 

There are over 4000 castles across England, some well known, while the majority remain unknown. The latter half of the 20th century saw many lesser-known castles being converted into hotels. Living in a castle is the closest one can get to the royals. As you walk down the castle corridors, the very thought that royals like Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I, and King Edward I have walked them, the railings touched by them, and the bedrooms slept in will enthrall you.

These castles have survived centuries. The thick castle walls have seen romance, high-voltage drama, scandals, and executions. They have all kinds of stories to tell which include happy, gory, and tragic. Some castles even come attached to ghosts! They offer tours, dining experiences, and even wedding packages.

We pick 6 castle hotels in England out of many in different parts of England. 

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle, Maidstone, Kent, ME17 1PL

Leeds Castle in Kent, England, has been called the ‘loveliest castle in the world’ because of its surroundings.

Over the centuries, the magnificent building has not only served as a royal residence but also as a prison. Over the years it has been occupied by numerous kings and queens. It was home to 6 medieval queens. Other notable residents include King Edward I, Henry VIII, his wife Catherine of Aragon, and King Edward VI. 

Leeds Castle Foundation has turned Leeds Castle into a hotel. The guests are welcome to choose from a room, a cottage, or a glamping accommodation. Frescoes, paintings, and medieval objects adorn the hallways of the medieval castle. The original ‘Field of the Cloth of Gold’, which commemorates the meeting between King Henry VIII and French King Francis I in 1520, hangs there.

Interiors are done with medieval-style furniture and furnishings. The 500 acres of outdoor land have mazes, waterfalls, landscaped lawns, aviaries, and vineyards. The Dog Collar Museum showcasing dog collars is part of the complex. Other activities that one can indulge in include a ferry boat ride, a segway tour, and a hot air balloon flight. One can enjoy golf in their well-designed 9-hole golf course.

The castle hosts a variety of events making it a popular tourist attraction. You can also enjoy lunch or an afternoon tea in their inhouse Castle View Restaurant which has beautiful views of their lush green lawns. 

Hotel website: www.leeds-castle.com

Hever Castle

Hever Castle, Astor Wing, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 7NG

Built in the 13th century, Hever Castle is located in Hever which is a village near Kent.

It was the maternal home of Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII. It was at the Hever Castle that Anne Boyle caught the eye of Henry VIII while he was still married. It was quite a scandal, making Anne Boyle unpopular among the masses. However, their marriage was very short-lived. Divorce was not easy as the Catholic church does not allow divorce. Anne Boyle was executed at the Tower Of London. One of the controversial royals, she was the queen of England from 1533-1536 and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I who later went on to rule England for 45 years.

Fast forward to the present. The current owners the Guthries have restored the building, consciously making just minor changes. Hever Castle is considered to be one of the most well-preserved Tudor period castles in the U.K. Timbered ceilings and polished wooden floors give the castle a cozy and regal look.

The rooms and corridors have expensive furnishings. Portraits of royals can be seen adorning the castle’s walls. The decoration pieces and antiques dating back to the 13th century leave one impressed. 35 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens add to the charm of the palace. As you walk around you will come across a manmade lake, ponds, and fountains.

You can join the Castle’s Golf Club which also has a Health and a Well Being Center which offers a variety of treatments to soothe one’s senses. Hever Castle’s restaurant ‘The Waterside’ is a great place for lunch on a sunny afternoon.

If you wish to enjoy an afternoon tea, a prior booking needs to be made. The castle frequently hosts events and exhibits making it a popular tourist attraction.

Hotel website: www.hevercastle.co.uk

Lumley Castle

Lumley Castle, Ropery Ln, Chester-le-Street DH3 4NX, UK

The 600 years old Lumley Castle was initially a manor house which was later converted into a castle. The castle takes its name from the man who was behind its creation, Sir Ralph Lumley. He was a brave soldier, who became a prisoner and was eventually executed in the 1400s for rebelling against King Henry IV. 

Presently owned by Earl of Scarbrough, the property has been let out to No Ordinary Hotels. It is one of the best four-star hotels in Durham. The hotel has 73 rooms, all having four poster cushy beds and well-maintained medieval-style furniture. With a picturesque backdrop, lush green gardens, and good views of River Wear, the castle has an advantage over other castles. King James Suite is the perfect room to experience an authentic castle stay. Lumley’s Knights restaurants offer an incredible dining experience complete with delicious food and ambiance.

Recognized by Tripadvisor, the hotel won ‘The Travellers choice award’ in 2021. Lumley Castle is one of the pet-friendly properties and worth considering if you are on a holiday with your pooch. Ralph Lumley’s lover, Lily is the ghost of Lumley Castle. They have an interesting activity: The Escape Room in which you might have an encounter with her. 

Hotel website: www.lumleycastle.com

Coombe Abbey

Coombe Abbey Hotel, Brinklow Road, Binley, Warwickshire, CV3 2AB

Coombe Abbey has a rather interesting history. The history of the building dates back to the 12th century when it started as a monastery. Located in Warwickshire, it was initially referred to as the Abbey of Cumbe.

It was one of the most influential monasteries in the whole of England before it ran into debt in the 16th century. The abbey was eventually surrendered to the crown when King Henry VIII was the king. It was the childhood residence of Elizabeth Stuart, daughter of James I who went on to become Queen of Bohemia later in life. 

In 1995, No Ordinary Hotels management took over its management. Major renovations were carried out but some medieval monastery features like the spiral staircases and stone walled lobby have been renovated but remain. You can also spot the confessional box of the monastery. Some of the antique furniture has been retained.

The decor of all 119 rooms is unique. Traditional fabrics and furnishing take one’s breath away. The 500 acres of land around the castle is a country park. Coombe Abbey is one of the castles with ghost stories. Not one, but multiple ghosts have been spotted on the grounds. The hotel hosts fun activities like murder mystery weekends and medieval-themed banquets.

Hotel website: www.coombeabbey.com

Langley Castle Hotel

Langley Castle Hotel, Langley Hexham Northumberland NE47 5LU

Built in the 14th century, Langley Castle is much smaller in comparison with medieval castles. The total area of Langley Castle is just over 10 acres. The castle was built by Sir Thomas Lucy. In the past, it was a medieval tower house, after which it served as World War 2 barracks and a girls’ school.

Langley Castle Hotel’s current owner, Dr. Stuart Madnick, an American, has meticulously restored the castle to its past glory. The hotel’s plush lobby has some impressive artifacts on display. Grand chandeliers and a fireplace add to its magnificence. Langley Castle Hotel has also won the title of  ‘Best Small Hotel of the Year’ as well the ‘Trip Advisor Travellers’ choice award’ in the year 2022.

The hotel has 27 bedrooms offering a luxurious stay to its guests. Some bathrooms come complete with sauna spa bath features and also have a fireplace. The prominent rooms include the Derwent Water Room, the Radcliffe Room, the Josephine Room, and the Tower Room. The hotel believes in following sustainable practices and is a pet-friendly hotel.

This medieval hotel is believed to be haunted by the Grey Lady. She is believed to be the spirit of Sir Thomas’ widow, who committed suicide after hearing the news of her husband’s death in a battle. 

Hotel website: www.langleycastle.co.uk

Château Rhianfa

Beaumaris Rd, Menai Bridge LL59 5NS, United Kingdom

Built in the year 1849, the picture-perfect Château Rhianfa is often described as a castle right out of a fairytale.

Built on the banks of the Menai Strait with the Snowdonia mountain range in the backdrop, the location of Château Rhianfa is extremely picturesque. Sir John Williams, 1st Baronet of Bodelwyddan, and his wife were inspired by the Loire region of France and are much known for Château Rhianfa French style architecture. 

AmaZing Venues Group has efficiently renovated and has made a couple of changes in Château Rhianfa,  making it one of the most beautiful castles in England.

The castle has won multiple awards including the ‘Visit Wales Gold Award’.  This Country House Hotel is preferred by tourists visiting North Wales because of the absolutely stunning views the hotel has to offer. The guests get to see some excellent views of the Snowdonia Mountain Range. The hotel in all has 27 bedrooms.

Each room is done up with bygone era and rich furnishings. Le Dragon Rouge, the in-house restaurant serves incredible food. The hotel offers castle tours, wine tasting, and cocktail-making workshops to its guests/ visitors. Rib Ride Boat tour is a popular recreational activity.

Looking for a picturesque spot nearby? Anglesey’s iconic lighthouse is just an 18 min drive away.

Love adventure? Trek up to explore the Snowdonia mountains or maybe just go for a long walk in Snowdonia National Park, one of the UK’s 15 National Parks.

Perfect castle choice to soothe your senses and enjoy a calming stay. 

Hotel website: www.chateaurhianfa.co.uk

Keep browsing: Europe’s best castle hotels for couples

Simran Raju is a Delhi-based travel writer. Writing well-researched articles on travel and creating destination guides is what she loves to do. An MBA degree holder, Simran opted out of the rat race to pursue a career in writing. If this post caught your eye, share your feedback with her on  ms.simranraju@gmail.com . If you want to work with her, do the same!