I used to think castles were the exclusive right of fairy tale princesses and European gentry. But through the beauty of the internet and commerce, anyone can sleep like royalty (even on a budget!) — no pedigree necessary.
Celtic Castles (the castle experts!) feature booking for over 80 castles, chateaus and estate properties throughout western Europe. Here are just 5:
• Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Fort William, Scotland
In the foothills of Scotland's highest peak sits this castle, a favorite of Queen Victoria. Inverlochy has 17 en-suite, lushly decorated rooms, each with a stunning view of the loch or mountains. The area has many outdoor diversions, though their website easily persuades with "a whisky in the grand surroundings of the Great Hall." Indeed! Single bed & breakfast rooms from £265/night, doubles from £320/night.
• Carr Hall Castle, West Yorkshire, England
This Norman-style castle was actually a farmhouse until its conversion in 1860. Winner of Britain's Best Home 2008, the interior was completely remodeled and restored in 2002. On 12 acres adjacent to a deer park, this gated estate features an indoor pool, gym and outdoor hot tub, perfect for a swanky romantic getaway. Self catering. 2 nights from £3,495; From £6,995/week.
• Craig-Y-Nos Castle, South Wales
The home of 19th century opera diva Adelina Patti, this Welsh castle is also famous for being one of the most haunted venues in the UK (ghost tours and seances are abvailable). If the paranormal isn't your thing, visit the nearby showcaves or enjoy live music, fishing, bird watching and more. Mid-week bed & breakfast rooms with ensuite, from £118/night. Exclusive use (not including bedrooms) available.
• Ballynagowan Castle, County Clare, Ireland
On 5 acres in western Ireland, this rustic restored castle provides a memorable retreat that bridges 15th century history and modern comforts. The castle is just 6 miles from famous sites like the Cliffs of Moher or the city of Doolin, where you can take a ferry to the Aran Islands. Sleeps 6-8 people, self-catering. Weekly stays from 1,000 euros.
• Chateau de la Barre, Loire Valley, France
Within two hours of Paris, you can stay at the home of an actual Count and Countess. Dating back to 1404, the chateau showcases 20 generations of history while offering modern comforts. Reasonably priced for the quality of accommodations, It would make a wonderful base while touring the Loire vineyards. From 130 euros/night; exclusive use and package offers also available.
And a staycation option for the New England set:
• Gothic castle, Rindge, New Hampshire
Closer to home, this gothic castle on a private lake in the mountains of New Hampshire is only 60 miles west of Boston. Sleeps up to 22, self-catering. $1250/night with a 2 night minimum; $6,750/week.
MORE CASTLES ON APARTMENT THERAPY
• Abscond to a Castle
• A Castle Full of Antiques in an Unusual Part of Town
• Inspiration: Castle Kitchens
Images: as linked above.