Who says you need royal roots to sleep in a castle?
For some of us it would purely be the novelty factor, for others it would fulfil a childhood fantasy, but whichever category you fit into, there’s no denying that most of us would jump at the chance to spend the night in a castle. The good news is, now you don’t have to have a royal gene pool to do so.
Whether your style is Medieval, Victorian or otherwise, it won’t take long to find a castle fit for your inner Prince or Princess at these European castles that you can rent for the night.
Here are a few of our favourites…
A rare, five star property that is part of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group, 19th Century Glenapp Castle is truly the stuff of fairytales, a Scottish baronial castle with a sweeping, tree-lined driveway, soaring turrets and ivy-clad battlements.
Located in the idyllic Ayrshire countryside, it boasts spectacular sea views over the Ailsa Craig and Isle of Arran, which guests can also sail to using the castle’s very own private boat.
Glenapp Castle is set amid 36 acres of gorgeous Gertrude Jekyll-designed grounds and features 17 luxurious bedroom suites and a breathtaking, multi-room penthouse apartment. The castle has multiple rooms for entertaining, and bookworms will love the traditional wood-panelled library with a working fireplace and enchanting views over the grounds.
Out on castle grounds, try your hand at clay pigeon shooting, sea angling, tennis, croquet, game fishing or shooting for pheasant and grouse (in season) as well as golf at one of the over 30 courses nearby, including the world-famous links courses, Turnberry and Royal Troon.
Guests can also experience private tours of Dumfries House with unrivalled access to private areas not open to the public, along with exclusive access to the nearby Hendricks Gin distillery. Cocktail, anyone?
One of many castles in the UK with a colourful history, Lisheen Castle was burnt down in 1921 by the old IRA and lay in ruin until 1995 when the Everard family took on the total restoration project, which lasted a total of five years. Now available for weekly rental on an exclusive basis, the property is set among the rolling green hills of Munster in the County of Tipperary (yes, just like the old war song) in central Ireland, and its location is ideal for accessing the region’s sights on various day trips.
Offering luxury accommodation for up to 16 guests, each room is uniquely decorated in a style that nods to the castle’s history with antique furniture, while the castle’s formal reception rooms – the drawing and dining rooms – feature hand-painted murals on original vaulted Norman ceilings replete with beautiful antique chandeliers. If you’ve ever needed an excuse to visit the Land of 40 Shades of Green, Lisheen Castle could – and we think, should – be it.
This newly renovated French chateau is located in the Medieval Bastille village of Chalabre in the foothills of the Pyrenees, fortified by high stone walls and fringed with 2700m2 of manicured lawn and parterre gardens.
The chateau has four roomy bedrooms, each with a lavish European ensuite, as well as a library; two ‘salons’, one a with Baroque hand-carved wooden fireplace; gymnasium and dining room as well as a south-facing outdoor terrace for dining under the stars on those balmy summer evenings. Oh, and don’t forget the pristine 12 metre by six metre pool, rounding out the perfect French countryside getaway.
Ok so it’s not a castle, but this grand English Manor House doesn’t fail to impress. Often used as a location for period drama TV and films as well as fashion shoots, the property features a main entrance hall in the English country style, drawing room replete with Rococo plasterwork and magnificent views over the garden, and a Jacobean-panelled dining room seating sixteen.The jewel in the crown is the recently refurbished ballroom (which is licensed for weddings and can seat up to 100 for a ceremony or 80 for a dinner), with showcases a traditional minstrels’ gallery, tapestries adorning the walls and a carved oak fireplace. Outside you’ll find a manicured lawn overlooking the lakes, making this impressive property a dreamy, green escape for up to 24 people.
Loch Ness, Scotland
You’ll find the 17th Century Aldourie Castle on the southern shore of Loch Ness, just five miles from Inverness in Scotland. Set in a 500-acre private estate with sprawling gardens, woodland and a vast, sloping lawn that leads to the loch, the castle is a classic example of Scottish Baronial architecture.
Its impressive location made it a popular choice for house parties and holidays for aristocrats in the Victorian era, and the castle’s interior has been restored in the opulent and lavish style of this period, giving guests a truly authentic experience that offers a glimpse into Scottish history.
The fifteen bedrooms in the castle showcase decadent décor, sumptuous fabrics and chandeliers, while a further collection of charming cottages are located on the grounds of the Aldourie Castle Estate, catering to another 22 people.
Nature-lovers will be in their element on the verdant grounds of the estate, with plenty of wildlife to spot, while outdoor activities such as canoeing, mountain biking, climbing, shooting, archery and walking are all on offer for those wanting some adventure.