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Castles have a long history in England. Defensive hill-forts were common in the time of the Celts then later the Romans and Anglo Saxons but the first solid stone castle structures came with the Norman invasions in the late 11th century.
These first examples were classic Motte and Bailey structures often built mainly with timber. These first English castles could be constructed relatively quickly and were then generally, by the 13th century, replaced with more solid stone structures.
These castles became crucial to the subjugation of native populations and to the defence of territory, and within the next few centuries would become a standard feature of military conflict all over Europe.
Many of England’s finest castles were built in the Tudor period (1485 to 1603), and by Henry VIII in particular, when the Royals lived in constant fear of invasion from the continent.
By the 1600s though advances in cannon technology lead to them being proven as vulnerable in various conflicts throughout Europe. English castles were last put to work during the Civil War of 1642 and there too they were too often breached.
That war’s end lead to a period of peace in England during and after which castles generally had one of three fates: to be converted into aristocratic stately homes/manor houses, to be knocked to the ground and a manor house built in their place, or to be deserted and left to fall into ruin.
There are still many examples in England of relatively intact medieval castles that retain remnants of their ancient defensive structures and there are many that are in fact now manor houses or Victorian and Georgian era castle follies.
These are grand stately homes usually built in the Neo Gothic style and often on the site of a more ancient preceding structure. They adopted many castle features but merely for aesthetic purposes.
Our choices for the best castle hotels in England include all the above – medieval defensive castles, Neo-Gothic follies and manor houses, and you can read all about their individual histories on their listing pages.
Most are child/family friendly, many are pet friendly, some have both B&B and self catering accommodation, and a few are 5 Star luxury castles with a whole range of top hotel features like spa facilities, swimming pool, golf course etc.
All these wonderful historic hotels come with instant online booking & a lowest price guarantee via our affiliate partners at Booking.com.
- Swinton Park Castle is a luxury castle hotel in the Yorkshire Dales, England, and a Grade II listed building with a history going back over 300 years. It is a fabulous building full of historical intrigue and ambience, and the huge estate is extremely picturesque with a mixture of gardens, parkland, woodland and no less than five lakes. The service and facilities here are impeccable too and it is seen by many as Yorkshire’s loveliest country hotel. THE ACCOMMODATION: Their 32 rooms are all spacious, super comfortable and inviting, and they pack in lots of early 20th century stately home charm. The choices range from double or twin rooms to large suites with adjoining seating areas. Check out your options, plus prices, reviews & more photos, on the booking page here. They all have spacious, plush bathrooms with bathtubs, and some also having classic roll top baths right in the bedroom to pack an extra romantic punch. The best value rooms might be the ‘superior doubles’, these are just as large as the more expensive suites and equally lavishly furnished, with the main difference being that the seating area in the suites is a semi-separate space. The building is very READ MORE
- Most Famous Guests: King Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn. Thornbury Castle Hotel is a true luxury B&B retreat at the edge of the South Gloucestershire Cotswolds, and one of the finest examples in England of a genuine, immaculately preserved, Tudor castle. You can soak up history with a stroll through the castle itself and its beautifully tended grounds which include, surprisingly enough, a 500 year old vineyard, or treat yourself to a massage in the privacy of your own bedchamber and also enjoy some of the Cotswold’s very best food at the castle restaurant. THE ACCOMMODATION: The castle has 27 rooms in total ranging from classic baronial style bedchambers to some quite lovely superior and deluxe rooms and suites, as well as a cute two bedroom annex cottage in the castle yard. Check your options on the booking page here. Most of the beds are four poster or coronet in style and you’ll find period features throughout, including, in some rooms, an old style fireplace. Their bathrooms are suitably luxurious too and all in all no modern comforts are spared. FACILITIES & THINGS TO DO: The castle has plenty of common areas; opulent old style sitting rooms and of course READ MORE
- Cave Castle is a luxury historic hotel retreat near Hull, and York and Leeds, with superb facilities including an 18-hole golf course and a top of the range health club with spa facilities. The place goes back a long way – a dwelling on the site was first recorded in the Doomsday Book of the 11th century though the present grandiose castle, in reality a Victorian folly, was built in 1875. THE ACCOMMODATION: The hotel’s 70 plus rooms (all doubles or twins) are located between the castle and two newer wings which are more modern and contemporary in style. They are all spacious, comfortable and well appointed but with the castle rooms having the most historic character and many have four poster beds. If you’d particularly like a castle room, as opposed to a room in the more modern wings, you have the option of dropping them a note after booking and they will arrange. If it’s not possible for whatever reason our affiliate partnership with Booking.com allows you free cancellation. Note: Pets are generally allowed but check with the hotel first. PRICES: Check out all the details – prices, reviews and more photos – on the booking page here. FACILITIES READ MORE
- Most famous former guest: King Edward VII. Pentillie Castle is a stunning Grade II listed Georgian manor house for rent in the heart of the Tamar Valley on the Cornwall & Devon borders. It has a history going back to the 17th century, is immaculately renovated inside and comes with 55 acres of woodland and gardens. The location too is excellent, being just off the A38 and a short drive from Dartmoor National Park, Bodmin Moor, The Eden Project, various beaches and some of the West Country’s loveliest villages. THE ACCOMMODATION: There are eleven double bedrooms at Pentillie (on its booking.com page it says a total of 6 bedrooms but you can disregard this), nine of them en-suite and two of them with shared bathroom. Most can be converted to twin rooms if requested. All are tastefully furnished, immaculately clean and comfortable, and have particularly opulent bathrooms. Most also offer soothing views out over the gardens or the river. You have a spacious, extremely well equipped AGA kitchen at your disposal should you wish to cook or catering can be arranged for you with local chefs, as well as picnic hampers and/or ‘DIY dinners’, prepared in advance and refrigerated, that READ MORE
- The enchanting Augill Castle Hotel has stood proud in Cumbria, England’s Upper Eden Valley for nearly two hundred years now and has some of the country’s loveliest rural regions at its doorstep – the North Pennines, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lakeland Fells. Built in 1841, in the very popular at the time, Neo-Gothic style, it started life as a grand country retreat and is still as grand as ever in its present incarnation as a luxury hotel. It is a very homely place, one which eschews needless formality and offers more the feeling of a stay with long lost relatives. THE ACCOMMODATION: They have a range of rooms, suites and self catering apartments of various sizes to sleep up to four per unit. All have seating areas and most have open fireplaces and baths too. Check your options on the booking page here. You will find all the accommodation spacious and well turned out with the interior design showing a nice blend of styles from Victorian rustic country chic to bright and bold contemporary, and with some nice, creatively quirky, touches here and there too. There is a strong emphasis on comfort here, with plush soft fabrics and the READ MORE
- Most Famous Former Guests: Prince Imperial Napoléon, Lilly Langtry, Christopher Lee. Perhaps Windsor’s most famous hotel, the luxury Oakley Court is a fabulous Neo-Gothic castle hotel on the banks of the River Thames. It has a quite palpable, brooding Gothic atmosphere, something that lead to it being the set of many movies and TV series; The Rocky Horror Picture Show, various Hammer House of Horrors films and The Hound of the Baskervilles to name but a few. The setting by the Thames, in lovely Windsor, near London, can not be beaten and it has 33 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland to explore, as well as a nine hole golf course, tennis courts, fitness centre, indoor swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms, and a very fine restaurant. THE ACCOMMODATION: They have a choice of rooms graded, and priced, as standard, luxury or executive, and a number of larger suites with separate seating areas. They are all spacious and beautifully appointed with most of them being in the relatively modern annex adjacent to the castle. If you want something more traditional then go for the Mansion House Rooms; these are in the original castle building and are more old fashioned in READ MORE
- Most Famous Former Guests: Queen Anne Boleyn, Queen Anne of Cleves. Hever Castle Hotel near London in the Garden County of Kent, was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife and the mother of Elizabeth I, putting it right in the top league of England‘s historically meaningful properties, and perhaps at the very top of historically meaningful properties that you can actually stay at. Now before you start to imagine waking up in Anne Boleyn’s bedroom, it must be pointed out that that though the double moated castle dates back to the 13th Century their 28 B&B rooms are set in two Edwardian era extensions. That being said though, as a guest at Hever you are also allowed exclusive access to the castle itself, right up until midnight each day. Named the Astor Wing and Anne Boleyn Wing, these two Edwardian extensions were built in 1903, in a tasteful mock Tudor style by the then castle owner, William Waldorf Astor, as extra accommodation for friends and family. Each wing comes with its own dining and lounge area and they and the rooms display a strong sense of the past with some gorgeous antique furniture, old tapestries and art pieces READ MORE
- The 5 Star Lympstone Manor Hotel in South Devon is a Georgian era manor house turned exclusive contemporary hotel that has realistic ambitions to become one of South West England’s very finest. It describes itself as a ”new generation’ country house hotel and it oozes style and class; the superb interior design blending old and new with great panache. The setting is tremendous too with gardens running all the way down to the Exe estuary and the Jurassic Coast, and to top it all it has a restaurant that achieved its first Michelin star within six months of opening. THE ACCOMMODATION: They have a range of individually styled, soundproofed rooms and suites all with hand crafted beds, temperature regulating duvets, plush fabrics and stylish furniture. Many come with balconies with estuary views and some of the suites have an outdoor hot tub on the private terrace. Check out your options on the booking page here. The bathrooms are particularly fantastic at Lympstone with enormous rainfall showers, romantic roll top baths and luxury L’Occitane toiletries. The hotel in general has an immaculate sense of style and there is much to learned here about interior design and attention to detail. Classic and READ MORE
- Most famous former guests: Queen Mary, Gertrude Jekyll. The 400 year old Gravetye is a gorgeous 17 room boutique manor house hotel near East Grinstead, Sussex, Gatwick Airport and just 30 miles from central London. It is surrounded by more than 1,000 acres of peaceful countryside including some deservedly famous Victorian era gardens, and it has one of Sussex’s very finest restaurants, the Michelin Starred ‘Dining Room Restaurant’. THE ACCOMMODATION: They have 17 classically styled en-suite rooms and suites at Gravetye all of which are plush and inviting with super comfortable beds, deluxe soft fabrics, antique furniture, quirky period features and soothing colours and floral patterns all around. They range from small single rooms through superior, classic, deluxe and luxury doubles and, largest of all, double suites which have a separate lounge area. Except for the single rooms they all are spacious, with the largest of the doubles, the luxury doubles being not much smaller than the more expensive suites, and so perhaps offer better value. Check your options on the booking page here. They all come with garden views and the gardens here are among the most famous in England. Designed in 1885 by its former owner, and one of READ MORE
- Most Famous Guests: Meghan Markle, Mahatma Gandhi, John Profumo, Christine Keeler. Meghan Markle left Cliveden House, near Windsor, on the morning of Saturday 19th May, for her wedding to Prince Harry having spend her last night as a single woman there (previous divorce aside!). We can’t be sure how much time she spent considering her accommodation options in the area but whichever way the highly glamorous Cliveden House was an excellent choice. From April to October on Thursdays and Sundays the doors of, at least part of, the magnificent property, are open to the admiring gaze of the public while all year round its beautifully manicured grounds are on display until evening. It’s a National Trust property, and one which attracts visitors from all around England and indeed the world but, unlike most other National Trust properties, Cliveden House is of course also a top of the range, 5 star luxury castle hotel, conveniently near London. The hotel possesses the sort of dubious glamour that is irresistible to many visitors, for you cannot mention Clivedon House without making reference to one of the most famous ever scandals in British Political history, the so called Profumo affair of the 1960s, an affair which READ MORE
- Buckland Manor is a very elegant, very historical boutique hotel in the Cotswolds. It lies on 10 acres of landscaped grounds in the village of Buckland and is in the heart of some of the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire Cotswolds loveliest countryside. It is also within easy reach of many of its most charming villages, Broadway, Stanton and Snowshill for example are all just a few minutes’s drive away. The manor house hotel has just 15 guest rooms and so is very much a boutique affair, with an intimate, though quite formal, Olde England atmosphere. The service is top class, as is the food at their highly praised restaurant. Other facilities include tennis courts and a croquet lawn. THE ACCOMMODATION: It is very much a boutique hotel with just 15 rooms on offer. All are individually designed and styled and come in various sizes, with the oak paneled superior four poster room being particularly beautiful, and large. They are all though extremely elegant, and super comfortable, and come with plenty of luxury hotel niceties – Nespresso coffee machines, homemade biscuits, Vispring beds and expensive soft fabrics etc., as well as L’Occitane skin care and bath lotions in their opulent, underfloor heated, bathrooms. Some READ MORE
- Most famous former guests: King Henry VIII, King Charles II, Queen Elizabeth II. The 12th century era Amberley Castle is a unique luxury hotel just south of London, in West Sussex, England with an impeccable historical pedigree. Some of England’s most famous historical figures have passed through its doors and it still retains a huge amount of historical features, including 60 foot high defensive walls, portcullis and moat. In its present incarnation as a luxury hotel it offers an immersive historical experience as well top class service and facilities including an 18 hole putting green, tennis courts, a croquet lawn and a famous fine dining restaurant. THE ACCOMMODATION: It has a selection of extremely comfortable, nicely decorated rooms and suites divided between the castle itself, and two atmospheric 17th century stone buildings tucked into the castle’s dry moat, known as the Manor House and the Bishopric. Check out all your options on the booking page here. Most of the rooms and suites are historical in nature, with four poster beds, antique furniture, classic thick velvet curtains and lattice windows, with a few being more modern in style, though never modern enough to make you forget you are staying in a READ MORE
- The very grand, 5 Star Bovey Castle is a Dartmoor and South Devon institution. It has served as a luxury hotel for nearly 90 years now and still has oodles of old fashioned British elegance and class. It has a gorgeous setting too, by the River Bovey and Dartmoor National Park, and a vast country estate surrounding it that includes one of England’s finest golf courses. THE ACCOMMODATION: They have 60 rooms at the castle, singles and doubles, and family rooms that can sleep up to four. Out on the estate grounds there are also a number three-bedroom, three bathroom, self catering lodges. Check out all your options on the booking page here. All the rooms are spacious, comfortable and well appointed, with the style being modest, understated luxury. The colour schemes are demure and soothing, fabrics are soft and inviting, and everything has a whiff of early 20th century class, despite the large flat screen satellite TVs and Nespresso coffee makers. Little touches include thick bathrobes, slippers, luxury ESPA toiletries, complimentary bottled water and decanters of estate produced sloe gin. The estate lodges are a relatively new addition and therefore more modern in style, though not glaringly so. They READ MORE
- The Lanesborough, on Hyde Park Corner, has perhaps London’s most prestigious address and consistently appears near the top of any sensible list of that city’s finest luxury hotels, with its double Michelin Starred Céleste Restaurant being an added bonus. A Grade II listed, Neoclassical building, it was built in 1827 during the reign of George IV to replace the previous mansion built by the 2nd Viscount Lanesborough in 1719, when the first King George; George I, was on the throne. The present day hotel is a stunning place, lavishly furnished in late Georgian/Regency style, it offers a level of luxury and class that few hotels in London, or anywhere else in the world for that matter, can match. For all its opulence though what also makes the Lanesborough stand out is its surprisingly down to earth, friendly ambience. THE ACCOMMODATION: The Lanesborough has 93 rooms and 43 suites to choose from, with la crème de la crème being the incredibly opulent, 363 m² – 3900 square feet, Lanesborough Suite. All the rooms and suites are doubles though an extra bed can also be provided if needed. The interior design at the Lanesborough, both in the accommodation and throughout the hotel READ MORE