English Castle Hotels – But First, a Little Background for the History Lovers!
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 rudimentary examples were classic Motte and Bailey structures often built mainly with timber.
These first English castles could be constructed, and destroyed, relatively quickly, and by the 13th century, the by then fully established Normans had replaced the majority of them with more solid stone structures.
These castles became crucial to the subjugation of native populations at the fringes of their power and to the defence of their territory.
Within the next few centuries, they would become a standard feature of military conflict, not only in England but all over Europe.
Many of England’s most impressive 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.
Not long after their reign ended though, in the 1600s, advances in cannon technology lead to them being proven as vulnerable in various conflicts throughout Europe.
The End for Castles
English castles were last properly put to work during the Civil War of 1642 and there too they were far 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 but there are many more that are in fact Victorian and Georgian era castle follies.
These castle follies, grand stately homes usually built in the Neo-Gothic style, often on the site of a more ancient preceding structure, were all the rage in the 19th century.
They adopted many old castle defensive and aesthetic features but only for the sake of appearances.
Our choices for the best castle hotels in England include authentic medieval defensive castles, Neo-Gothic follies, and manor houses, and they’ve all got plenty of individual history for you to discover.
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 courses, etc.