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Have you ever stayed in an English castle?

Have you ever stayed in an English castle?

Mar 12th, 2008, 08:13 PM
  #1  
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Have you ever stayed in an English castle?

DH mentioned the possibility of staying in a castle versus an apartment rental during our summer 2009 visit to England. So, I'm doing a preliminary search to see what's available within an hour or two of London. Would love to hear from Fodorites that have experienced this type of lodging.

Also, does anyone know of a good website that allows one to search for castle lodging? I located one (historic-ukdotcom) but it keeps locking up my computer...

Thanks in advance.
CDG
ChicagoDallasGirl is offline  
Mar 12th, 2008, 08:59 PM
  #2  
 
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Well - you say it locks up your pc so I don't what so recommend but is this the link you tried? http://www.historic-uk.com/stayuk/CastleHotels.htm

http://www.celticcastles.com/find_english.asp has several - though none near London

http://www.amberleycastle.co.uk/

http://www.thornburycastle.co.uk/
janisj is online now  
Mar 13th, 2008, 12:25 AM
  #3  
 
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http://www.langleycastle.com/

Although not near London. I stayed there few years back.
Odin is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 03:53 AM
  #4  
 
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Here you go - and it's a charity too:

http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 09:44 AM
  #5  
 
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landmarktrust has 7 castles listed

historic-uk.com 71 castles

www.celticcastles.com has 45 UK castles

www.castles.org/Chatelaine has only Scottish castles

nationaltrustcottages.co.uk has just one Cornwall Castle

For castle staying tours: www.specialgrouptours.com has excursionslike 4-night Castle Living in Kent and Sussex at about $3,000 p.p. in a double!
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 09:59 AM
  #6  
 
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HI; Thornbury Castle, that is about two hours from London is a wonderfull place to stay. GREAT FOOD. Also near Wales for visits in the south. ENJOY Iris
iris1745 is online now  
Mar 13th, 2008, 10:08 AM
  #7  
 
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There is also a YHA hostel in a castle somewhere in England
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 10:12 AM
  #8  
 
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I highly recommend the Landmark and National Trusts - but bear in mind -

For the Landmark Trust you will need to buy the catalog/guidebook before you can see the properties. It is (or was last year) $25.

For both the Landmark and National - these are mostly one-of-a-kind places and tend to book up very early. National Trust members get first shot at their properties and often the best ones are booked up before becoming available to the public.

You will need to book a full week w/ a set starting day of the week - usually a Saturday, but can vary from place to place.

And finally, they are more expensive than some similar rentals-- well there really isn't much that IS similar. For instance, the Landmark even has flats w/i Hampton Court Palace.

So not to discourage you - but it simply isn't a matter of e-mailing them and getting the castle of your dreams. You have lots of lead time since you are not going til next year. But do your homework and get on it by this Fall at the latest if you want to stay in a National or Landmark property. If you find a National Trust property to die for - it would be worth joining the Trust or the Royal Oak Society to get first dibs . . . . . .
janisj is online now  
Mar 13th, 2008, 10:15 AM
  #9  
 
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To clarify about the Landmark catalog -- They only place a couple of properties on the website. Sort of teasers. To view the full range, get descriptions of each place, see their prices and starting days - you have to have the catalog in hand.
janisj is online now  
Mar 13th, 2008, 10:19 AM
  #10  
 
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The Landmark Catalog lists about 180 properties - to get one in U.S. call Landmark Trust USA in Vermont 802-254-6868 - $25

U.K. 01628-825925

says last minute bookings are often available
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 13th, 2008, 10:27 AM
  #11  
 
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Yes - PQ - last minute booking are sometimes available. But NOT for a specific property. If one is looking to stay in a castle like the OP mentions, do not count on getting in at the last minute. Especially since "castles" are a VERY small part of their inventory. (Have you ever actually seen a Landmark Trust Handbook?)

But not their problem since they are not going until next year.
janisj is online now  
Mar 13th, 2008, 06:00 PM
  #12  
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Janisj-yes. that's the site that locks up on me. thanks for the additional sites and info.

CW and PalenQ - thanks for the trust info. i had not heard about the trust properties.

Odin-Langley looks very nice and not too expensive. if we find ourselves heading north, will definitely consider it.

iris-i love the look of thornbury and appreciate your feedback. the tripadvisor reviews and photos look great, too.
ChicagoDallasGirl is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 04:16 AM
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Landmark info says just 7 of its property inventory are castles

no i have never seen a Landmark handbook as they are way out of my budget - just quoting info from a travel article i had filed away
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 04:30 AM
  #14  
 
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I have stayed at amberley castle (near arundel) in sussex a couple of times, it is very nice if a bit remote. Unless driving you can get the train to amberley or arundel and get a cab to the castle. Is supposedly the oldest castel hotel in the UK. It also has a very good restaurant. Arundel is a lovely town with its own castle and cathedral plus a few restaurant and pubs. Give it a try.
mrgrumpy is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 05:27 AM
  #15  
 
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We've also stayed at Amberly Castle and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very nice accommodations and the restaurant is excellent. Very unusual sense of history to eat in the same dining hall as such people as Elizabeth I, Charles II, Henry VIII, etc. Beautiful grounds.

It's about half an hour south of LGW. We took the train from London and, if you call ahead, the hotel staff will pick you up at the station.
dfr4848 is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 08:20 AM
  #16  
 
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As someone who has stayed in several Landmark Trust properties, I can say it IS usually as easy as calling them up and staying in the property of your dreams. (Note my wording.)

And having the whole property to yourself, as opposed to a room at a castle hotel, is a totally different experience.

We seldom booked more than 3-4 months ahead, for some popular properties. The site has fairly up-to-date availability listings right on its site (although the type is VERY small and hard to read). You can call Vermont, or e-mail the main office, and they'll tell you availability and anything else you want to know, and help you find the right property. And bigger does not necessarily mean more expensive.

True, only a small number of the properties are actually "castles" others are banqueting houses -- of castles/stately homes. Others are follies -- of castles/stately homes. Others are converted outbuildings on the grounds of castles -- or not. Others are stately homes themselves that are the superior in beauty and comfort to many castles (but I understand the appeal of the castle no matter what!). Or forts. Some are very humble cottages, or even camping sites. You get the idea. But they are all exactly as pictured & described (no solid waste treatment plant creatively cropped out of the photo or ajoining Home for the Criminally and Sartorially Deranged left out of the description).

Landmark Trust now does 3-night weekends and 4-night weeks at most properties, so it's not true that you have to book a full week. Weekends are usually more expensive than week days per night.

And you don't have to join anything to book a property, whether it's LT, NT, National Trust for Scotland, National Trust for Ireland, Vivat Trust, the Duchy of Cornwall, whoever. Again, go to their sites and get the facts from them.

If this intrigues you, you can do searches here and on the Web, where there is more information and photos from people's vacations.

I have made previous posts about the approximate costs. Short version: It's relative, but the most expensive property at peak season for a whole property with many people/rooms, living rooms, garden etc. is something like $8,000 a week. Includes linens, electricity, everything I can think of except food (duh) and logs for the fire. (LT properties generally have no phones or TV, NT etc. are more into electronics.) "Expensive" does not mean $20,000 a week!

For my family, LT has spoiled us for anything else.

But you should make your own decision.

P.S. I think I read a review of that castle hostel once. I think it's in Scotland, and it does let adults stay, but I'm not sure about family rooms vs. dormitories.
Bluehour is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 01:24 PM
  #17  
 
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I have also stayed in LT and NT properties. Your example of $8000 a week would probably strike many as expensive -- but I guess "expensive" is in the eye of the beholder. (While they do run higher than other places, few LT properties cost anywhere near that). Most of the extra $$ is due to the very unique nature of the properties and the cost of purchase/restoration/maintenance. I am not saying they are not "worth" the $$$, but that there are perfectly good castles and castle hotels that can be had for less.

The OP is going in summer - in the off season there is much more LT availability, and short breaks.
janisj is online now  
Mar 14th, 2008, 01:53 PM
  #18  
 
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I meant to stress: That $8,000 was the top end for Landmark Trust. Vagaries of exchange rate and a flukey week notwithstanding. There's a LOT in the +/- $3,500 a week, 2-3 bedroom range. Some are much less.

Some one bedrooms in an popular area are more expensive than a 4-bedroom in a more rural area an hour away. A property I can't afford in June is within my budget in February.

(I don't have the book in front of me, and haven't calculated the full price list in today's crappy rates, so nobody freak out if I'm a little off, OK? I'm not obfuscating.)

You can also ask Landmark to just send you a price list if you have access to a Handbook, or otherwise have enough information to make your decision on the property and just want the prices. You don't HAVE to buy. It's not a book-selling racket. You can ask to have the fee applied to your booking, if you want.

Many people here pay for a night in a hotel what I'd pay for a week. At places that would bore the socks off me. Chacun, etc. Everyone should enjoy their lodging as much as I enjoy mine. Wherever they stay.

Which is why facts are good. "Too expensive" means nothing.

If I hadn't had the facts years ago, some of the postings on this board might have scared me off of LT. And that would have been very, very sad.

So find your castle and enjoy it!
Bluehour is offline  
Mar 14th, 2008, 08:49 PM
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What I meant - I have rented many high end cottages, wings in castles, flats w/i manor houses and never paid close to $3500 let alone $8000. I did pay just over $3000 once - but it was for a Scottish Tower house that slept 12.

Landmark Trust ARE more expensive than most other rentals. There are very good reasons for this, and they are "worth" the expense if one wants a unique experience -- but don't mislead that they are moderately priced.
janisj is online now  
Mar 15th, 2008, 06:52 AM
  #20  
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mrgrumpy and dfr - amberley does look quite nice. i've watched Elizabeth and its sequel in recent weeks, which prompted lots of research on all the "players" in the monarchies of that time. So to lodge in the same buildings once host to some of those central figures would be amazing.

Blue and Janisj - Wonderful information on LT! Thanks for the clarification on everything. I took a closer look at the site and think it's great the purchase of the catalog can be credited to your stay, though we'd probably donate it. Told DH about it and we're excited to explore this possiblity. Usually I don't get the luxury of planning this far out! Started dabbling a few months ago, ramping up now, and plan to be going full steam by the end of summer.

There are so many options for everything, lodging, dining, etc. Research is one of my favorite aspects of travel.

Right now, our plan is to spend half of our 10-15 day stay in Paris and the rest in London, or thereabout, hoping to see a couple matches at Wimbledon.

Anywho, thank you everyone for your feedback on the subject of castle lodging! I'll keep ya posted.
ChicagoDallasGirl is offline  

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