How often have you looked at pictures of England's many magnificent
and wished you could stay there? Experience what it's like to walk the
corridors, look out of the high windows and explore the beautiful
gardens? Celebrate an anniversary, get married or simply find out how it
feels to be looked after like a king.
Well, why not stay in a castle?
Not all English castles are ruins and not all belong to Her Majesty.
A few have been turned into amazing luxury hotels. Opulent, outrageous, romantic, haunted.... castle hotels are always something special. Whether you're planning a romantic weekend, a wedding or a honeymoon, check out this selection of English castle hotels and experience the age of chivalry for yourself.
If you love Tudor history then Thornbury Castle is the ideal hotel for you. Once the love nest of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, it's the only Tudor castle open as a hotel. And it truly looks the part.
Much of its historic interior has been preserved, so expect heavy oaken doors, huge fireplaces, suits of armour and luxurious four-posters. Ghosts? Not so sure.
Instead, the hotel's won awards for the exceptional way it looks after its guests. So if you ever wanted to be waited on by a tuxedo-clad butler, then you really should visit this amazing castle hotel.
This is romance with a capital R, haunted and satin-draped. Lumley Castle is an ideal venue for a weekend away and very popular for weddings.
But it finds just as much favour with business travellers - no doubt due to the right royal way guests are looked after. From four-posters and log fires, to wifi, an indoor pool and a highly recommended restaurant, Lumley Castle has it all.
And the added advantage: cricket lovers will find the Durham cricket ground right next door!
Not quite as old as the previous two, but Swinton Park makes up for that lack with its fairytale looks and gorgeous Regency decor.
It's a wonderful setting for a big romantic wedding. (Just imagine the photos!) The honeymoon suite is - very appropriately for a castle hotel - a glorious, three-floored affair in one of the turrets.
But couples looking for a romantic weekend find it just as inspiring. Exploring the gardens, lakes and moors just on your doorstep, or taking tea in one of the exquisite drawing rooms, you can be excused for imagining yourself in 'Pride and Prejudice'.
Again, not as old, but Bovey Castle boasts a wonderful location and stunning good looks.
This is a castle hotel for those who like their mod cons a little more modern. While the outside may remind you of knights on horseback, the interior leans more towards 1920s filmstar glamour than the crusades.
Go out with the hotels falconer to hunt your own dinner. (Where else can you do that?) Or take afternoon tea in the Cathedral Room, with its vaulted oak-beamed ceiling and 30-foot fireplace.
Explore the wine cellars, play golf on a restored championship course - or just take it easy with a glass of something nice and enjoy the peace and the wonderful views.
Okay, so Studley Castle is not yet 200 years old and was never designed as a defensive fortress, but I think you would agree it has the looks and had to be included in this list of castle hotels.
As this is a Warner Leisure Hotel there are plenty of things to do without leaving the 28-acre park. There are walking and cycling routes that explore the estate and countryside or how about archery, boules, pitch & putt, or croquet.
If you prefer indoor activities, then why not try the swimming pool, gym, or yoga and aerobics classes.
It’s not all about the activities, and there is plenty of calm space to relax. You may want to just curl up and read a scintillating book, play board games, or take afternoon tea. There is plenty of choice.
And then there is the fine food and live evening entertainment!
If this is not enough, then Studley Castle is ideally situated for exploring Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, some of the quaint villages of The Cotswolds, or the city of Coventry.
There's something about English castles that fires the imagination. History comes alive, reality merges with romance. And staying in a castle becomes the ultimate romantic fantasy.
In England's dramatic, luxurious castle hotels this fantasy comes true - whether you're dreaming of a grand romantic wedding, a surprise anniversary break or a weekend away with a difference.
Go ahead - immerse yourself in England's wonderful history!
And if you haven't yet found what you're looking for you can browse our entire list of hotels in England:
Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travellers have to say about luxury Hotels across England at Tripadvisor.
Return to the Essentially England homepage.