23 castles that you can stay in and pretend to be royalty for a few days

We’ve heard of castles in fairytales but may not have seen one, let alone staying in one. While often associated with opulence and the royalty, staying in one doesn’t have to cost you that much. Here are X castles that you can make a reservation to stay in, and feel like royalty for a day, if you so wish to.

1. Ashford Castle

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Where: Ireland | Website

Built in the 13th century, this medieval castle has once been owned by the Guinness family (yes, the family behind the beer brand). It has been converted into a five-star hotel since, and has won numerous awards for its hospitality. Besides admiring its beautiful Victorian-style interior, the spacious area around the hotel will make it great for strolls or cycling. Alternatively, you can enjoy golf on its nine-hole course, which was converted from a deer park. The hotel also has  a lake where you can take a cruise on. This castle has welcomed many famous personalities, including Oscar Wilde, John Lennon, and Ronald Reagan.

2. Ballygally Castle

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Where: Northern Ireland | Website

This castle is rumoured to be one of the most haunted places on the island it’s sitting on. Legend has is that the castle used to be occupied by Lady Isabella Shaw, who fell to her death from one of the windows. It was not known if she had jumped or was pushed. It was said that she is one of the friendly ghosts who still lurk around the castle. The “Ghost Room” is reserved for her but you can visit if you’re feeling brave. But even if you’re not hoping to experience anything paranormal, the hotel is famous for its picturesque views and relaxing afternoon teas.

3. Ballynahinch Castle

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Where: Ireland | Website

The original castle dates back to the 15th century but the present architecture was built 200 years later. Today, it is loved by tourists who enjoy outdoors activities, as hiking, angling, cycling, and woodcock shooting are available within the estate. The food served in the castle is said to be locally sourced and there are several guides who will be able to recommend the best walking trails and spots for fly fishing.

4. Barcaldine Castle

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Where: Scotland | Website

Built in 1609, this castle known for its antique furniture and luxurious furnishing. If you can’t resist a good view, ask for the room at the top of the castle so you can enjoy the peaks of the Glencoe. A ghost is also said to be dwelling in this popular wedding venue. It is said that Sir Duncan Campbell still roams the castle, in search of the man who murdered him.

5. Castello di Ripa d’Orcia

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Where: Italy | Website

Set atop a hill, it can be slightly challenging to get to this castle, but the view and serenity you can get may be well worth the trip. Built in the 13th century, this castle is surrounded by views of vineyards and olive orchards that is owned and operated by the Piccolomini family that also owns the castle. The family also produces extra-virgin olive oil and vin santo (a dessert wine) that you can purchase while you’re there.

6. Castel Pergine

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Where: Italy | Website

If you’re looking to experience an authentic medieval castle, then Castel Pergine will be a great option. Built in the 13th century, the castle is perched on a hill and on offers beautiful views of the upper Sugana Valley and Lake Caldonazzo. Consider joining a horseback tour or bike tour to explore the picturesque vicinity and if you’re visiting in winter, the area is great for skiing.

7. Chateau de la Caze

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Where: France | Website

This castle was originally built for a French noblewoman as her honeymoon home in the 15th century, and offers a beautiful view of a nearby river and cliffs. Opt for the rooms on the top floor for the best views and consider an alfresco dining experience at the castle’s restaurant, where you’ll not only great food but also a stunning view.

8. Clomantagh Castle

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Where: Ireland | Website

This castle is interesting because it features a 15th century tower house while the other part of it is a 19th century farm house. Surrounded by defensive walls and within a working farm, the castle was initially owned by an aristocrat and its last owner was a local vet. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the kitchen area, where you can find a cooking range, farm dresser, and a large kitchen table – all these features are typical of the way the Irish lived during that time.

9. Crom Castle

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Where: Northern Ireland | Website

If you’re hoping to not just live in a castle but also live with an aristocrat, Crom is where you should be. Lord and Lady Erne will be there to greet you; their family has been living in Crom Castle for seven centuries and you’ll be staying in the West Wing of the castle when you visit. You’ll also enjoy strolling within the estate taking in the stunning views in its surrounding and the historical architecture that you’re in. You can also travel to the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, an 895-million-year-old formation that is near the castle.

10. Dalhousie Castle Hotel

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This restaurant used to be a dungeon

Where: Scotland | Website

This beautiful castle overlooks the River Esk, making you feel close to nature. Many iconic structures that tell you the castle’s age can still be seen – openings in the parapets where defenders of the castle used to pour boiling oil on intruders from, and its restaurant that used to be a dungeon. To make your stay extra memorable, you can check into a themed room – one of them features a 500-year-old well – and sign up for the hotel’s falconry experience where you can observe owls, Harris hawks and buzzards and have them land on your hand.

11. Dornoch Castle

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Where: Scotland | Website

Originally owned by the Bishop of Caithness and the Earl of Sutherland, this castle was then set on fire over a clan feud. It was later used as a school, jail, courthouse, a hunting lodge, before it became a hotel that visitors can stay in. Its colourful history means you’ll be able to observe different facets of its story. For activities, you can sign up for clay pigeon shooting, squash, tennis, Geocaching, and candle-making workshops. The area is also well-known for golf and its beautiful beach where there’s occasional dolphin sighting.

12. Fernie Castle

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Where: Scotland | Website

Built in the 14th century, Fernie Castle sits on 17 acres of woodlands, which means there are several beautiful walk trails you can take. Sign up for a hands-on falconry experience or ride a horse while you’re there. The castle is also near historic towns and villages that you can explore.

13. Glengorm Castle

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Where: Scotland | Website

This 19th-century castle is still a family home, so don’t be surprised if you meet any of the owners and their children in the estate. The castle looks out to the sea and offers a spectacular sunset view. Sign up for a guided nature walk and take some time to explore the wildlife in the area.

 

14. Kasteel Wittem

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Where: Netherlands | Website

Kasteel Wittem is said to have been first built a thousand years ago, although most of what you see now was built 300 years ago. While it is a historical building, the rooms are relatively modern-looking. The estate takes up almost eight acres of parkland and is surrounded by countryside beauty. Consider renting bicycles to explore the charming area.

15. Liberton Tower

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Where: Scotland | Website

This 15th-century castle has been restored so beautifully, you’ll enjoy modern facilities while enjoying its rustic charm. The external staircase replaces a drawbridge that used to be its entrance. The wall paintings, oak furniture and fireplace in the castle adds to its beauty.

16. Lough Eske Castle

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Where: Ireland | Website

This 15th-century castle is now a five-star hotel, so you’ll definitely be basking in luxury. The luxurious interior features an intricate oak staircase and marble floor, complementing the fine dining and opulent accommodation the hotel comes with. Therer are many walking trails near the castle if you want to explore the beautiful sights around the estate.

17. Markree Castle

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Where: Ireland | Website

Enjoy the rustic charm of castles but prefer a modern accommodation? You can get the best of both worlds at Markree Castle. The rooms in the 19th-century castle are furnished with antiques, but you’ll get to enjoy a modern bathrooms. Explore the 500 acres of green parkland surrounding the estate and visit the library that used to be home to 50,000 tomes.

18. Parador de Oropesa

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Where: Spain | Website

This fortress was built in 1402 and feature spacious rooms that look out to the valley, nearby village, and Sierra de Gredos mountains. If you’re planning to splurge, check into the El Peinador de la Reina room. This is the largest room in the castle located in a tower. It comes with a huge living room and a side room that has seven balconies with beautiful views.

19. Schloss Kapfenstein

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Where: Austria | Website

This castle is built atop an extinct volcano and offers the spectacular view of vineyards that surround the estate. These vineyards are run by the family that own and run the estate, so don’t forget to enjoy a glass of family-made wine while enjoying breakfast at the outdoor terrace. The castle also has its own restaurant that serves authentic Austrian cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients.

 

20. Saddell Castle

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Where: Scotland | Website

Built by the Bishop of Argyll in the early 16th century, Saddel Castle sits on a beach, allowing you to enjoy beautiful views from every window. If you have the chance, ask for the bedroom that comes with a 16th century fireplace that was discovered only during restoration. Don’t forget to check out the beach where you may be able to see seals and otters along the shore.

21. Schloss Sommersdorf

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Where: Germany | Website

Built in the 14th century, this castle is currently the home of Dr. Manfred Baron von Crailsheim who rents out the castle’s guestroom so you can enjoy this beautiful estate. The baron has an exquisite antique automobile collection, so history buffs should definitely ask him about it – so he can show them to you!

22. Talabgaon Castle

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Where: India | Website

This is the only castle in Asia in this list, but it’s not quite as old as the other castles we’ve talked about. The castle was built as a fort in 1818 and features spacious and airy rooms. Splurge on a Heritage Room to have a traditional Rajasthani balcony attached to your room that looks out to the garden. The castle also has polo grounds where you can watch a match at. Sign up for a camel safari or horseback ride with the castle to explore the beautiful surroundings.

23. Torrisdale Castle

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Where: Scotland | Website

There are a few accommodation options, but if you are travelling with a larger group, you’ll be checking into the Servants’ Quarters of the castle. But don’t worry, it won’t be a shoddy stay. The apartment is newly revamped, and you’ll enjoy a beautiful sea view. The shower area of the master bedroom used to be a gun room, and don’t forget to hunt for a secret room when you stay there. The estate is close to a private beach and there’s plenty of animals to spot if you’re into wildlife watching.

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