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5 Renovated Castles You Can Stay At

5 Renovated Castles You Can Stay At

Staying at these renovated castles will make you truly feel like royalty!

By Chere Di Boscio

Eco hotels are great, but they sometimes place themselves in sensitive locations, like rainforests or seashores. The ecosystems in such areas are sensitive, and even the most careful constructions can make a seriously negative impact. And that’s not even considering the impact of the guests. Think: water pollution from laundry, disruption to fauna from light and noise, and air pollution from increased traffic to the area.

That’s why we think renovating existing properties is a better idea. And luckily, Europe is full of them. Even castles!

“A castle in ruin is only the first part of the tale. The true spirit of transformation comes when it is brought back to life, meticulously rejuvenated to blend historic charm with modern luxury.” – Travel Expert Julianna Marshall.

Reasons we think staying in castles is sustainable

You might be wondering why we’re writing about staying in vast, difficult-to-heat castles as being sustainable. And actually, there are good reasons for that!

Firstly, these castles, as mentioned, already exist. No new building materials are needed. Zero construction waste will be dumped. No forests need to be cleared for their construction. And that leads me to my second point.

Many of these castles exist in areas of outstanding beauty. I’m talking about ancient forests and pristine lakes. Visiting these castles gives incentives to maintain those areas.

If you’re thinking these places are huge and the energy to heat them would be off the charts, think again. The majority of the rooms will not be in use, so won’t require energy. And the few that do will have fireplaces for heat in winter.

And finally, the decor of most of these places is ancient. We’re talking about antique wood furniture that’s museum quality, and simply gorgeous! While some castles may upgrade for a more modern look, that would likely only be in the suites they’re renting out. And many of these renovated castles are proud to say that any new builds or decor they’ve added is as sustainable as can be, using FSC certified woods, low energy lighting and eco friendly textiles, like cotton, silk and linen. Still, most rooms contain museum-worthy antiques. Nothing new was likely purchased for centuries!

From ancient battlegrounds to royal residences, castles stand as timeless symbols of power, wealth, and grandeur. So let’s take a fascinating journey through some of the most castles of the United Kingdom, shall we?

Below, I have found some incredible castle renovations that transformed ancient structures from derelict ruins into luxurious accommodations. Truly inspiring!

5 Renovated Castles To Stay At On Your Next Holiday

renovated castles in the UK

1. Amberley Castle, West Sussex

A Medieval masterpiece, Amberley Castle is a 12th-century castle set in the picturesque landscape of West Sussex. The stately home, complete with a portcullis and surrounding moat, transformed into a unique hotel with an impressive renovation in 1989. Now privately owned by Andrew and Christina Brownsword, this incredible 900-year-old castle is enclosed by a 60 foot high curtain wall and portcullis that remains open.

The old: Antique items, such as suits of armour, some original furnishings and woodwork, lead glass windows, and many, many fireplaces, remain intact. The colour scheme is also based on the same hues that decorated the castle for centuries.

The new: The property now boasts 19 luxury rooms and suites, each aptly named after a British monarch or dignitary. The afternoon tea is much-loved, and features all the classics: finger sandwiches, clotted cream and scones, and petits fours. You can enjoy tennis courts, an 18-hole putting green and croquet lawn, and even a resident peacock that now roams the grounds.

One of the best renovated castles for: Sports lovers.

renovated castles in the UK

2. Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire

Once a grand Tudor castle frequented by King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Thornbury Castle in Gloucestershire now provides an unparalleled regal experience to the public. Its grandeur makes it popular for weddings and special occasions.

The old: The extensive gardens have been in place for centuries. Ancient artworks decorate the vast rooms, and huge fireplaces, large enough to roast a beast, will keep you warm. Intricate woodwork adorns the walls and ceilings.

The new: The castle now houses 27 elegant bedrooms. We particularly love the recreations of canopied, kingly beds in some of the suites. But the true feature here is an excellent restaurant serving sumptuous local cuisine.

One of the best renovated castles for: True history buffs.

renovated castles in the UK

3. Bovey Castle, Devon

Built during the hallowed Edwardian era, Bovey Castle in Devon is still a symbol of architectural excellence. The main building was built in 1907 in Jacobean style, with a Great Hall into which a floor was inserted in the 1980s. The interior is of supreme quality, with panelled rooms and elaborately carved features. The sprawling garden is set above terraces with stunning views, overlooking a lake and the River Bovey.

Activities here are diverse. You can learn falconry, archery, cider making and bushcraft, or try clay pigeon shooting.

The old: While the brickwork and stunning natural setting have remained the same for centuries, the decor here is much more modern looking than that in the other castles on this list. The amenities are also new and very much in tune with the 21st century.

The new: Its meticulous renovation culminated in 60 individually designed bedrooms. There are also now two restaurants offering fine dining experiences, a spa featuring a whirlpool, sauna, gym and various treatments, and an 18-hole champion golf course.

One of the best renovated castles for: Immersion in the true nature of the British countryside. Also, for true relaxation at the incredible spa.

renovated castles in the UK

4. Ashford Castle, County Mayo

Situated in County Mayo, Ireland, Ashford Castle passed through the hands of many prominent Irish families, including the Guinesses. The castle has also welcomed many famous guests such as George V, the Prince of Wales, John Lennon and Ronald Reagan. 

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Recently, the 800-year-old castle underwent an extensive restoration process. All 820 windows were replaced, a new lead roof was installed, and its stonework repointed. The restorations cost around a whopping €47m. But the results? A beautiful blend of ancient architecture, punctuated by modern amenities. Worth it!

The old: Many of the antique chandeliers, artwork, and much of the woodwork are well maintained antiques, or even originals.

The new: The castle now offers 83 rooms for guests. There’s a cinema and billiard room for all to enjoy, and there’s even Ireland’s first school of falconry.

One of the best renovated castles for:  A luxurious hotel stay. This resort has won several accolades for its attention to detail, wide range of activities, and impeccable service.

renovated castles in the UK renovated castles in the UK

5. Inverlochy Castle, Scotland

Tucked away in the Scottish Highlands, the 19th-century Inverlochy Castle offers a magical fusion of history and opulence.

This beautiful 19th century Scottish Castle sits near Fort William in the Highlands of Scotland.  The area surrounding the castle is lush with several natural wonders, including the falls at Glen Nevis and the mountains of Glencoe. In fact, during a trip to Balmoral in 1873, Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy sketching and painting where she wrote in her diaries ‘I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’.

The old: The main conservation point of the castle is its simple layout. It comprises a quadrangular courtyard, surrounded by a wall up to 2.7 metres (8.9 ft) thick and up to 7.6 metres (25 ft) high, with round towers at each corner.

The new: Following its restoration, the castle now flaunts 17 bedrooms open to the public. Each one features a unique design and heritage. The Michelin-starred restaurant, run by chef Michel Roux Jr.

One of the best renovated castles for: Foodies. This restaurant is something very special!

renovated castles in the UK

To stay in these castles is to become part of their history, to bask in their grandeur, and to enjoy the luxuriousness they now offer.

As you plan your next trip, consider adding one or more of these impressive accommodations to your itinerary. Not only will you soaking in luxury for your entire stay, but you’ll also feel an intimate connection with the past.

Remember that each step taken within these resplendent castle walls is a step back in time, enriching your journey with a touch of historical grandeur.

Chere Di Boscio
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