Travel Guides

5 Castle Breaks in England

Live like a royal and explore your kingdom with a holiday escape as great as your imagination. Don't settle for a hotel when you can stay on a historic site with a castle in your own backyard. Sleep in a 13th century tower as part of the castle that once served Plantagenet kings or spend a weekend beside a medieval fort, all upgraded with the mod-cons of today.

Here are our top picks to help you time travel to some of England's most historic sites in 21st century style and comfort.

1. Pendennis Castle

Callie’s Cottage and Custodian’s House - Falmouth, Cornwall

  • Sleeps: 4 + cot (Callie's Cottage), 2 + cot (Custodian's Cottage)
  • Dog-friendly: Yes

Henry VIII commissioned Pendennis Castle in the 16th century to avert a possible invasion from Catholic Europe. Since then it's played a significant role in warfare until as recently as the Second World War. But you don't have to be in the army to spend a weekend here. Today all are welcome and you can stay just metres away from the fortress in one of two cottages including a former 1900s Sergeants' Mess. With the breathtaking Cornish coastline nearby you can plan a seaside getaway for the whole family.

Stay at Pendennis Castle

2. St Mawes Castle

Fort House - St Mawes, Cornwall

  • Sleeps: 4 + cot
  • Dog-friendly: Yes

Across the estuary from Pendennis Castle is another fortress built by Henry VIII, but there's no risk of a castle siege here either. St Mawes Castle is considered one of the best-preserved of Henry's coastal artillery fortresses with elaborate stone carving and fairytale-style turrets. Don't forget your camera or you'll miss the chance to capture views of one of England's largest estuaries, the Fal estuary, and of course the neighbouring Tudor castle itself. If the serenity of the coastline doesn't relax you, a cuppa in the private garden will sort you out in no time.

Stay at St Mawes Castle

3. Dover Castle

Peverell's Tower - Dover, Kent

  • Sleeps: 2
  • Dog-friendly: No

Historic Dover Castle is one of England's greatest fortresses, defending the country for more than nine centuries and equalled in significance only by the Tower of London and Windsor Castle. Overlooking the crashing waves against the famous white cliffs below, this getaway is as culturally exciting as it is environmentally dramatic. The real draw here is the unique opportunity to stay inside the medieval Peverell's Tower, which forms part of the castle walls. This tower was once a prison, locking away trouble makers and enemies, but you can feel like the king - or queen - of this castle. See if you can brave the tower overnight with a friend or loved one - we promise we'll leave a key with you.

Stay at Dover Castle

4. Carisbrooke Castle

Bowling Green Apartment - Newport, Isle of Wight

  • Sleeps: 4 + cot
  • Dog-friendly: No

Once upon a time only nobles and their families could enjoy a getaway at Carisbrooke Castle, but now it's open to the public. You can turn what was once the grounds of a royal summer residence into your own retreat, staying on the second floor of this 19th century renovated apartment. This castle was once home to Queen Victoria's youngest daughter and for a time imprisoned the ill-fated King Charles I prior to his execution. Located on the Isle of Wight, you could also visit the nearby Osborne, which was a favourite of Queen Victoria herself.

Stay at Carisbrooke Castle

5. Walmer Castle

The Garden Cottage and Greenhouse Apartment - Deal, Kent

  • Sleeps: 4 + cot (The Garden Cottage), 4 + cot (Greenhouse Apartment)
  • Dog-friendly: No

Walmer Castle has been the official residence of Lord Wardens such as Winston Churchill, the Duke of Wellington and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and now you can have private access as a resident of The Garden Cottage. Feel like a royal while being free to roam the castle grounds when it's closed to the general public. Within walking distance to the beach, and with private access to the castle, you can explore England's story by day and make yourself at home with friends and family by night.

Stay at Walmer Castle

Holiday Cottages

During your stay at our Holiday Cottages, you will have access to English Heritage sites free of charge. If castles aren't your thing, we've got more historic options from awe-inspiring priories to Victorian estates and gardens designed by Capability Brown.

For full accessibility details, availability and prices, please visit the individual pages on our Holiday Cottages website or check out our brochure.

Download our Brochure (PDF)

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