Nothing stirs the imagination more than historic castles. Close your eyes and envision it.  Let’s embark on a journey that transcends time and invites you to experience the grandeur of history by staying in meticulously preserved castles and palaces across continents. These architectural marvels, now transformed into luxurious accommodations, offer a unique blend of opulence, comfort, and a glimpse into the past. Join me as we explore eight magnificent properties, each with its own historical significance and an array of activities for an unforgettable stay.

Ashford Castle – County Mayo, Ireland

Nestled on the shores of Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle dates back to 1228. This masterpiece has evolved from a medieval fortress to grand retreat, and has hosted royalty and dignitaries throughout the centuries.

Accommodations: Choose from elegantly appointed rooms and suites, each offering a seamless blend of modern luxury and historic charm.

Activities: Enjoy falconry, cruise on Lough Corrib, or explore the picturesque Connemara region. The summer months, from June to August, provide the best weather for outdoor activities.

 

Château de la Treyne – Lot, France

Overlooking the Dordogne River, Château de la Treyne is a Renaissance gem built in the 14th century – its earliest record dating back to 1342. It has been home to knights and noblemen over the centuries, and even housed the Louvre’s Egyptian collection during World War 2.

Accommodations: Indulge in the romance of beautifully decorated rooms and suites with panoramic views of the river.

Activities: Savor gourmet dining, take a hot air balloon ride over the scenic countryside, or explore nearby caves. The spring and fall seasons offer pleasant weather for outdoor pursuits.

 

Castello di Vicarello – Tuscany, Italy

Situated in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, Castello di Vicarello is a restored medieval castle surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. A family-owned property, Carlo and Aurora Baccheschi Berti purchased the ruins in the 1980s and spent 12 years lovingly restoring it, with further restorations continuing to this day.

 

Accommodations: Stay in suites that seamlessly blend rustic elegance with modern amenities, offering breathtaking views of the Tuscan landscape.

Activities: Engage in wine tasting, attend cooking classes, or relax by the pool with a view. The spring and fall months provide mild weather for outdoor activities.

 

Borthwick Castle – Midlothian, Scotland

Built in 1430, Borthwick Castle is a formidable fortress located in the Scottish countryside. At one point, it was home to Mary Queen of Scots when she famously fled from there in 1567, plus served also as a residence to Oliver Cromwell.

Accommodations: Experience a perfect fusion of historic charm and modern luxury in carefully restored rooms.

Activities: Enjoy archery, explore Edinburgh, or take a scenic hike in the surrounding countryside. The summer months, from June to September, offer the best weather.

 

Amberley Castle – West Sussex, England

Dating back to the 12th century, Amberley Castle is surrounded by picturesque gardens and nestled in the South Downs.  It served as a royal strong hold during the English Civil War.

Accommodations: Stay in rooms with four-poster beds and garden views, seamlessly combining historic charm and modern comfort.

Activities: Indulge in traditional afternoon tea, explore nearby vineyards, or take a stroll through the beautiful South Downs. Spring and summer are ideal for garden visits.

 

Ballynahinch Castle – County Galway, Ireland

Set against the backdrop of the Twelve Bens mountain range, Ballynahinch Castle has been interwined in the history of Connemara and its people for centuries, from the recorded battle between the O’Flahertys and O’Malleys in 1384, to the visit by all the Lord Mayors and Mayors of Ireland and some from overseas, to celebrate the Quincentennial year of Galway city receiving its charter.

Accommodations: Choose from rooms with views of the river or mountains, blending traditional Irish charm with contemporary comforts.

Activities: Go fishing in the Owenglin River, explore the Connemara National Park, or take a scenic drive along the Wild Atlantic Way. Summer is the best time to enjoy outdoor activities.

 

Dromoland Castle – County Clare, Ireland

Feel like royalty in this castleSituated on a vast estate, Dromoland Castle dates back to the 16th century and is surrounded by serene lakes and gardens.It was once the ancestral home of the O’Briens—the Barons of Inchiquin—who are one of the few native Gaelic families to possess a royal Irish heritage.  Today, it is visited by dignitaries and celebrities, and hosted the US-EU Summit in 2004.

Accommodations: Experience luxury in rooms and suites that seamlessly merge historic elegance with modern amenities.

Activities: Play golf on the estate, take a boat trip on Lough Dromoland, or explore the nearby Cliffs of Moher. Spring and early fall provide mild weather for outdoor pursuits.

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Castello di Casole – Tuscany, Italy

A meticulously restored castle in Tuscany, Castello di Casole is surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, embodying the region’s rich history. The site on which it sits actually goes all the way back to the Bronze Age while the castle itself does back to the 16th century.

Accommodations: Stay in spacious suites with rustic charm, offering views of the Tuscan landscape.

Activities: Take a hot air balloon ride, participate in truffle hunting, or indulge in a spa day. Spring and fall provide the most pleasant temperatures.

 

Staying in these historic castles and palaces offers a unique opportunity to not only relive the past but to do so in the lap of luxury. Each destination combines opulent accommodations with a rich historical tapestry, providing an unforgettable travel experience. Plan your visit during the recommended seasons to make the most of your stay, immersing yourself in the timeless elegance of these extraordinary properties. Travel back in time and create memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.

Happy Travels!