Can You do that? Don’t you have to be a King or a Queen or something? Or at least a Lord to stay in a manor house?
There are castles and manor houses all over Europe that have rooms available for tourists wanting to indulge in a little fantasy… I mean haven’t you ever dreamed that you were royalty, and the world just hasn’t figured it out?
As far as accommodations go, this is probably one of the more expensive ways to spend a night in Europe, but it can be worth the splurge… after all, you’re indulging in that fantasy remember. And while it may strain your budget a little, a castle stay may not be as expensive as you think.
To be sure, some are very luxurious and expensive, but there are plenty of smaller places that will give you crenelated towers and suits of armor and antique furnishings… perhaps even a ghost or two… and still fit within a budget splurge!
Most castles or palaces that are in cities are open only for daytime tourism. The ones that have been opened as hotels are more often out in the countryside. Historically, they weren’t so much romantic palaces for Princesses as they were fortresses for security.
Most were tall and thick walled… built to guard villages and keep robbers away… or to keep the Prince in the next little country over from invading. Slightly more modern palaces were built to impress the neighbors. Either style can be fun to stay in.
These old fortresses with crenelated towers don’t usually come with elevators…. You probably will have to climb stairs to your room…. sometimes winding stairs if you’re lucky enough to get a tower room. We have on occasion had to stoop over to get through the door to our room.
Those short doors were there historically… all the better for the local Prince to run a sword through the bad guys as they were bent over trying to get in.
But don’t worry about the facilities… in all castles we’ve stayed in, the rooms have been remodeled so that you don’t have to dump the chamber pot out the window! Charm with all the conveniences.
Most, whether fortress or palace, are somewhat isolated. This is part of their allure. You can pretend to be Lord of everything you survey. It’s quiet and peaceful… and usually pretty scenic.
On the other hand, you can’t really pop down to a little local restaurant for dinner. Some have rates that include dinner as well as breakfast; others offer fine dining at a price. In either case, it’s usually worth stretching your budget. Where else can you dine in a Lord’s Great Room with the ancestors looking over you?
And what about those ghosts we mentioned? For an extra dose of fun, the staff might take you on a nighttime tour to look for their resident ghosts like they sometimes do at Borthwick Castle in Scotland.
Manor houses can be closer to villages. Some are small and operate as high-end B&Bs, others are really small hotels or guest houses, but you get the “Lord of the Manor” ambiance instead of a sterile hotel lobby feel.
So if you want to add a little fairy-tale romance to your European vacation, and if your budget will allow it, consider a stay in a castle or manor house.