The picture of everything you could possibly want a fairytale castle to be, Kilronan Castle in Ireland is on the remains of one originally built in the early 1800’s for a family who fought on behalf of the famed Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie. Today it’s less about winning battles and more about reclining in luxury with food and treatments alike designed for decadence.
Of course, nothing goes with luxury quite as well as a good glass of wine and as Castello del Nero Hotel and Spa in Italy is in the heart of the Chianti wine region in Tuscany, you can guarantee everything is in good taste and none of it is in short supply. Gaze out onto 300 hectares of rolling hills, verdant vineyards and lush olive groves as you sip your glass of red, await your Michelin star pasta, and reflect on your sea salt, olive oil, pink clay and rosemary massage.
The people who really know how to do luxury in style are the French, and Chateau des Vigniers is an excellent example of historic style and contemporary service combined. Dating back to 1597, Château des Vigiers is 20 minutes west of Bergerac Airport and an hour east of Bordeaux, surrounded by views of the Dordogne and its own golf course. Stay in the chateau itself (would be rude not to) or one of the restored outbuildings, and pat yourself on the back for finding such a gem to visit.
An hour from Prague, Chateau Mcley is an eco chic five star hotel surrounded by a 16th century village of the same name. Surrounded by the St George Forest, itself the source of myths and legends and ancient herbalist traditions for creating healing teas and balms, it was particularly famous in Bohemia as the location of the Marian Miracles. These days it’s more about 21st century luxury, but a little natural magic still exists, particularly if you take some time to swim in the natural swimming lake.
Of course, when it comes to real fairytale castles, Scotland knows what it’s doing and within the walls of Dalhousie Castle you can most definitely fancy yourself a queen. Dating back to the 1200s, it overlooks acres of woodland and the River Esk, evenings see you greeted with a traditional Scottish banquet and for those moments when you’re not entirely sure what to do with yourself, you can ponder on your thoughts whilst taking a stroll through the thermal suite or having a Darphin facial in the spa.
The location for movies including Robin Hood and Dr Who, Peckforton Castle is a place where you can pamper like a princess or race around on a quad bike – whatever takes your fancy. Surrounded by the battlements of a 19th century, medieval style castle you can survey the Cheshire countryside and take in the kingdom as if you were the White Queen herself.
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