Amberley Castle, West Sussex, UK
Having hosted some of the world’s best known royals; it used to belong to Queen Elizabeth I. Charles II visited often and Cromwell had a jolly good go at sacking Amberly Castle during the English Civil War (1641-1651). However, two tonnes of oak portcullis, a moat, 60 foot (18 metres) curtain walls and crenulated battlements have stood the test of time and the castle now offers 19 luxurious hotel bedrooms and suites, many with four-poster beds and all featuring whirlpool bath.
Thornbury Castle,Gloucestershire, UK
Once offering hospitality to Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, now you can sleep in their bedchamber. 500 year old Thornbury is the only Tudor castle to be made into a hotel, and though the fixtures and fittings are new, the gardens are original. There has even been a vineyard within the castle walls for over 500 years, from which Thornbury Castle wine is still produced.
Chateau de la Bourdaisiere, France
Unloading your bags at the Chateau de la Bourdaisiere is about as close as you can get to moving into Versailles, and you might even get help with your bags from one of the friendly Broglies brothers, who own the chateau - and are real life princes. The 16th Century chateau was built by Francois I, for his mistress, and has 11 rooms and three apartments within the castle and 125 acres of park.
Chateau de Mercues, France
Chateau de Mercues has, for seven centuries, been the summer home of the Counts and Bishops of Cahors. With rounded towers, pointed roofs and graceful battlements, all mounted on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Lot and acres of vineyards, this chateau is the real deal. With 30 unique rooms and a restaurant serving home grown foie gras and rich truffles, don’t miss out on the home grown vin.
Langley Castle, UK
Most British castles were built with defence in mind, so may lack the grace of a French chateau, but none of the history. Langley Castle looks like it was built to last. Squat and square with few garnishes and arranged in an 'H' shape with four corner towers, it went up around 1350, built by Sir Thomas de Lucy for the Barons of Tynedale. The basic design hasn't been changed much since then, though the Tynedale family left it in ruins after Henry IV had a good go at destroying it around 1400. There are only nine rooms in the hotel and they're decked out in olde worlde style with four poster beds and opulent feature bathrooms.
Saddell Castle, Scotland
Guests can tell Saddell Castle meant business by the trapdoor next to the front door which slides unwanted visitors into a prison pit with no other means of escape. This 16th Century castle survived sackings by marauding Campbells and English raiders, but in the last few decades it's been welcoming guests and was also used in Paul McCartney's 'Mull of Kintyre' music video.
A couple of residents allegedly remain from the bad old days: ghosts, including a White Lady and the Count Ladislaus Almsy, the desert explorer featured in 'The English Patient'.
Balfour Castle, UK
Balfour Castle, a Scottish seat and Europe's most northerly castle, has room for only 12 guests. The owners, sadly no longer the Balfours (the last Balfour died in 1960 with no heirs) share with you their gallery, library, conservatory, chapel, drawing and dining rooms, all packaged into a pale grey Gothic style building of rounded turrets and towers. This castle is really remote, a 20 minute ferry ride from the nearest town.
Ballyportry Castle, Ireland
Ballyportry Castlestands testament to a time when an Irishman's home really was his castle. Ballyporty has stood solitary and unchanged on this Mullaghmore cliff top for the last 500 years. Huge fireplaces, flagstones and heavy beams keep the castle warm and the addition of modern lighting and central heating has made it that bit more luxurious for the eight people it can now sleep.
Dover Castle, UK
The Sergeant Major's House in Dover Castle, isn't a castle per-say, it's an elegant Georgian house sleeping six, but it's within the castle walls so has views of the moat on one side and across the battlements to France on the other.
Castello di Pavone, Italy
Castello di Pavone has been guarding the road between France and Italy since the 9th Century. Its architecture is a mixture of military function and aesthetic appeal developed over hundreds of years. The hotel's highest room is at the top of a crenulated tower and has amazing views of the snow sprinkled Alps.
Burg Bernstein, Austria
Burg Bernstein has been under attack for much of the past thousand years; the Hungarians, Turks and Tartars have all tried to take it. Bernstein's horrible history will appeal to some, but more gentle souls need not worry, these days this sturdy hilltop fort is more like a fairytale castle with pointed orange roofs, creamy walls and a lush courtyard. Inside there are ten rooms, each with different features. A couple of residents allegedly remain from the bad old days: ghosts, including a White Lady and the Count Ladislaus Almsy, the desert explorer featured in 'The English Patient'.
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