Bolton Wanderers

Bolton Wanderers slideshow

The Nigeria international along with six other players have been told that their services are surplus to requirement at the Macron Stadium outfit
Bolton Wanderers release Chinedu Obasi
The Nigeria international along with six other players have been told that their services are surplus to requirement at the Macron Stadium outfit
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un: Did John Bolton Blow Up the North Korea Summit On Purpose?
The Nigeria international along with six other players have been told that their services are surplus to requirement at the Macron Stadium outfit
Bolton Wanderers release Chinedu Obasi
The Nigeria international along with six other players have been told that their services are surplus to requirement at the Macron Stadium outfit
President Donald Trump has cancelled a June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced in a letter on Thursday. "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump added. He deplored "this missed opportunity" and called on his North Korean counterpart to "call me or write" should he change his mind. Hours before the statement was released, North Korea said it had followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing. In a televised address following the announcement, Trump said he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan, who "are ready should foolish and reckless acts be taken by North Korea." He said he was "waiting" for Kim Jong Un to "engage" but that in the meantime "our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign, will continue." However, he also said that a new summit could be organised. "Lots of things can happen. It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date" he said. Why the meeting was cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pyongyang had not responded to queries by the US regarding the event's logistics. "We've not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit," Pompeo said. He nonetheless praised Kim for demonstrating "enormous capacity to lead his country and his team." The announcement came just hours after Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence over comments he made on Fox News. Pence had been commenting on remarks made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that when dealing with North korea, the U.S. should push for a deal similar to the one struck with Libya. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe warned on the state-run KCNA network. Pyongyang has made several diplomatic overtures in recent weeks such as releasing three American prisoners. Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit held at the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries. In response to the cancellation, Moon called in an emergency meeting with his top aides on Thursday.
Trump cancels summit with North Korea
President Donald Trump has cancelled a June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced in a letter on Thursday. "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump added. He deplored "this missed opportunity" and called on his North Korean counterpart to "call me or write" should he change his mind. Hours before the statement was released, North Korea said it had followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing. In a televised address following the announcement, Trump said he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan, who "are ready should foolish and reckless acts be taken by North Korea." He said he was "waiting" for Kim Jong Un to "engage" but that in the meantime "our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign, will continue." However, he also said that a new summit could be organised. "Lots of things can happen. It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date" he said. Why the meeting was cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pyongyang had not responded to queries by the US regarding the event's logistics. "We've not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit," Pompeo said. He nonetheless praised Kim for demonstrating "enormous capacity to lead his country and his team." The announcement came just hours after Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence over comments he made on Fox News. Pence had been commenting on remarks made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that when dealing with North korea, the U.S. should push for a deal similar to the one struck with Libya. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe warned on the state-run KCNA network. Pyongyang has made several diplomatic overtures in recent weeks such as releasing three American prisoners. Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit held at the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries. In response to the cancellation, Moon called in an emergency meeting with his top aides on Thursday.
President Donald Trump has cancelled a June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced in a letter on Thursday. "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump added. He deplored "this missed opportunity" and called on his North Korean counterpart to "call me or write" should he change his mind. Hours before the statement was released, North Korea said it had followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing. In a televised address following the announcement, Trump said he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan, who "are ready should foolish and reckless acts be taken by North Korea." He said he was "waiting" for Kim Jong Un to "engage" but that in the meantime "our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign, will continue." However, he also said that a new summit could be organised. "Lots of things can happen. It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date" he said. Why the meeting was cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pyongyang had not responded to queries by the US regarding the event's logistics. "We've not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit," Pompeo said. He nonetheless praised Kim for demonstrating "enormous capacity to lead his country and his team." The announcement came just hours after Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence over comments he made on Fox News. Pence had been commenting on remarks made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that when dealing with North korea, the U.S. should push for a deal similar to the one struck with Libya. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe warned on the state-run KCNA network. Pyongyang has made several diplomatic overtures in recent weeks such as releasing three American prisoners. Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit held at the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries. In response to the cancellation, Moon called in an emergency meeting with his top aides on Thursday.
Trump cancels summit with North Korea
President Donald Trump has cancelled a June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced in a letter on Thursday. "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump added. He deplored "this missed opportunity" and called on his North Korean counterpart to "call me or write" should he change his mind. Hours before the statement was released, North Korea said it had followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing. In a televised address following the announcement, Trump said he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan, who "are ready should foolish and reckless acts be taken by North Korea." He said he was "waiting" for Kim Jong Un to "engage" but that in the meantime "our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign, will continue." However, he also said that a new summit could be organised. "Lots of things can happen. It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date" he said. Why the meeting was cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pyongyang had not responded to queries by the US regarding the event's logistics. "We've not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit," Pompeo said. He nonetheless praised Kim for demonstrating "enormous capacity to lead his country and his team." The announcement came just hours after Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence over comments he made on Fox News. Pence had been commenting on remarks made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that when dealing with North korea, the U.S. should push for a deal similar to the one struck with Libya. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe warned on the state-run KCNA network. Pyongyang has made several diplomatic overtures in recent weeks such as releasing three American prisoners. Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit held at the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries. In response to the cancellation, Moon called in an emergency meeting with his top aides on Thursday.
President Donald Trump has cancelled a June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced in a letter on Thursday. "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump added. He deplored "this missed opportunity" and called on his North Korean counterpart to "call me or write" should he change his mind. Hours before the statement was released, North Korea said it had followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing. In a televised address following the announcement, Trump said he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan, who "are ready should foolish and reckless acts be taken by North Korea." He said he was "waiting" for Kim Jong Un to "engage" but that in the meantime "our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign, will continue." However, he also said that a new summit could be organised. "Lots of things can happen. It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date" he said. Why the meeting was cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pyongyang had not responded to queries by the US regarding the event's logistics. "We've not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit," Pompeo said. He nonetheless praised Kim for demonstrating "enormous capacity to lead his country and his team." The announcement came just hours after Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence over comments he made on Fox News. Pence had been commenting on remarks made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that when dealing with North korea, the U.S. should push for a deal similar to the one struck with Libya. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe warned on the state-run KCNA network. Pyongyang has made several diplomatic overtures in recent weeks such as releasing three American prisoners. Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit held at the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries. In response to the cancellation, Moon called in an emergency meeting with his top aides on Thursday.
Trump cancels summit with North Korea
President Donald Trump has cancelled a June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced in a letter on Thursday. "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump added. He deplored "this missed opportunity" and called on his North Korean counterpart to "call me or write" should he change his mind. Hours before the statement was released, North Korea said it had followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing. In a televised address following the announcement, Trump said he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan, who "are ready should foolish and reckless acts be taken by North Korea." He said he was "waiting" for Kim Jong Un to "engage" but that in the meantime "our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign, will continue." However, he also said that a new summit could be organised. "Lots of things can happen. It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date" he said. Why the meeting was cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pyongyang had not responded to queries by the US regarding the event's logistics. "We've not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit," Pompeo said. He nonetheless praised Kim for demonstrating "enormous capacity to lead his country and his team." The announcement came just hours after Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence over comments he made on Fox News. Pence had been commenting on remarks made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that when dealing with North korea, the U.S. should push for a deal similar to the one struck with Libya. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe warned on the state-run KCNA network. Pyongyang has made several diplomatic overtures in recent weeks such as releasing three American prisoners. Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit held at the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries. In response to the cancellation, Moon called in an emergency meeting with his top aides on Thursday.
President Donald Trump has cancelled a June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced in a letter on Thursday. "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump added. He deplored "this missed opportunity" and called on his North Korean counterpart to "call me or write" should he change his mind. Hours before the statement was released, North Korea said it had followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing. In a televised address following the announcement, Trump said he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan, who "are ready should foolish and reckless acts be taken by North Korea." He said he was "waiting" for Kim Jong Un to "engage" but that in the meantime "our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign, will continue." However, he also said that a new summit could be organised. "Lots of things can happen. It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date" he said. Why the meeting was cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pyongyang had not responded to queries by the US regarding the event's logistics. "We've not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit," Pompeo said. He nonetheless praised Kim for demonstrating "enormous capacity to lead his country and his team." The announcement came just hours after Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence over comments he made on Fox News. Pence had been commenting on remarks made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that when dealing with North korea, the U.S. should push for a deal similar to the one struck with Libya. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe warned on the state-run KCNA network. Pyongyang has made several diplomatic overtures in recent weeks such as releasing three American prisoners. Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit held at the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries. In response to the cancellation, Moon called in an emergency meeting with his top aides on Thursday.
Trump cancels summit with North Korea
President Donald Trump has cancelled a June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House announced in a letter on Thursday. "I was very much looking forward to being there with you," Trump said in the letter. "Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting." "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful and I pray to God they will never have to be used," Trump added. He deplored "this missed opportunity" and called on his North Korean counterpart to "call me or write" should he change his mind. Hours before the statement was released, North Korea said it had followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing. In a televised address following the announcement, Trump said he had spoken to the leaders of South Korea and Japan, who "are ready should foolish and reckless acts be taken by North Korea." He said he was "waiting" for Kim Jong Un to "engage" but that in the meantime "our very strong sanctions, by far the strongest sanctions ever imposed, and maximum pressure campaign, will continue." However, he also said that a new summit could be organised. "Lots of things can happen. It’s possible that the existing summit could take place or a summit at a later date" he said. Why the meeting was cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate hearing Thursday that Pyongyang had not responded to queries by the US regarding the event's logistics. "We've not been able to conduct the preparations between our two teams that would be necessary to have a successful summit," Pompeo said. He nonetheless praised Kim for demonstrating "enormous capacity to lead his country and his team." The announcement came just hours after Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, lashed out at US Vice President Mike Pence over comments he made on Fox News. Pence had been commenting on remarks made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who said that when dealing with North korea, the U.S. should push for a deal similar to the one struck with Libya. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe warned on the state-run KCNA network. Pyongyang has made several diplomatic overtures in recent weeks such as releasing three American prisoners. Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit held at the Demilitarised Zone between the two countries. In response to the cancellation, Moon called in an emergency meeting with his top aides on Thursday.
North Korea hit out at US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday, calling him "ignorant and stupid" as the reclusive state made a renewed threat to cancel an upcoming summit between the two countries. Choe Son Hui, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, released a statement via the state-run KCNA news agency lambasting a recent media interview Pence gave to Fox News. "I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president," she said in the statement. In his Monday interview with Fox, Mr Pence warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that it would be a "great mistake" to try to play Washington ahead of a planned summit with President Donald Trump next month in Singapore. He also said North Korea could end up like Libya, whose former leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in an uprising years after giving up atomic weapons, "if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal". Kim Jong-un has the USA and South Korea exactly where he wants them Choe responded to that interview with an angrily worded statement in which she slammed the "unbridled and impudent remarks" from Mr Pence, adding Pyongyang would not be forced to the table by threats from Washington’s leadership. "We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us," she said. "In case the US offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts, I will put forward a suggestion to our supreme leadership for reconsidering the DPRK-US summit," she added, using the initials of North Korea’s official name. Similar comments comparing North Korea to Libya from Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton caused the first threat by Pyongyang last week to cancel the Singapore meeting. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe added. Rocket man: How Kim Jong-un emerged from his father's shadow to silence the doubters Politically, Trump has invested heavily in the success of the planned summit, and so privately most US officials, as well as outside observers, believe it will go ahead. Hand-picked aides - including deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin and deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel - are traveling to the Southeast Asian city state designated to host the summit, officials said. They are expected to meet their North Korean counterparts and iron out details of the meeting. But Trump has also become increasingly lukewarm about meeting Kim, teasing his commitment to talks as keenly as any of his "The Apprentice" season finales. "On Singapore we'll see. It could very well happen," he said Wednesday, adding cryptically: "Whatever it is, we'll know next week." Trump enthusiastically embraced the idea of talks earlier this year - the first ever meeting between a US president and a leader of North Korea. But as the date draws nearer, the yawning gulf in expectations between the two sides is coming into sharp relief. N Korea nuclear test site Washington has made it clear it wants to see the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" of the North. But Pyongyang has vowed it will never give up its nuclear deterrence until it feels safe from what it terms US aggression. Some analysts have suggested both sides still want to meet in Singapore but are playing hardball in the run up to the summit to leverage a better negotiation position. Ostensibly the Trump-Kim talks will be about peace on the Korean peninsula and North Korea's nuclear and ballistic weapons. But even before talk of test freezes, decommissioning or inspections, Washington and Pyongyang are engaged in a public relations battle. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - who has met personally with Kim - said whether the summit goes ahead is now up to North Korea. "That decision will ultimately be up to Chairman Kim," he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. "He asked for the meeting, the president agreed to meet with him. I'm very hopeful that that meeting will take place." North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang Credit: AFP His remarks reflect an effort to perhaps lay the groundwork for blame should the talks fail. As part of its own charm offensive, North Korea invited some foreign journalists to witness the slated destruction of the isolated regime's nuclear test site. The gesture, which experts agree would do little to curb North Korea's long-term nuclear capabilities, is meant to signal that the regime is serious about change. Pyongyang said it planned to "completely" destroy the Punggye-ri facility in the country's northeast when it made the surprise announcement earlier this month. The demolition is due to take place sometime between Thursday and Friday, depending on the weather.
North Korea threatens to scrap Trump summit after Mike Pence's 'ignorant and stupid' remarks
North Korea hit out at US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday, calling him "ignorant and stupid" as the reclusive state made a renewed threat to cancel an upcoming summit between the two countries. Choe Son Hui, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, released a statement via the state-run KCNA news agency lambasting a recent media interview Pence gave to Fox News. "I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president," she said in the statement. In his Monday interview with Fox, Mr Pence warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that it would be a "great mistake" to try to play Washington ahead of a planned summit with President Donald Trump next month in Singapore. He also said North Korea could end up like Libya, whose former leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in an uprising years after giving up atomic weapons, "if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal". Kim Jong-un has the USA and South Korea exactly where he wants them Choe responded to that interview with an angrily worded statement in which she slammed the "unbridled and impudent remarks" from Mr Pence, adding Pyongyang would not be forced to the table by threats from Washington’s leadership. "We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us," she said. "In case the US offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts, I will put forward a suggestion to our supreme leadership for reconsidering the DPRK-US summit," she added, using the initials of North Korea’s official name. Similar comments comparing North Korea to Libya from Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton caused the first threat by Pyongyang last week to cancel the Singapore meeting. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe added. Rocket man: How Kim Jong-un emerged from his father's shadow to silence the doubters Politically, Trump has invested heavily in the success of the planned summit, and so privately most US officials, as well as outside observers, believe it will go ahead. Hand-picked aides - including deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin and deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel - are traveling to the Southeast Asian city state designated to host the summit, officials said. They are expected to meet their North Korean counterparts and iron out details of the meeting. But Trump has also become increasingly lukewarm about meeting Kim, teasing his commitment to talks as keenly as any of his "The Apprentice" season finales. "On Singapore we'll see. It could very well happen," he said Wednesday, adding cryptically: "Whatever it is, we'll know next week." Trump enthusiastically embraced the idea of talks earlier this year - the first ever meeting between a US president and a leader of North Korea. But as the date draws nearer, the yawning gulf in expectations between the two sides is coming into sharp relief. N Korea nuclear test site Washington has made it clear it wants to see the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" of the North. But Pyongyang has vowed it will never give up its nuclear deterrence until it feels safe from what it terms US aggression. Some analysts have suggested both sides still want to meet in Singapore but are playing hardball in the run up to the summit to leverage a better negotiation position. Ostensibly the Trump-Kim talks will be about peace on the Korean peninsula and North Korea's nuclear and ballistic weapons. But even before talk of test freezes, decommissioning or inspections, Washington and Pyongyang are engaged in a public relations battle. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - who has met personally with Kim - said whether the summit goes ahead is now up to North Korea. "That decision will ultimately be up to Chairman Kim," he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. "He asked for the meeting, the president agreed to meet with him. I'm very hopeful that that meeting will take place." North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang Credit: AFP His remarks reflect an effort to perhaps lay the groundwork for blame should the talks fail. As part of its own charm offensive, North Korea invited some foreign journalists to witness the slated destruction of the isolated regime's nuclear test site. The gesture, which experts agree would do little to curb North Korea's long-term nuclear capabilities, is meant to signal that the regime is serious about change. Pyongyang said it planned to "completely" destroy the Punggye-ri facility in the country's northeast when it made the surprise announcement earlier this month. The demolition is due to take place sometime between Thursday and Friday, depending on the weather.
North Korea hit out at US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday, calling him "ignorant and stupid" as the reclusive state made a renewed threat to cancel an upcoming summit between the two countries. Choe Son Hui, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, released a statement via the state-run KCNA news agency lambasting a recent media interview Pence gave to Fox News. "I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president," she said in the statement. In his Monday interview with Fox, Mr Pence warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that it would be a "great mistake" to try to play Washington ahead of a planned summit with President Donald Trump next month in Singapore. He also said North Korea could end up like Libya, whose former leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in an uprising years after giving up atomic weapons, "if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal". Kim Jong-un has the USA and South Korea exactly where he wants them Choe responded to that interview with an angrily worded statement in which she slammed the "unbridled and impudent remarks" from Mr Pence, adding Pyongyang would not be forced to the table by threats from Washington’s leadership. "We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us," she said. "In case the US offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts, I will put forward a suggestion to our supreme leadership for reconsidering the DPRK-US summit," she added, using the initials of North Korea’s official name. Similar comments comparing North Korea to Libya from Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton caused the first threat by Pyongyang last week to cancel the Singapore meeting. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe added. Rocket man: How Kim Jong-un emerged from his father's shadow to silence the doubters Politically, Trump has invested heavily in the success of the planned summit, and so privately most US officials, as well as outside observers, believe it will go ahead. Hand-picked aides - including deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin and deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel - are traveling to the Southeast Asian city state designated to host the summit, officials said. They are expected to meet their North Korean counterparts and iron out details of the meeting. But Trump has also become increasingly lukewarm about meeting Kim, teasing his commitment to talks as keenly as any of his "The Apprentice" season finales. "On Singapore we'll see. It could very well happen," he said Wednesday, adding cryptically: "Whatever it is, we'll know next week." Trump enthusiastically embraced the idea of talks earlier this year - the first ever meeting between a US president and a leader of North Korea. But as the date draws nearer, the yawning gulf in expectations between the two sides is coming into sharp relief. N Korea nuclear test site Washington has made it clear it wants to see the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" of the North. But Pyongyang has vowed it will never give up its nuclear deterrence until it feels safe from what it terms US aggression. Some analysts have suggested both sides still want to meet in Singapore but are playing hardball in the run up to the summit to leverage a better negotiation position. Ostensibly the Trump-Kim talks will be about peace on the Korean peninsula and North Korea's nuclear and ballistic weapons. But even before talk of test freezes, decommissioning or inspections, Washington and Pyongyang are engaged in a public relations battle. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - who has met personally with Kim - said whether the summit goes ahead is now up to North Korea. "That decision will ultimately be up to Chairman Kim," he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. "He asked for the meeting, the president agreed to meet with him. I'm very hopeful that that meeting will take place." North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang Credit: AFP His remarks reflect an effort to perhaps lay the groundwork for blame should the talks fail. As part of its own charm offensive, North Korea invited some foreign journalists to witness the slated destruction of the isolated regime's nuclear test site. The gesture, which experts agree would do little to curb North Korea's long-term nuclear capabilities, is meant to signal that the regime is serious about change. Pyongyang said it planned to "completely" destroy the Punggye-ri facility in the country's northeast when it made the surprise announcement earlier this month. The demolition is due to take place sometime between Thursday and Friday, depending on the weather.
North Korea threatens to scrap Trump summit after Mike Pence's 'ignorant and stupid' remarks
North Korea hit out at US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday, calling him "ignorant and stupid" as the reclusive state made a renewed threat to cancel an upcoming summit between the two countries. Choe Son Hui, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, released a statement via the state-run KCNA news agency lambasting a recent media interview Pence gave to Fox News. "I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice-president," she said in the statement. In his Monday interview with Fox, Mr Pence warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that it would be a "great mistake" to try to play Washington ahead of a planned summit with President Donald Trump next month in Singapore. He also said North Korea could end up like Libya, whose former leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in an uprising years after giving up atomic weapons, "if Kim Jong-un doesn’t make a deal". Kim Jong-un has the USA and South Korea exactly where he wants them Choe responded to that interview with an angrily worded statement in which she slammed the "unbridled and impudent remarks" from Mr Pence, adding Pyongyang would not be forced to the table by threats from Washington’s leadership. "We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us," she said. "In case the US offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts, I will put forward a suggestion to our supreme leadership for reconsidering the DPRK-US summit," she added, using the initials of North Korea’s official name. Similar comments comparing North Korea to Libya from Trump's hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton caused the first threat by Pyongyang last week to cancel the Singapore meeting. "Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe added. Rocket man: How Kim Jong-un emerged from his father's shadow to silence the doubters Politically, Trump has invested heavily in the success of the planned summit, and so privately most US officials, as well as outside observers, believe it will go ahead. Hand-picked aides - including deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin and deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel - are traveling to the Southeast Asian city state designated to host the summit, officials said. They are expected to meet their North Korean counterparts and iron out details of the meeting. But Trump has also become increasingly lukewarm about meeting Kim, teasing his commitment to talks as keenly as any of his "The Apprentice" season finales. "On Singapore we'll see. It could very well happen," he said Wednesday, adding cryptically: "Whatever it is, we'll know next week." Trump enthusiastically embraced the idea of talks earlier this year - the first ever meeting between a US president and a leader of North Korea. But as the date draws nearer, the yawning gulf in expectations between the two sides is coming into sharp relief. N Korea nuclear test site Washington has made it clear it wants to see the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" of the North. But Pyongyang has vowed it will never give up its nuclear deterrence until it feels safe from what it terms US aggression. Some analysts have suggested both sides still want to meet in Singapore but are playing hardball in the run up to the summit to leverage a better negotiation position. Ostensibly the Trump-Kim talks will be about peace on the Korean peninsula and North Korea's nuclear and ballistic weapons. But even before talk of test freezes, decommissioning or inspections, Washington and Pyongyang are engaged in a public relations battle. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - who has met personally with Kim - said whether the summit goes ahead is now up to North Korea. "That decision will ultimately be up to Chairman Kim," he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday. "He asked for the meeting, the president agreed to meet with him. I'm very hopeful that that meeting will take place." North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang Credit: AFP His remarks reflect an effort to perhaps lay the groundwork for blame should the talks fail. As part of its own charm offensive, North Korea invited some foreign journalists to witness the slated destruction of the isolated regime's nuclear test site. The gesture, which experts agree would do little to curb North Korea's long-term nuclear capabilities, is meant to signal that the regime is serious about change. Pyongyang said it planned to "completely" destroy the Punggye-ri facility in the country's northeast when it made the surprise announcement earlier this month. The demolition is due to take place sometime between Thursday and Friday, depending on the weather.
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas leaves the West Wing with aides after meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Germany's Foreign Minister Maas leaves the White House after meetings in Washington
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas leaves the West Wing with aides after meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas leaves the West Wing with aides after meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Germany's Foreign Minister Maas leaves the White House after meetings in Washington
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas leaves the West Wing with aides after meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas leaves the West Wing with aides after meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Germany's Foreign Minister Maas leaves the White House after meetings in Washington
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas leaves the West Wing with aides after meeting with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Bolton, who has angered North Korea, said in March that a revamped trade policy with China "could be a little shock therapy."
Trump's hawkish national security advisor John Bolton jumps into the White House's China trade talks
Bolton, who has angered North Korea, said in March that a revamped trade policy with China "could be a little shock therapy."
Mike Pence, the US vice-president has warned North Korea not to try to "play" President Donald Trump, who is willing to "walk away" from the negotiating table if his planned summit with Kim Jong-un fails. "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong-un to think it could play Donald Trump," Mr Pence told Fox News on Monday, adding that the president was not thinking about public relations, but "thinking about peace". Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s leader, will meet Donald Trump, the US president, in Washington on Tuesday for talks on how to keep a June Singapore summit with North Korea on track, amid growing concerns that Washington will not be able to strike a deal on denuclearisation. Their meeting had been scheduled for some time, to fine-tune the details of how Mr Trump should approach his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un. But Mr Moon’s trip has now evolved into a crisis session after an unexpectedly fractious week during which Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the summit altogether. After months of warm relations between South and North Korea that began with the Winter Olympics, the mood suddenly soured last week when Pyongyang hit out over joint US-South Korean military exercises that it believes are a rehearsal for invasion, calling Seoul “ignorant and incompetent". Mike Pence, the US vice-president, has warned North Korea not to 'play' Trump Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg The North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with the South on Wednesday and then took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for suggesting they could follow a so-called “Libya model" of denuclearisation. Libya, they retorted, had met a "miserable fate". Analysts have cautioned that invoking memories of Libya, whose dictator Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed by rebels eight years after he renounced his nuclear programme, will not encourage progress with North Korea. But Mr Pence, in his Fox interview, reinforced the Libya message. "There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal," he said. Despite the tensions, Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director at the presidential national security office, told the Yonhap news agency that Tuesday’s meeting would “play a role as a bridge” between the US and North Korea, to ensure the success of the upcoming summit with Kim. The mood has soured between North and South Korea since a successful summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the South's president, in April Credit: AP/AP They would likely discuss “ways to guarantee a bright future for the North when North Korea achieves complete denuclearisation,” he added. Mr Moon is also expected to advise the US president on what to expect from Kim, based on his own encounter with him at a summit on the inter-Korean border in April. But Mr Moon may also face tough questions from the US president over whether he and his administration, in their eagerness to make progress with the North, may have exaggerated Kim's willingness to negotiate over the dismantling of his nuclear weapons programme. "It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea's willingness to deal. Moon will probably get an earful over that," said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea's Busan university. The Trump administration is also reported to be concerned that Mr Moon may push for a less stringent version of North Korean denuclearisation and could be open to faster sanctions relief. South Korean officials said Mr Moon and Mr Trump would speak to each other alone, only accompanied by interpreters. "The fact that the two leaders will hold talks with no other attendants is important. It will likely be a chance for them to share their inner-most thoughts," said one official. The two leaders already spoke for 20 minutes on the phone on Sunday, in their 15th phone conversation since they both took office. Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to hold a summit in Singapore on June 12 Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP The New York Times interpreted the call, just three days before Mr Moon was due to land in Washington anyway, as a sign of Mr Trump’s discomfort with North Korea’s outburst last week, and his reported concerns that his summit with Kim could turn into a political embarrassment. It emerged on Monday that a White House Military Office coin had already been minted to mark the summit's occasion, showing the busts of Mr Trump and "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un. Administration officials told the Times that the president had been surprised and angered by a statement from the North’s chief nuclear negotiator late last week that the country would not trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid. North Korea's nuclear history: key moments Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mr Bolton does not trust that the summit will go well, even though aides have stressed that the president is still committed to go ahead. “It doesn’t look like they want to denuclearise at all,” said an unnamed US official about the North Koreans, echoing long-standing warnings from North Korea experts that Pyongyang will not simply hand over its entire nuclear arsenal, which it regards as a security guarantee, but instead expects mutual disarmament. Many analysts fear that the collapse of the Singapore talks could accelerate military confrontation. Meanwhile on Tuesday, a small group of international journalists travelled to North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. The Punggye-ri site will be taken apart to implement Pyongyang's recently announced moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It has been welcomed as a positive gesture ahead of the June summit, although experts have cautioned that it is only a gesture, and that it could either be reversed or a new test site could be built. In a troubling sign for the recent conciliatory relationship with Seoul, South Korean journalists were not permitted to join the trip in a sudden U-turn by Pyongyang.
Mike Pence warns Kim Jong-un not to 'play' Trump amid crisis talks over summit
Mike Pence, the US vice-president has warned North Korea not to try to "play" President Donald Trump, who is willing to "walk away" from the negotiating table if his planned summit with Kim Jong-un fails. "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong-un to think it could play Donald Trump," Mr Pence told Fox News on Monday, adding that the president was not thinking about public relations, but "thinking about peace". Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s leader, will meet Donald Trump, the US president, in Washington on Tuesday for talks on how to keep a June Singapore summit with North Korea on track, amid growing concerns that Washington will not be able to strike a deal on denuclearisation. Their meeting had been scheduled for some time, to fine-tune the details of how Mr Trump should approach his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un. But Mr Moon’s trip has now evolved into a crisis session after an unexpectedly fractious week during which Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the summit altogether. After months of warm relations between South and North Korea that began with the Winter Olympics, the mood suddenly soured last week when Pyongyang hit out over joint US-South Korean military exercises that it believes are a rehearsal for invasion, calling Seoul “ignorant and incompetent". Mike Pence, the US vice-president, has warned North Korea not to 'play' Trump Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg The North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with the South on Wednesday and then took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for suggesting they could follow a so-called “Libya model" of denuclearisation. Libya, they retorted, had met a "miserable fate". Analysts have cautioned that invoking memories of Libya, whose dictator Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed by rebels eight years after he renounced his nuclear programme, will not encourage progress with North Korea. But Mr Pence, in his Fox interview, reinforced the Libya message. "There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal," he said. Despite the tensions, Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director at the presidential national security office, told the Yonhap news agency that Tuesday’s meeting would “play a role as a bridge” between the US and North Korea, to ensure the success of the upcoming summit with Kim. The mood has soured between North and South Korea since a successful summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the South's president, in April Credit: AP/AP They would likely discuss “ways to guarantee a bright future for the North when North Korea achieves complete denuclearisation,” he added. Mr Moon is also expected to advise the US president on what to expect from Kim, based on his own encounter with him at a summit on the inter-Korean border in April. But Mr Moon may also face tough questions from the US president over whether he and his administration, in their eagerness to make progress with the North, may have exaggerated Kim's willingness to negotiate over the dismantling of his nuclear weapons programme. "It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea's willingness to deal. Moon will probably get an earful over that," said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea's Busan university. The Trump administration is also reported to be concerned that Mr Moon may push for a less stringent version of North Korean denuclearisation and could be open to faster sanctions relief. South Korean officials said Mr Moon and Mr Trump would speak to each other alone, only accompanied by interpreters. "The fact that the two leaders will hold talks with no other attendants is important. It will likely be a chance for them to share their inner-most thoughts," said one official. The two leaders already spoke for 20 minutes on the phone on Sunday, in their 15th phone conversation since they both took office. Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to hold a summit in Singapore on June 12 Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP The New York Times interpreted the call, just three days before Mr Moon was due to land in Washington anyway, as a sign of Mr Trump’s discomfort with North Korea’s outburst last week, and his reported concerns that his summit with Kim could turn into a political embarrassment. It emerged on Monday that a White House Military Office coin had already been minted to mark the summit's occasion, showing the busts of Mr Trump and "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un. Administration officials told the Times that the president had been surprised and angered by a statement from the North’s chief nuclear negotiator late last week that the country would not trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid. North Korea's nuclear history: key moments Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mr Bolton does not trust that the summit will go well, even though aides have stressed that the president is still committed to go ahead. “It doesn’t look like they want to denuclearise at all,” said an unnamed US official about the North Koreans, echoing long-standing warnings from North Korea experts that Pyongyang will not simply hand over its entire nuclear arsenal, which it regards as a security guarantee, but instead expects mutual disarmament. Many analysts fear that the collapse of the Singapore talks could accelerate military confrontation. Meanwhile on Tuesday, a small group of international journalists travelled to North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. The Punggye-ri site will be taken apart to implement Pyongyang's recently announced moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It has been welcomed as a positive gesture ahead of the June summit, although experts have cautioned that it is only a gesture, and that it could either be reversed or a new test site could be built. In a troubling sign for the recent conciliatory relationship with Seoul, South Korean journalists were not permitted to join the trip in a sudden U-turn by Pyongyang.
Mike Pence, the US vice-president has warned North Korea not to try to "play" President Donald Trump, who is willing to "walk away" from the negotiating table if his planned summit with Kim Jong-un fails. "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong-un to think it could play Donald Trump," Mr Pence told Fox News on Monday, adding that the president was not thinking about public relations, but "thinking about peace". Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s leader, will meet Donald Trump, the US president, in Washington on Tuesday for talks on how to keep a June Singapore summit with North Korea on track, amid growing concerns that Washington will not be able to strike a deal on denuclearisation. Their meeting had been scheduled for some time, to fine-tune the details of how Mr Trump should approach his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un. But Mr Moon’s trip has now evolved into a crisis session after an unexpectedly fractious week during which Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the summit altogether. After months of warm relations between South and North Korea that began with the Winter Olympics, the mood suddenly soured last week when Pyongyang hit out over joint US-South Korean military exercises that it believes are a rehearsal for invasion, calling Seoul “ignorant and incompetent". Mike Pence, the US vice-president, has warned North Korea not to 'play' Trump Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg The North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with the South on Wednesday and then took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for suggesting they could follow a so-called “Libya model" of denuclearisation. Libya, they retorted, had met a "miserable fate". Analysts have cautioned that invoking memories of Libya, whose dictator Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed by rebels eight years after he renounced his nuclear programme, will not encourage progress with North Korea. But Mr Pence, in his Fox interview, reinforced the Libya message. "There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal," he said. Despite the tensions, Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director at the presidential national security office, told the Yonhap news agency that Tuesday’s meeting would “play a role as a bridge” between the US and North Korea, to ensure the success of the upcoming summit with Kim. The mood has soured between North and South Korea since a successful summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the South's president, in April Credit: AP/AP They would likely discuss “ways to guarantee a bright future for the North when North Korea achieves complete denuclearisation,” he added. Mr Moon is also expected to advise the US president on what to expect from Kim, based on his own encounter with him at a summit on the inter-Korean border in April. But Mr Moon may also face tough questions from the US president over whether he and his administration, in their eagerness to make progress with the North, may have exaggerated Kim's willingness to negotiate over the dismantling of his nuclear weapons programme. "It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea's willingness to deal. Moon will probably get an earful over that," said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea's Busan university. The Trump administration is also reported to be concerned that Mr Moon may push for a less stringent version of North Korean denuclearisation and could be open to faster sanctions relief. South Korean officials said Mr Moon and Mr Trump would speak to each other alone, only accompanied by interpreters. "The fact that the two leaders will hold talks with no other attendants is important. It will likely be a chance for them to share their inner-most thoughts," said one official. The two leaders already spoke for 20 minutes on the phone on Sunday, in their 15th phone conversation since they both took office. Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to hold a summit in Singapore on June 12 Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP The New York Times interpreted the call, just three days before Mr Moon was due to land in Washington anyway, as a sign of Mr Trump’s discomfort with North Korea’s outburst last week, and his reported concerns that his summit with Kim could turn into a political embarrassment. It emerged on Monday that a White House Military Office coin had already been minted to mark the summit's occasion, showing the busts of Mr Trump and "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un. Administration officials told the Times that the president had been surprised and angered by a statement from the North’s chief nuclear negotiator late last week that the country would not trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid. North Korea's nuclear history: key moments Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mr Bolton does not trust that the summit will go well, even though aides have stressed that the president is still committed to go ahead. “It doesn’t look like they want to denuclearise at all,” said an unnamed US official about the North Koreans, echoing long-standing warnings from North Korea experts that Pyongyang will not simply hand over its entire nuclear arsenal, which it regards as a security guarantee, but instead expects mutual disarmament. Many analysts fear that the collapse of the Singapore talks could accelerate military confrontation. Meanwhile on Tuesday, a small group of international journalists travelled to North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. The Punggye-ri site will be taken apart to implement Pyongyang's recently announced moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It has been welcomed as a positive gesture ahead of the June summit, although experts have cautioned that it is only a gesture, and that it could either be reversed or a new test site could be built. In a troubling sign for the recent conciliatory relationship with Seoul, South Korean journalists were not permitted to join the trip in a sudden U-turn by Pyongyang.
Mike Pence warns Kim Jong-un not to 'play' Trump amid crisis talks over summit
Mike Pence, the US vice-president has warned North Korea not to try to "play" President Donald Trump, who is willing to "walk away" from the negotiating table if his planned summit with Kim Jong-un fails. "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong-un to think it could play Donald Trump," Mr Pence told Fox News on Monday, adding that the president was not thinking about public relations, but "thinking about peace". Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s leader, will meet Donald Trump, the US president, in Washington on Tuesday for talks on how to keep a June Singapore summit with North Korea on track, amid growing concerns that Washington will not be able to strike a deal on denuclearisation. Their meeting had been scheduled for some time, to fine-tune the details of how Mr Trump should approach his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un. But Mr Moon’s trip has now evolved into a crisis session after an unexpectedly fractious week during which Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the summit altogether. After months of warm relations between South and North Korea that began with the Winter Olympics, the mood suddenly soured last week when Pyongyang hit out over joint US-South Korean military exercises that it believes are a rehearsal for invasion, calling Seoul “ignorant and incompetent". Mike Pence, the US vice-president, has warned North Korea not to 'play' Trump Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg The North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with the South on Wednesday and then took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for suggesting they could follow a so-called “Libya model" of denuclearisation. Libya, they retorted, had met a "miserable fate". Analysts have cautioned that invoking memories of Libya, whose dictator Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed by rebels eight years after he renounced his nuclear programme, will not encourage progress with North Korea. But Mr Pence, in his Fox interview, reinforced the Libya message. "There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal," he said. Despite the tensions, Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director at the presidential national security office, told the Yonhap news agency that Tuesday’s meeting would “play a role as a bridge” between the US and North Korea, to ensure the success of the upcoming summit with Kim. The mood has soured between North and South Korea since a successful summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the South's president, in April Credit: AP/AP They would likely discuss “ways to guarantee a bright future for the North when North Korea achieves complete denuclearisation,” he added. Mr Moon is also expected to advise the US president on what to expect from Kim, based on his own encounter with him at a summit on the inter-Korean border in April. But Mr Moon may also face tough questions from the US president over whether he and his administration, in their eagerness to make progress with the North, may have exaggerated Kim's willingness to negotiate over the dismantling of his nuclear weapons programme. "It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea's willingness to deal. Moon will probably get an earful over that," said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea's Busan university. The Trump administration is also reported to be concerned that Mr Moon may push for a less stringent version of North Korean denuclearisation and could be open to faster sanctions relief. South Korean officials said Mr Moon and Mr Trump would speak to each other alone, only accompanied by interpreters. "The fact that the two leaders will hold talks with no other attendants is important. It will likely be a chance for them to share their inner-most thoughts," said one official. The two leaders already spoke for 20 minutes on the phone on Sunday, in their 15th phone conversation since they both took office. Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to hold a summit in Singapore on June 12 Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP The New York Times interpreted the call, just three days before Mr Moon was due to land in Washington anyway, as a sign of Mr Trump’s discomfort with North Korea’s outburst last week, and his reported concerns that his summit with Kim could turn into a political embarrassment. It emerged on Monday that a White House Military Office coin had already been minted to mark the summit's occasion, showing the busts of Mr Trump and "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un. Administration officials told the Times that the president had been surprised and angered by a statement from the North’s chief nuclear negotiator late last week that the country would not trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid. North Korea's nuclear history: key moments Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mr Bolton does not trust that the summit will go well, even though aides have stressed that the president is still committed to go ahead. “It doesn’t look like they want to denuclearise at all,” said an unnamed US official about the North Koreans, echoing long-standing warnings from North Korea experts that Pyongyang will not simply hand over its entire nuclear arsenal, which it regards as a security guarantee, but instead expects mutual disarmament. Many analysts fear that the collapse of the Singapore talks could accelerate military confrontation. Meanwhile on Tuesday, a small group of international journalists travelled to North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. The Punggye-ri site will be taken apart to implement Pyongyang's recently announced moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It has been welcomed as a positive gesture ahead of the June summit, although experts have cautioned that it is only a gesture, and that it could either be reversed or a new test site could be built. In a troubling sign for the recent conciliatory relationship with Seoul, South Korean journalists were not permitted to join the trip in a sudden U-turn by Pyongyang.
Mike Pence, the US vice-president has warned North Korea not to try to "play" President Donald Trump, who is willing to "walk away" from the negotiating table if his planned summit with Kim Jong-un fails. "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong-un to think it could play Donald Trump," Mr Pence told Fox News on Monday, adding that the president was not thinking about public relations, but "thinking about peace". Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s leader, will meet Donald Trump, the US president, in Washington on Tuesday for talks on how to keep a June Singapore summit with North Korea on track, amid growing concerns that Washington will not be able to strike a deal on denuclearisation. Their meeting had been scheduled for some time, to fine-tune the details of how Mr Trump should approach his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un. But Mr Moon’s trip has now evolved into a crisis session after an unexpectedly fractious week during which Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the summit altogether. After months of warm relations between South and North Korea that began with the Winter Olympics, the mood suddenly soured last week when Pyongyang hit out over joint US-South Korean military exercises that it believes are a rehearsal for invasion, calling Seoul “ignorant and incompetent". Mike Pence, the US vice-president, has warned North Korea not to 'play' Trump Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg The North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with the South on Wednesday and then took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for suggesting they could follow a so-called “Libya model" of denuclearisation. Libya, they retorted, had met a "miserable fate". Analysts have cautioned that invoking memories of Libya, whose dictator Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed by rebels eight years after he renounced his nuclear programme, will not encourage progress with North Korea. But Mr Pence, in his Fox interview, reinforced the Libya message. "There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal," he said. Despite the tensions, Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director at the presidential national security office, told the Yonhap news agency that Tuesday’s meeting would “play a role as a bridge” between the US and North Korea, to ensure the success of the upcoming summit with Kim. The mood has soured between North and South Korea since a successful summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the South's president, in April Credit: AP/AP They would likely discuss “ways to guarantee a bright future for the North when North Korea achieves complete denuclearisation,” he added. Mr Moon is also expected to advise the US president on what to expect from Kim, based on his own encounter with him at a summit on the inter-Korean border in April. But Mr Moon may also face tough questions from the US president over whether he and his administration, in their eagerness to make progress with the North, may have exaggerated Kim's willingness to negotiate over the dismantling of his nuclear weapons programme. "It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea's willingness to deal. Moon will probably get an earful over that," said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea's Busan university. The Trump administration is also reported to be concerned that Mr Moon may push for a less stringent version of North Korean denuclearisation and could be open to faster sanctions relief. South Korean officials said Mr Moon and Mr Trump would speak to each other alone, only accompanied by interpreters. "The fact that the two leaders will hold talks with no other attendants is important. It will likely be a chance for them to share their inner-most thoughts," said one official. The two leaders already spoke for 20 minutes on the phone on Sunday, in their 15th phone conversation since they both took office. Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to hold a summit in Singapore on June 12 Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP The New York Times interpreted the call, just three days before Mr Moon was due to land in Washington anyway, as a sign of Mr Trump’s discomfort with North Korea’s outburst last week, and his reported concerns that his summit with Kim could turn into a political embarrassment. It emerged on Monday that a White House Military Office coin had already been minted to mark the summit's occasion, showing the busts of Mr Trump and "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un. Administration officials told the Times that the president had been surprised and angered by a statement from the North’s chief nuclear negotiator late last week that the country would not trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid. North Korea's nuclear history: key moments Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mr Bolton does not trust that the summit will go well, even though aides have stressed that the president is still committed to go ahead. “It doesn’t look like they want to denuclearise at all,” said an unnamed US official about the North Koreans, echoing long-standing warnings from North Korea experts that Pyongyang will not simply hand over its entire nuclear arsenal, which it regards as a security guarantee, but instead expects mutual disarmament. Many analysts fear that the collapse of the Singapore talks could accelerate military confrontation. Meanwhile on Tuesday, a small group of international journalists travelled to North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. The Punggye-ri site will be taken apart to implement Pyongyang's recently announced moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It has been welcomed as a positive gesture ahead of the June summit, although experts have cautioned that it is only a gesture, and that it could either be reversed or a new test site could be built. In a troubling sign for the recent conciliatory relationship with Seoul, South Korean journalists were not permitted to join the trip in a sudden U-turn by Pyongyang.
Mike Pence warns Kim Jong-un not to 'play' Trump amid crisis talks over summit
Mike Pence, the US vice-president has warned North Korea not to try to "play" President Donald Trump, who is willing to "walk away" from the negotiating table if his planned summit with Kim Jong-un fails. "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong-un to think it could play Donald Trump," Mr Pence told Fox News on Monday, adding that the president was not thinking about public relations, but "thinking about peace". Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s leader, will meet Donald Trump, the US president, in Washington on Tuesday for talks on how to keep a June Singapore summit with North Korea on track, amid growing concerns that Washington will not be able to strike a deal on denuclearisation. Their meeting had been scheduled for some time, to fine-tune the details of how Mr Trump should approach his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un. But Mr Moon’s trip has now evolved into a crisis session after an unexpectedly fractious week during which Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the summit altogether. After months of warm relations between South and North Korea that began with the Winter Olympics, the mood suddenly soured last week when Pyongyang hit out over joint US-South Korean military exercises that it believes are a rehearsal for invasion, calling Seoul “ignorant and incompetent". Mike Pence, the US vice-president, has warned North Korea not to 'play' Trump Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg The North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with the South on Wednesday and then took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for suggesting they could follow a so-called “Libya model" of denuclearisation. Libya, they retorted, had met a "miserable fate". Analysts have cautioned that invoking memories of Libya, whose dictator Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed by rebels eight years after he renounced his nuclear programme, will not encourage progress with North Korea. But Mr Pence, in his Fox interview, reinforced the Libya message. "There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal," he said. Despite the tensions, Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director at the presidential national security office, told the Yonhap news agency that Tuesday’s meeting would “play a role as a bridge” between the US and North Korea, to ensure the success of the upcoming summit with Kim. The mood has soured between North and South Korea since a successful summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the South's president, in April Credit: AP/AP They would likely discuss “ways to guarantee a bright future for the North when North Korea achieves complete denuclearisation,” he added. Mr Moon is also expected to advise the US president on what to expect from Kim, based on his own encounter with him at a summit on the inter-Korean border in April. But Mr Moon may also face tough questions from the US president over whether he and his administration, in their eagerness to make progress with the North, may have exaggerated Kim's willingness to negotiate over the dismantling of his nuclear weapons programme. "It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea's willingness to deal. Moon will probably get an earful over that," said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea's Busan university. The Trump administration is also reported to be concerned that Mr Moon may push for a less stringent version of North Korean denuclearisation and could be open to faster sanctions relief. South Korean officials said Mr Moon and Mr Trump would speak to each other alone, only accompanied by interpreters. "The fact that the two leaders will hold talks with no other attendants is important. It will likely be a chance for them to share their inner-most thoughts," said one official. The two leaders already spoke for 20 minutes on the phone on Sunday, in their 15th phone conversation since they both took office. Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to hold a summit in Singapore on June 12 Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP The New York Times interpreted the call, just three days before Mr Moon was due to land in Washington anyway, as a sign of Mr Trump’s discomfort with North Korea’s outburst last week, and his reported concerns that his summit with Kim could turn into a political embarrassment. It emerged on Monday that a White House Military Office coin had already been minted to mark the summit's occasion, showing the busts of Mr Trump and "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un. Administration officials told the Times that the president had been surprised and angered by a statement from the North’s chief nuclear negotiator late last week that the country would not trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid. North Korea's nuclear history: key moments Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mr Bolton does not trust that the summit will go well, even though aides have stressed that the president is still committed to go ahead. “It doesn’t look like they want to denuclearise at all,” said an unnamed US official about the North Koreans, echoing long-standing warnings from North Korea experts that Pyongyang will not simply hand over its entire nuclear arsenal, which it regards as a security guarantee, but instead expects mutual disarmament. Many analysts fear that the collapse of the Singapore talks could accelerate military confrontation. Meanwhile on Tuesday, a small group of international journalists travelled to North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. The Punggye-ri site will be taken apart to implement Pyongyang's recently announced moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It has been welcomed as a positive gesture ahead of the June summit, although experts have cautioned that it is only a gesture, and that it could either be reversed or a new test site could be built. In a troubling sign for the recent conciliatory relationship with Seoul, South Korean journalists were not permitted to join the trip in a sudden U-turn by Pyongyang.
Mike Pence, the US vice-president has warned North Korea not to try to "play" President Donald Trump, who is willing to "walk away" from the negotiating table if his planned summit with Kim Jong-un fails. "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong-un to think it could play Donald Trump," Mr Pence told Fox News on Monday, adding that the president was not thinking about public relations, but "thinking about peace". Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s leader, will meet Donald Trump, the US president, in Washington on Tuesday for talks on how to keep a June Singapore summit with North Korea on track, amid growing concerns that Washington will not be able to strike a deal on denuclearisation. Their meeting had been scheduled for some time, to fine-tune the details of how Mr Trump should approach his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un. But Mr Moon’s trip has now evolved into a crisis session after an unexpectedly fractious week during which Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the summit altogether. After months of warm relations between South and North Korea that began with the Winter Olympics, the mood suddenly soured last week when Pyongyang hit out over joint US-South Korean military exercises that it believes are a rehearsal for invasion, calling Seoul “ignorant and incompetent". Mike Pence, the US vice-president, has warned North Korea not to 'play' Trump Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg The North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with the South on Wednesday and then took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for suggesting they could follow a so-called “Libya model" of denuclearisation. Libya, they retorted, had met a "miserable fate". Analysts have cautioned that invoking memories of Libya, whose dictator Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed by rebels eight years after he renounced his nuclear programme, will not encourage progress with North Korea. But Mr Pence, in his Fox interview, reinforced the Libya message. "There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal," he said. Despite the tensions, Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director at the presidential national security office, told the Yonhap news agency that Tuesday’s meeting would “play a role as a bridge” between the US and North Korea, to ensure the success of the upcoming summit with Kim. The mood has soured between North and South Korea since a successful summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the South's president, in April Credit: AP/AP They would likely discuss “ways to guarantee a bright future for the North when North Korea achieves complete denuclearisation,” he added. Mr Moon is also expected to advise the US president on what to expect from Kim, based on his own encounter with him at a summit on the inter-Korean border in April. But Mr Moon may also face tough questions from the US president over whether he and his administration, in their eagerness to make progress with the North, may have exaggerated Kim's willingness to negotiate over the dismantling of his nuclear weapons programme. "It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea's willingness to deal. Moon will probably get an earful over that," said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea's Busan university. The Trump administration is also reported to be concerned that Mr Moon may push for a less stringent version of North Korean denuclearisation and could be open to faster sanctions relief. South Korean officials said Mr Moon and Mr Trump would speak to each other alone, only accompanied by interpreters. "The fact that the two leaders will hold talks with no other attendants is important. It will likely be a chance for them to share their inner-most thoughts," said one official. The two leaders already spoke for 20 minutes on the phone on Sunday, in their 15th phone conversation since they both took office. Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to hold a summit in Singapore on June 12 Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP The New York Times interpreted the call, just three days before Mr Moon was due to land in Washington anyway, as a sign of Mr Trump’s discomfort with North Korea’s outburst last week, and his reported concerns that his summit with Kim could turn into a political embarrassment. It emerged on Monday that a White House Military Office coin had already been minted to mark the summit's occasion, showing the busts of Mr Trump and "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un. Administration officials told the Times that the president had been surprised and angered by a statement from the North’s chief nuclear negotiator late last week that the country would not trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid. North Korea's nuclear history: key moments Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mr Bolton does not trust that the summit will go well, even though aides have stressed that the president is still committed to go ahead. “It doesn’t look like they want to denuclearise at all,” said an unnamed US official about the North Koreans, echoing long-standing warnings from North Korea experts that Pyongyang will not simply hand over its entire nuclear arsenal, which it regards as a security guarantee, but instead expects mutual disarmament. Many analysts fear that the collapse of the Singapore talks could accelerate military confrontation. Meanwhile on Tuesday, a small group of international journalists travelled to North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. The Punggye-ri site will be taken apart to implement Pyongyang's recently announced moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It has been welcomed as a positive gesture ahead of the June summit, although experts have cautioned that it is only a gesture, and that it could either be reversed or a new test site could be built. In a troubling sign for the recent conciliatory relationship with Seoul, South Korean journalists were not permitted to join the trip in a sudden U-turn by Pyongyang.
Mike Pence warns Kim Jong-un not to 'play' Trump amid crisis talks over summit
Mike Pence, the US vice-president has warned North Korea not to try to "play" President Donald Trump, who is willing to "walk away" from the negotiating table if his planned summit with Kim Jong-un fails. "It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong-un to think it could play Donald Trump," Mr Pence told Fox News on Monday, adding that the president was not thinking about public relations, but "thinking about peace". Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s leader, will meet Donald Trump, the US president, in Washington on Tuesday for talks on how to keep a June Singapore summit with North Korea on track, amid growing concerns that Washington will not be able to strike a deal on denuclearisation. Their meeting had been scheduled for some time, to fine-tune the details of how Mr Trump should approach his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un. But Mr Moon’s trip has now evolved into a crisis session after an unexpectedly fractious week during which Pyongyang threatened to pull out of the summit altogether. After months of warm relations between South and North Korea that began with the Winter Olympics, the mood suddenly soured last week when Pyongyang hit out over joint US-South Korean military exercises that it believes are a rehearsal for invasion, calling Seoul “ignorant and incompetent". Mike Pence, the US vice-president, has warned North Korea not to 'play' Trump Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg The North abruptly cancelled a high-level meeting with the South on Wednesday and then took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for suggesting they could follow a so-called “Libya model" of denuclearisation. Libya, they retorted, had met a "miserable fate". Analysts have cautioned that invoking memories of Libya, whose dictator Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed by rebels eight years after he renounced his nuclear programme, will not encourage progress with North Korea. But Mr Pence, in his Fox interview, reinforced the Libya message. "There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong-un doesn't make a deal," he said. Despite the tensions, Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director at the presidential national security office, told the Yonhap news agency that Tuesday’s meeting would “play a role as a bridge” between the US and North Korea, to ensure the success of the upcoming summit with Kim. The mood has soured between North and South Korea since a successful summit between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, the South's president, in April Credit: AP/AP They would likely discuss “ways to guarantee a bright future for the North when North Korea achieves complete denuclearisation,” he added. Mr Moon is also expected to advise the US president on what to expect from Kim, based on his own encounter with him at a summit on the inter-Korean border in April. But Mr Moon may also face tough questions from the US president over whether he and his administration, in their eagerness to make progress with the North, may have exaggerated Kim's willingness to negotiate over the dismantling of his nuclear weapons programme. "It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea's willingness to deal. Moon will probably get an earful over that," said Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea's Busan university. The Trump administration is also reported to be concerned that Mr Moon may push for a less stringent version of North Korean denuclearisation and could be open to faster sanctions relief. South Korean officials said Mr Moon and Mr Trump would speak to each other alone, only accompanied by interpreters. "The fact that the two leaders will hold talks with no other attendants is important. It will likely be a chance for them to share their inner-most thoughts," said one official. The two leaders already spoke for 20 minutes on the phone on Sunday, in their 15th phone conversation since they both took office. Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump are scheduled to hold a summit in Singapore on June 12 Credit: Wong Maye-E/AP The New York Times interpreted the call, just three days before Mr Moon was due to land in Washington anyway, as a sign of Mr Trump’s discomfort with North Korea’s outburst last week, and his reported concerns that his summit with Kim could turn into a political embarrassment. It emerged on Monday that a White House Military Office coin had already been minted to mark the summit's occasion, showing the busts of Mr Trump and "Supreme Leader" Kim Jong-un. Administration officials told the Times that the president had been surprised and angered by a statement from the North’s chief nuclear negotiator late last week that the country would not trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid. North Korea's nuclear history: key moments Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mr Bolton does not trust that the summit will go well, even though aides have stressed that the president is still committed to go ahead. “It doesn’t look like they want to denuclearise at all,” said an unnamed US official about the North Koreans, echoing long-standing warnings from North Korea experts that Pyongyang will not simply hand over its entire nuclear arsenal, which it regards as a security guarantee, but instead expects mutual disarmament. Many analysts fear that the collapse of the Singapore talks could accelerate military confrontation. Meanwhile on Tuesday, a small group of international journalists travelled to North Korea to cover the dismantling of the country's nuclear test site later this week. The Punggye-ri site will be taken apart to implement Pyongyang's recently announced moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. It has been welcomed as a positive gesture ahead of the June summit, although experts have cautioned that it is only a gesture, and that it could either be reversed or a new test site could be built. In a troubling sign for the recent conciliatory relationship with Seoul, South Korean journalists were not permitted to join the trip in a sudden U-turn by Pyongyang.
Passenger fury at Northern Rail as train chaos hits Blackpool, Bolton and Manchester Airport on first day of new timetable
Passenger fury at Northern Rail as train chaos hits Blackpool, Bolton and Manchester Airport on first day of new timetable
Passenger fury at Northern Rail as train chaos hits Blackpool, Bolton and Manchester Airport on first day of new timetable
Passenger fury at Northern Rail as train chaos hits Blackpool, Bolton and Manchester Airport on first day of new timetable
Passenger fury at Northern Rail as train chaos hits Blackpool, Bolton and Manchester Airport on first day of new timetable
Passenger fury at Northern Rail as train chaos hits Blackpool, Bolton and Manchester Airport on first day of new timetable
Passenger fury at Northern Rail as train chaos hits Blackpool, Bolton and Manchester Airport on first day of new timetable
Passenger fury at Northern Rail as train chaos hits Blackpool, Bolton and Manchester Airport on first day of new timetable
Passenger fury at Northern Rail as train chaos hits Blackpool, Bolton and Manchester Airport on first day of new timetable
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
20 ways to be king (or queen) of your own castle
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
20 ways to be king (or queen) of your own castle
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
20 ways to be king (or queen) of your own castle
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
20 ways to be king (or queen) of your own castle
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
20 ways to be king (or queen) of your own castle
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
20 ways to be king (or queen) of your own castle
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
20 ways to be king (or queen) of your own castle
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
20 ways to be king (or queen) of your own castle
Of all the luck. One minute Meghan Markle is living in Canada and starring in a television series, the next she is marrying a prince (newly slipped to sixth in line to the throne, but still) in a castle. And not just any old castle, but a thumping, 1,000-year-old, super-size castle, crouched high above the Thames at Windsor, stuffed with royal chivalric imagery and the much-loved “real” home of Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone who has built a sand castle knows the basics of castle construction: a mound for safety, a moat for defence, a drawbridge to allow selected visitors across. Then a mighty superstructure, the more intimidating the better, preferably castellated and pierced with arrow slits for firing through. Add wall-walks and portcullises to taste. Lindisfarne, Northumbria Credit: Getty This is what makes them so brilliant to visit. You are scrambling, or possibly getting married, on the medieval equivalent of a Millennium Falcon; a live workspace once full of people, primed for battle and laden with sophisticated defensive technology. Inside are the spaces its occupants needed to live in reasonable comfort, with a well, storage for food, weapons and artillery, guard rooms and private apartments, maybe prison cells, possibly dungeons and occasionally torture chambers (these are surprisingly rare; the Tower of London, for example, had the only rack in England.) Paul Pattison, senior curator for English Heritage, who worked on the re-creation of the interiors at Dover Castle, defines a medieval castle as “a fortified residence and a seat of power for a particular family or clan,” explaining that the two functions would later split into military forts and domestic buildings. He also says that, as far as we know, there were no such castles in Britain until the Norman invasion of the 1060s. Imagine Wales without Edward I’s mighty symbols of invasion, or Scotland denuded of its clan power bases, or England minus the Tower. They are so much part of our national identity and such visual links with our history. Wedding at Windsor Castle Everybody has a favourite. Pattison’s, not surprisingly, is Dover, encrusted on a mighty escarpment overlooking the sea, with – among other things – its intimidating stone keep and siege tunnels used to repel the Dauphin of France during the reign of King John. Mine is probably Corfe Castle in Dorset, a smashed tooth of a building, marooned on its mound between two ranges of hills blocking access to the Isle of Purbeck, and familiar since childhood. I love Bamburgh in Northumberland, overlooking a curve of pink sand beach, with views across the sea to Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island; and Dudley, slighted in the Civil War, its walls full of fossils, with its own Thirties zoo. Then there are the stories: the dark death of Edward II in Berkeley Castle, the ghosts of Glamis (which appeared in a BBC radio play), the Countess of Norfolk heroically defending Norwich Castle under siege – plus the poisonings, the babies dropped from windows, the escapes, the secret tunnels, the mantraps and priests’ holes. And, I’m afraid, what could be more mesmerising than a dungeon, with the comforting insulation of centuries between us and the realities of imprisonment and torture? The Horrible Histories effect replaces the undoubted ghastliness with the comedy. Beaumaris Castle is one of Edward I’s "mighty symbols of invasion" Credit: Getty You can say one thing for a castle, and particularly for Windsor: it knows how to put on a show. Ms Markle’s big day will look sensational; her dress will face stiff competition from military uniforms and chivalric banners. So I wonder if, as she and The Dress make their way under the fan-vaulted ceiling of St George’s Chapel and into the Quire, she will sense the presence of Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and Charles I (with separate head) in the royal vault beneath her feet, and the generations of Garter Knights whose stall plates crowd the walls around. As for the rest of us, we may have to pick another castle for the moment, and luckily there are loads to choose from. Some you can actually stay in for a weekend. Some you can visit and stay nearby. And some, like Meghan’s, can be yours for the day. The top 20 castle experiences in Britain UK castles - map 1. Fit for a Queen – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Sudeley is on the edge of pretty Winchcombe with views of the Cotswold escarpment. It has strong royal links: Katherine Parr, who numbered Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour among her four husbands, is buried here and Charles I stayed with his nephew, Prince Rupert. Its slighted Civil War ruins sit among glorious gardens. Open until Dec 21. Adults (with local charity donation) £16.50, children aged three to 15 £7.50, family (two adults and two children) £43, under-threes free. Sudeley Castle Guest Cottage is the nearest of the 16 estate cottages to the castle itself. Sleeps six, from £145 per night, minimum two nights; sudeleycastle.co.uk Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire Credit: Getty 2. War and pieces – Dunluce, Co Antrim Warrior chieftains and warring clans form the backdrop to this spectacular ruin, built by the McQuillan clan in the 1500s. Things should have calmed down once it became seat to the earls of Antrim a century later, but no – a banshee appeared and the kitchen fell into the sea. Open daily. Adults £5.50, children aged four to 16 £3.50, concessions £3.50, family (up to five members and up to three adults), under-fours free. The Smugglers Inn (smugglersinnireland.com) is handy for the castle and Giant’s Causeway. Doubles from £70, including breakfast; discovernorthernireland.com 3. Joust the ticket – Warwick Castle This 950-year-old castle is the priciest and most commercial of Britain’s castles, but boy is it fun: a trebuchet firing cannon balls (sadly no longer ablaze), the War of the Roses Live! summer show, creepy dungeons and a new Dragon Slayer evening show on August weekends (£15). One-day Castle + Dungeon Saver Ticket £24, including all shows and timed dungeon entry (recommended aged 10 and over). Under-threes free. Medieval Glamping at the Knight’s Village (June 30 to Sept 9), from £167 per night for B&B in a tent sleeping five, two days’ castle entrance and evening entertainment. Upgrade to year-round Woodland Lodge from £237; warwickcastlebreaks.com/mediaeval-glamping; warwick-castle.com Overnight Warwick Castle 4. Movie knights – Corfe Castle, Dorset Women have played their part in the history of this stunning ruin, gateway to the Isle of Purbeck. The Saxon chatelaine Elfrida may have poisoned her stepson here and the castle was stoically defended by the Royalist Lady Bankes in the Civil War. Open daily 10am to 6pm. Gift aid adults from £10.50, children five to 18 £5.30, family (two adults and up to three children) £26.20, under-fives free. Book now for Cinema Under the Stars, Aug 24-26. Castle Cottage, Corfe and Purbeck Holidays; corfeandpurbeckholidays.com. Five minutes from the castle, sleeps five, from £335 per week; nationaltrust.org.uk/corfe-castle Corfe Castle at dawn Credit: Getty 5. Now that’s a view – Beaumaris Castle, Anglesey The name means “beautiful marshes” and Edward I set this stunning castle on the Isle of Anglesey, at the other end of the Menai Strait to Caernarfon, with views across the water to the hills of the mainland. It’s a pretty well perfect example of a concentric castle, sharing Unesco World Heritage Status with Caernarfon, Harlech and Conwy. Open until June 30. Adults £6.50, concessions/children under 16 £4.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £19.30, under-fives free. Chateau Rhianfa (chateaurhianfa.com) is a magical castle hotel overlooking the Strait. Doubles from £150, with Welsh breakfast; cadw.gov.wales/daysout/beaumaris-castle 10 fairy-tale castles you must visit in your lifetime 6. Let the good times roll – Tower of London The Tower and Windsor Castle are the best-preserved of the ring of fortresses built around London by William the Conqueror. The Tower has never been besieged and was a palace, mint, prison and menagerie for centuries before it became infamous for executions during the Tudor era. Anne Boleyn and her ladies occupied apartments specially built here before her coronation procession left for Westminster Abbey. citizenM Tower of London (citizenm.com) has unrivalled views of the fortress, especially from the rooftop bar cloudM; if you’re lucky, you might get a Tower view room on digital check-in. Doubles from £99; hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london 7. Siege survivor – Skipton Castle, North Yorkshire Home of the Clifford family since 1310, Skipton sits at the southern end of the Dales and is tough as old boots, surviving Scots raids and a three-year Civil War siege for starters. Adults £8.30, seniors/students £7.30, children aged five to 17 £5.20, family (two adults and up to three children), under-fives free. Devonshire Arms Hotel & Spa, Bolton Abbey (thedevonshirearms.co.uk) is a 10-minute drive away. Best of Yorkshire deals (Sunday to Thursday) with two nights’ B&B, afternoon tea, six-course tasting menu at the Burlington Restaurant, £248 per person; skiptoncastle.co.uk 17 photographs that prove Yorkshire is England's greatest county 8. It’s a conversion – Astley Castle, Warwickshire It’s not always just history; this RIBA award-winning contemporary house for eight is built into the fire-damaged ruins of a 13th-century castle owned by three queens. Elizabeth Woodville, Elizabeth of York and Lady Jane Grey would recognise the moat, the bridge and the gatehouse, no problem, but might be startled by the lift. Four nights self-catering for eight people from £1,391; landmarktrust.org.uk 9. History joys – Dover Castle, Kent Ever seen a Roman lighthouse? There’s one here. Want to see the Second World War tunnels from which Winston Churchill surveyed the Channel? Here, too. Norman keep? Yup. Thirteenth-century siege tunnels? And those. The only problem is you need about three days to see it all, so staying in one of the castle cottages really helps. Open year round. Gift aid adults £22, concession £19.80, children aged five to 17 £13.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £50. The Sergeant Major’s House stands inside the castle walls with a garden and views over the town. Sleeps six. Three nights from £530; 0370 333 1187; english-heritage.org.uk Dover Castle, Kent Credit: iStock 10. Treachery! – Ludlow Castle, Shropshire It’s very special, staying in one of the three apartments in castle house, within the outer bailey walls of this mighty castle, which is still in the hands of the Herbert family, Earls of Powis. Soak up the atmosphere once the visitors have left: this was home to the treacherous Mortimers and to the princes later murdered in the Tower. Outside, Ludlow offers fabulous food. Open daily. Adults £6, seniors £5, £15, children over five £3, family (two adults and four children), under-five free. Each apartment sleeps four. Four nights from £445; 01584 874465; ludlowcastle.com 11. Sweet schemes – Dudley Castle, West Midlands This castle, on its steep motte, dates back to the 1070s and was home to the scheming Dudley family. The mound is stuffed with trilobites (aka “Dudley Bugs”), also visible in the stone walls of the slighted castle, which is entered via the Thirties zoo built by Berthold Lubetkin. His famous “Tectons” are still there, though no longer occupied by the zoo animals. Free tours and ghost walks take place at 3.30pm daily. Open 10am to 4pm. With donation, adults £16.50, children aged three to 15 £10.50, concession £13, under-threes free. Minutes from the castle is the Village Hotel Birmingham Dudley (village-hotels.co.uk/hotels/birmingham-dudley). Doubles cost from £69; dudleyzoo.org.uk Glamis Castle, Angus Credit: iStock 12. Lair of You-Know-Who – Glamis, Angus No, not the late Queen Mother, who was born here, but the eponymous antihero of Shakespeare’s “Scottish play”, which seems to be everywhere right now. The pinnacled, battlemented, pink-stone seat of Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons’ childhood home, is everything a Scottish castle should be. Open daily until Oct 31. Adults £12.50, seniors/students £10.50, children aged five to 16 £9, family (two adults and up to three children) £40. Go baronial with a stay in the west end of Dundee (12 miles/19km away) at 14-room Taypark House (01382 643777; tayparkhouse.co.uk). Doubles cost from £85; glamis-castle.co.uk 13. Henry’s haunt – Amberley, West Sussex This ancient castle in the South Downs National Park, now a luxury hotel, started life as a 12th-century hunting lodge and evolved into a fortified manor owned by the Bishop of Chichester, among others. Henry VIII popped in to discuss his first divorce. Today’s Queen has stayed here with friends. In June and July there are Castle History Tours for £55 per person, including a three-course lunch and champagne. Doubles from £195 including breakfast; amberleycastle.co.uk Harry honeymoon destinations 14. Arty angle – Lindisfarne, Northumbria Of all the extraordinary locations, Lindisfarne must have one of the best, perched on a rocky Holy Island in the North Sea off the coast of Northumberland and reached from the mainland only by a tidal causeway. The castle was converted into a house by Edward Lutyens a century ago and has just reopened after a £3 million restoration. Although stays are possible, until November it is home to an immersive art installation by Anya Gallaccio. Overnight in Grade II listed St Oswald’s Cottage on Holy Island, also by Lutyens, with views of Lindisfarne and Bamburgh. Sleeps five. Three nights from £462; nationaltrust.org.uk Caernarfon, Gwynedd Credit: Getty 15. Longbow draw – Caernarfon, Gwynedd You’ve got to hand it to brutal Edward I, he knew how to place a castle. Caernarfon guards the western Menai Strait and on a still day its polygonal towers and curtain walls are mirrored in the water. Look out for events such as Longbow Day on May 27. Adults £9.50, students/seniors £7.60, under-16s £5.70, families (two adults and up to three children) £27.50, under-fives free. Cartref Caernarfon (cartref-caernarfon.co.uk) is a guesthouse within the castle walls and can arrange castle tours. Doubles from £75; cadw.gov.wales 16. A Roman fort – Portchester Castle, Hampshire Portchester was built in the third century by Romans well aware of the Saxon threat. Seen from above it’s a square, with a square tower in one corner, a church in the other and magnificent views over Portsmouth Harbour. The Red Lion Fareham (oldenglishinns.co.uk) is a former coaching inn some three miles from the fort. Double rooms cost from £55, breakfast included; english-heritage.org.uk Portchester Castle, Hampshire Credit: Getty 17. Loch of luxury – Aldourie, Loch Ness This is a Highland fantasy castle, the grey cones of its turrets peeping out from the trees beside Loch Ness, built in the 19th century and still sitting on a 500-acre estate. Go mad and take sole possession: it’s available for exclusive use with full staff, endless country sports and other castles to visit, although food and drink are extra. Loyd & Townsend Rose. Sleeps 28 in 13 double/twin rooms and two singles, £27,500 including VAT for three nights; ltrcastles.com 18. Flower power – Caerhays, Cornwall Regency architect John Nash designed this castle 200 years ago and a century later its famous springtime gardens began with plant hunters’ specimens from China and now contains, among other things, 600 magnolias. Guests have garden access, according to season and can stroll down the drive to the beach. Castle tours until June 15; entrance to gardens until June 17. Combined tickets adults £14, children 5-16 £6.50. There are 12 properties on the 140-acre estate, booked via Niche Retreats (nicheretreats.co.uk). The Rabbit Warren, in the castle’s west wing, sleeps four from £596 per week; caerhays.co.uk Devon vs Cornwall: which is better for children? 19. Her Majesty’s pleasure – Lincoln Castle This Norman castle is perched, like the cathedral, on Castle Hill high above the city. It has a wall walk, Victorian prison and a vault displaying the cathedral’s fine version of Magna Carta and Charter of the Forest. Open daily except Christmas and New Year. Adults £13.50, children aged five to 16 £7.20, family (two adults and up to three children) £34.20, under-fives free. Annual passes and Castle/Cathedral tickets also available; Lincoln Hotel (thelincolnhotel.com); doubles from £89; lincolncastle.com 20. Spellbound – Hogwarts Castle, Hertfordshire Few castles have gripped the imagination of a generation like Harry Potter’s alma mater. The famous model of its soaring corbel turrets, flying buttresses and Gothic windows – startlingly like Glamis Castle – is the climax of Warner Bros’ Studio Tour at Leavesden. Adults £41, children aged five to 15 £31, family (two adults and two children or one adult and three children) £124, under-5s free. Advance booking essential, especially for Hogwarts in the Snow, Nov 17 to Jan 27. The Grove (thegrove.co.uk) is a spa hotel in wonderful grounds a short drive away. Doubles from £340, with breakfast; wbstudiotour.co.uk/home
Two North Koreans, including a military officer, defected to the South early on Saturday morning in the latest upset for Pyongyang after a fractious week in which Kim Jong-un threatened to pull out of June talks with Donald Trump, the US president. The officer and a civilian defected by boat and were picked up by the South Korean military in the Yellow Sea, near the inter-Korean sea border, after expressing willingness to defect, reported the South’s newswire, Yonhap. The defection, the first of a North Korean military officer since 2008, is awkward timing for Seoul, which has a longstanding policy of accepting any North Korean defectors who want to live in the South. Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, has been at pains to keep this year’s diplomatic détente between North and South on track, particularly in the run up to June 12 summit in Singapore between Kim and President Trump, which aims to make progress on denuclearisation and peace on the peninsula. But despite a friendly first meeting between Kim and Mr Moon at the end of April, during which they held hands as they crossed their shared border, the diplomatic thaw that began in January showed the first signs of a breakdown last week, and the latest defection could raise tensions further. Thae Yong-ho, the highest ranking North Korean official ever to defect Credit: AFP/AFP In a stinging rebuke on Thursday, North Korea’s chief negotiator, Ri Son Gwon, called the South Korean government “ignorant and incompetent” for going ahead with joint air combat drills with the US, threatening to halt all talks. Mr Ri also hit out at Seoul for allowing “human scum” to speak at its National Assembly. Although he did not mention him by name, it is believed that Mr Ri was referring to Thae Yong-ho, the highest ranking North Korean official ever to defect, who warned that Kim would never fully give up his nuclear arsenal during a press conference in the Assembly on Monday. Korea summit | Read more Pyongyang’s angry outburst at the South followed an earlier threat to Washington last week that it may pull out of the Singapore summit. Citing the joint military drills as one reason, Kim Kye Gwan also took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for championing the so-called “Libya model” of denuclearisation as one that could be applied to North Korea. “It is essentially a manifestation of awfully sinister move [sic] to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had [sic] been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers,” said Mr Kim in a statement.
Two North Koreans defect in latest upset for diplomatic thaw on Korean peninsula
Two North Koreans, including a military officer, defected to the South early on Saturday morning in the latest upset for Pyongyang after a fractious week in which Kim Jong-un threatened to pull out of June talks with Donald Trump, the US president. The officer and a civilian defected by boat and were picked up by the South Korean military in the Yellow Sea, near the inter-Korean sea border, after expressing willingness to defect, reported the South’s newswire, Yonhap. The defection, the first of a North Korean military officer since 2008, is awkward timing for Seoul, which has a longstanding policy of accepting any North Korean defectors who want to live in the South. Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, has been at pains to keep this year’s diplomatic détente between North and South on track, particularly in the run up to June 12 summit in Singapore between Kim and President Trump, which aims to make progress on denuclearisation and peace on the peninsula. But despite a friendly first meeting between Kim and Mr Moon at the end of April, during which they held hands as they crossed their shared border, the diplomatic thaw that began in January showed the first signs of a breakdown last week, and the latest defection could raise tensions further. Thae Yong-ho, the highest ranking North Korean official ever to defect Credit: AFP/AFP In a stinging rebuke on Thursday, North Korea’s chief negotiator, Ri Son Gwon, called the South Korean government “ignorant and incompetent” for going ahead with joint air combat drills with the US, threatening to halt all talks. Mr Ri also hit out at Seoul for allowing “human scum” to speak at its National Assembly. Although he did not mention him by name, it is believed that Mr Ri was referring to Thae Yong-ho, the highest ranking North Korean official ever to defect, who warned that Kim would never fully give up his nuclear arsenal during a press conference in the Assembly on Monday. Korea summit | Read more Pyongyang’s angry outburst at the South followed an earlier threat to Washington last week that it may pull out of the Singapore summit. Citing the joint military drills as one reason, Kim Kye Gwan also took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for championing the so-called “Libya model” of denuclearisation as one that could be applied to North Korea. “It is essentially a manifestation of awfully sinister move [sic] to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had [sic] been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers,” said Mr Kim in a statement.
Two North Koreans, including a military officer, defected to the South early on Saturday morning in the latest upset for Pyongyang after a fractious week in which Kim Jong-un threatened to pull out of June talks with Donald Trump, the US president. The officer and a civilian defected by boat and were picked up by the South Korean military in the Yellow Sea, near the inter-Korean sea border, after expressing willingness to defect, reported the South’s newswire, Yonhap. The defection, the first of a North Korean military officer since 2008, is awkward timing for Seoul, which has a longstanding policy of accepting any North Korean defectors who want to live in the South. Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, has been at pains to keep this year’s diplomatic détente between North and South on track, particularly in the run up to June 12 summit in Singapore between Kim and President Trump, which aims to make progress on denuclearisation and peace on the peninsula. But despite a friendly first meeting between Kim and Mr Moon at the end of April, during which they held hands as they crossed their shared border, the diplomatic thaw that began in January showed the first signs of a breakdown last week, and the latest defection could raise tensions further. Thae Yong-ho, the highest ranking North Korean official ever to defect Credit: AFP/AFP In a stinging rebuke on Thursday, North Korea’s chief negotiator, Ri Son Gwon, called the South Korean government “ignorant and incompetent” for going ahead with joint air combat drills with the US, threatening to halt all talks. Mr Ri also hit out at Seoul for allowing “human scum” to speak at its National Assembly. Although he did not mention him by name, it is believed that Mr Ri was referring to Thae Yong-ho, the highest ranking North Korean official ever to defect, who warned that Kim would never fully give up his nuclear arsenal during a press conference in the Assembly on Monday. Korea summit | Read more Pyongyang’s angry outburst at the South followed an earlier threat to Washington last week that it may pull out of the Singapore summit. Citing the joint military drills as one reason, Kim Kye Gwan also took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for championing the so-called “Libya model” of denuclearisation as one that could be applied to North Korea. “It is essentially a manifestation of awfully sinister move [sic] to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had [sic] been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers,” said Mr Kim in a statement.
Two North Koreans defect in latest upset for diplomatic thaw on Korean peninsula
Two North Koreans, including a military officer, defected to the South early on Saturday morning in the latest upset for Pyongyang after a fractious week in which Kim Jong-un threatened to pull out of June talks with Donald Trump, the US president. The officer and a civilian defected by boat and were picked up by the South Korean military in the Yellow Sea, near the inter-Korean sea border, after expressing willingness to defect, reported the South’s newswire, Yonhap. The defection, the first of a North Korean military officer since 2008, is awkward timing for Seoul, which has a longstanding policy of accepting any North Korean defectors who want to live in the South. Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s president, has been at pains to keep this year’s diplomatic détente between North and South on track, particularly in the run up to June 12 summit in Singapore between Kim and President Trump, which aims to make progress on denuclearisation and peace on the peninsula. But despite a friendly first meeting between Kim and Mr Moon at the end of April, during which they held hands as they crossed their shared border, the diplomatic thaw that began in January showed the first signs of a breakdown last week, and the latest defection could raise tensions further. Thae Yong-ho, the highest ranking North Korean official ever to defect Credit: AFP/AFP In a stinging rebuke on Thursday, North Korea’s chief negotiator, Ri Son Gwon, called the South Korean government “ignorant and incompetent” for going ahead with joint air combat drills with the US, threatening to halt all talks. Mr Ri also hit out at Seoul for allowing “human scum” to speak at its National Assembly. Although he did not mention him by name, it is believed that Mr Ri was referring to Thae Yong-ho, the highest ranking North Korean official ever to defect, who warned that Kim would never fully give up his nuclear arsenal during a press conference in the Assembly on Monday. Korea summit | Read more Pyongyang’s angry outburst at the South followed an earlier threat to Washington last week that it may pull out of the Singapore summit. Citing the joint military drills as one reason, Kim Kye Gwan also took aim at John Bolton, the US national security adviser, for championing the so-called “Libya model” of denuclearisation as one that could be applied to North Korea. “It is essentially a manifestation of awfully sinister move [sic] to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had [sic] been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers,” said Mr Kim in a statement.
Picture the scene: John Bolton stands proudly against a backdrop of an
In time for hacking season, the US has no cybersecurity coordinator
Picture the scene: John Bolton stands proudly against a backdrop of an
Picture the scene: John Bolton stands proudly against a backdrop of an
In time for hacking season, the US has no cybersecurity coordinator
Picture the scene: John Bolton stands proudly against a backdrop of an
Picture the scene: John Bolton stands proudly against a backdrop of an
In time for hacking season, the US has no cybersecurity coordinator
Picture the scene: John Bolton stands proudly against a backdrop of an
Picture the scene: John Bolton stands proudly against a backdrop of an
In time for hacking season, the US has no cybersecurity coordinator
Picture the scene: John Bolton stands proudly against a backdrop of an
Donald Trump speaks alongside national security adviser John Bolton in Washington, DC, on 9 May 2018. ‘Mr Trump doubled down by spelling out the prospect of regime change.’ Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
The Guardian view on North Korea: no art as Trump seeks deal
Donald Trump speaks alongside national security adviser John Bolton in Washington, DC, on 9 May 2018. ‘Mr Trump doubled down by spelling out the prospect of regime change.’ Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Trump at the White House on Wednesday. The ‘Libya model’ John Bolton was referring to was Gaddafi’s agreement to surrender his nuclear weapons in 2003.
Donald Trump's warning to Kim Jong-un: make a deal or suffer same fate as Gaddafi
Trump at the White House on Wednesday. The ‘Libya model’ John Bolton was referring to was Gaddafi’s agreement to surrender his nuclear weapons in 2003.
National Security Adviser John Bolton stands alongside US President Donald Trump as he speaks about the prospects for the summit with North Korea going ahead -- a meeting put in doubt when Pyongyang bristled at comments made by Bolton
National Security Adviser John Bolton stands alongside US President Donald Trump as he speaks about the prospects for the summit with North Korea going ahead -- a meeting put in doubt when Pyongyang bristled at comments made by Bolton
National Security Adviser John Bolton stands alongside US President Donald Trump as he speaks about the prospects for the summit with North Korea going ahead -- a meeting put in doubt when Pyongyang bristled at comments made by Bolton
Donald Trump has blamed China for Kim Jong-un’s apparent change of heart over their face-to-face meeting as he attempted to bring North Korea back to the table. In his fullest response to Pyongyang’s threat to cancel, the US president undermined his own national security adviser by saying the “Libya model” was not being used. Mr Trump also promised Kim “protections” if he agreed to meet in Singapore as originally planned – an olive branch to North Korean leader. The comments were made in the White House on Thursday as Mr Trump was meeting Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general. The US president was due to meet Kim in Singapore on June 12 to discuss denuclearisation but the North Koreans unexpectedly said this week they could pull out of the meeting. US-South Korean military drills, comments made by John Bolton, Mr Trump’s national security adviser, and demands for the regime to “unilaterally” give up its nuclear programme were all cited as reasons. But Mr Trump pointed the finger at another factor – Kim’s second meeting with with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, earlier this month. Mr Trump said there was a “big difference” in North Korea’s position since the meeting and suggested that Mr Xi “could be influencing” Kim. China has traditionally been North Korea’s closest ally and reportedly feared being alienated from talks as Mr Trump pushed ahead with his plan for a face-to-face meeting. Mr Trump also dismissed Mr Bolton’s own suggestion last month that the “Libya model” from 2003 and 2004 would be used by America for talks with North Korea. Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, was convinced to give up his nuclear programme at the time. However he was later toppled and killed in 2011. North Korea singled out Mr Bolton and his Libya plan in a lengthy criticism of America’s position as they threatened to pull the plug on the Trump-Kim summit. Mr Trump said on Thursday that the Libya model had led to “total decimation” and would not be used for his talks – addressing one of Pyongyang’s concerns. The US president also said he was “willing to do a lot” for a deal with North Korea and told Kim he would “get protections that would be very strong”. Mr Trump predicted Kim would be "very, very happy" if he struck an agreement, adding: “I think the best thing he could do is to make a deal.”
Donald Trump blames China for North Korea’s threat to cancel face-to-face meeting
Donald Trump has blamed China for Kim Jong-un’s apparent change of heart over their face-to-face meeting as he attempted to bring North Korea back to the table. In his fullest response to Pyongyang’s threat to cancel, the US president undermined his own national security adviser by saying the “Libya model” was not being used. Mr Trump also promised Kim “protections” if he agreed to meet in Singapore as originally planned – an olive branch to North Korean leader. The comments were made in the White House on Thursday as Mr Trump was meeting Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato secretary general. The US president was due to meet Kim in Singapore on June 12 to discuss denuclearisation but the North Koreans unexpectedly said this week they could pull out of the meeting. US-South Korean military drills, comments made by John Bolton, Mr Trump’s national security adviser, and demands for the regime to “unilaterally” give up its nuclear programme were all cited as reasons. But Mr Trump pointed the finger at another factor – Kim’s second meeting with with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, earlier this month. Mr Trump said there was a “big difference” in North Korea’s position since the meeting and suggested that Mr Xi “could be influencing” Kim. China has traditionally been North Korea’s closest ally and reportedly feared being alienated from talks as Mr Trump pushed ahead with his plan for a face-to-face meeting. Mr Trump also dismissed Mr Bolton’s own suggestion last month that the “Libya model” from 2003 and 2004 would be used by America for talks with North Korea. Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, was convinced to give up his nuclear programme at the time. However he was later toppled and killed in 2011. North Korea singled out Mr Bolton and his Libya plan in a lengthy criticism of America’s position as they threatened to pull the plug on the Trump-Kim summit. Mr Trump said on Thursday that the Libya model had led to “total decimation” and would not be used for his talks – addressing one of Pyongyang’s concerns. The US president also said he was “willing to do a lot” for a deal with North Korea and told Kim he would “get protections that would be very strong”. Mr Trump predicted Kim would be "very, very happy" if he struck an agreement, adding: “I think the best thing he could do is to make a deal.”
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers
London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture. Many of these rivers flow quietly above ground, in plain sight but generally unnoticed beyond their neighbourhoods. Their enticing names echo London’s rural past – the Crane, the Darent, the Mutton Brook, the Pool River – or carry a whiff of the exotic – the Ching, the Moselle, the Quaggy, the Silk Stream. These rivers go about their business forgotten in the background, but many inner London waterways have been deliberately hidden. London’s landscape was shaped by the hills and valleys these rivers created, but as the city grew they began to get in the way and were buried, bit by bit, under layers of streets and houses. The Moselle, in North London, carries a whiff of the exotic London once needed all the rivers it could get: for drinking water, for harbours and wharves, for mills, for tanneries, and for sluicing away waste. The rivers were London’s sewage system long before any system was conceived, but even tiny medieval London was too much for any stream to cope with. The Walbrook, flowing through the heart of the City of London, was mostly paved over in the 1460s; it was considered a filthy nuisance choked with refuse. London’s origins are deep in the Walbrook, the river around which the Romans founded the city. The debris dug from the river – hoes and ploughshares, chisels and saws, scalpels and spatulas, the heads of forgotten gods and a collection of 48 human skulls tell the earliest London tales. The Walbrook reached the Thames near the site of Cannon Street Railway Bridge Credit: oliverhuitson - Fotolia/oliver huitson As London began to grow at the end of the 18th century, and then to mushroom beyond reason during the 19th century, the rivers became a big problem. Floods, filth, stench and disease put off Georgian and Victorian house-buyers. In Mayfair, the Tyburn was tucked away under mews. In West Norwood, the Effra was buried deep under grids of new Victorian villas. The Fleet was legendarily filthy. Redesigned as a Venetian-style canal by Christopher Wren after the Fire of London, it was quickly overtaken by grim reality. Jonathan Swift, in 1710, wrote about the Fleet filled with “the sweepings from butchers’ stalls, dung, guts and blood.” A few years later Alexander Pope described how “Fleet-ditch with disemboguing streams / Rolls the large tribute of dead dogs to the Thames.” It is no surprise then that the lower Fleet was culverted in huge storm sewer tunnels where it has remained ever since. Yet before the river became more trouble than it was worth, it was a crucial route in as well as out. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves, and even the stones for Old St. Paul’s Cathedral were unloaded here. The source of the Tyburn, Shepherd's Well near Fitzjohn's Avenue in Hampstead Credit: 2005 Getty Images/Hulton Archive The rivers may be hidden but they are far from gone. It is very hard to stop a river from flowing, so they have merely been diverted into the sewer system, often as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s monumental tunnelling programme during the 1860s and 1870s. They can still be seen if you know where to look, flowing through culverts and under gratings. Sometimes they are hidden in plain sight. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet. Regent’s Park Lake was originally fed by the Tyburn, while the Serpentine was landscaped from the Westbourne in 1731 for the benefit of George II’s consort, Queen Caroline. Unfortunately the sewage problem eventually rendered both rivers unsuitable for ornamental ponds, and they were diverted away. Everything from Welsh cheese to coals from Newcastle arrived at the Fleet wharves Credit: GETTY They also shaped London’s hills and valleys, a landscape layered over but still visible. Mysteriously steep roads, such as Pentonville Rise, make sense when seen as the sides of the Fleet Valley. The sharp dip as Piccadilly passes Green Park shows us where the Tyburn once crossed the road. The Oval is oval because it was built into a bend in the Effra. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing. From the viaduct the valley of the Fleet stretches away below, wide and deep, now occupied by Farringdon Street. The Hampstead and Highgate Ponds are former reservoirs created by damming two streams that form the Fleet Credit: MAX NATHAN Names also contain clues obvious only in retrospect. Kilburn is named after the upper reaches of the Westbourne, also responsible for Bayswater, and once crossed by the Knight’s Bridge. Wandsworth has its very own river, the Wandle. Peckham Rye means “village by the River Peck”. Streets retain the river names: Effra Road and Westbourne Green, or just simply Neckinger and Walbrook. Holborn Viaduct is a bridge with no river built on the site of an ancient Fleet crossing Credit: GETTY Lost rivers really are everywhere, even in the places Londoners think they know intimately. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace. The Walbrook is probably the most direct route into the Bank of England, running in a tunnel under its vaults. The Earl’s Sluice curves its way past Millwall football ground. The lost rivers link the familiar – the Royal Parks, Mayfair, the City, the South Bank – to places few visit – the back streets of Camberwell, Croydon, Earlsfield, Elephant and Castle, Gospel Oak, Kentish Town, Mitcham, Swiss Cottage, and West Norwood to name but a few. The Tyburn runs directly beneath Buckingham Palace London’s rivers are invisible threads, binding London together under the surface while the city roars above. They were here long before people or buildings arrived. They are a hidden system for cutting through the layers on which London stands, and revealing the many places London used to be. Tom Bolton is a researcher and author, whose book London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide reveals the unseen rivers that flow through London.
Savvy newyleds are driving a growing trend for mini-moons, whereby the happy couple go away immediately after their wedding for a few days before honeymooning in an exotic location at a later date to save on costs. It also means they're not tied to honeymooning in the season in which they married. Our experts have picked the best places to stay for newlyweds to laze about in the rosy-hued days of romance following their nuptials – or to just catch up on some much-needed sleep. From cycling around bucolic vineyards and Michelin-starred restaurants with rooms, to private boat trips and private infinity pools, we've got all bases covered – including destinations within a direct four-hour flight and easy transfers. • The best mini-moon hotels in the UK ITALY Tuscany Hotel Il PellicanoPorto Ercole, Tuscany, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating This spring-to-autumn haven of dolce vita luxury has always been a clubbish, word-of-mouth kind of place. Now, under the dynamic management of designer Marie-Louise Sciò, the hotel has refined its service, become a Michelin-starred gourmet haven and added a spa without losing its insider cachet. The nearby town of Porto Ercole is a magnet for the Roman and Florentine yachtie set, but Il Pellicano takes its distance – standing in majestic natural seclusion amid stone pines and cypresses with breathtaking sunset views. The 50 rooms and suites are divided between the the Pompeii-red central building and the beautifully tended gardens. There's a small but well-run spa, a tennis court and its own heated seawater pool. Be sure to order a cocktail made by Italy’s best bartender. Read expert review From £579per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Monteverdi TuscanySarteano, Tuscany, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Consider it a dream project: an American lawyer falls in love with Tuscany, buys up most of a small village, and turns it into a rural idyll. His vision was spot on. While preserving the exterior façades, interior designer Ilaria Miani has brought a sense of light and modernity without sacrificing the building’s authenticity. The terraced gardens are just as charming: a lap pool is bordered by lavender bushes and fig and olive trees. In addition to the amenities (spa, restaurant, gallery, bars), there are also many events planned seasonally—a lecture by Wes Anderson before a film screening, say, or a classical concert in the village church—itineraries can also include wine tastings at local vineyards, guided tours of Etruscan ruins, and even a day in Florence. Go for room number 9 with a fireplace and stand alone bathtubs. Read expert review From £506per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith VignamaggioChianti, Tuscany, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating This noble Renaissance villa sits lordly in Italian gardens and vine-clad hills, overlooking a serene landscape that (legend has it) inspired Leonardo da Vinci. Many will know it as the romantic setting for Kenneth Branagh's film 'Much Ado about Nothing'. It was the 14th-century home of the Mona Lisa's ancestors and is one of the oldest wine estates in Chianti; even the villa walls have faded to a mellow Rosé. Facilities include two pools (edged with those dreamy views), tennis courts and a small spa with whirlpool tub and Turkish bath. There are hiking paths that wind through the estate's vineyards and woodland; complimentary bikes; cooking lessons and horse riding. The restaurant enjoys heavenly views from its terrace, and its farm-to-table policy means much of the produce comes from the surrounding organic estate. Opt for a room in the Casolese farmhouse, done up in a Scandi-Tuscan style. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in Tuscany Italian Lakes Il SerenoLake Como, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Leading Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola is behind the hotel’s sober architecture and contemporary interiors. The building was constructed using natural materials, including stone, wood and copper, and local artisans were called in to make the custom-designed furnishings. At the centre of the main garden is an infinity pool with gazebos and sun loungers, a small sandy beach can be found down by the lake shore, plus a spa with a hot tub which overlooks the lake. Guests can rent the hotel’s two all-wood Riva motorboats, with or without a driver, while the Vaporina del Lago water limousine shuttles guests around the lake. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the 30 suites ensure beautiful views, and waterfront terraces have cushioned chairs. The Michelin-starred restaurant serves Italian dishes with a contemporary touch. Read expert review From £755per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Villa Làrio Lake ComoLake Como, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating Villa Larios is secluded and private, spread out on a hillside more than 160ft above the lake, offering jaw-dropping vistas. From the lakeside road a lift descends to the main villa, which is flanked by a leafy terraced garden with infinity pool looking out over the water. From here a second lift goes down to the lakefront garden from where it’s possible to stroll into the tiny village of Pognana Lario – no tourists here, just the occasional resident strolling the front. The villa has a private jetty, and boat hire and water taxis can be organised. With only six suites, guests feel as if they have most of the place to themselves. The restaurant serves delicious, hearty homemade cooking inspired by Italy’s regions. Read expert review From £500per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Grand Hotel a Villa FeltrinelliLake Garda, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating This exclusive hotel, set in eight-acre grounds on the western shore of Lake Garda, is located in a historic 19th-century villa which was once the home of Mussolini and his family during the Republic of Salò. Interiors have been lavishly restored and feature frescoed ceilings, Venetian mirrors and Art Nouveau lamps. The manicured gardens are home to olive, ancient oak and magnolia trees, and there’s a limonaia (tiered lemon garden) dating back to the 1800s. There’s also an outdoor heated swimming pool and a croquet green. With a staff ratio of 3:1, the service is outstanding. Tailor-made boat trips around the lake can be organised. Rooms in the main villa have original antiques and cream-coloured draperies; guesthouses are more contemporary. The two Michelin-starred restaurant serves exceptional Italian cuisine and fresh lake fish. Read expert review From £933per night • The best Italian Lakes - and where to stay Amalfi Coast Il San Pietro di PositanoPositano, Amalfi Coast, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Carved into the sheer rock face like something out of a James Bond movie and hidden from prying eyes , il San Pietro lies a few bends in the road east of Positano. All around there is the deep, blue sea. Just about anything you could possibly wish for is on site, and for a zip up the coast, one of the hotel’s private boats will pick you up from the jetty. There is a bar with a spectacular terrace, a gourmet restaurant, fabulous terraced gardens and, on sea level, a private ‘beach’, a tennis court, spa and restaurant. The bedrooms and suites tumble down the cliff-side in a series of flower-bedecked terraces; each has its own private outside space, some of which are enormous. All have extraordinary sea vistas, some even from the bath. Read expert review From £428per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Monastero Santa RosaConca dei Marini, Amalfi Coast, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating From its perch atop a sheer, rocky outcrop, just outside the quiet the village of Conca dei Marini and aloof from the day-trippers down on the coast, the Santa Rosa enjoys a magnificent location. Its creation is down to one woman, American Bianca Sharma, who bought the vast, clifftop building after spying it from a boat. She spared no expense in transforming the 17th-century monastery into a stylish and cocooning hotel, while fully respecting the building’s origins. As you would expect, there’s everything you are likely to need on site; fabulous terraced gardens with a heated infinity pool that seems suspended over the water; a huge spa (one of the biggest and best on the costiera); an outdoor gym with a view; shuttle bus service to and from Amalfi. The dining terrace – suspended high over the sea – is a supremely romantic spot for dinner. Expect superlative renditions of coastal cuisine. Read expert review From £570per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Le SirenusePositano, Amalfi Coast, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating Built into the steep southwest-facing side of Positano, the hotel’s oxblood-coloured facade is high enough to command excellent sea views, while being within a 10-minute walk (down lots of steps) to the resort’s dark-sand beach. An eclectic collection of antique furniture and art helps the hotel retain its atmosphere of the private home it originally was, though over time it has conjoined with neighbouring houses to become a warren of rooms and public areas on several floors. A compact pool terrace has outdoor loungers and is shaded by lemon trees. Nearly all 58 rooms are unfussy, whitewashed with tiled floors, classical prints and highly-polished, antique furniture. The Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant is about as romantic as a dining room can possibly be. Entirely lit by 400 candles it has creeper-clad walls, stiff white tablecloths and views over the twinkling lights and sea. Read expert review From £914per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels on the Amalfi Coast Sorrento Bellevue SyreneSorrento, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating A hotel in grand Italian style with a fresh, modern approach and a spectacular Vesuvius-facing location. Sorrento’s lidos, accessible via a lift, lie just below and a 10-minute walk down a narrow, cobbled lane brings you to the fishing village of Marina Grande. Inside, its cool marble hallways and dazzling white paintwork offset museum-worthy antique pieces, Murano chandeliers, modern art and photography and colourful, quirky ceramics. There’s a private bathing deck with sea access at the bottom of the cliff and a small pool with sun loungers on an upper terrace. Only two out of the 50 bedrooms miss out on sea views. The huge, sexy Suite Roccia is hewn out of solid tufa rock and features a hydrotherapy pool in the bedroom and the Suite Pompeiana comes with a vast bathroom and whirlpool tub looking out to sea. Read expert review From £285per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Relais BluMassa Lubrense, Sorrento, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating As a 'get-away-from-it-all' location, this spot close to the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula is perfect. The sweeping views that take in Capri, the wide curve of the Bay of Naples and the looming bulk of Vesuvius are extraordinary. On arrival, you may be forgiven for wondering why the place isn’t called 'Relais White' – but step out onto the terrace and get an eyeful of the deep blue sea that plays wraparound backdrop, and the name makes perfect sense. Wide terraces on different levels offer private corners for relaxing, while there’s an infinity pool at the top of the property, plus a small spa and a hot tub on a sea-facing terrace. Boats can be hired and if you want a day at Capitan (sic) Cook’s laid-back beach club, staff will arrange for you to be picked up in a tiny Piaggio van. All rooms have sea views and all but two have private gardens or large terraces. The Michelin-starred restaurant is one of the hotel’s highlights. Read expert review From £212per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Sorrento Puglia Masseria TrapanàSurbo, Puglia, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating The restoration of 16th-century Trapanà has remained faithful to the bones of the old masseria. The original taupe, tufo stone and arched ceilings are modernised through the use of glass walls, fresh flower displays, thick-pile colourful rugs, coffee-table books, snazzy Moroccan cushions and music blaring out across the main courtyard all day. Six walled gardens, verdant with cacti, ferns and more than 500 orange and lemon trees, are dotted with colourful hammocks, a fire pit and croquet lawn. The serene swimming pool is surrounded by large daybeds and shaded by plum trees – and there’s a pool phone should you require a cocktail. All rooms have arched ceilings and stone walls, which keep them cool in summer, though there are fireplaces and underfloor heating for autumnal nights. All but two have outdoor bathtubs. Expect a menu of the region’s deliciously simple cucina povera ('peasant cooking'). Read expert review From £214per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith Borgo EgnaziaFasano, Puglia, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Constructed entirely from the local tufa stone, you could be forgiven for thinking the imposing Borgo Egnazia has history. It doesn’t: it was built from scratch. Every detail is an ode to Puglia, from the artworks based on the symbols on trulli roofs to the waft of lemons in reception. The estate is divided into three: the stately La Corte, which opens out to two tiered swimming pools; the maze-like Il Borgo ('The Village', with a family pool, piazza and rows of duplex townhouses); and 30 outlying villas, each with a private pool. Escape for a Vair spa treatment, learn to make orrecchiette pasta or local pottery, play tennis, golf, take up windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking or just peg out at one of the resort’s two private beaches or three outdoor pools. The five restaurants put a strong emphasis on traditional local cooking. Read expert review From £166per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Puglia Sicily Belmond Villa Sant'AndreaTaormina, Sicily, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set on its own private stretch of beach surrounded by lush gardens. A cable car connects the seaside district to the town of Taormina. The hotel was once a private villa, and has retained the charm of a residence; it exudes classic understated elegance. Fresh, contemporary décor gives way to breathtaking vistas in communal areas. Facilities include a heated infinity pool, use of the private beach with sun loungers and parasols, and a complimentary boat cruise (mid-May to mid-September). Water sports are available too, including paddle-surfing that can be combined with yoga meditation. The hotel organises Vintage Fiat 500 and Ape Calessino tours. Most rooms have balconies or terraces with lovely views of the bay; some look onto the sub-tropical gardens. Read expert review From £314per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Monaci delle Terre NereZafferana Etnea, Sicily, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating With its sapient design mix, organic food, stellar wine list and verdant grounds, Monaci delle Terre Nere appeals most of all to those in need of some rural detox. It’s halfway between Taormina and Catania, high up on the eastern skirts of Etna. Many guests go nowhere but spend their days lounging by the pool, a cool blue splash amidst citrus and olive groves. The 13 rooms in the main house and a series of outbuildings are stylish dens, some with wood-burning stoves, exposed lavastone walls and weathered ceiling beams (like the theatrical Amabile suite), others fresh and bright, with contemporary artworks playing off against Sicilian antiques. Rooms have no televisions or phones – a deliberate choice, as the experience is all about tuning into nature. Much of the food served is grown right on the estate. Read expert review From £220per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Sicily Sardinia Capo d’OrsoPalau, Sardinia, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating This five-star hotel is relaxing and romantic, overlooking the Maddalena archipelago in Sardinia's Gallura region which is famous for its distinctive pink granite rock. There are three beaches, including the beautiful, often deserted, Cala Selvaggia. Facilities are impressive, from the swimming pool on the rocks with five floating wooden sunbathing platforms to the well-equipped Thalasso spa with three pools, a hammam with a sea view, and dozens of treatments, many using sea water. There's a tennis court, a nine-hole golf course, fishing trips, daily yoga, snorkelling and paddle boarding. The Delphina Express (a skippered speedboat) makes daily excursions to the archipelago and Porto Cervo (10 minutes away). There are free daily bus trips to Palau, which also has a night market. Food is a creative take on traditional Galluran recipes, such as fregola (local pasta) with clams. Read expert review From £161per night • The best hotels in Sardinia FRANCE Provence and the Cote d’Azur Villa La CosteLe Puy-Sainte-Réparade, Provence, France 9Telegraph expert rating This destination design hotel is as curated as the open-air art museum that envelops it. Come for peace, privacy, perfect food and organic wine on tap. The quietly contemporary architecture is fifty shades of pale, pared-down Provence. From the Villa’s heated outdoor pool on the edge of the vineyard, it is a short stroll down to the Chateau’s mirrored lake, complete with a bespoke Louise Bourgeois sculpture of a crouching spider. Provence never looked cooler than on this beguiling art trail which includes pieces by Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano and Frank Gehry. The 28 spacious, sun-drenched villa suites come with secret courtyards, terraces and picture windows framing the vineyards – the top suites boast plunge pools. The spa serves up almost edible massages of lavender, jasmine, olives and apricots. Louison, a lovely glass box suspended over a moated pool, is the signature restaurant overseen by three Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat. Read expert review From £677per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith Château Saint-Martin & SpaVence, Côte d'Azur, France 9Telegraph expert rating No-holds-barred elegance since the 12th century. It's elegantly marooned above the Riviera’s hoi polloi but within striking distance of Nice, Antibes and Cannes, and just a five-minute drive from the historic centre of Vence. Staff truly know their onions, from the voiturier (who will show you a shortcut to Matisse’s final masterpiece, the nearby Chapelle du Rosaire) to the masseurs (who will offer up an informal health check in a pine-scented cabana just outside the spa). The olive-ringed infinity pool shouts: “I have truly arrived”. All guestrooms are big, and every bathroom is panelled with more marble than a Florentine chapel. For balconies and sea views upgrade to one of the 38 suites. The signature Saint-Martin restaurant serves astoundingly modern takes on Sisteron lamb, Provençal pigeon and locally-landed red mullet. Read expert review From £242per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com La CoquilladeGargas, Provence, France 9Telegraph expert rating Few addresses cocoon guests in the peace, tranquility and perfumed lavender fields of Provence like this glamorous golden hamlet in the Luberon hills. Several hilltop villages are an easy bike ride or drive away: the ochre-coloured Roussillon, chateau-crowned Lacoste and pretty Bonnieux. The spacious estate is so well-designed that you really do feel romantically alone in your very own cottage straight off a Provence postcard. The state-of-the-art spa is outstanding, as is the BMC Cycling Centre, which rents top-of-the-range mountain and road bikes. Other facilities include tennis courts, two swimming pools and pétanque, not to mention 36 hectares of vineyards. In July and August bistro dining is around a wood-fired grill with tables beneath vine-draped pergolas – utterly magical. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com La Réserve RamatuelleCôte d'Azur, France 9Telegraph expert rating This high-end hideaway lies within a gated enclave surrounded by woodland and countryside, just 20 minutes' drive (but a world away) from lively St Tropez. Retro architecture and contemporary interiors create an avant-garde aesthetic that's all the more striking for being set amidst lavender bushes and pencil-thin cypress trees. An excellent spa (with indoor pool) is hewn from the rocks beneath the hotel and offers treatments and wellness packages specialising in weight loss and better ageing. Outside there's a pool with ample space for lounging. Complimentary transfers are available to St Tropez, Ramatuelle and the beach. Dinner proudly showcases the restaurant's Michelin-starred stature, with every dish an edible work of art. Read expert review From £771per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best boutique hotels in Provence Aquitane Les Prés d’EugénieEugénie-les-Bains, Aquitaine, France 9Telegraph expert rating A temple to fine living, this spa hotel on a country estate in southwest France is a once-in-a-lifetime must. Triple Michelin-starred chef Michel Guérard caters to hedonists and uber-healthy gourmets alike. The hotel has a heated outdoor pool, cookery school and bikes to borrow. But the heart-stealer is the luxurious Ferme Thermale spa sourced from Eugénie’s hot thermal springs. To stay here and not soak in a citrus milk bath by an open fire, or the spa’s signature silky white mud, would be a crime. The 20 elegant suites and 25 rooms, bejewelled with the family’s art collection, languish in the main house, which dates to 1863, and two historic outbuildings (an inn and a convent). The restaurant's gastronomic menu includes wine from Michel’s very own chateau, four miles from the hotel. Read expert review From £302per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com La Co(o)rnichePyla-sur-Mer, Aquitaine, France 9Telegraph expert rating This ravishing boutique getaway is the height of seaside sophistication. Philippe Starck’s bold white interior evokes local oyster farming, and Europe’s highest sand dune looms large as next-door neighbour. The public beach is a short walk – if you can drag yourself away from the impossibly stylish infinity pool with cushioned sun loungers and incredible sea views. There is a spa and reception staff can arrange boat taxis, seafaring picnics, visits to local oyster farms, bike rental and more. There are 11 spacious rooms in the main building and 18 cabins inspired by oyster fishermen cabanes in the adjoining ‘village’. Think succulent seafood platters, Arcachon oysters and other local produce for dinner. Read expert review From £491per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Les Sources de CaudalieLéognan, Aquitaine, France 9Telegraph expert rating Les Sources de Caudalie is the birthplace of one of France’s staple skincare brands. The hamlet-like retreat, located on a centuries-old vineyard, is a celebration of French joie de vivre. The rustic chic buildings look as if they have been here for centuries but were in fact specially built using massive old beams, bought from abandoned historic buildings in the area. Sixty-one rooms and suites, housed across eight different ivy-covered houses, follow different styles, from rich country houses to fisherman-inspired suites. The vinotherapy spa (which uses products made with the waste from the vines) features 20 treatment rooms, an indoor spring-water pool, a whirlpool tub and a hammam. A couple of wooden platforms – one overlooking the long-form outdoor pool; the other overlooking the vines – are welcome sun traps. The culinary offering spans Michelin star to traditional bistro. Read expert review From £205per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in and around Bordeaux Dordogne Château de la TreyneDordogne, France 9Telegraph expert rating With an unbelievably magical setting, this turreted fairytale chateau is the belle of the ball. It has history, it has drama, it has magnificent views of the Dordogne River – and that is only the beginning. It also has a heated infinity pool, tennis court, Romanesque chapel and beautiful garden with century-old cedar trees. But what really stands out is the overwhelming graciousness, passion and enthusiasm of charismatic owner Stéphanie (an expert at crafting bespoke tourist itineraries for her guests) and her dedicated team. Several rooms have four-poster beds and striking original features: an incredible Gothic woodwork ceiling, a painted vaulted ceiling, a 14th-century spider web of exposed beams, polished Versailles parquet. Michelin-starred chef Stéphane Andrieux looks after lunch and dinner, with creative variations on a seasonal, regional cuisine. Read expert review From £140per night • The best hotels in Dordogne Île de Ré Hotel de ToirasSaint-Martin-de-Ré, Île de Ré, France 8Telegraph expert rating Hôtel de Toiras has been designed with such passion for local history and unerring attention to detail that it is undoubtedly one of the island’s grandest addresses. The windows of this 17th-century shipbuilder’s residence look out on to the Unesco-protected fortifications of Saint-Martin’s harbour. Nowhere could be more convenient for bars, restaurants, boutiques and boat trips out to sea. The reception sets the royalty-chic tone straight away, with its delicate blue chinoiseries, deep-set sofas and a fireplace by which a ravishing cat purrs quietly before setting off for a scrap of fish from the kitchens. A swimming pool is open to guests in the hotel’s sister address, Villa Clarisse. Each of the rooms pays homage to a personality of the island’s history. La Table d’Olivia makes a point of serving only the freshest of local produce to complement the wine from the owners’ vineyards in Bordeaux. Read expert review From £220per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Île de Ré SPAIN Majorca Cap RocatCala Blava, Majorca, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating This romantic 19th-century fortress has been transformed into a sumptuous pleasure palace. It’s around 15 minutes’ drive from the airport, right by the sea on a headland in a nature reserve at the eastern end of the sweeping Bay of Palma. The fortress, in the honey-toned local marés sandstone, was dug into the cliff at the end of the 19th century and was transformed in 2010 into the sumptuous sanctuary it is today. As the name suggests, the coastline below Cap Rocat is rocky, which means clear water that is ideal for snorkelling. When you emerge, there will be a mojito waiting for you at a sunbed next to the rocks or by the saltwater infinity pool. Afterwards, head to the spa housed in a former limestone water deposit. Opt for the Sentinel suites, which are set into the cliff away from the main buildings, with their own plunge pools and sea view from the bed. Read expert review From £858per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Hotel Can SimonetaCanyamel, Majorca, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Commanding spectacular views of the Bay of Canyamel, the adult-only, five-star Can Simoneta boutique hotel enjoys a dramatic position aloft high cliffs. Comprising three historic stone-built properties, it is the ultimate romantic and tranquil hideaway by the sea. In the hotel’s gardens there is a wellness centre tucked away in the trees, as well as steam and sauna wood cabins. Aside from its own private access to Canyamel beach where it has Café Arenal, a winding stone staircase carved into the cliff gives onto a secluded cove with a natural rock pool whirlpool tub, exclusive to hotel guests. There are two swimming pools and open-air whirlpool tubs in the grounds. There are 28 individually designed bedrooms. The luxury Gran Neptuno Suite housed in a bijoux cottage has its own pool and garden. Read expert review From £336per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in Majorca Menorca Biniarroca Rural HotelSant Lluis, Menorca, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating All white walls, lush bougainvillea, rustic charm and elegant styling, Biniarroca is an 18th-century farmhouse fabulously reimagined as a tranquil adults-only country retreat, just outside Mahón. Stone arches and classical statues weave through gardens to this whitewashed farmhouse, stylishly converted by a British former fashion designer without losing its country charm. There are two blissfully peaceful jade-hued pools, the largest fringed by flowers, loungers, a hammock and a low-key café-bar with shady tables. Classic rooms are mostly in the old farmhouse, and some have private terraces. A bougainvillea-draped terrace hosts the excellent restaurant, which specialises in updated Mediterranean and Menorcan cuisine using local produce and home-grown herbs and vegetables. Read expert review Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com TorralbencCala'n Porter, Menorca, Spain 8Telegraph expert rating This four-star hotel is a couple of miles inland in the south-east of the island, a 10-minute drive from the airport. Traditional Menorcan dry-stone walls and olive trees set the tone for a series of white buildings dressed in natural tones and floaty fabrics. Stylishly smooth rather than full-on rustic, and on the smart side of the boho-ometer, Torralbenc is a masterclass in modern Mediterranean good taste. There is a 25-metre, unchlorinated outdoor pool and a Natura Bissé spa. There are 27 rooms distributed around the main house and several former stables or outhouses, all now transformed into light, airy spaces with beamed ceilings, chestnut furniture and sandstone floors. Bathrooms have separate showers and baths, with toiletries in tiny carafes scented with locally grown rosemary. All have terraces, many with sea views. Read expert review From £256per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Menorca Ibiza AtzaróSanta Eularia des Riu, Ibiza, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Atzaró has set the standard for luxury agroturismos in Ibiza. The authentic elements of the 300-year-old finca have been restored (think thick white walls, natural Sabina wood beams and rustic antique furniture) while maintaining its five-star appeal. The lush 10-acre grounds are incredibly spacious, with many areas to relax. There's the open-air spa, which has a sauna, hammam, and a menu of massages and Natura Bissé facials. And then there's the elegant, main pool area, which features sprawling lawns dotted with daybeds. All of the rooms have teak four-poster beds with white cotton linens; many have a terrace, plunge pool and garden. Dinner, which attracts guests from all over the island, is served in the courtyard restaurant with dramatic, draping vines, palm trees and fragrant hibiscus and jasmine plants. Read expert review From £133per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Ca Na XicaSan Miquel de Balansat, Ibiza, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Ca Na Xica is all about luxury in a bucolic, countryside setting. The main reception house was built in the style of a traditional Spanish finca, while the pool area, restaurant and 20 rooms feel airy and tastefully contemporary. The main areas are navigable via wide paths set in the natural red gravel native to the island; many are lined with prickly pear cacti that bear red fruit late in the season. Large terraces overlooking the countryside, sweeping fields of grass, and a warm beige colour scheme – punctuated only by the crisp turquoise of the pool – ties everything together. The Premier suites are spacious and quiet, with plenty of seating and relaxation space thanks to a large lounge and private terrace – some of which offer direct access to the Ibiza countryside. A glass-fronted shower with Campos de Ibiza amenities overlooks a groomed garden of stones, bamboo and ferns. Read expert review From £168per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in Ibiza Costa Brava Hotel Mas LazuliPau, Catalonia, Spain 8Telegraph expert rating With an infinity pool, palm trees, exotic flowers and wonderful views across to the coast, this whitewashed boutique hotel is a stylish Mediterranean getaway, set amid vineyards and olive groves. It's less than half an hour’s drive from Cadaqués, and there are numerous wineries to visit nearby. Furnishings are contemporary, with modern art on the walls including pastiches of Lichtenstein, Warhol and Mondrian. There’s also a very small spa space with a whirlpool tub and Turkish baths. Each of the 17 rooms is slightly different but all feature whitewashed walls; high, white, wood-beamed ceilings; and artfully displayed objets on shelves. The restaurant, which uses many products from the hotel’s own orchards, serves smart Catalan cuisine with Asian and French influences. Read expert review From £176per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Hotel Castell d'EmpordaLa Bisbal, Catalonia, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating This 14th-century castle, perched on a hilltop just outside the ceramic-making town of La Bisbal, has been lovingly converted into a tasteful hotel with spectacular rural views. The Dutch owner, Albert Diks, has managed to maintain the original Rapunzel-like character of the castle while also making the whole place feel beautifully contemporary. There’s a gorgeous mix of Indian silks, Moroccan floor-tiles, Far-Eastern antiques and show-stopping glass chandeliers. Go for a room in the main castle with original rough-hewn stone walls. The hotel’s main restaurant, Drac, is a destination in itself, serving local Catalan classics with a contemporary twist. For informal lunch and snacks, there’s the Tres Margarit poolside bar with stunning views over the local countryside. Read expert review From £86per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels on the Costa Brava Andalucia Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & SpaMalaga, Andalucia, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Finca Cortesín is an Andalusian idyll of soothing luxury where jasmine and roses scent the air. It has sweeping views down to the Mediterranean and across the countryside. The white, traditional-style complex looks like a very tastefully converted convent, or a grand Andalusian country house, but in fact the whole thing was built in the last decade. Fragrant gardens surround the two outdoor pools, which are lined with emerald tiles. One is 30-metres long with a childrens’ pool; a short stroll brings you to the more private adults-only 50-metre pool. There is another gorgeous pool at Finca Cortesín’s rather cool beach club (there is a shuttle service to run you down there). The spa features a snow cave and plunge pool. There’s a Mediterranean, Italian and raw restaurant. Read expert review From £379per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Casa La SiestaVejer de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Casa La Siesta, tucked into rolling farmland, is seven miles from Vejer de la Frontera, a hilltop pueblo blanco (white village). This part of the Costa de la Luz is famed for its beaches, which include Conil and El Palmar – both a 20-minute drive away. When you step into the hotel it is as if you are entering into a centuries-old farmhouse, achieved through the careful sourcing of reclaimed materials and an impressive eye for design and detail. A host of activities can be arranged, including sherry bodega tours, horse-riding and cycling. Massages are available in a Mongolian-style yurt. Outside, amongst olive and fruits trees, you'll find chill-out areas and a lawn-lined pool (heated in spring/autumn). The seven rooms, set around the courtyard, are spacious and beautifully styled. Food is central to life, where the focus is on fresh dishes based on local produce, such as ibérico ham, served with herbs and vegetables grown on-site. Read expert review From £284per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Andalucia Basque Country AkelarreSan Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Pedro Subijana’s three Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms overlooks the Bay of Biscay just outside San Sebastián. This is a place for lovers of food, wine, art and architecture. Studio Mecanismo has sourced top-quality natural materials to create sensual, spacious interiors, while panoramic windows frame the ever mutating colours and moods of the landscape and the sea to create living works of art. The smart spa, with curved walls and a calm atmosphere, has three treatment rooms and a stone pool with hydromassage jets, a marble steam room and a sauna. Rooms each have a glass wall, so all have spectacular sea views from both inside and from the slate terraces that run the length of each space. People come from all over the world to eat here. Most people choose one of the three eight-course tasting menus. Exquisite dishes include hake in seaweed steam with plankton and oyster leaf and roast suckling pig. Read expert review From £347per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in San Sebastián GREECE Santorini PerivolasSantorini, Greece 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel that put Oia on the map and spawned countless imitators, Perivolas is in a league of its own. Minimalist suites carved from the cliffs are almost as dazzling as the sea views It’s on the edge of Oia, poised on Santorini’s northern tip, so enjoys the celebrated sunsets without the crowds. The infinity pool is the stuff of honeymooners’ dreams. Black stone paths bursting with bright geraniums tumble down to the poolside restaurant and spa – Le Corbusier couldn’t have designed it better. Best of all, the hotel has a fleet of speedboats to whisk guests off to secret beaches, sea caves and nearby islands. Instead of classic Greek blue and white, the pale, cool ‘caves’ (rooms) are jazzed up with dashes of lilac and hot pink. The most expensive suites have their own plunge pool, steam room and private terrace. Read expert review From £445per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com KatikiesSantorini, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating Infinity pools which blend into the sky, a candle-lit rooftop restaurant and tranquil white-washed cottages set into a cliff overlooking the volcanic Caldera and Aegean Sea make this a dreamy escape for honeymooners and romantics. The hotel's cubist-style cottages cascade down the hillside and are interlinked by a series of bridges, steps and pools. There aren't lots of facilities, life centres around the three infinity-edged pools here, but guests can use the A.Spa housed at its sister hotel Kirini Suites & Spa, a five-minute walk away. Each of the 34 rooms has a balcony. Rooftop candle-lit Mikrasia Restaurant has a four-course set menu of gourmet Greek fare, while the Seltz Champagne Bar offers bites like wagyu burgers and seabass ceviche. The pool bar is a lovely spot for sundowners. Read expert review From £319per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best boutique hotels in Santorini Crete Abaton Island Resort & SpaHersonissos, Crete, Greece 9Telegraph expert rating No expense has been spared in creating this sleek and classy Cycladic-style resort close to Hersonissos. The style is elegantly minimalist: low white buildings, reflected in lagoon-like water features and pools, tumble down a slope to the sea, and huge glass walls in public areas give endless sea vistas. There are two outdoor public pools, including a vast infinity pool with daybeds and wet beds. The Elemis spa is a cosy space with steam room, sauna, beauty salon and gym. A sandy cove has plenty of sun beds, although sea access, dotted with rocks, can be difficult. All rooms have balconies or terraces, and most have sea views – be sure to elect one with a private, heated, marble seawater pool. The resort has five restaurants. Read expert review From £206per night Blue PalaceElounda, Crete, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating Breathtaking views of the Cretan Sea and island of Spinalonga are a highlight of this modern, white-washed resort above a private beach. Good facilities including a spa with hammam and sauna, PADI dive centre, two tennis courts, water-sports centre, bikes and classes including yoga and pilates. Even the most basic rooms (superior bungalows) have a king-sized bed, seating area, sea view, marble bathroom and balcony. Many have private plunge pools of varying sizes. The Island Luxury Suite Sea View category is perfect for romantics: they have a four-poster bed, egg-shaped bath, patio with loungers and large pool. There are five restaurants: the best is Blue Door, a traditional Greek-style taverna set in a converted stone fisherman's house on the water's edge; catch of the day cooked over the grill with meze is not to be missed. Read expert review From £207per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Crete Halkidiki Ekies All SensesVourvourou Bay, Halkidiki, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating Barefoot boho chic is the vibe at this laidback beach resort, set in striking natural surroundings overlooking a strip of sandy beach. Different architects were invited to design different areas of the hotel and there’s an Alice in Wonderland feel: parasols at the main pool are like huge lampshades; animal sculptures are dotted around the property; steps are buried in grass and lighting is imaginative. Rooms have garden or forest views. They were all created by different designers, so vary wildly in size and design - honeymooners will love the larger White suites with outdoor hot tub or the top floor, while the Penthouse Suite has a plunge-pool-sized hot tub and romantic views over the bay.The Treehouse restaurant high up in the pine trees is expensive, but worth it. Read expert review From £216per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Eagles VillasHalkidiki, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating This rather remote resort, surrounded by excellent beaches in Ouranopolis, is across a narrow bridge from sister property Eagles Palace, but has a more exclusive feel. Architects Styliandis have created a discreet complex of low stone cubes with living roofs and glass windbreaks linked by winding paths, that blend well with the scenery. Set on a steep hillside, views of the bay are breathtaking, but it's a buggy ride (or steep walk) to the villas and restaurant near the top. The spa (shared with Eagles Palace) has a sauna, hammam, rhassoul chamber (mud baths), a salt room and a small indoor pool. There are 42 one, two or three-bedroom villas clustered on a hillside, each with a plunge pool. Lofos restaurant at the top of the resort has the best sea views. Read expert review From £316per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best beach hotels in Greece PORTUGAL The Azores WhiteLagoa, The Azores, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating The 10 suites and striking outdoor terraces at this contemporary boutique hotel have unhindered ocean views and exude a relaxed, barefoot style of luxury. The hotel is situated in an unbeatable cliff-top location in the village of Lagoa on the Azores’ main island of Sao Miguel, a 15-minute drive from the island’s airport and the capital of Ponte Delgada. True to its name, everything from the whitewashed walls and polished concrete floors to the stone terraces surrounding the pool are brilliant white, warmed by raw wood furniture and tactile fabrics such as wool and linen. The terraces that run the length of the hotel are spectacular, whether for early-morning yoga to the sound of the waves or a cocktail by the fire pit while you watch the sunset. You can hire the hotel’s nine-metre chauffeured motor launch to explore neighbouring islands, go scuba diving or swimming in a secluded cove. Read expert review From £174per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in The Azores Algarve Companhia das CulturasCastro Marim, Algarve, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating Situated on a farm on the edge of a small village in the far east of the Algarve, the location is bucolic, peaceful and far removed from traditional images of the region. The nearest beach is just under a mile away. Although all the rooms and public spaces have been adapted from former farm buildings, the style is not rural. Instead, there’s a simple, contemporary design ethos with polished concrete floors, whitewashed walls, mid-century furniture and muted colour palette. Alongside a large steam room, beautifully lit through tiny windows in the high ceiling, there’s an excellent masseuse who tailors treatments to your needs, plus an egg-shaped marble hammam. The welcoming and informed hosts offer guided walks through the farm and are passionate about local food and produce. The hotel has nine rooms and four self-catering apartments. Read expert review From £80per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Vila JoyaAlbufeira, Algarve, Portugal 9Telegraph expert rating Vila Joya has the feel of a private villa and decoration follows suit, with antique furnishings and plenty of places to curl up and read. Outside, the lush gardens, filled with palms and bougainvillea, lead to the beach. The spa is superb, with Ayurvedic treatments, a steam room, hot tub and two outdoor swimming pools. Rooms vary in size and facilities. Some have a private pool or a private hot tub on the terrace. Junior suites spill out onto the garden; royal suites have a spacious sitting area with a log fire. The hotel is home to a two Michelin-starred restaurant (one of the best in Portugal): Austrian chef Dieter Koschina serves tasting menus that draws on his Central European background. Read expert review From £281per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Algarve Cascais Farol HotelCascais, Lisbon, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating Like much of chic Cascais, this private villa was built in the 19th century as a summer escape by an aristocrat seeking the ocean breeze. It stands on the water’s edge, its bright white walls housing a dazzling array of bespoke rooms created by Portuguese and international fashion designers. There are cosy attic rooms and suites which have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean; several also have balconies. If you book the Penthouse Suite, you will be allocated a butler and a personal chef. There is yoga in the mornings and massages available. There's also a saltwater swimming pool between the hotel and the sea, water sport facilities nearby and hotel-organised dolphin cruises. There are two excellent dining options: The Mix serves Mediterranean dishes, while at Sushi Design, on a terrace overlooking the ocean, expect gyosas and ceviche, niguiri and hosomaki, sushi and sahsimi. Read expert review From £147per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cascais Alentejo Sublime ComportaComporta, Alentejo, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating South of Lisbon, in amongst the unspoilt sand dunes and rice fields of Comporta, lies Sublime. It’s a sleek boutique hotel filled with design-savvy details, and a breezy, welcoming atmosphere, surrounded by a 17-acre estate of Umbrella Pines and sand dunes, cork trees and wild flowers. It’s minutes away from the miles of empty, white-sand beaches and turquoise seas that make this one of Portugal’s most beautiful spots. Staff will help with restaurant bookings (try the fresh fish at Sal on a nearby beach) or riding lessons (a wonderful stables is five minutes away) across the dunes and through the foam of the sea. Otherwise, there is a spa with sauna, steam room, massage room and indoor pool. A wooden deck overlooks the outdoor pool. All 14 rooms spill out onto a private terrace and in the colder months there is a log fire. Read expert review From £160per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Alentejo CROATIA Dubrovnik Hotel ExcelsiorDubrovnik, Croatia 8Telegraph expert rating This historic five-star hotel is built into a hillside above the coast, overlooking the deep-blue sea and the islet of Lokrum, with with fantastic views of Dubrovnik's medieval walls rising from the water. It’s a pleasant 10-minute walk to the Old Town. Expect cool minimalist interiors, grey walls and retro-chic furnishings: sofas, armchairs and cushions in petrol-blue, misty-pink, olive-green or mustard-yellow, potted plants and artworks featuring Dubrovnik. Down by the sea, a stone terrace with sunbeds and parasols has steps into the water for swimming. The vast spa includes a big freeform pool and whirlpools, Roman bath, Finnish sauna and theme showers. With the sparkling blue Adriatic out front, you'd do well to upgrade to Deluxe, with a sea-view balcony. Suites get stunning views onto the sea, Dubrovnik and Lokrum. Read expert review From £123per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Villa OrsulaDubrovnik, Croatia 9Telegraph expert rating Villa Orsula is situated in a terraced garden overlooking the Adriatic and the green islet of Lokrum, a 10-minute walk along the coast from Ploče Gate, the eastern entrance into Dubrovnik's Old Town. Built as a private residence, this 1930s Art Deco villa exudes good taste and refinement. In the lobby, three magnificent Moorish-inspired Art Deco stone arches set the mood. With just 13 rooms, it provides the sort of personalised service that only a small hotel can achieve – you'll be treated more as a dear friend than a guest. From the fragrant garden, steep stone steps lead down to a lovely bathing platform, with sun beds, beach towels and easy access into the sea. You also have the use of the outdoor pool and spa (with indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and treatment rooms) at the neighbouring Grand Villa Argentina. The best rooms are the ones with stone balconies and sublime sea views. Read expert review From £432per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels on the Croatian islands MONTENEGRO Aman Sveti StefanSveti Stefan, Montenegro 9Telegraph expert rating Effortlessly graceful and romantic, the fortified islet of Sveti Stefan rises from the deep blue Adriatic. Two completely separate and different properties are within the complex. There is the fortified island, with 50 rooms, suites and cottages in carefully renovated old-stone buildings (open summer-only); and Villa Miločer, a 1930s villa set in gardens with eight suites (open all-year). The Aman Spa, sitting in a secluded bay backed by pinewoods, has an indoor (sea-view) pool, and offers personalised health and beauty treatments, combining movement, relaxation, nutrition and custom-made products based on locally sourced wild herbs, olive oil and honey. There are three pink pebble beaches on the mainland, and two (small-ish) outdoor pools on the island. Read expert review From £605per night • The best hotels in Montenegro Contributions by Ros Belford, Annie Bennett, Kate Bolton-Porciatti, Ondine Cohane, Jade Conroy, Kiki Deere, Jane Foster, Heidi Fuller-Love, Jan Fuscoe, Lisa Gerard-Sharp, Rachel Howard, Jessica Knipe, James Litson, Trish Lorenz, Mary Lussiana, Lee Marshall, Anna Nicholas, Isabella Noble, James Palmer, Tristan Rutherford, Amanda Statham, Nicky Swallow, Rebecca Tay and Nicola Williams.
50 amazing mini-moon hotels in Europe
Savvy newyleds are driving a growing trend for mini-moons, whereby the happy couple go away immediately after their wedding for a few days before honeymooning in an exotic location at a later date to save on costs. It also means they're not tied to honeymooning in the season in which they married. Our experts have picked the best places to stay for newlyweds to laze about in the rosy-hued days of romance following their nuptials – or to just catch up on some much-needed sleep. From cycling around bucolic vineyards and Michelin-starred restaurants with rooms, to private boat trips and private infinity pools, we've got all bases covered – including destinations within a direct four-hour flight and easy transfers. • The best mini-moon hotels in the UK ITALY Tuscany Hotel Il PellicanoPorto Ercole, Tuscany, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating This spring-to-autumn haven of dolce vita luxury has always been a clubbish, word-of-mouth kind of place. Now, under the dynamic management of designer Marie-Louise Sciò, the hotel has refined its service, become a Michelin-starred gourmet haven and added a spa without losing its insider cachet. The nearby town of Porto Ercole is a magnet for the Roman and Florentine yachtie set, but Il Pellicano takes its distance – standing in majestic natural seclusion amid stone pines and cypresses with breathtaking sunset views. The 50 rooms and suites are divided between the the Pompeii-red central building and the beautifully tended gardens. There's a small but well-run spa, a tennis court and its own heated seawater pool. Be sure to order a cocktail made by Italy’s best bartender. Read expert review From £579per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Monteverdi TuscanySarteano, Tuscany, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Consider it a dream project: an American lawyer falls in love with Tuscany, buys up most of a small village, and turns it into a rural idyll. His vision was spot on. While preserving the exterior façades, interior designer Ilaria Miani has brought a sense of light and modernity without sacrificing the building’s authenticity. The terraced gardens are just as charming: a lap pool is bordered by lavender bushes and fig and olive trees. In addition to the amenities (spa, restaurant, gallery, bars), there are also many events planned seasonally—a lecture by Wes Anderson before a film screening, say, or a classical concert in the village church—itineraries can also include wine tastings at local vineyards, guided tours of Etruscan ruins, and even a day in Florence. Go for room number 9 with a fireplace and stand alone bathtubs. Read expert review From £506per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith VignamaggioChianti, Tuscany, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating This noble Renaissance villa sits lordly in Italian gardens and vine-clad hills, overlooking a serene landscape that (legend has it) inspired Leonardo da Vinci. Many will know it as the romantic setting for Kenneth Branagh's film 'Much Ado about Nothing'. It was the 14th-century home of the Mona Lisa's ancestors and is one of the oldest wine estates in Chianti; even the villa walls have faded to a mellow Rosé. Facilities include two pools (edged with those dreamy views), tennis courts and a small spa with whirlpool tub and Turkish bath. There are hiking paths that wind through the estate's vineyards and woodland; complimentary bikes; cooking lessons and horse riding. The restaurant enjoys heavenly views from its terrace, and its farm-to-table policy means much of the produce comes from the surrounding organic estate. Opt for a room in the Casolese farmhouse, done up in a Scandi-Tuscan style. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in Tuscany Italian Lakes Il SerenoLake Como, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Leading Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola is behind the hotel’s sober architecture and contemporary interiors. The building was constructed using natural materials, including stone, wood and copper, and local artisans were called in to make the custom-designed furnishings. At the centre of the main garden is an infinity pool with gazebos and sun loungers, a small sandy beach can be found down by the lake shore, plus a spa with a hot tub which overlooks the lake. Guests can rent the hotel’s two all-wood Riva motorboats, with or without a driver, while the Vaporina del Lago water limousine shuttles guests around the lake. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the 30 suites ensure beautiful views, and waterfront terraces have cushioned chairs. The Michelin-starred restaurant serves Italian dishes with a contemporary touch. Read expert review From £755per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Villa Làrio Lake ComoLake Como, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating Villa Larios is secluded and private, spread out on a hillside more than 160ft above the lake, offering jaw-dropping vistas. From the lakeside road a lift descends to the main villa, which is flanked by a leafy terraced garden with infinity pool looking out over the water. From here a second lift goes down to the lakefront garden from where it’s possible to stroll into the tiny village of Pognana Lario – no tourists here, just the occasional resident strolling the front. The villa has a private jetty, and boat hire and water taxis can be organised. With only six suites, guests feel as if they have most of the place to themselves. The restaurant serves delicious, hearty homemade cooking inspired by Italy’s regions. Read expert review From £500per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Grand Hotel a Villa FeltrinelliLake Garda, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating This exclusive hotel, set in eight-acre grounds on the western shore of Lake Garda, is located in a historic 19th-century villa which was once the home of Mussolini and his family during the Republic of Salò. Interiors have been lavishly restored and feature frescoed ceilings, Venetian mirrors and Art Nouveau lamps. The manicured gardens are home to olive, ancient oak and magnolia trees, and there’s a limonaia (tiered lemon garden) dating back to the 1800s. There’s also an outdoor heated swimming pool and a croquet green. With a staff ratio of 3:1, the service is outstanding. Tailor-made boat trips around the lake can be organised. Rooms in the main villa have original antiques and cream-coloured draperies; guesthouses are more contemporary. The two Michelin-starred restaurant serves exceptional Italian cuisine and fresh lake fish. Read expert review From £933per night • The best Italian Lakes - and where to stay Amalfi Coast Il San Pietro di PositanoPositano, Amalfi Coast, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Carved into the sheer rock face like something out of a James Bond movie and hidden from prying eyes , il San Pietro lies a few bends in the road east of Positano. All around there is the deep, blue sea. Just about anything you could possibly wish for is on site, and for a zip up the coast, one of the hotel’s private boats will pick you up from the jetty. There is a bar with a spectacular terrace, a gourmet restaurant, fabulous terraced gardens and, on sea level, a private ‘beach’, a tennis court, spa and restaurant. The bedrooms and suites tumble down the cliff-side in a series of flower-bedecked terraces; each has its own private outside space, some of which are enormous. All have extraordinary sea vistas, some even from the bath. Read expert review From £428per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Monastero Santa RosaConca dei Marini, Amalfi Coast, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating From its perch atop a sheer, rocky outcrop, just outside the quiet the village of Conca dei Marini and aloof from the day-trippers down on the coast, the Santa Rosa enjoys a magnificent location. Its creation is down to one woman, American Bianca Sharma, who bought the vast, clifftop building after spying it from a boat. She spared no expense in transforming the 17th-century monastery into a stylish and cocooning hotel, while fully respecting the building’s origins. As you would expect, there’s everything you are likely to need on site; fabulous terraced gardens with a heated infinity pool that seems suspended over the water; a huge spa (one of the biggest and best on the costiera); an outdoor gym with a view; shuttle bus service to and from Amalfi. The dining terrace – suspended high over the sea – is a supremely romantic spot for dinner. Expect superlative renditions of coastal cuisine. Read expert review From £570per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Le SirenusePositano, Amalfi Coast, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating Built into the steep southwest-facing side of Positano, the hotel’s oxblood-coloured facade is high enough to command excellent sea views, while being within a 10-minute walk (down lots of steps) to the resort’s dark-sand beach. An eclectic collection of antique furniture and art helps the hotel retain its atmosphere of the private home it originally was, though over time it has conjoined with neighbouring houses to become a warren of rooms and public areas on several floors. A compact pool terrace has outdoor loungers and is shaded by lemon trees. Nearly all 58 rooms are unfussy, whitewashed with tiled floors, classical prints and highly-polished, antique furniture. The Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant is about as romantic as a dining room can possibly be. Entirely lit by 400 candles it has creeper-clad walls, stiff white tablecloths and views over the twinkling lights and sea. Read expert review From £914per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels on the Amalfi Coast Sorrento Bellevue SyreneSorrento, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating A hotel in grand Italian style with a fresh, modern approach and a spectacular Vesuvius-facing location. Sorrento’s lidos, accessible via a lift, lie just below and a 10-minute walk down a narrow, cobbled lane brings you to the fishing village of Marina Grande. Inside, its cool marble hallways and dazzling white paintwork offset museum-worthy antique pieces, Murano chandeliers, modern art and photography and colourful, quirky ceramics. There’s a private bathing deck with sea access at the bottom of the cliff and a small pool with sun loungers on an upper terrace. Only two out of the 50 bedrooms miss out on sea views. The huge, sexy Suite Roccia is hewn out of solid tufa rock and features a hydrotherapy pool in the bedroom and the Suite Pompeiana comes with a vast bathroom and whirlpool tub looking out to sea. Read expert review From £285per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Relais BluMassa Lubrense, Sorrento, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating As a 'get-away-from-it-all' location, this spot close to the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula is perfect. The sweeping views that take in Capri, the wide curve of the Bay of Naples and the looming bulk of Vesuvius are extraordinary. On arrival, you may be forgiven for wondering why the place isn’t called 'Relais White' – but step out onto the terrace and get an eyeful of the deep blue sea that plays wraparound backdrop, and the name makes perfect sense. Wide terraces on different levels offer private corners for relaxing, while there’s an infinity pool at the top of the property, plus a small spa and a hot tub on a sea-facing terrace. Boats can be hired and if you want a day at Capitan (sic) Cook’s laid-back beach club, staff will arrange for you to be picked up in a tiny Piaggio van. All rooms have sea views and all but two have private gardens or large terraces. The Michelin-starred restaurant is one of the hotel’s highlights. Read expert review From £212per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Sorrento Puglia Masseria TrapanàSurbo, Puglia, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating The restoration of 16th-century Trapanà has remained faithful to the bones of the old masseria. The original taupe, tufo stone and arched ceilings are modernised through the use of glass walls, fresh flower displays, thick-pile colourful rugs, coffee-table books, snazzy Moroccan cushions and music blaring out across the main courtyard all day. Six walled gardens, verdant with cacti, ferns and more than 500 orange and lemon trees, are dotted with colourful hammocks, a fire pit and croquet lawn. The serene swimming pool is surrounded by large daybeds and shaded by plum trees – and there’s a pool phone should you require a cocktail. All rooms have arched ceilings and stone walls, which keep them cool in summer, though there are fireplaces and underfloor heating for autumnal nights. All but two have outdoor bathtubs. Expect a menu of the region’s deliciously simple cucina povera ('peasant cooking'). Read expert review From £214per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith Borgo EgnaziaFasano, Puglia, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Constructed entirely from the local tufa stone, you could be forgiven for thinking the imposing Borgo Egnazia has history. It doesn’t: it was built from scratch. Every detail is an ode to Puglia, from the artworks based on the symbols on trulli roofs to the waft of lemons in reception. The estate is divided into three: the stately La Corte, which opens out to two tiered swimming pools; the maze-like Il Borgo ('The Village', with a family pool, piazza and rows of duplex townhouses); and 30 outlying villas, each with a private pool. Escape for a Vair spa treatment, learn to make orrecchiette pasta or local pottery, play tennis, golf, take up windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking or just peg out at one of the resort’s two private beaches or three outdoor pools. The five restaurants put a strong emphasis on traditional local cooking. Read expert review From £166per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Puglia Sicily Belmond Villa Sant'AndreaTaormina, Sicily, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set on its own private stretch of beach surrounded by lush gardens. A cable car connects the seaside district to the town of Taormina. The hotel was once a private villa, and has retained the charm of a residence; it exudes classic understated elegance. Fresh, contemporary décor gives way to breathtaking vistas in communal areas. Facilities include a heated infinity pool, use of the private beach with sun loungers and parasols, and a complimentary boat cruise (mid-May to mid-September). Water sports are available too, including paddle-surfing that can be combined with yoga meditation. The hotel organises Vintage Fiat 500 and Ape Calessino tours. Most rooms have balconies or terraces with lovely views of the bay; some look onto the sub-tropical gardens. Read expert review From £314per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Monaci delle Terre NereZafferana Etnea, Sicily, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating With its sapient design mix, organic food, stellar wine list and verdant grounds, Monaci delle Terre Nere appeals most of all to those in need of some rural detox. It’s halfway between Taormina and Catania, high up on the eastern skirts of Etna. Many guests go nowhere but spend their days lounging by the pool, a cool blue splash amidst citrus and olive groves. The 13 rooms in the main house and a series of outbuildings are stylish dens, some with wood-burning stoves, exposed lavastone walls and weathered ceiling beams (like the theatrical Amabile suite), others fresh and bright, with contemporary artworks playing off against Sicilian antiques. Rooms have no televisions or phones – a deliberate choice, as the experience is all about tuning into nature. Much of the food served is grown right on the estate. Read expert review From £220per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Sicily Sardinia Capo d’OrsoPalau, Sardinia, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating This five-star hotel is relaxing and romantic, overlooking the Maddalena archipelago in Sardinia's Gallura region which is famous for its distinctive pink granite rock. There are three beaches, including the beautiful, often deserted, Cala Selvaggia. Facilities are impressive, from the swimming pool on the rocks with five floating wooden sunbathing platforms to the well-equipped Thalasso spa with three pools, a hammam with a sea view, and dozens of treatments, many using sea water. There's a tennis court, a nine-hole golf course, fishing trips, daily yoga, snorkelling and paddle boarding. The Delphina Express (a skippered speedboat) makes daily excursions to the archipelago and Porto Cervo (10 minutes away). There are free daily bus trips to Palau, which also has a night market. Food is a creative take on traditional Galluran recipes, such as fregola (local pasta) with clams. Read expert review From £161per night • The best hotels in Sardinia FRANCE Provence and the Cote d’Azur Villa La CosteLe Puy-Sainte-Réparade, Provence, France 9Telegraph expert rating This destination design hotel is as curated as the open-air art museum that envelops it. Come for peace, privacy, perfect food and organic wine on tap. The quietly contemporary architecture is fifty shades of pale, pared-down Provence. From the Villa’s heated outdoor pool on the edge of the vineyard, it is a short stroll down to the Chateau’s mirrored lake, complete with a bespoke Louise Bourgeois sculpture of a crouching spider. Provence never looked cooler than on this beguiling art trail which includes pieces by Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano and Frank Gehry. The 28 spacious, sun-drenched villa suites come with secret courtyards, terraces and picture windows framing the vineyards – the top suites boast plunge pools. The spa serves up almost edible massages of lavender, jasmine, olives and apricots. Louison, a lovely glass box suspended over a moated pool, is the signature restaurant overseen by three Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat. Read expert review From £677per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith Château Saint-Martin & SpaVence, Côte d'Azur, France 9Telegraph expert rating No-holds-barred elegance since the 12th century. It's elegantly marooned above the Riviera’s hoi polloi but within striking distance of Nice, Antibes and Cannes, and just a five-minute drive from the historic centre of Vence. Staff truly know their onions, from the voiturier (who will show you a shortcut to Matisse’s final masterpiece, the nearby Chapelle du Rosaire) to the masseurs (who will offer up an informal health check in a pine-scented cabana just outside the spa). The olive-ringed infinity pool shouts: “I have truly arrived”. All guestrooms are big, and every bathroom is panelled with more marble than a Florentine chapel. For balconies and sea views upgrade to one of the 38 suites. The signature Saint-Martin restaurant serves astoundingly modern takes on Sisteron lamb, Provençal pigeon and locally-landed red mullet. Read expert review From £242per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com La CoquilladeGargas, Provence, France 9Telegraph expert rating Few addresses cocoon guests in the peace, tranquility and perfumed lavender fields of Provence like this glamorous golden hamlet in the Luberon hills. Several hilltop villages are an easy bike ride or drive away: the ochre-coloured Roussillon, chateau-crowned Lacoste and pretty Bonnieux. The spacious estate is so well-designed that you really do feel romantically alone in your very own cottage straight off a Provence postcard. The state-of-the-art spa is outstanding, as is the BMC Cycling Centre, which rents top-of-the-range mountain and road bikes. Other facilities include tennis courts, two swimming pools and pétanque, not to mention 36 hectares of vineyards. In July and August bistro dining is around a wood-fired grill with tables beneath vine-draped pergolas – utterly magical. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com La Réserve RamatuelleCôte d'Azur, France 9Telegraph expert rating This high-end hideaway lies within a gated enclave surrounded by woodland and countryside, just 20 minutes' drive (but a world away) from lively St Tropez. Retro architecture and contemporary interiors create an avant-garde aesthetic that's all the more striking for being set amidst lavender bushes and pencil-thin cypress trees. An excellent spa (with indoor pool) is hewn from the rocks beneath the hotel and offers treatments and wellness packages specialising in weight loss and better ageing. Outside there's a pool with ample space for lounging. Complimentary transfers are available to St Tropez, Ramatuelle and the beach. Dinner proudly showcases the restaurant's Michelin-starred stature, with every dish an edible work of art. Read expert review From £771per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best boutique hotels in Provence Aquitane Les Prés d’EugénieEugénie-les-Bains, Aquitaine, France 9Telegraph expert rating A temple to fine living, this spa hotel on a country estate in southwest France is a once-in-a-lifetime must. Triple Michelin-starred chef Michel Guérard caters to hedonists and uber-healthy gourmets alike. The hotel has a heated outdoor pool, cookery school and bikes to borrow. But the heart-stealer is the luxurious Ferme Thermale spa sourced from Eugénie’s hot thermal springs. To stay here and not soak in a citrus milk bath by an open fire, or the spa’s signature silky white mud, would be a crime. The 20 elegant suites and 25 rooms, bejewelled with the family’s art collection, languish in the main house, which dates to 1863, and two historic outbuildings (an inn and a convent). The restaurant's gastronomic menu includes wine from Michel’s very own chateau, four miles from the hotel. Read expert review From £302per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com La Co(o)rnichePyla-sur-Mer, Aquitaine, France 9Telegraph expert rating This ravishing boutique getaway is the height of seaside sophistication. Philippe Starck’s bold white interior evokes local oyster farming, and Europe’s highest sand dune looms large as next-door neighbour. The public beach is a short walk – if you can drag yourself away from the impossibly stylish infinity pool with cushioned sun loungers and incredible sea views. There is a spa and reception staff can arrange boat taxis, seafaring picnics, visits to local oyster farms, bike rental and more. There are 11 spacious rooms in the main building and 18 cabins inspired by oyster fishermen cabanes in the adjoining ‘village’. Think succulent seafood platters, Arcachon oysters and other local produce for dinner. Read expert review From £491per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Les Sources de CaudalieLéognan, Aquitaine, France 9Telegraph expert rating Les Sources de Caudalie is the birthplace of one of France’s staple skincare brands. The hamlet-like retreat, located on a centuries-old vineyard, is a celebration of French joie de vivre. The rustic chic buildings look as if they have been here for centuries but were in fact specially built using massive old beams, bought from abandoned historic buildings in the area. Sixty-one rooms and suites, housed across eight different ivy-covered houses, follow different styles, from rich country houses to fisherman-inspired suites. The vinotherapy spa (which uses products made with the waste from the vines) features 20 treatment rooms, an indoor spring-water pool, a whirlpool tub and a hammam. A couple of wooden platforms – one overlooking the long-form outdoor pool; the other overlooking the vines – are welcome sun traps. The culinary offering spans Michelin star to traditional bistro. Read expert review From £205per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in and around Bordeaux Dordogne Château de la TreyneDordogne, France 9Telegraph expert rating With an unbelievably magical setting, this turreted fairytale chateau is the belle of the ball. It has history, it has drama, it has magnificent views of the Dordogne River – and that is only the beginning. It also has a heated infinity pool, tennis court, Romanesque chapel and beautiful garden with century-old cedar trees. But what really stands out is the overwhelming graciousness, passion and enthusiasm of charismatic owner Stéphanie (an expert at crafting bespoke tourist itineraries for her guests) and her dedicated team. Several rooms have four-poster beds and striking original features: an incredible Gothic woodwork ceiling, a painted vaulted ceiling, a 14th-century spider web of exposed beams, polished Versailles parquet. Michelin-starred chef Stéphane Andrieux looks after lunch and dinner, with creative variations on a seasonal, regional cuisine. Read expert review From £140per night • The best hotels in Dordogne Île de Ré Hotel de ToirasSaint-Martin-de-Ré, Île de Ré, France 8Telegraph expert rating Hôtel de Toiras has been designed with such passion for local history and unerring attention to detail that it is undoubtedly one of the island’s grandest addresses. The windows of this 17th-century shipbuilder’s residence look out on to the Unesco-protected fortifications of Saint-Martin’s harbour. Nowhere could be more convenient for bars, restaurants, boutiques and boat trips out to sea. The reception sets the royalty-chic tone straight away, with its delicate blue chinoiseries, deep-set sofas and a fireplace by which a ravishing cat purrs quietly before setting off for a scrap of fish from the kitchens. A swimming pool is open to guests in the hotel’s sister address, Villa Clarisse. Each of the rooms pays homage to a personality of the island’s history. La Table d’Olivia makes a point of serving only the freshest of local produce to complement the wine from the owners’ vineyards in Bordeaux. Read expert review From £220per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Île de Ré SPAIN Majorca Cap RocatCala Blava, Majorca, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating This romantic 19th-century fortress has been transformed into a sumptuous pleasure palace. It’s around 15 minutes’ drive from the airport, right by the sea on a headland in a nature reserve at the eastern end of the sweeping Bay of Palma. The fortress, in the honey-toned local marés sandstone, was dug into the cliff at the end of the 19th century and was transformed in 2010 into the sumptuous sanctuary it is today. As the name suggests, the coastline below Cap Rocat is rocky, which means clear water that is ideal for snorkelling. When you emerge, there will be a mojito waiting for you at a sunbed next to the rocks or by the saltwater infinity pool. Afterwards, head to the spa housed in a former limestone water deposit. Opt for the Sentinel suites, which are set into the cliff away from the main buildings, with their own plunge pools and sea view from the bed. Read expert review From £858per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Hotel Can SimonetaCanyamel, Majorca, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Commanding spectacular views of the Bay of Canyamel, the adult-only, five-star Can Simoneta boutique hotel enjoys a dramatic position aloft high cliffs. Comprising three historic stone-built properties, it is the ultimate romantic and tranquil hideaway by the sea. In the hotel’s gardens there is a wellness centre tucked away in the trees, as well as steam and sauna wood cabins. Aside from its own private access to Canyamel beach where it has Café Arenal, a winding stone staircase carved into the cliff gives onto a secluded cove with a natural rock pool whirlpool tub, exclusive to hotel guests. There are two swimming pools and open-air whirlpool tubs in the grounds. There are 28 individually designed bedrooms. The luxury Gran Neptuno Suite housed in a bijoux cottage has its own pool and garden. Read expert review From £336per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in Majorca Menorca Biniarroca Rural HotelSant Lluis, Menorca, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating All white walls, lush bougainvillea, rustic charm and elegant styling, Biniarroca is an 18th-century farmhouse fabulously reimagined as a tranquil adults-only country retreat, just outside Mahón. Stone arches and classical statues weave through gardens to this whitewashed farmhouse, stylishly converted by a British former fashion designer without losing its country charm. There are two blissfully peaceful jade-hued pools, the largest fringed by flowers, loungers, a hammock and a low-key café-bar with shady tables. Classic rooms are mostly in the old farmhouse, and some have private terraces. A bougainvillea-draped terrace hosts the excellent restaurant, which specialises in updated Mediterranean and Menorcan cuisine using local produce and home-grown herbs and vegetables. Read expert review Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com TorralbencCala'n Porter, Menorca, Spain 8Telegraph expert rating This four-star hotel is a couple of miles inland in the south-east of the island, a 10-minute drive from the airport. Traditional Menorcan dry-stone walls and olive trees set the tone for a series of white buildings dressed in natural tones and floaty fabrics. Stylishly smooth rather than full-on rustic, and on the smart side of the boho-ometer, Torralbenc is a masterclass in modern Mediterranean good taste. There is a 25-metre, unchlorinated outdoor pool and a Natura Bissé spa. There are 27 rooms distributed around the main house and several former stables or outhouses, all now transformed into light, airy spaces with beamed ceilings, chestnut furniture and sandstone floors. Bathrooms have separate showers and baths, with toiletries in tiny carafes scented with locally grown rosemary. All have terraces, many with sea views. Read expert review From £256per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Menorca Ibiza AtzaróSanta Eularia des Riu, Ibiza, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Atzaró has set the standard for luxury agroturismos in Ibiza. The authentic elements of the 300-year-old finca have been restored (think thick white walls, natural Sabina wood beams and rustic antique furniture) while maintaining its five-star appeal. The lush 10-acre grounds are incredibly spacious, with many areas to relax. There's the open-air spa, which has a sauna, hammam, and a menu of massages and Natura Bissé facials. And then there's the elegant, main pool area, which features sprawling lawns dotted with daybeds. All of the rooms have teak four-poster beds with white cotton linens; many have a terrace, plunge pool and garden. Dinner, which attracts guests from all over the island, is served in the courtyard restaurant with dramatic, draping vines, palm trees and fragrant hibiscus and jasmine plants. Read expert review From £133per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Ca Na XicaSan Miquel de Balansat, Ibiza, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Ca Na Xica is all about luxury in a bucolic, countryside setting. The main reception house was built in the style of a traditional Spanish finca, while the pool area, restaurant and 20 rooms feel airy and tastefully contemporary. The main areas are navigable via wide paths set in the natural red gravel native to the island; many are lined with prickly pear cacti that bear red fruit late in the season. Large terraces overlooking the countryside, sweeping fields of grass, and a warm beige colour scheme – punctuated only by the crisp turquoise of the pool – ties everything together. The Premier suites are spacious and quiet, with plenty of seating and relaxation space thanks to a large lounge and private terrace – some of which offer direct access to the Ibiza countryside. A glass-fronted shower with Campos de Ibiza amenities overlooks a groomed garden of stones, bamboo and ferns. Read expert review From £168per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in Ibiza Costa Brava Hotel Mas LazuliPau, Catalonia, Spain 8Telegraph expert rating With an infinity pool, palm trees, exotic flowers and wonderful views across to the coast, this whitewashed boutique hotel is a stylish Mediterranean getaway, set amid vineyards and olive groves. It's less than half an hour’s drive from Cadaqués, and there are numerous wineries to visit nearby. Furnishings are contemporary, with modern art on the walls including pastiches of Lichtenstein, Warhol and Mondrian. There’s also a very small spa space with a whirlpool tub and Turkish baths. Each of the 17 rooms is slightly different but all feature whitewashed walls; high, white, wood-beamed ceilings; and artfully displayed objets on shelves. The restaurant, which uses many products from the hotel’s own orchards, serves smart Catalan cuisine with Asian and French influences. Read expert review From £176per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Hotel Castell d'EmpordaLa Bisbal, Catalonia, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating This 14th-century castle, perched on a hilltop just outside the ceramic-making town of La Bisbal, has been lovingly converted into a tasteful hotel with spectacular rural views. The Dutch owner, Albert Diks, has managed to maintain the original Rapunzel-like character of the castle while also making the whole place feel beautifully contemporary. There’s a gorgeous mix of Indian silks, Moroccan floor-tiles, Far-Eastern antiques and show-stopping glass chandeliers. Go for a room in the main castle with original rough-hewn stone walls. The hotel’s main restaurant, Drac, is a destination in itself, serving local Catalan classics with a contemporary twist. For informal lunch and snacks, there’s the Tres Margarit poolside bar with stunning views over the local countryside. Read expert review From £86per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels on the Costa Brava Andalucia Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & SpaMalaga, Andalucia, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Finca Cortesín is an Andalusian idyll of soothing luxury where jasmine and roses scent the air. It has sweeping views down to the Mediterranean and across the countryside. The white, traditional-style complex looks like a very tastefully converted convent, or a grand Andalusian country house, but in fact the whole thing was built in the last decade. Fragrant gardens surround the two outdoor pools, which are lined with emerald tiles. One is 30-metres long with a childrens’ pool; a short stroll brings you to the more private adults-only 50-metre pool. There is another gorgeous pool at Finca Cortesín’s rather cool beach club (there is a shuttle service to run you down there). The spa features a snow cave and plunge pool. There’s a Mediterranean, Italian and raw restaurant. Read expert review From £379per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Casa La SiestaVejer de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Casa La Siesta, tucked into rolling farmland, is seven miles from Vejer de la Frontera, a hilltop pueblo blanco (white village). This part of the Costa de la Luz is famed for its beaches, which include Conil and El Palmar – both a 20-minute drive away. When you step into the hotel it is as if you are entering into a centuries-old farmhouse, achieved through the careful sourcing of reclaimed materials and an impressive eye for design and detail. A host of activities can be arranged, including sherry bodega tours, horse-riding and cycling. Massages are available in a Mongolian-style yurt. Outside, amongst olive and fruits trees, you'll find chill-out areas and a lawn-lined pool (heated in spring/autumn). The seven rooms, set around the courtyard, are spacious and beautifully styled. Food is central to life, where the focus is on fresh dishes based on local produce, such as ibérico ham, served with herbs and vegetables grown on-site. Read expert review From £284per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Andalucia Basque Country AkelarreSan Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Pedro Subijana’s three Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms overlooks the Bay of Biscay just outside San Sebastián. This is a place for lovers of food, wine, art and architecture. Studio Mecanismo has sourced top-quality natural materials to create sensual, spacious interiors, while panoramic windows frame the ever mutating colours and moods of the landscape and the sea to create living works of art. The smart spa, with curved walls and a calm atmosphere, has three treatment rooms and a stone pool with hydromassage jets, a marble steam room and a sauna. Rooms each have a glass wall, so all have spectacular sea views from both inside and from the slate terraces that run the length of each space. People come from all over the world to eat here. Most people choose one of the three eight-course tasting menus. Exquisite dishes include hake in seaweed steam with plankton and oyster leaf and roast suckling pig. Read expert review From £347per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in San Sebastián GREECE Santorini PerivolasSantorini, Greece 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel that put Oia on the map and spawned countless imitators, Perivolas is in a league of its own. Minimalist suites carved from the cliffs are almost as dazzling as the sea views It’s on the edge of Oia, poised on Santorini’s northern tip, so enjoys the celebrated sunsets without the crowds. The infinity pool is the stuff of honeymooners’ dreams. Black stone paths bursting with bright geraniums tumble down to the poolside restaurant and spa – Le Corbusier couldn’t have designed it better. Best of all, the hotel has a fleet of speedboats to whisk guests off to secret beaches, sea caves and nearby islands. Instead of classic Greek blue and white, the pale, cool ‘caves’ (rooms) are jazzed up with dashes of lilac and hot pink. The most expensive suites have their own plunge pool, steam room and private terrace. Read expert review From £445per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com KatikiesSantorini, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating Infinity pools which blend into the sky, a candle-lit rooftop restaurant and tranquil white-washed cottages set into a cliff overlooking the volcanic Caldera and Aegean Sea make this a dreamy escape for honeymooners and romantics. The hotel's cubist-style cottages cascade down the hillside and are interlinked by a series of bridges, steps and pools. There aren't lots of facilities, life centres around the three infinity-edged pools here, but guests can use the A.Spa housed at its sister hotel Kirini Suites & Spa, a five-minute walk away. Each of the 34 rooms has a balcony. Rooftop candle-lit Mikrasia Restaurant has a four-course set menu of gourmet Greek fare, while the Seltz Champagne Bar offers bites like wagyu burgers and seabass ceviche. The pool bar is a lovely spot for sundowners. Read expert review From £319per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best boutique hotels in Santorini Crete Abaton Island Resort & SpaHersonissos, Crete, Greece 9Telegraph expert rating No expense has been spared in creating this sleek and classy Cycladic-style resort close to Hersonissos. The style is elegantly minimalist: low white buildings, reflected in lagoon-like water features and pools, tumble down a slope to the sea, and huge glass walls in public areas give endless sea vistas. There are two outdoor public pools, including a vast infinity pool with daybeds and wet beds. The Elemis spa is a cosy space with steam room, sauna, beauty salon and gym. A sandy cove has plenty of sun beds, although sea access, dotted with rocks, can be difficult. All rooms have balconies or terraces, and most have sea views – be sure to elect one with a private, heated, marble seawater pool. The resort has five restaurants. Read expert review From £206per night Blue PalaceElounda, Crete, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating Breathtaking views of the Cretan Sea and island of Spinalonga are a highlight of this modern, white-washed resort above a private beach. Good facilities including a spa with hammam and sauna, PADI dive centre, two tennis courts, water-sports centre, bikes and classes including yoga and pilates. Even the most basic rooms (superior bungalows) have a king-sized bed, seating area, sea view, marble bathroom and balcony. Many have private plunge pools of varying sizes. The Island Luxury Suite Sea View category is perfect for romantics: they have a four-poster bed, egg-shaped bath, patio with loungers and large pool. There are five restaurants: the best is Blue Door, a traditional Greek-style taverna set in a converted stone fisherman's house on the water's edge; catch of the day cooked over the grill with meze is not to be missed. Read expert review From £207per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Crete Halkidiki Ekies All SensesVourvourou Bay, Halkidiki, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating Barefoot boho chic is the vibe at this laidback beach resort, set in striking natural surroundings overlooking a strip of sandy beach. Different architects were invited to design different areas of the hotel and there’s an Alice in Wonderland feel: parasols at the main pool are like huge lampshades; animal sculptures are dotted around the property; steps are buried in grass and lighting is imaginative. Rooms have garden or forest views. They were all created by different designers, so vary wildly in size and design - honeymooners will love the larger White suites with outdoor hot tub or the top floor, while the Penthouse Suite has a plunge-pool-sized hot tub and romantic views over the bay.The Treehouse restaurant high up in the pine trees is expensive, but worth it. Read expert review From £216per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Eagles VillasHalkidiki, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating This rather remote resort, surrounded by excellent beaches in Ouranopolis, is across a narrow bridge from sister property Eagles Palace, but has a more exclusive feel. Architects Styliandis have created a discreet complex of low stone cubes with living roofs and glass windbreaks linked by winding paths, that blend well with the scenery. Set on a steep hillside, views of the bay are breathtaking, but it's a buggy ride (or steep walk) to the villas and restaurant near the top. The spa (shared with Eagles Palace) has a sauna, hammam, rhassoul chamber (mud baths), a salt room and a small indoor pool. There are 42 one, two or three-bedroom villas clustered on a hillside, each with a plunge pool. Lofos restaurant at the top of the resort has the best sea views. Read expert review From £316per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best beach hotels in Greece PORTUGAL The Azores WhiteLagoa, The Azores, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating The 10 suites and striking outdoor terraces at this contemporary boutique hotel have unhindered ocean views and exude a relaxed, barefoot style of luxury. The hotel is situated in an unbeatable cliff-top location in the village of Lagoa on the Azores’ main island of Sao Miguel, a 15-minute drive from the island’s airport and the capital of Ponte Delgada. True to its name, everything from the whitewashed walls and polished concrete floors to the stone terraces surrounding the pool are brilliant white, warmed by raw wood furniture and tactile fabrics such as wool and linen. The terraces that run the length of the hotel are spectacular, whether for early-morning yoga to the sound of the waves or a cocktail by the fire pit while you watch the sunset. You can hire the hotel’s nine-metre chauffeured motor launch to explore neighbouring islands, go scuba diving or swimming in a secluded cove. Read expert review From £174per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in The Azores Algarve Companhia das CulturasCastro Marim, Algarve, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating Situated on a farm on the edge of a small village in the far east of the Algarve, the location is bucolic, peaceful and far removed from traditional images of the region. The nearest beach is just under a mile away. Although all the rooms and public spaces have been adapted from former farm buildings, the style is not rural. Instead, there’s a simple, contemporary design ethos with polished concrete floors, whitewashed walls, mid-century furniture and muted colour palette. Alongside a large steam room, beautifully lit through tiny windows in the high ceiling, there’s an excellent masseuse who tailors treatments to your needs, plus an egg-shaped marble hammam. The welcoming and informed hosts offer guided walks through the farm and are passionate about local food and produce. The hotel has nine rooms and four self-catering apartments. Read expert review From £80per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Vila JoyaAlbufeira, Algarve, Portugal 9Telegraph expert rating Vila Joya has the feel of a private villa and decoration follows suit, with antique furnishings and plenty of places to curl up and read. Outside, the lush gardens, filled with palms and bougainvillea, lead to the beach. The spa is superb, with Ayurvedic treatments, a steam room, hot tub and two outdoor swimming pools. Rooms vary in size and facilities. Some have a private pool or a private hot tub on the terrace. Junior suites spill out onto the garden; royal suites have a spacious sitting area with a log fire. The hotel is home to a two Michelin-starred restaurant (one of the best in Portugal): Austrian chef Dieter Koschina serves tasting menus that draws on his Central European background. Read expert review From £281per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Algarve Cascais Farol HotelCascais, Lisbon, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating Like much of chic Cascais, this private villa was built in the 19th century as a summer escape by an aristocrat seeking the ocean breeze. It stands on the water’s edge, its bright white walls housing a dazzling array of bespoke rooms created by Portuguese and international fashion designers. There are cosy attic rooms and suites which have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean; several also have balconies. If you book the Penthouse Suite, you will be allocated a butler and a personal chef. There is yoga in the mornings and massages available. There's also a saltwater swimming pool between the hotel and the sea, water sport facilities nearby and hotel-organised dolphin cruises. There are two excellent dining options: The Mix serves Mediterranean dishes, while at Sushi Design, on a terrace overlooking the ocean, expect gyosas and ceviche, niguiri and hosomaki, sushi and sahsimi. Read expert review From £147per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cascais Alentejo Sublime ComportaComporta, Alentejo, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating South of Lisbon, in amongst the unspoilt sand dunes and rice fields of Comporta, lies Sublime. It’s a sleek boutique hotel filled with design-savvy details, and a breezy, welcoming atmosphere, surrounded by a 17-acre estate of Umbrella Pines and sand dunes, cork trees and wild flowers. It’s minutes away from the miles of empty, white-sand beaches and turquoise seas that make this one of Portugal’s most beautiful spots. Staff will help with restaurant bookings (try the fresh fish at Sal on a nearby beach) or riding lessons (a wonderful stables is five minutes away) across the dunes and through the foam of the sea. Otherwise, there is a spa with sauna, steam room, massage room and indoor pool. A wooden deck overlooks the outdoor pool. All 14 rooms spill out onto a private terrace and in the colder months there is a log fire. Read expert review From £160per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Alentejo CROATIA Dubrovnik Hotel ExcelsiorDubrovnik, Croatia 8Telegraph expert rating This historic five-star hotel is built into a hillside above the coast, overlooking the deep-blue sea and the islet of Lokrum, with with fantastic views of Dubrovnik's medieval walls rising from the water. It’s a pleasant 10-minute walk to the Old Town. Expect cool minimalist interiors, grey walls and retro-chic furnishings: sofas, armchairs and cushions in petrol-blue, misty-pink, olive-green or mustard-yellow, potted plants and artworks featuring Dubrovnik. Down by the sea, a stone terrace with sunbeds and parasols has steps into the water for swimming. The vast spa includes a big freeform pool and whirlpools, Roman bath, Finnish sauna and theme showers. With the sparkling blue Adriatic out front, you'd do well to upgrade to Deluxe, with a sea-view balcony. Suites get stunning views onto the sea, Dubrovnik and Lokrum. Read expert review From £123per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Villa OrsulaDubrovnik, Croatia 9Telegraph expert rating Villa Orsula is situated in a terraced garden overlooking the Adriatic and the green islet of Lokrum, a 10-minute walk along the coast from Ploče Gate, the eastern entrance into Dubrovnik's Old Town. Built as a private residence, this 1930s Art Deco villa exudes good taste and refinement. In the lobby, three magnificent Moorish-inspired Art Deco stone arches set the mood. With just 13 rooms, it provides the sort of personalised service that only a small hotel can achieve – you'll be treated more as a dear friend than a guest. From the fragrant garden, steep stone steps lead down to a lovely bathing platform, with sun beds, beach towels and easy access into the sea. You also have the use of the outdoor pool and spa (with indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and treatment rooms) at the neighbouring Grand Villa Argentina. The best rooms are the ones with stone balconies and sublime sea views. Read expert review From £432per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels on the Croatian islands MONTENEGRO Aman Sveti StefanSveti Stefan, Montenegro 9Telegraph expert rating Effortlessly graceful and romantic, the fortified islet of Sveti Stefan rises from the deep blue Adriatic. Two completely separate and different properties are within the complex. There is the fortified island, with 50 rooms, suites and cottages in carefully renovated old-stone buildings (open summer-only); and Villa Miločer, a 1930s villa set in gardens with eight suites (open all-year). The Aman Spa, sitting in a secluded bay backed by pinewoods, has an indoor (sea-view) pool, and offers personalised health and beauty treatments, combining movement, relaxation, nutrition and custom-made products based on locally sourced wild herbs, olive oil and honey. There are three pink pebble beaches on the mainland, and two (small-ish) outdoor pools on the island. Read expert review From £605per night • The best hotels in Montenegro Contributions by Ros Belford, Annie Bennett, Kate Bolton-Porciatti, Ondine Cohane, Jade Conroy, Kiki Deere, Jane Foster, Heidi Fuller-Love, Jan Fuscoe, Lisa Gerard-Sharp, Rachel Howard, Jessica Knipe, James Litson, Trish Lorenz, Mary Lussiana, Lee Marshall, Anna Nicholas, Isabella Noble, James Palmer, Tristan Rutherford, Amanda Statham, Nicky Swallow, Rebecca Tay and Nicola Williams.
Savvy newyleds are driving a growing trend for mini-moons, whereby the happy couple go away immediately after their wedding for a few days before honeymooning in an exotic location at a later date to save on costs. It also means they're not tied to honeymooning in the season in which they married. Our experts have picked the best places to stay for newlyweds to laze about in the rosy-hued days of romance following their nuptials – or to just catch up on some much-needed sleep. From cycling around bucolic vineyards and Michelin-starred restaurants with rooms, to private boat trips and private infinity pools, we've got all bases covered – including destinations within a direct four-hour flight and easy transfers. • The best mini-moon hotels in the UK ITALY Tuscany Hotel Il PellicanoPorto Ercole, Tuscany, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating This spring-to-autumn haven of dolce vita luxury has always been a clubbish, word-of-mouth kind of place. Now, under the dynamic management of designer Marie-Louise Sciò, the hotel has refined its service, become a Michelin-starred gourmet haven and added a spa without losing its insider cachet. The nearby town of Porto Ercole is a magnet for the Roman and Florentine yachtie set, but Il Pellicano takes its distance – standing in majestic natural seclusion amid stone pines and cypresses with breathtaking sunset views. The 50 rooms and suites are divided between the the Pompeii-red central building and the beautifully tended gardens. There's a small but well-run spa, a tennis court and its own heated seawater pool. Be sure to order a cocktail made by Italy’s best bartender. Read expert review From £579per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Monteverdi TuscanySarteano, Tuscany, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Consider it a dream project: an American lawyer falls in love with Tuscany, buys up most of a small village, and turns it into a rural idyll. His vision was spot on. While preserving the exterior façades, interior designer Ilaria Miani has brought a sense of light and modernity without sacrificing the building’s authenticity. The terraced gardens are just as charming: a lap pool is bordered by lavender bushes and fig and olive trees. In addition to the amenities (spa, restaurant, gallery, bars), there are also many events planned seasonally—a lecture by Wes Anderson before a film screening, say, or a classical concert in the village church—itineraries can also include wine tastings at local vineyards, guided tours of Etruscan ruins, and even a day in Florence. Go for room number 9 with a fireplace and stand alone bathtubs. Read expert review From £506per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith VignamaggioChianti, Tuscany, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating This noble Renaissance villa sits lordly in Italian gardens and vine-clad hills, overlooking a serene landscape that (legend has it) inspired Leonardo da Vinci. Many will know it as the romantic setting for Kenneth Branagh's film 'Much Ado about Nothing'. It was the 14th-century home of the Mona Lisa's ancestors and is one of the oldest wine estates in Chianti; even the villa walls have faded to a mellow Rosé. Facilities include two pools (edged with those dreamy views), tennis courts and a small spa with whirlpool tub and Turkish bath. There are hiking paths that wind through the estate's vineyards and woodland; complimentary bikes; cooking lessons and horse riding. The restaurant enjoys heavenly views from its terrace, and its farm-to-table policy means much of the produce comes from the surrounding organic estate. Opt for a room in the Casolese farmhouse, done up in a Scandi-Tuscan style. Read expert review From £181per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in Tuscany Italian Lakes Il SerenoLake Como, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Leading Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola is behind the hotel’s sober architecture and contemporary interiors. The building was constructed using natural materials, including stone, wood and copper, and local artisans were called in to make the custom-designed furnishings. At the centre of the main garden is an infinity pool with gazebos and sun loungers, a small sandy beach can be found down by the lake shore, plus a spa with a hot tub which overlooks the lake. Guests can rent the hotel’s two all-wood Riva motorboats, with or without a driver, while the Vaporina del Lago water limousine shuttles guests around the lake. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the 30 suites ensure beautiful views, and waterfront terraces have cushioned chairs. The Michelin-starred restaurant serves Italian dishes with a contemporary touch. Read expert review From £755per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Villa Làrio Lake ComoLake Como, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating Villa Larios is secluded and private, spread out on a hillside more than 160ft above the lake, offering jaw-dropping vistas. From the lakeside road a lift descends to the main villa, which is flanked by a leafy terraced garden with infinity pool looking out over the water. From here a second lift goes down to the lakefront garden from where it’s possible to stroll into the tiny village of Pognana Lario – no tourists here, just the occasional resident strolling the front. The villa has a private jetty, and boat hire and water taxis can be organised. With only six suites, guests feel as if they have most of the place to themselves. The restaurant serves delicious, hearty homemade cooking inspired by Italy’s regions. Read expert review From £500per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Grand Hotel a Villa FeltrinelliLake Garda, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating This exclusive hotel, set in eight-acre grounds on the western shore of Lake Garda, is located in a historic 19th-century villa which was once the home of Mussolini and his family during the Republic of Salò. Interiors have been lavishly restored and feature frescoed ceilings, Venetian mirrors and Art Nouveau lamps. The manicured gardens are home to olive, ancient oak and magnolia trees, and there’s a limonaia (tiered lemon garden) dating back to the 1800s. There’s also an outdoor heated swimming pool and a croquet green. With a staff ratio of 3:1, the service is outstanding. Tailor-made boat trips around the lake can be organised. Rooms in the main villa have original antiques and cream-coloured draperies; guesthouses are more contemporary. The two Michelin-starred restaurant serves exceptional Italian cuisine and fresh lake fish. Read expert review From £933per night • The best Italian Lakes - and where to stay Amalfi Coast Il San Pietro di PositanoPositano, Amalfi Coast, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Carved into the sheer rock face like something out of a James Bond movie and hidden from prying eyes , il San Pietro lies a few bends in the road east of Positano. All around there is the deep, blue sea. Just about anything you could possibly wish for is on site, and for a zip up the coast, one of the hotel’s private boats will pick you up from the jetty. There is a bar with a spectacular terrace, a gourmet restaurant, fabulous terraced gardens and, on sea level, a private ‘beach’, a tennis court, spa and restaurant. The bedrooms and suites tumble down the cliff-side in a series of flower-bedecked terraces; each has its own private outside space, some of which are enormous. All have extraordinary sea vistas, some even from the bath. Read expert review From £428per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Monastero Santa RosaConca dei Marini, Amalfi Coast, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating From its perch atop a sheer, rocky outcrop, just outside the quiet the village of Conca dei Marini and aloof from the day-trippers down on the coast, the Santa Rosa enjoys a magnificent location. Its creation is down to one woman, American Bianca Sharma, who bought the vast, clifftop building after spying it from a boat. She spared no expense in transforming the 17th-century monastery into a stylish and cocooning hotel, while fully respecting the building’s origins. As you would expect, there’s everything you are likely to need on site; fabulous terraced gardens with a heated infinity pool that seems suspended over the water; a huge spa (one of the biggest and best on the costiera); an outdoor gym with a view; shuttle bus service to and from Amalfi. The dining terrace – suspended high over the sea – is a supremely romantic spot for dinner. Expect superlative renditions of coastal cuisine. Read expert review From £570per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Le SirenusePositano, Amalfi Coast, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating Built into the steep southwest-facing side of Positano, the hotel’s oxblood-coloured facade is high enough to command excellent sea views, while being within a 10-minute walk (down lots of steps) to the resort’s dark-sand beach. An eclectic collection of antique furniture and art helps the hotel retain its atmosphere of the private home it originally was, though over time it has conjoined with neighbouring houses to become a warren of rooms and public areas on several floors. A compact pool terrace has outdoor loungers and is shaded by lemon trees. Nearly all 58 rooms are unfussy, whitewashed with tiled floors, classical prints and highly-polished, antique furniture. The Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant is about as romantic as a dining room can possibly be. Entirely lit by 400 candles it has creeper-clad walls, stiff white tablecloths and views over the twinkling lights and sea. Read expert review From £914per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels on the Amalfi Coast Sorrento Bellevue SyreneSorrento, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating A hotel in grand Italian style with a fresh, modern approach and a spectacular Vesuvius-facing location. Sorrento’s lidos, accessible via a lift, lie just below and a 10-minute walk down a narrow, cobbled lane brings you to the fishing village of Marina Grande. Inside, its cool marble hallways and dazzling white paintwork offset museum-worthy antique pieces, Murano chandeliers, modern art and photography and colourful, quirky ceramics. There’s a private bathing deck with sea access at the bottom of the cliff and a small pool with sun loungers on an upper terrace. Only two out of the 50 bedrooms miss out on sea views. The huge, sexy Suite Roccia is hewn out of solid tufa rock and features a hydrotherapy pool in the bedroom and the Suite Pompeiana comes with a vast bathroom and whirlpool tub looking out to sea. Read expert review From £285per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Relais BluMassa Lubrense, Sorrento, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating As a 'get-away-from-it-all' location, this spot close to the tip of the Sorrentine Peninsula is perfect. The sweeping views that take in Capri, the wide curve of the Bay of Naples and the looming bulk of Vesuvius are extraordinary. On arrival, you may be forgiven for wondering why the place isn’t called 'Relais White' – but step out onto the terrace and get an eyeful of the deep blue sea that plays wraparound backdrop, and the name makes perfect sense. Wide terraces on different levels offer private corners for relaxing, while there’s an infinity pool at the top of the property, plus a small spa and a hot tub on a sea-facing terrace. Boats can be hired and if you want a day at Capitan (sic) Cook’s laid-back beach club, staff will arrange for you to be picked up in a tiny Piaggio van. All rooms have sea views and all but two have private gardens or large terraces. The Michelin-starred restaurant is one of the hotel’s highlights. Read expert review From £212per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Sorrento Puglia Masseria TrapanàSurbo, Puglia, Italy 8Telegraph expert rating The restoration of 16th-century Trapanà has remained faithful to the bones of the old masseria. The original taupe, tufo stone and arched ceilings are modernised through the use of glass walls, fresh flower displays, thick-pile colourful rugs, coffee-table books, snazzy Moroccan cushions and music blaring out across the main courtyard all day. Six walled gardens, verdant with cacti, ferns and more than 500 orange and lemon trees, are dotted with colourful hammocks, a fire pit and croquet lawn. The serene swimming pool is surrounded by large daybeds and shaded by plum trees – and there’s a pool phone should you require a cocktail. All rooms have arched ceilings and stone walls, which keep them cool in summer, though there are fireplaces and underfloor heating for autumnal nights. All but two have outdoor bathtubs. Expect a menu of the region’s deliciously simple cucina povera ('peasant cooking'). Read expert review From £214per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith Borgo EgnaziaFasano, Puglia, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating Constructed entirely from the local tufa stone, you could be forgiven for thinking the imposing Borgo Egnazia has history. It doesn’t: it was built from scratch. Every detail is an ode to Puglia, from the artworks based on the symbols on trulli roofs to the waft of lemons in reception. The estate is divided into three: the stately La Corte, which opens out to two tiered swimming pools; the maze-like Il Borgo ('The Village', with a family pool, piazza and rows of duplex townhouses); and 30 outlying villas, each with a private pool. Escape for a Vair spa treatment, learn to make orrecchiette pasta or local pottery, play tennis, golf, take up windsurfing, kitesurfing, kayaking or just peg out at one of the resort’s two private beaches or three outdoor pools. The five restaurants put a strong emphasis on traditional local cooking. Read expert review From £166per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Puglia Sicily Belmond Villa Sant'AndreaTaormina, Sicily, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel is set on its own private stretch of beach surrounded by lush gardens. A cable car connects the seaside district to the town of Taormina. The hotel was once a private villa, and has retained the charm of a residence; it exudes classic understated elegance. Fresh, contemporary décor gives way to breathtaking vistas in communal areas. Facilities include a heated infinity pool, use of the private beach with sun loungers and parasols, and a complimentary boat cruise (mid-May to mid-September). Water sports are available too, including paddle-surfing that can be combined with yoga meditation. The hotel organises Vintage Fiat 500 and Ape Calessino tours. Most rooms have balconies or terraces with lovely views of the bay; some look onto the sub-tropical gardens. Read expert review From £314per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Monaci delle Terre NereZafferana Etnea, Sicily, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating With its sapient design mix, organic food, stellar wine list and verdant grounds, Monaci delle Terre Nere appeals most of all to those in need of some rural detox. It’s halfway between Taormina and Catania, high up on the eastern skirts of Etna. Many guests go nowhere but spend their days lounging by the pool, a cool blue splash amidst citrus and olive groves. The 13 rooms in the main house and a series of outbuildings are stylish dens, some with wood-burning stoves, exposed lavastone walls and weathered ceiling beams (like the theatrical Amabile suite), others fresh and bright, with contemporary artworks playing off against Sicilian antiques. Rooms have no televisions or phones – a deliberate choice, as the experience is all about tuning into nature. Much of the food served is grown right on the estate. Read expert review From £220per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Sicily Sardinia Capo d’OrsoPalau, Sardinia, Italy 9Telegraph expert rating This five-star hotel is relaxing and romantic, overlooking the Maddalena archipelago in Sardinia's Gallura region which is famous for its distinctive pink granite rock. There are three beaches, including the beautiful, often deserted, Cala Selvaggia. Facilities are impressive, from the swimming pool on the rocks with five floating wooden sunbathing platforms to the well-equipped Thalasso spa with three pools, a hammam with a sea view, and dozens of treatments, many using sea water. There's a tennis court, a nine-hole golf course, fishing trips, daily yoga, snorkelling and paddle boarding. The Delphina Express (a skippered speedboat) makes daily excursions to the archipelago and Porto Cervo (10 minutes away). There are free daily bus trips to Palau, which also has a night market. Food is a creative take on traditional Galluran recipes, such as fregola (local pasta) with clams. Read expert review From £161per night • The best hotels in Sardinia FRANCE Provence and the Cote d’Azur Villa La CosteLe Puy-Sainte-Réparade, Provence, France 9Telegraph expert rating This destination design hotel is as curated as the open-air art museum that envelops it. Come for peace, privacy, perfect food and organic wine on tap. The quietly contemporary architecture is fifty shades of pale, pared-down Provence. From the Villa’s heated outdoor pool on the edge of the vineyard, it is a short stroll down to the Chateau’s mirrored lake, complete with a bespoke Louise Bourgeois sculpture of a crouching spider. Provence never looked cooler than on this beguiling art trail which includes pieces by Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano and Frank Gehry. The 28 spacious, sun-drenched villa suites come with secret courtyards, terraces and picture windows framing the vineyards – the top suites boast plunge pools. The spa serves up almost edible massages of lavender, jasmine, olives and apricots. Louison, a lovely glass box suspended over a moated pool, is the signature restaurant overseen by three Michelin-starred chef Gérald Passedat. Read expert review From £677per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith Château Saint-Martin & SpaVence, Côte d'Azur, France 9Telegraph expert rating No-holds-barred elegance since the 12th century. It's elegantly marooned above the Riviera’s hoi polloi but within striking distance of Nice, Antibes and Cannes, and just a five-minute drive from the historic centre of Vence. Staff truly know their onions, from the voiturier (who will show you a shortcut to Matisse’s final masterpiece, the nearby Chapelle du Rosaire) to the masseurs (who will offer up an informal health check in a pine-scented cabana just outside the spa). The olive-ringed infinity pool shouts: “I have truly arrived”. All guestrooms are big, and every bathroom is panelled with more marble than a Florentine chapel. For balconies and sea views upgrade to one of the 38 suites. The signature Saint-Martin restaurant serves astoundingly modern takes on Sisteron lamb, Provençal pigeon and locally-landed red mullet. Read expert review From £242per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com La CoquilladeGargas, Provence, France 9Telegraph expert rating Few addresses cocoon guests in the peace, tranquility and perfumed lavender fields of Provence like this glamorous golden hamlet in the Luberon hills. Several hilltop villages are an easy bike ride or drive away: the ochre-coloured Roussillon, chateau-crowned Lacoste and pretty Bonnieux. The spacious estate is so well-designed that you really do feel romantically alone in your very own cottage straight off a Provence postcard. The state-of-the-art spa is outstanding, as is the BMC Cycling Centre, which rents top-of-the-range mountain and road bikes. Other facilities include tennis courts, two swimming pools and pétanque, not to mention 36 hectares of vineyards. In July and August bistro dining is around a wood-fired grill with tables beneath vine-draped pergolas – utterly magical. Read expert review From £250per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com La Réserve RamatuelleCôte d'Azur, France 9Telegraph expert rating This high-end hideaway lies within a gated enclave surrounded by woodland and countryside, just 20 minutes' drive (but a world away) from lively St Tropez. Retro architecture and contemporary interiors create an avant-garde aesthetic that's all the more striking for being set amidst lavender bushes and pencil-thin cypress trees. An excellent spa (with indoor pool) is hewn from the rocks beneath the hotel and offers treatments and wellness packages specialising in weight loss and better ageing. Outside there's a pool with ample space for lounging. Complimentary transfers are available to St Tropez, Ramatuelle and the beach. Dinner proudly showcases the restaurant's Michelin-starred stature, with every dish an edible work of art. Read expert review From £771per night Check availability Rates provided by Mr & Mrs Smith • The best boutique hotels in Provence Aquitane Les Prés d’EugénieEugénie-les-Bains, Aquitaine, France 9Telegraph expert rating A temple to fine living, this spa hotel on a country estate in southwest France is a once-in-a-lifetime must. Triple Michelin-starred chef Michel Guérard caters to hedonists and uber-healthy gourmets alike. The hotel has a heated outdoor pool, cookery school and bikes to borrow. But the heart-stealer is the luxurious Ferme Thermale spa sourced from Eugénie’s hot thermal springs. To stay here and not soak in a citrus milk bath by an open fire, or the spa’s signature silky white mud, would be a crime. The 20 elegant suites and 25 rooms, bejewelled with the family’s art collection, languish in the main house, which dates to 1863, and two historic outbuildings (an inn and a convent). The restaurant's gastronomic menu includes wine from Michel’s very own chateau, four miles from the hotel. Read expert review From £302per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com La Co(o)rnichePyla-sur-Mer, Aquitaine, France 9Telegraph expert rating This ravishing boutique getaway is the height of seaside sophistication. Philippe Starck’s bold white interior evokes local oyster farming, and Europe’s highest sand dune looms large as next-door neighbour. The public beach is a short walk – if you can drag yourself away from the impossibly stylish infinity pool with cushioned sun loungers and incredible sea views. There is a spa and reception staff can arrange boat taxis, seafaring picnics, visits to local oyster farms, bike rental and more. There are 11 spacious rooms in the main building and 18 cabins inspired by oyster fishermen cabanes in the adjoining ‘village’. Think succulent seafood platters, Arcachon oysters and other local produce for dinner. Read expert review From £491per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Les Sources de CaudalieLéognan, Aquitaine, France 9Telegraph expert rating Les Sources de Caudalie is the birthplace of one of France’s staple skincare brands. The hamlet-like retreat, located on a centuries-old vineyard, is a celebration of French joie de vivre. The rustic chic buildings look as if they have been here for centuries but were in fact specially built using massive old beams, bought from abandoned historic buildings in the area. Sixty-one rooms and suites, housed across eight different ivy-covered houses, follow different styles, from rich country houses to fisherman-inspired suites. The vinotherapy spa (which uses products made with the waste from the vines) features 20 treatment rooms, an indoor spring-water pool, a whirlpool tub and a hammam. A couple of wooden platforms – one overlooking the long-form outdoor pool; the other overlooking the vines – are welcome sun traps. The culinary offering spans Michelin star to traditional bistro. Read expert review From £205per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in and around Bordeaux Dordogne Château de la TreyneDordogne, France 9Telegraph expert rating With an unbelievably magical setting, this turreted fairytale chateau is the belle of the ball. It has history, it has drama, it has magnificent views of the Dordogne River – and that is only the beginning. It also has a heated infinity pool, tennis court, Romanesque chapel and beautiful garden with century-old cedar trees. But what really stands out is the overwhelming graciousness, passion and enthusiasm of charismatic owner Stéphanie (an expert at crafting bespoke tourist itineraries for her guests) and her dedicated team. Several rooms have four-poster beds and striking original features: an incredible Gothic woodwork ceiling, a painted vaulted ceiling, a 14th-century spider web of exposed beams, polished Versailles parquet. Michelin-starred chef Stéphane Andrieux looks after lunch and dinner, with creative variations on a seasonal, regional cuisine. Read expert review From £140per night • The best hotels in Dordogne Île de Ré Hotel de ToirasSaint-Martin-de-Ré, Île de Ré, France 8Telegraph expert rating Hôtel de Toiras has been designed with such passion for local history and unerring attention to detail that it is undoubtedly one of the island’s grandest addresses. The windows of this 17th-century shipbuilder’s residence look out on to the Unesco-protected fortifications of Saint-Martin’s harbour. Nowhere could be more convenient for bars, restaurants, boutiques and boat trips out to sea. The reception sets the royalty-chic tone straight away, with its delicate blue chinoiseries, deep-set sofas and a fireplace by which a ravishing cat purrs quietly before setting off for a scrap of fish from the kitchens. A swimming pool is open to guests in the hotel’s sister address, Villa Clarisse. Each of the rooms pays homage to a personality of the island’s history. La Table d’Olivia makes a point of serving only the freshest of local produce to complement the wine from the owners’ vineyards in Bordeaux. Read expert review From £220per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Île de Ré SPAIN Majorca Cap RocatCala Blava, Majorca, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating This romantic 19th-century fortress has been transformed into a sumptuous pleasure palace. It’s around 15 minutes’ drive from the airport, right by the sea on a headland in a nature reserve at the eastern end of the sweeping Bay of Palma. The fortress, in the honey-toned local marés sandstone, was dug into the cliff at the end of the 19th century and was transformed in 2010 into the sumptuous sanctuary it is today. As the name suggests, the coastline below Cap Rocat is rocky, which means clear water that is ideal for snorkelling. When you emerge, there will be a mojito waiting for you at a sunbed next to the rocks or by the saltwater infinity pool. Afterwards, head to the spa housed in a former limestone water deposit. Opt for the Sentinel suites, which are set into the cliff away from the main buildings, with their own plunge pools and sea view from the bed. Read expert review From £858per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Hotel Can SimonetaCanyamel, Majorca, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Commanding spectacular views of the Bay of Canyamel, the adult-only, five-star Can Simoneta boutique hotel enjoys a dramatic position aloft high cliffs. Comprising three historic stone-built properties, it is the ultimate romantic and tranquil hideaway by the sea. In the hotel’s gardens there is a wellness centre tucked away in the trees, as well as steam and sauna wood cabins. Aside from its own private access to Canyamel beach where it has Café Arenal, a winding stone staircase carved into the cliff gives onto a secluded cove with a natural rock pool whirlpool tub, exclusive to hotel guests. There are two swimming pools and open-air whirlpool tubs in the grounds. There are 28 individually designed bedrooms. The luxury Gran Neptuno Suite housed in a bijoux cottage has its own pool and garden. Read expert review From £336per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in Majorca Menorca Biniarroca Rural HotelSant Lluis, Menorca, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating All white walls, lush bougainvillea, rustic charm and elegant styling, Biniarroca is an 18th-century farmhouse fabulously reimagined as a tranquil adults-only country retreat, just outside Mahón. Stone arches and classical statues weave through gardens to this whitewashed farmhouse, stylishly converted by a British former fashion designer without losing its country charm. There are two blissfully peaceful jade-hued pools, the largest fringed by flowers, loungers, a hammock and a low-key café-bar with shady tables. Classic rooms are mostly in the old farmhouse, and some have private terraces. A bougainvillea-draped terrace hosts the excellent restaurant, which specialises in updated Mediterranean and Menorcan cuisine using local produce and home-grown herbs and vegetables. Read expert review Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com TorralbencCala'n Porter, Menorca, Spain 8Telegraph expert rating This four-star hotel is a couple of miles inland in the south-east of the island, a 10-minute drive from the airport. Traditional Menorcan dry-stone walls and olive trees set the tone for a series of white buildings dressed in natural tones and floaty fabrics. Stylishly smooth rather than full-on rustic, and on the smart side of the boho-ometer, Torralbenc is a masterclass in modern Mediterranean good taste. There is a 25-metre, unchlorinated outdoor pool and a Natura Bissé spa. There are 27 rooms distributed around the main house and several former stables or outhouses, all now transformed into light, airy spaces with beamed ceilings, chestnut furniture and sandstone floors. Bathrooms have separate showers and baths, with toiletries in tiny carafes scented with locally grown rosemary. All have terraces, many with sea views. Read expert review From £256per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Menorca Ibiza AtzaróSanta Eularia des Riu, Ibiza, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Atzaró has set the standard for luxury agroturismos in Ibiza. The authentic elements of the 300-year-old finca have been restored (think thick white walls, natural Sabina wood beams and rustic antique furniture) while maintaining its five-star appeal. The lush 10-acre grounds are incredibly spacious, with many areas to relax. There's the open-air spa, which has a sauna, hammam, and a menu of massages and Natura Bissé facials. And then there's the elegant, main pool area, which features sprawling lawns dotted with daybeds. All of the rooms have teak four-poster beds with white cotton linens; many have a terrace, plunge pool and garden. Dinner, which attracts guests from all over the island, is served in the courtyard restaurant with dramatic, draping vines, palm trees and fragrant hibiscus and jasmine plants. Read expert review From £133per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Ca Na XicaSan Miquel de Balansat, Ibiza, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Ca Na Xica is all about luxury in a bucolic, countryside setting. The main reception house was built in the style of a traditional Spanish finca, while the pool area, restaurant and 20 rooms feel airy and tastefully contemporary. The main areas are navigable via wide paths set in the natural red gravel native to the island; many are lined with prickly pear cacti that bear red fruit late in the season. Large terraces overlooking the countryside, sweeping fields of grass, and a warm beige colour scheme – punctuated only by the crisp turquoise of the pool – ties everything together. The Premier suites are spacious and quiet, with plenty of seating and relaxation space thanks to a large lounge and private terrace – some of which offer direct access to the Ibiza countryside. A glass-fronted shower with Campos de Ibiza amenities overlooks a groomed garden of stones, bamboo and ferns. Read expert review From £168per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best luxury hotels in Ibiza Costa Brava Hotel Mas LazuliPau, Catalonia, Spain 8Telegraph expert rating With an infinity pool, palm trees, exotic flowers and wonderful views across to the coast, this whitewashed boutique hotel is a stylish Mediterranean getaway, set amid vineyards and olive groves. It's less than half an hour’s drive from Cadaqués, and there are numerous wineries to visit nearby. Furnishings are contemporary, with modern art on the walls including pastiches of Lichtenstein, Warhol and Mondrian. There’s also a very small spa space with a whirlpool tub and Turkish baths. Each of the 17 rooms is slightly different but all feature whitewashed walls; high, white, wood-beamed ceilings; and artfully displayed objets on shelves. The restaurant, which uses many products from the hotel’s own orchards, serves smart Catalan cuisine with Asian and French influences. Read expert review From £176per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Hotel Castell d'EmpordaLa Bisbal, Catalonia, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating This 14th-century castle, perched on a hilltop just outside the ceramic-making town of La Bisbal, has been lovingly converted into a tasteful hotel with spectacular rural views. The Dutch owner, Albert Diks, has managed to maintain the original Rapunzel-like character of the castle while also making the whole place feel beautifully contemporary. There’s a gorgeous mix of Indian silks, Moroccan floor-tiles, Far-Eastern antiques and show-stopping glass chandeliers. Go for a room in the main castle with original rough-hewn stone walls. The hotel’s main restaurant, Drac, is a destination in itself, serving local Catalan classics with a contemporary twist. For informal lunch and snacks, there’s the Tres Margarit poolside bar with stunning views over the local countryside. Read expert review From £86per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels on the Costa Brava Andalucia Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & SpaMalaga, Andalucia, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Finca Cortesín is an Andalusian idyll of soothing luxury where jasmine and roses scent the air. It has sweeping views down to the Mediterranean and across the countryside. The white, traditional-style complex looks like a very tastefully converted convent, or a grand Andalusian country house, but in fact the whole thing was built in the last decade. Fragrant gardens surround the two outdoor pools, which are lined with emerald tiles. One is 30-metres long with a childrens’ pool; a short stroll brings you to the more private adults-only 50-metre pool. There is another gorgeous pool at Finca Cortesín’s rather cool beach club (there is a shuttle service to run you down there). The spa features a snow cave and plunge pool. There’s a Mediterranean, Italian and raw restaurant. Read expert review From £379per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Casa La SiestaVejer de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Casa La Siesta, tucked into rolling farmland, is seven miles from Vejer de la Frontera, a hilltop pueblo blanco (white village). This part of the Costa de la Luz is famed for its beaches, which include Conil and El Palmar – both a 20-minute drive away. When you step into the hotel it is as if you are entering into a centuries-old farmhouse, achieved through the careful sourcing of reclaimed materials and an impressive eye for design and detail. A host of activities can be arranged, including sherry bodega tours, horse-riding and cycling. Massages are available in a Mongolian-style yurt. Outside, amongst olive and fruits trees, you'll find chill-out areas and a lawn-lined pool (heated in spring/autumn). The seven rooms, set around the courtyard, are spacious and beautifully styled. Food is central to life, where the focus is on fresh dishes based on local produce, such as ibérico ham, served with herbs and vegetables grown on-site. Read expert review From £284per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Andalucia Basque Country AkelarreSan Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain 9Telegraph expert rating Pedro Subijana’s three Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms overlooks the Bay of Biscay just outside San Sebastián. This is a place for lovers of food, wine, art and architecture. Studio Mecanismo has sourced top-quality natural materials to create sensual, spacious interiors, while panoramic windows frame the ever mutating colours and moods of the landscape and the sea to create living works of art. The smart spa, with curved walls and a calm atmosphere, has three treatment rooms and a stone pool with hydromassage jets, a marble steam room and a sauna. Rooms each have a glass wall, so all have spectacular sea views from both inside and from the slate terraces that run the length of each space. People come from all over the world to eat here. Most people choose one of the three eight-course tasting menus. Exquisite dishes include hake in seaweed steam with plankton and oyster leaf and roast suckling pig. Read expert review From £347per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in San Sebastián GREECE Santorini PerivolasSantorini, Greece 9Telegraph expert rating The hotel that put Oia on the map and spawned countless imitators, Perivolas is in a league of its own. Minimalist suites carved from the cliffs are almost as dazzling as the sea views It’s on the edge of Oia, poised on Santorini’s northern tip, so enjoys the celebrated sunsets without the crowds. The infinity pool is the stuff of honeymooners’ dreams. Black stone paths bursting with bright geraniums tumble down to the poolside restaurant and spa – Le Corbusier couldn’t have designed it better. Best of all, the hotel has a fleet of speedboats to whisk guests off to secret beaches, sea caves and nearby islands. Instead of classic Greek blue and white, the pale, cool ‘caves’ (rooms) are jazzed up with dashes of lilac and hot pink. The most expensive suites have their own plunge pool, steam room and private terrace. Read expert review From £445per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com KatikiesSantorini, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating Infinity pools which blend into the sky, a candle-lit rooftop restaurant and tranquil white-washed cottages set into a cliff overlooking the volcanic Caldera and Aegean Sea make this a dreamy escape for honeymooners and romantics. The hotel's cubist-style cottages cascade down the hillside and are interlinked by a series of bridges, steps and pools. There aren't lots of facilities, life centres around the three infinity-edged pools here, but guests can use the A.Spa housed at its sister hotel Kirini Suites & Spa, a five-minute walk away. Each of the 34 rooms has a balcony. Rooftop candle-lit Mikrasia Restaurant has a four-course set menu of gourmet Greek fare, while the Seltz Champagne Bar offers bites like wagyu burgers and seabass ceviche. The pool bar is a lovely spot for sundowners. Read expert review From £319per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best boutique hotels in Santorini Crete Abaton Island Resort & SpaHersonissos, Crete, Greece 9Telegraph expert rating No expense has been spared in creating this sleek and classy Cycladic-style resort close to Hersonissos. The style is elegantly minimalist: low white buildings, reflected in lagoon-like water features and pools, tumble down a slope to the sea, and huge glass walls in public areas give endless sea vistas. There are two outdoor public pools, including a vast infinity pool with daybeds and wet beds. The Elemis spa is a cosy space with steam room, sauna, beauty salon and gym. A sandy cove has plenty of sun beds, although sea access, dotted with rocks, can be difficult. All rooms have balconies or terraces, and most have sea views – be sure to elect one with a private, heated, marble seawater pool. The resort has five restaurants. Read expert review From £206per night Blue PalaceElounda, Crete, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating Breathtaking views of the Cretan Sea and island of Spinalonga are a highlight of this modern, white-washed resort above a private beach. Good facilities including a spa with hammam and sauna, PADI dive centre, two tennis courts, water-sports centre, bikes and classes including yoga and pilates. Even the most basic rooms (superior bungalows) have a king-sized bed, seating area, sea view, marble bathroom and balcony. Many have private plunge pools of varying sizes. The Island Luxury Suite Sea View category is perfect for romantics: they have a four-poster bed, egg-shaped bath, patio with loungers and large pool. There are five restaurants: the best is Blue Door, a traditional Greek-style taverna set in a converted stone fisherman's house on the water's edge; catch of the day cooked over the grill with meze is not to be missed. Read expert review From £207per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Crete Halkidiki Ekies All SensesVourvourou Bay, Halkidiki, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating Barefoot boho chic is the vibe at this laidback beach resort, set in striking natural surroundings overlooking a strip of sandy beach. Different architects were invited to design different areas of the hotel and there’s an Alice in Wonderland feel: parasols at the main pool are like huge lampshades; animal sculptures are dotted around the property; steps are buried in grass and lighting is imaginative. Rooms have garden or forest views. They were all created by different designers, so vary wildly in size and design - honeymooners will love the larger White suites with outdoor hot tub or the top floor, while the Penthouse Suite has a plunge-pool-sized hot tub and romantic views over the bay.The Treehouse restaurant high up in the pine trees is expensive, but worth it. Read expert review From £216per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Eagles VillasHalkidiki, Greece 8Telegraph expert rating This rather remote resort, surrounded by excellent beaches in Ouranopolis, is across a narrow bridge from sister property Eagles Palace, but has a more exclusive feel. Architects Styliandis have created a discreet complex of low stone cubes with living roofs and glass windbreaks linked by winding paths, that blend well with the scenery. Set on a steep hillside, views of the bay are breathtaking, but it's a buggy ride (or steep walk) to the villas and restaurant near the top. The spa (shared with Eagles Palace) has a sauna, hammam, rhassoul chamber (mud baths), a salt room and a small indoor pool. There are 42 one, two or three-bedroom villas clustered on a hillside, each with a plunge pool. Lofos restaurant at the top of the resort has the best sea views. Read expert review From £316per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best beach hotels in Greece PORTUGAL The Azores WhiteLagoa, The Azores, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating The 10 suites and striking outdoor terraces at this contemporary boutique hotel have unhindered ocean views and exude a relaxed, barefoot style of luxury. The hotel is situated in an unbeatable cliff-top location in the village of Lagoa on the Azores’ main island of Sao Miguel, a 15-minute drive from the island’s airport and the capital of Ponte Delgada. True to its name, everything from the whitewashed walls and polished concrete floors to the stone terraces surrounding the pool are brilliant white, warmed by raw wood furniture and tactile fabrics such as wool and linen. The terraces that run the length of the hotel are spectacular, whether for early-morning yoga to the sound of the waves or a cocktail by the fire pit while you watch the sunset. You can hire the hotel’s nine-metre chauffeured motor launch to explore neighbouring islands, go scuba diving or swimming in a secluded cove. Read expert review From £174per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in The Azores Algarve Companhia das CulturasCastro Marim, Algarve, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating Situated on a farm on the edge of a small village in the far east of the Algarve, the location is bucolic, peaceful and far removed from traditional images of the region. The nearest beach is just under a mile away. Although all the rooms and public spaces have been adapted from former farm buildings, the style is not rural. Instead, there’s a simple, contemporary design ethos with polished concrete floors, whitewashed walls, mid-century furniture and muted colour palette. Alongside a large steam room, beautifully lit through tiny windows in the high ceiling, there’s an excellent masseuse who tailors treatments to your needs, plus an egg-shaped marble hammam. The welcoming and informed hosts offer guided walks through the farm and are passionate about local food and produce. The hotel has nine rooms and four self-catering apartments. Read expert review From £80per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Vila JoyaAlbufeira, Algarve, Portugal 9Telegraph expert rating Vila Joya has the feel of a private villa and decoration follows suit, with antique furnishings and plenty of places to curl up and read. Outside, the lush gardens, filled with palms and bougainvillea, lead to the beach. The spa is superb, with Ayurvedic treatments, a steam room, hot tub and two outdoor swimming pools. Rooms vary in size and facilities. Some have a private pool or a private hot tub on the terrace. Junior suites spill out onto the garden; royal suites have a spacious sitting area with a log fire. The hotel is home to a two Michelin-starred restaurant (one of the best in Portugal): Austrian chef Dieter Koschina serves tasting menus that draws on his Central European background. Read expert review From £281per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in the Algarve Cascais Farol HotelCascais, Lisbon, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating Like much of chic Cascais, this private villa was built in the 19th century as a summer escape by an aristocrat seeking the ocean breeze. It stands on the water’s edge, its bright white walls housing a dazzling array of bespoke rooms created by Portuguese and international fashion designers. There are cosy attic rooms and suites which have floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean; several also have balconies. If you book the Penthouse Suite, you will be allocated a butler and a personal chef. There is yoga in the mornings and massages available. There's also a saltwater swimming pool between the hotel and the sea, water sport facilities nearby and hotel-organised dolphin cruises. There are two excellent dining options: The Mix serves Mediterranean dishes, while at Sushi Design, on a terrace overlooking the ocean, expect gyosas and ceviche, niguiri and hosomaki, sushi and sahsimi. Read expert review From £147per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Cascais Alentejo Sublime ComportaComporta, Alentejo, Portugal 8Telegraph expert rating South of Lisbon, in amongst the unspoilt sand dunes and rice fields of Comporta, lies Sublime. It’s a sleek boutique hotel filled with design-savvy details, and a breezy, welcoming atmosphere, surrounded by a 17-acre estate of Umbrella Pines and sand dunes, cork trees and wild flowers. It’s minutes away from the miles of empty, white-sand beaches and turquoise seas that make this one of Portugal’s most beautiful spots. Staff will help with restaurant bookings (try the fresh fish at Sal on a nearby beach) or riding lessons (a wonderful stables is five minutes away) across the dunes and through the foam of the sea. Otherwise, there is a spa with sauna, steam room, massage room and indoor pool. A wooden deck overlooks the outdoor pool. All 14 rooms spill out onto a private terrace and in the colder months there is a log fire. Read expert review From £160per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels in Alentejo CROATIA Dubrovnik Hotel ExcelsiorDubrovnik, Croatia 8Telegraph expert rating This historic five-star hotel is built into a hillside above the coast, overlooking the deep-blue sea and the islet of Lokrum, with with fantastic views of Dubrovnik's medieval walls rising from the water. It’s a pleasant 10-minute walk to the Old Town. Expect cool minimalist interiors, grey walls and retro-chic furnishings: sofas, armchairs and cushions in petrol-blue, misty-pink, olive-green or mustard-yellow, potted plants and artworks featuring Dubrovnik. Down by the sea, a stone terrace with sunbeds and parasols has steps into the water for swimming. The vast spa includes a big freeform pool and whirlpools, Roman bath, Finnish sauna and theme showers. With the sparkling blue Adriatic out front, you'd do well to upgrade to Deluxe, with a sea-view balcony. Suites get stunning views onto the sea, Dubrovnik and Lokrum. Read expert review From £123per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com Villa OrsulaDubrovnik, Croatia 9Telegraph expert rating Villa Orsula is situated in a terraced garden overlooking the Adriatic and the green islet of Lokrum, a 10-minute walk along the coast from Ploče Gate, the eastern entrance into Dubrovnik's Old Town. Built as a private residence, this 1930s Art Deco villa exudes good taste and refinement. In the lobby, three magnificent Moorish-inspired Art Deco stone arches set the mood. With just 13 rooms, it provides the sort of personalised service that only a small hotel can achieve – you'll be treated more as a dear friend than a guest. From the fragrant garden, steep stone steps lead down to a lovely bathing platform, with sun beds, beach towels and easy access into the sea. You also have the use of the outdoor pool and spa (with indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and treatment rooms) at the neighbouring Grand Villa Argentina. The best rooms are the ones with stone balconies and sublime sea views. Read expert review From £432per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com • The best hotels on the Croatian islands MONTENEGRO Aman Sveti StefanSveti Stefan, Montenegro 9Telegraph expert rating Effortlessly graceful and romantic, the fortified islet of Sveti Stefan rises from the deep blue Adriatic. Two completely separate and different properties are within the complex. There is the fortified island, with 50 rooms, suites and cottages in carefully renovated old-stone buildings (open summer-only); and Villa Miločer, a 1930s villa set in gardens with eight suites (open all-year). The Aman Spa, sitting in a secluded bay backed by pinewoods, has an indoor (sea-view) pool, and offers personalised health and beauty treatments, combining movement, relaxation, nutrition and custom-made products based on locally sourced wild herbs, olive oil and honey. There are three pink pebble beaches on the mainland, and two (small-ish) outdoor pools on the island. Read expert review From £605per night • The best hotels in Montenegro Contributions by Ros Belford, Annie Bennett, Kate Bolton-Porciatti, Ondine Cohane, Jade Conroy, Kiki Deere, Jane Foster, Heidi Fuller-Love, Jan Fuscoe, Lisa Gerard-Sharp, Rachel Howard, Jessica Knipe, James Litson, Trish Lorenz, Mary Lussiana, Lee Marshall, Anna Nicholas, Isabella Noble, James Palmer, Tristan Rutherford, Amanda Statham, Nicky Swallow, Rebecca Tay and Nicola Williams.