Great castle vacations at B&Bs

The towering presence of a castle often evokes memories of childhood bedtime stories and their happy endings, as well as images of kings and queens and their life at court. Although it’s likely that you’ll never own your own castle, it is possible for you to rent a room in one. Travel back in time by planning a stay at a castle bed and breakfast, where all of your fairytale dreams are sure to come true.

B&B Loire Valley, Castle (Château) Hérissaudière

Pernay, France

B&B Loire Valley, Castle (Chateau) Herissaudiere

Owned and operated by Claudine Detilleux, this 17th-century castle is located in the heart of the Loire Valley and less than an hour away from Paris by TGV, France’s high-speed train. The bed and breakfast has five rooms, including three suites, which are decorated in classical French style and showcase a thoughtful mix of antique and Art Deco pieces. With unobstructed views of the grounds, you can admire the property’s immense sequoia trees through the windows in your room before taking in breakfast on the shaded terrace surrounded by sweetly scented rose bushes. You’ll feast on a generous spread of fresh fruit, toast served with eight varieties of homemade jam, pastries, and cakes sweetened with honey that was made on the premises. Afterwards, you can relax with a book on one of the buttery leather sofas in the library, take a swim in the elegant heated pool, challenge a fellow guest to a tennis match, or go hiking on the trails along the Loire. With so many different available activities, you won’t have any trouble finding something to do to pass the time.

Cabo Sand Castle

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo Sand Castle

It’s not hard to understand why the Cabo Sand Castle was rated as the number-one bed and breakfast by Traveler Magazine. Under the direction of renowned Californian-Mexican architect Edward Giddings, this gated private home has been converted into a boutique bed and breakfast located just outside of downtown Cabo San Lucas. Giddings’ design draws inspiration from his heritage, combining the arches found in traditional Mayan architecture with the clean aesthetic you’d expect to see in California, realized through the property’s 15 glass doors. Situated on the Mexican Riviera, you’ll be mere minutes away from the white, sandy beaches of Los Cabos and will have easy access to the Sea of Cortez and the chartered fishing and sailing excursions based at the local marina. The castle’s richly decorated rooms, marble floors, and granite countertops add to the luxuriousness of the space, while the infinity pool, with its central swim-up table, provides the ultimate spot for relaxation.

Castello di Sismano

Umbria, Italy

Castello di Sismano

Perched on the rolling Umbrian hills of Italy’s romantic countryside, the Castle of Sismano is located in a small medieval town less than two hours north of Rome. Several of the buildings on the estate and within the town itself have been transformed to serve the needs of the bed and breakfast. The farmhouse has been divided into 11 suites highlighting traditional furnishings and modern bathrooms, while breakfast is served in what used to be the village bakery. For your evening meal, look no further than I Due Papi. This restaurant, situated in the former stables, belongs to the slow food movement and specializes in regional dishes such as grilled Chianina beefsteaks and local game cooked on the large fireplace in the dining room. You’ll find an outdoor saltwater pool in the middle of the garden at the foot of the castle. Soak in its relaxing waters and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, 600 hectares of which are designated as a game reserve where you can hunt, hike, and lose yourself in the tranquil act of bird-watching.

Castello Ripa d'Orcia

San Quirico d'Orcia, Italy

Castello Ripa d'Orcia

Over the course of its long history, the architecture of this 13th-century castle has survived virtually unchanged. The castle itself serves as the proprietor’s private residence, and fully renovated guest lodgings are contained within buildings located in the small surrounding village. The six double rooms, decorated with terracotta floors, raftered ceilings, and rustic furniture, are equipped with private bathrooms and showers. If something larger is needed, then you can stay in one of the property’s eight apartments, each with a spacious sitting area and kitchenette and room enough to sleep up to four people. Within recent years, the ancient cellar has been converted into a tasting room where you can sample the estate-produced wines and extra-virgin olive oil, and the small local restaurant serves up traditional Tuscan dishes. A pool and common living room with a wide selection of books and board games are available for guests, but if a daytrip is what you’re after, this bed and breakfast puts you within 30 miles of Siena, less than 15 miles from Montalcino’s Brunello wine cellars, and within ten miles of the famed cheese-making region of Pienza.

Château de Buffavent

Denice, France

Château de Buffavent

This small family-owned bed and breakfast is located in the southern Beaujolais region of France and dates back to the 16th century. Three guest rooms are located in the east wing of the castle and are decorated with antique furniture and wood floors. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom stocked with the essential toiletries and offers views of the garden from a private terrace. Run by Denis and Marie-Agnes Chilliet, the property also operates as a winery. Denis leads the way on all matters involving the 22 hectares of grapevines planted in different varieties, including Chardonnay and Pinot, and oversees production. Listen to him talk about his passion for wine while enjoying a tasting in the château’s cellar. For her part, Marie-Agnes prepares simple meals that highlight the ingredients obtained at the local markets. Take breakfast out on the terrace and admire the beauty of the chain of Alps off in the distance. When you’ve finished eating, relax in the comfortable living room with its large stone fireplace, period woodwork, and pieces of art ranging from the ancient to the contemporary.

Château de Goudourville

Valence d'Agen, France

Château de Goudourville

Built in the late 11th century overlooking the fertile Valley of the Garonne, the Château de Goudourville is situated between Bordeaux and Toulouse. Staying at this bed and breakfast will not only give you the chance to see what life was once like in this historic castle, but also give you the chance to experience that life through interactive workshops in medieval cuisine, arts, and sports. The themed bedrooms, some of which feature beautifully restored, 15th-century painted ceilings, have been completely renovated to include en suite bathrooms. Immerse yourself in nature by hiking along the trails that wind around the 20 hectares of land surrounding the castle or taking a dip in the large outdoor swimming pool. Sports enthusiasts, especially, will be thrilled by the variety of available activities, including playing tennis on the court located at the foot of the château, taking sailing lessons, going windsurfing or kayaking, or hitting the links at Golf Espalais, the nearby nine-hole golf course.

Château de Marsalès

Marsalès, France

Château de Marsalès

This 15th-century castle may be small, but it’s full of charm and authenticity. The bed and breakfast is located in the heart of the Périgold Noir region of France, which now forms the northern part of the Aquitaine. This area is rich in history and wildlife and will appeal to nature-lovers, while the local cuisine will cause the mouths of food enthusiasts to water. Here you’ll find famed products related to ducks and geese, particularly highly praised foie gras. The château’s guest rooms each have king-sized beds, while a larger suite is available for those traveling as a family or a group. Explore the nearby vineyards and the historic towns of Sarlat and Lascaux, both of which are within easy driving distance of the castle, and then come back to relax alongside the property’s private swimming pool. With wireless internet and a comfortable living room outfitted with a television, you’ll enjoy all the comforts of home when you stay here.

Château des Riffets

Bretteville sur Laize, France

Château des Riffets

This square-set château was rebuilt in the 19th century atop ruins left in the wake of William the Conqueror. Situated in the center of a vast landscaped park that borders on the edge of Swiss Normandy, the property features authentic details such as period ceilings, intricate tapestries, traditional furniture, and antique four-poster beds in all of the guest rooms. The castle also offers a taste of modernity with its spacious bedrooms and suites, all with private bathrooms, and an indoor swimming pool. Perhaps more importantly, though, this bed and breakfast allows you to learn more about the historical significance of the area with its close proximity to the beaches of Normandy and the internationally known Caen-Normandy Mémorial Centre for History and Peace. This museum is dedicated to recounting the dark period of World War II and to demonstrating the lasting impact the war has had on northern France. Those who prefer the outdoors can visit the nearby facilities offering horseback riding, golf, canoeing, and, for the more adventurous, rock climbing, mountain biking, and hang gliding.

Leeds Castle

Maidstone, England

Leeds Castle

Located in 500 acres of Kent parkland, also known as the Garden of England, this castle is an hour outside of London and within easy reach of the historic towns of Canterbury and Chatham. This bed and breakfast is ideal for every type of traveler, from the solo business traveler to the couple looking for a romantic retreat to the family in need of a bit more space. The estate has five themed accommodations, such as the 16th-century five-bedroom Maiden’s Tower, decorated with a mix of period furniture and contemporary accents. In the Stable Courtyard Bedrooms, you’ll find rooms fully refurbished with modern-day conveniences. Those looking to “escape to the countryside for a glamorous camping holiday” can rent one of the eight tents arranged in a quaint little village in the castle’s vineyard. These traditionally-colored striped tents are based on a medieval design and each is equipped with a luxurious four-poster bed, a wood-burning stove, and cozy fur throws. You can even cook your own food in a cast-iron griddle over a large open fire pit just as the knights of the day would have done right before battle.

Les Douves

Onzain, France

Les Douves

In the heart of the Loire Valley, you’ll find a property that fits the image of a quintessential medieval castle, complete with imposing stone towers, beautifully landscaped gardens, and sweeping grounds. Separated from the stream of Cissereau by garden walls, the castle even has a working moat that is guarded by two dogs, Willow and Weston. Ornamental figures shaped like ducks, herons, moorhens, and swans give the moat a whimsical character, and you can examine them more closely by employing the boat available for guests’ use. The main house of the castle, as well as the home of the owner’s family, sits on the central island that’s accessed by either a stone bridge or a wooden one. On the first floor of the historic wing of the building is a large suite of four rooms with a private terrace, while an independent guest suite is located in the renovated annex on the western end of the property. Take a stroll around the grounds to fully appreciate their beauty and see if you can find the ruins of the former main chapel hidden in the fields.

Ravenwood Castle

New Plymouth, OH

Ravenwood Castle

Styled after a 12th-century Norman castle, Ravenwood Castle is tucked away in the scenic wooded hills of southwestern Ohio. Along with innkeepers Steve and Amanda Waldron, owners Jim and Pam Reed have created a fairytale atmosphere that will make you feel as if you’re living in a land of make-believe. All of the accommodations are named after storybook characters and locations, such as the Duke’s Dungeon, decorated with faux-stone walls on the castle’s lower level, and the King Arthur Suite, with its reproduction 15th-century king-sized bed, whirlpool, and balcony overlooking the gardens. Other quirkily named lodgings include the Woodcutter’s Cottage, The Clock Tower, and the Gypsy King’s Wagon. After spending the day exploring the cliffs and gorges and hiking trails of the surrounding Hocking Hills, you can even return to the castle’s Raven’s Roost Pub to unwind with a pint. Whether meant as a romantic trip for two or as a unique vacation for family and friends, your stay at Ravenwood Castle will undoubtedly be one to remember.

Robert Burns Guest House at Craigalon House

Edinburgh, Scotland

Robert Burns Guest House at Craigalon House

Built by the Lord of Abercorn in the late 1700s and named after the famous Scottish poet and lyricist, the Robert Burns Guest House is a family-run bed and breakfast located on the main bus route into Edinburgh, only 30 minutes away from the center of the culturally rich capital city. Free parking is available for guests who arrive by car rather than by bus. Spacious and modestly appointed, each of the 15 bedrooms is equipped with a television, wireless internet access, and in-room tea and coffee. Start your day with either a complimentary full English or continental breakfast in the traditionally furnished dining room and then head down to nearby Portobello Beach to walk along the picturesque promenade stretching three miles along the Firth of Forth’s southern shore. The property also has a fully licensed bar and restaurant on-site, so you can feast on traditional Scottish cuisine prepared by Chef Kevin Gilroy before turning in for the night. You’ll also be within easy access to some of the finest golf courses in the world, so don’t forget to pack your clubs.

Thornewood Castle Inn & Gardens

Lakewood, WA

Thornewood Castle Inn & Gardens

Cinema buffs may recognize this property as the haunted mansion in Stephen King’s ABC television mini-series Rose Red or from its use in the Academy Award-nominated film There Will Be Blood. As one of the few private castles in the United States, this luxury inn is located on the shore of American Lake in Lakewood, Washington. It was designed by famous architect Kirtland Kelsey Cutter for Chester Thorne, one the founders of the Port of Tacoma, as a gift for his new wife Anna. Many of the materials used to construct the castle, including the hand-hewn oak staircase and medieval stained glass, were taken from an Elizabethan manor in England that Thorne had dismantled and shipped to Washington. With its 54 rooms, the castle is over 27,000 square feet in size and sits on more than four acres of land dotted with old-growth fir trees and a sunken English garden designed by John Charles Olmsted and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., the same duo who designed New York’s Central Park. The ten bed and breakfast suites are equipped with a king- or queen-sized bed and private bathrooms, and some of them include a Jacuzzi and wood-burning fireplace. Given the careful attention paid to its construction, the fact that Thornewood Castle is listed on the National Register of Historic Places is no real surprise.

Wing's Castle

Millbrook, NY

Wing's Castle

With majestic views that stretch from Storm King Mountain along the west bank of the Hudson River to the Catskill Mountains in Woodstock, Wing’s Castle is situated 75 miles north of New York City. This cozy, adults-only bed and breakfast was opened in 2011 by artist Peter Wing and his equally artistic wife Toni Ann. Because of its unique nature, HGTV featured this modern rendition of a 15th-century Norman castle on its television program Extreme Homes. The property was lovingly built over the course of 40 years, mostly from salvaged materials. The stones used to construct the towers now covered in ivy were taken from an old railroad bridge, a Baptist church, and a Masonic temple. The couple loves to collect novelties and antiques, and they incorporate their treasured findings into the castle’s highly eclectic décor. The castle has two secluded guest rooms, each with a private bathroom and a double bed topped with feather pillows. The bed and breakfast sits adjacent to the 130 acres of the Millbrook Vineyards and Winery, built on farmland that used to belong to Peter’s family, where you can sign up for guided tours and wine tastings. Castle vacations can be wine vacations, too!