If you’re seeking privacy and safety, this spot, just 60 miles south west of London, is your place. Not only is there a 60-foot high curtain wall that wraps around the castle, but every night they raise the portcullis, effectively shutting out the rest of the world. But don’t worry about feeling lonely, you can commune with peacocks and alpacas who wander freely on the 900-year-old estate’s 12 acres.
Founded in 1228, Ashford Castle passed between the hands of several Irish families for centuries before being turned into a hotel in 1936. Since then, it’s become a top European resort, boasting amenities like a luxurious screening room and old-school billiard room. Not to mention, the 350-acre property features a golf course, as well as room to take up clay shooting and archery.
CHATEAU DE CASTEL NOVEL
Before being transformed into a hotel and restaurant in 1956, Castel Novel’s roots date back to the 13th and 15th centuries, when it belonged to some of the region’s most prominent families, including journalist and politician Henri De Jouvenel and his famous novelist wife Colette, who penned some of her works from the castle. Today, you can eat dishes dreamed up by Michelan-star winning chef Nicolas Soulie, golf, swim in an outdoor pool, among other activities.
CASTELLO DI RIPA D’ORCIA
Elevate your wine-tasting experience. Castello Di Ripa D’Orcia is the perfect home base if you’re interested in exploring the history, scenery and—most importantly—delicious bounty of Italy’s Tuscany region. The medieval castle is on an estate that’s been known for producing delicious wine and extra-virgin olive oil for centuries.
You and up to 15 of your closest friends should have no problem making this nine-bedroom family-owned Irish castle feel like home. Between the antique chandeliers and vaulted ceilings, you may feel that you’ve been transported back to the early 19th century. However, modern amenities should keep you plenty comfortable. The cherry on top: The gorgeous rural setting is a mere two hours from the airport, and will give you plenty of ways to stay busy, with nearby activities like golf and horse racing.
CHATEAU DE CHALLAIN
If you want the royal treatment, look no further than this Loire Valley gem. Its whopping 13 bedrooms offer ample room for up to 35 people and are outfitted with little luxuries, like robes and slippers, to make your stay extra special. Whether you’d rather curl up with a glass of wine by the roaring fire in the building’s original kitchen, or sip it on the veranda overlooking the gardens, you’ll have no problem feeling like a king.
SCHLOSS KAPFENSTEIN WINKLER-HERMADEN
How cool is this: This castle was built on top of an extinct volcanic cone and has been around since the 11th century. The cozy abode has only 15 guest rooms and offers easy access to nearby historical sites, hiking trails, spas and restaurants.