First Kate and then Meghan gave us commoners hope that our dreams of a princess, HRH or Duchess title could be in the future. But for those who have already found their prince charming (even if the “prince” part isn’t quite official) there’s another option: honeymoon in a castle. Yes, many of these hallowed structures are still part of royal families’ collections of homes, or are perhaps only open for tours (see Windsor Castle). But many others are actually now hotels where it’s very possible to live out your noblest fantasies of aristocratic life with your true love. Book one or castle hop to a few—many are in drive-friendly locations in the UK. Here, a few illustrious options to get your queenly juices flowing.
Chateau de Fére, France
Its history is rich: A fortified 13th-century castle fell to ruins in the 17th century, then was fully restored in 1863 and became the first castle in Champagne to be converted to a hotel after World War II. Seventy hectares of woodland provide plenty of protection and beauty, with an ancient bridge spanning the moat. Antique furniture and artwork decorate rooms with wood floors, exposed beam and old stone. Its location also ensures you’ll drink only the best vino—in keeping with the royal theme—from the hotel’s own wine cellar.
Crossbasket Castle, Scotland
The tower of Crossbasket was erected in the early 15th century but was totally rundown by the time a husband-and-wife team bought it and invested millions into making it a magnificently luxurious nine-room hotel. Each bedroom has period window and bed dressings, with antique furniture and appealing oversized beds. Expect no less than awe-inspiring elsewhere, too, like at the Albert & Michel Roux Jnr Restaurant, where an award-winning chef devises captivating dishes in an embellished room accented with gold leaf.
Kokkedal Castle Copenhagen, Denmark
You might not know Denmark even had castles, but in fact this one, built in the mid-18th century, is a prime example. Instead of feeling cold or dark like one imagines a castle could be, it feels like an elegant country house with modern conveniences, and is styled with Bohemian crystal chandeliers, gilded mirrors and gorgeous fabrics. Forty-five guest rooms reflect the parkland outside, where an 18-hole golf course, beaches, art galleries and fishing villages are at your disposal—when not dining in the original vaulted-ceiling cellar, that is.
Adare Manor, Ireland
Nowhere does castle life seem more charming than in Ireland. After incredibly extensive renovations, the 19th-century castle Adare Manor in County Limerick recently reopened, giving couples of every persuasion ample fuel for their interests—from foodies and golfers to adventurers and spagoers. The rooms are glamorous and cozy, but there’s plenty of aristocratic-style activities to pursue the 842-acre grounds surrounding, including clay shooting, fishing on the famous River Maigue and falconry.
Chateau d’Ouchy, Switzerland
Originally built as a neo-Gothic castle and transformed into a hotel in the late 1800s, Chateau d’Ouchy is a picture-perfect example of a fairytale vacation. Fifty rooms and suites have many original period features but are totally comfortable—and stylish—by today’s standards, too. From the outside, turrets and a decorative roof stand out on the banks of Lake Geneva in Lausanne, and the medieval tower offers the most impressive 360 view thanks to windows on all sides, so you can wake up truly feeling like a queen and king.
Belhurst Castle, New York
Yes, there are castles in America! Built in the 19th century on the shores of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes of central New York, this is the surest way to capture the romance of a royal estate without the long flight. For the most authentic experience opt to sleep in the chambers in the castle. Along with a spa and pair of restaurants there’s also an award-winning winery on property, and bonus: those staying in the chambers can access a complimentary wine spigot in the lobby!
Ashford Castle, Ireland
A favorite honeymoon destination of the Scott Dunn experts, this 13th-century castle retains elements of its original structure alongside an amalgam of architecture added over the centuries, like French-style chateau sections and Victorian additions. The result is spectacular in design and five-star service, which guests have been soaking up since 1939. Talk about history.
Ackergill Tower Hotel, Scotland
Dating to the 15th century, this Scottish castle is breathtaking in more ways than one. It’s set on a seven-mile private beach in the Highlands so you get a castle and sandy beach, like having your cake and eating it, too! Additionally there are rooms within the castle but also seaview cottages and even a verdant treehouse. Midnight beach bonfires, kayaking, culinary demonstrations, off-roading and whisky tasting make it the kind of honeymoon you’ll never want to leave.
Lough Eske Castle, Ireland
Donegal’s only five-star castle goes back centuries, all the way to the 1400s when it was home to the O’Donnell Clan who founded the destination. Far from stuffy or buttoned-up, this castle is where you’ll want to cuddle up with your honey in front of the roaring fire in the Green Drawing Room over afternoon tea after a walk around the reflective water of Lough Eske. There’s also a spa boasting an ice fountain, sauna, steam room and infinity pool where you’ll forget all the stress of wedding planning.
Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa, Scotland
There’s no chance newlyweds won’t feel special when their honeymoon takes them to this castle in the heart of Highland Perthshire, where boat trips and safaris await. There are rose petal turndowns and strawberries with Champagne in the 42 uniquely designed rooms. To truly embrace the princess vibes, book the Castle Penthouse, with its vaulted ceilings and enchanting seven-foot bed.