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Lumley Castle, Chester-le-Street, County Durham
This is a real medieval castle with towers, battlements, courtyards, feet-thick walls and narrow passageways. Overlooking the River Wear, near Durham, it oozes atmosphere. Public rooms are packed with fireplaces, candelabras, tapestries, lashings of red velvet curtains and vaulted ceilings. The courtyard rooms in the converted stabling and mews cottages have a medieval theme in their décor, whereas the castle rooms spoil their occupants with four-poster beds and deep-set windows. The vaulted, candle-lit dining room serves a traditional British menu, and there's afternoon tea in the library bar. Elizabethan banquets and Murder Mystery weekends are popular. It's also a perfect spot for cricket-lovers as it overlooks the international Durham County Cricket ground.
Both Durham and Newcastle are a ten-minute train ride which means you can enjoy their shops, culture and attractions and then return to your country hotel.
Lumley Castle is in countryside near the classic market town of Chester-le-Street, whose roots go back to Roman times.
By car: around 5 hours from London or 2 hours 30 minutes from Manchester. Free parking on-site.
By train: London Kings Cross to Chester-le-Street takes 3 hours. The hotel is 5 minutes from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
Anyone who dreams of living in a castle or who appreciates the quirkiness of historic buildings will love it here. It's wonderfully atmospheric - we manage to get lost on more than one occasion which adds to our childish excitement.
Service & Facilities
The inner courtyard is often ignored by other guests but is a quiet spot to relax and a sun-trap if the weather is kind.
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
Dogs are allowed in some of the outside rooms and in the reception area only.
Not all castle rooms are in the top category, so you can still get the castle experience for a reasonable price. We loved that one of the castle state rooms has a bathroom hidden behind a secret door!
Castle State, Courtyard State, Courtyard Classic, Castle Superior, Courtyard Superior, King James Suite, Bishop Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, hairdryer, Nespresso machine, bottled water, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
The vaulted Knight's Restaurant is wonderfully atmospheric with its stone pillars, soft candles and tables tucked in alcoves or on a private dais. The vaulted Knight's Restaurant is wonderfully atmospheric with its stone pillars, soft candles and tables tucked in alcoves or on a private dais.
Knights Restaurant: British fine dining, grand setting, formal atmosphere. Open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Mains from £14.50.
Library Bar: lighter meals and sharing platters, seasonal dishes. Open for lunch and dinner.