2. Astley Castle, Nuneaton, Warwickshire
Set in luxuriant Warwickshire countryside, this fortified manor lays claim to three English queens (including the ill-fated Lady Jane Grey, imprisoned in the Tower of London on the day she gained the title) and a vibrant history whirring back to the Saxon period, some of which it helped to mould. A long, narrow drive separates Astley Castle from the small village of Astley and the charming church of St Mary the Virgin.
Following a devastating fire in 1978, rather than leave its ruined walls to decay the Landmark Trust launched an ambitious architectural competition with a brief to sew the comforts and aesthetics of contemporary living into the ancient shell of the former castle. Witherford Watson Mann, the winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2013, did exactly this, melding an open-plan space with industrial lighting, new wooden floorboards emulating the originals, log burners and a cool kitchen into its crumbling structure.
An original moat still protects the Grade II-listed Astley (although its hollow oak tree failed to hide Lady Jane Grey’s father, Lord Grey, who was wrenched from its trunk and beheaded for treason in 1554). With this place’s potent history, it’s easy to imagine Tudors and Yorkist queens taking a turn about the lake, visiting the small church within the grounds and floating through the pleasure gardens.
Price: from £215 for a minimum of four nights
Address: Astley Castle, 1 Church Ln, Astley, Nuneaton CV10 7QN
While we have not stayed in the properties featured below, we have carefully selected these as recommendations based on their location, design and previous guest reviews. All listings on Condé Nast Traveller are independently selected by our editors. If you book something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.