Bed-and-breakfasts are quaint. Five-star hotels are luxe. But we want to stay somewhere that transports us to a certain time and place. So we were pretty pleased to learn about the Landmark Trust, a charity that rescues historic buildings and thoughtfully restores them to the their former glory (with modern updates, of course). Best of all, a bunch of these beauts are available to rent (for your royal wedding trip, maybe?). Here are five we have our eyes on.
5 Historic Properties (Including Castles) You Can Actually Rent in the U.K.
Cawood Castle In Cawood, North Yorkshire
For all you Henry VIII history buffs (or maybe you’re more of an Anne Boleyn fan?), you can actually sleep in the medieval residence where Cardinal Wolsey was dramatically arrested after falling out of Henry’s favor (jeez, that guy was tough to please). And once you get over the magnificent interior, feast your eyes on the panoramic views of Yorkshire from the roof and repeat to yourself: “Everything the light touches is our kingdom.”
The Banqueting House In Gibside, Newcastle Upon Tyne
You’ll have quite a view of the National Trust’s Gibside estate and Derwent Valley as you walk the castellated roofline of this 18th-century Gothic folly. Yep, you’ll absolutely have to channel your favorite Jane Austen character, don a bonnet and pack a picnic to enjoy on the lawn before you head back inside the elegant estate to warm up by the fire.
The Tower, Canons Ashby In Northamptonshire
The 16th-century home is charming as hell with its solid oak stairs, exposed beams and darling little kitchen. But it’s the gardens that take the cake here. And while you’ll have your own apartment (at the top of the tower) to yourself, the gardens are open to the public free of charge from February to October. So come ready to make friends.
Martello Tower In Aldeburgh, Suffolk
No, this isn’t a dungeon. But it was originally built as a quatrefoil to hold four heavy guns to help keep the Napoleon out of England. But the tower, constructed from nearly a million bricks, now comes in peace, offering one authentic seaside vacay. Even the canopy over the main living space is said to provide the “nautical resonance of sails.” Get on board.
Ford Cottage In Coombe, Morwenstow, Cornwall
Three words: idyllic hidden hamlet. Pack up those books you’ve been meaning to read and get ready to detach and relax in this 17th-century thatched-roofed cottage in a wooded valley in North Cornwall. With slate floors, a solid fuel stove and an old-school bathtub, this is basically a cottage fit for a Disney princess.