Visit, sleep and dine in Langley Castle Hotel, Northumberland

Langley castle

 

It goes without saying that a huge element of Britain’s tourism industry is due to the pull our sheer wealth of beautiful castles have on both national and international visitors. No doubt the renown of our current Royal Family adds to this appeal. The fact remains however, that as an island with such a tumultuous history, Britain has needed numerous castles to protect from many attempts at invasion and revolt.

These beauteous bastions clearly have provided more than just a practical function but continue to offer an insight into Britain’s past – standing firm as some of the most captivating visual art Europe has to offer. 

It also goes without saying that many visitors to these said castles would be content to limit their visit to a walking tour in a singular day out. A pedestrian trip does not always have to be the case. Langley Castle Hotel is a stunning example of a castle that offers all the draws of a regular castle yet allows overnight guests, and so a way to prolong your stay in some of the most breath-taking of environments. You can visit the breath-taking behemoth before retiring to one of many fine suites.

Langley Castle Hotel dates from the 14th Century (built in 1350 to be exact), and sits in the Northumbrian valley of South Tyne. The very fact the castle has been restored to its original state allows for a purely authentic experience.

You would therefore be hard pressed to find a better way to sit, sleep and submerge yourself amidst Britain’s still living annals of history when staying at Langley Castle Hotel. 

Not only do the 7 foot thick walls ensure optimal peace and escapism but the 10 acres of woodland the castle sits in makes paramount the fact that the castle is a world away from the ails of modernity – a maintained vestige of yesteryear, miles away from today’s hustle and bustle.

Langley castle lounge

As previously mentioned, Langley Castle has been restored to its former glory – a fairly common phenomenon. What is unusual however, is the sheer length of time the castle existed as a ruin. Langley castle was built in the middle of the 14th century by Sir Thomas de Lucy (a member of one of the largest Norman noble families) upon land that prior served as the seat in which the Barons of Tynedale sat in the 12th century (hence the name ‘South Tyne’. Despite the locality’s rich intertwining with noble activities, it stood barren for hundreds of  years when it was sacked and damaged by the forces of Henry IV in a campaign against the Baron Percy and Archbishop Scrope (whom appear in the eponymous ‘Henry IV’ plays by Shakespeare) in 1405.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that life was breathed back into the dilapidation when a local historian, the amusingly named Cadwallader Bates began the restoration project. Even in the event of his death in 1902, his wife Josephine continued the efforts of her husband’s life work – Josephine in fact rebuilt the castle’s original castle and devoted decades into the project before her death in 1933. She was buried alongside her husband in the castle grounds.

However, the fully restored Langley Castle Hotel we see today was still far from a reality. Rather poetically, the building was brought to action during wartime (in a manner echoing the circumstances of its original destruction centuries beforehand) and was used as military barracks during the Second World War. It has had further use as a girls’ school and its final incarnation in its long and gritty history is the luxury hotel that is standing today.

Langley castle suite

The accommodation facilities at Langley Castle are comprised of 27 guest rooms, each of which comes with its private facilities and a decor that is an elegant homage to the castle’s past without coming off as dated and old-fashioned. The rooms are ubiquitously high-tier, but come in three categories which decline in cost: the ‘feature castle’ rooms, the ‘deluxe castle’ rooms and the ‘castle view’ rooms. There are 5 feature castle rooms and as they’re arguably the most opulent, they boast furnishings such as ornate chandeliers, exposed stonework and grand window seating. Tradition meets modernity however, when noting the contemporary creature comforts of an en-suite sauna and spa baths.

That isn’t to say the ‘deluxe castle’ and the ‘castle rooms’ are unworthy however, each room is designed to compliment the design of a 14th century noble house, marrying the breath-taking setting with impeccable attention to detail. It must be noted however, that caste view rooms aren’t situated within the main castle but in a both a converted listed building and lodge.

Dining pavillion

(The private dining pavilion at Langley Castle Hotel)

Dining at the Langley Castle Hotel is a wonderful experience. This is not merely because you are dining in an enchantingly restored castle but because you are eating in one of Northumberland’s stand alone best restaurants. The restaurant in question is named Josephine’s and has been awarded two AA Rosettes for its fine-dining and cuisine. Josephine’s prides itself on a menu that is in keeping with the very best of local produce, including fish, livestock and game. The menu consists of  a mixture of national and continental dishes – albeit claims to prepare each dish with a decidedly ‘English twist’. What you’ll find frequent dishes cooked with the finest principles of French haute-cuisine but with a stamp of Britishness with the presence of regional ingredients and accompaniments such as haggis or cider cream.

The result is delectable – the meals are joyfully hearty but have an air of refinement contemporary fine dining requires. 

Particular favourites are dishes such as the chateaubriand of Hexhamshire beef, or the confit of lamb shoulder served with haggis bon-bons.

Although the cuisine is varied and undoubtedly a product of modern tastes, it is touches like the open log hearth and stained glass windows that make Josephine’s restaurant a delightful throw back to the middle ages – without the pestilence and lack of sanitation of course.

There is also the pavilion (featured in the photo) which provides its own private grill menu.

Truly, a stay at Langley Castle Hotel is a triumph in threefold: it is a stunning period castle which has been lovingly and accurately restored – its very walls are a memory of the aeons of history that it has seen.

It is also a beautiful hotel, with excellent service and impeccable furnishings. Finally, it acts as one of Northumberland’s finest restaurants with a menu that is just as a marriage between French and British cuisine as the décor is a marriage of the best of medieval and modern.