Zoë Perrett explains why you should book yourself a getaway at this real-life castle-turned-B&B hotel
Because it’s not a hotel
Sure, Augill Castle boasts brilliantly knowledgeable staff, fabulous breakfasts, and quirkily-decorated accommodation with great linen and brilliant bathrooms, but the vibe is deliberately and resolutely devoid of stuffy service and unnecessary fripperies that do little more than tick tripadvisor’s boxes. If you love the idea of staying somewhere where you feel more like a welcome house guest in a family home than just a pound of flesh filling a room for a night, Augill’s probably right up your alley. Owners Simon and Wendy Temple-Bennett know the approach is not for everyone, and that’s fine by them – and by Augill’s many, many fans.
Because your time is your own
Once you’re checked in (and settled in) to your room or castle cottage, you’re left to your own devices, with the entire castle at your disposal. Walkers can stroll the expansive grounds (and the abundant surrounding countryside), musicians might like to tinkle the ivories of the piano in the lounge, and keen tipplers will soon be working their way through the spirits stocked behind the self-service honesty bar. Augill Castle’s ‘anything goes’ attitude excludes only ‘hushed tones and false hotel formality’ – aside from that, it’s your stay and your rules.
Because the whole family is welcome
At Augill Castle, your little princes and princesses don’t have to be confined to their turrets while you pander to their every demand. Instead, they’re welcome to run amok and do their own thing while you do yours. When you decide you want ’em back, you might locate them hosting a battle in the miniature fort in the grounds, watching a film in the amply-stocked cinema room, or rocking an outfit plucked from the playroom’s extensive dressing up box.
Because it’s super-social (if you want it to be)
Of course you and your significant other could hole up in one of Augill’s 17 bedrooms for your entire stay and never have to be bothered by another human being, but to do so would be to miss the point entirely. Italian-style evening meals in the castle are convivial affairs where all guests eat the same food at the same table; all the castle’s main spaces are communal; and – unless you’re very insular indeed – it’s impossible to knock yourself up a bevvy at the aforementioned honesty bar without striking up a conversation with the fellow guest who’s doing the same less than a foot to your left.
Because it’s set in beautiful Cumbrian countryside
Even if the thought of walking the rolling landscape which surrounds Augill Castle fills you with antipathy, you’ve got to love looking at it. Happily, for armchair observers and those already lacing up their stout boots alike, Augill is a treat – boasting 20 acres of its own grounds; ideally located for extensive explorations; and home to rooms which overlook the dual delights of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lakeland Fells.
Because you need to see it for yourself
Some might perceive a degree of arrogance from a venue which purports to be ‘a place like no other’, but where Augill Castle is concerned, it’s just a true fact. If any of the above has piqued even the fleetingest hint of your interest, you need to check in and check it out for yourself. I doubt the first time will be the last time you do so.
Make it real
Where: Augill Castle, Leacetts Lane, South Stainmore, Kirkby Stephen
Cumbria CA17 4DE
Find out more: To visit the website, click here