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Julie is one of the co-directors of Celtic Castles and is the definition of "castle expert". In this month's installment of our series of interviews with the Celtic Castles team, we hear Julie's thoughts.

Who are you, and what do you do here at Celtic Castles?

Hi, I'm Julie and I look after anything to do with people and finance at Celtic Castles, plus organise the day-to-day running of the office.


What's your favourite castle and why?

I've been very privileged to stay in lots of castles over the years and so have several favourites for many different reasons, however if I were to pick just one, it would probably be Castle Law on the west coast of Scotland. We went to stay there as a family a number of years go to celebrate a special birthday of mine... sadly not my 21st! The celebrations lasted the full week, with friends and family popping in and out, each staying a night or two, and all being wowed by the authentic castle experience offered at Law. My Grandma, in her 80s at the time (see above!), joined us on the trip. She genuinely felt like a 'queen' for the whole week and still talks about it to this day!


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I love snow, and I love Christmas; it brings families and friends together. 

Imagine... what could be more beautiful than a majestic castle, covered in snow, with acres of untouched snow just waiting for the disturbance of crunchy footsteps? 

That blanket of snow stretches as far as the eye can see, anticipating the echo of children's laughter, while they tumble over themselves in their rush to build the snowman complete with coal and a scarf and a hastily borrowed hat!

Inside, snuggled up around a roaring fire, adults listening to the calls from the children to join in the fun, escape into the warmth of a castle drawing room while sipping a welcome malt with a home-baked mince pie!


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Swinton Park is located in the heart of Yorkshire and is surrounded by the family estate in which guests have access to rivers, reservoirs, moorland, dales and beautiful countryside bordering the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Whilst steeped in history and tradition, the atmosphere at Swinton Park is one of warmth and hospitality, and guests cannot fail but to feel at home in this castle.

The best Valentine's Day you could ask for:

At Swinton Park, love is always in the air, so it's no surprise that we are already promoting next year's Valentine's Break.


Swinton Parks 2015 Valentines Package:


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Cringletie House is a former Scottish Baronial Castle. It is located near Peebles, and only 30 minutes south of Edinburgh.

In addition to the twelve beautiful bedrooms, there is also a beautiful new cottage called "The Ardean Spa Cottage", which can accommodate up to six people.

As beautiful and relaxing as Cringletie is, one of the focal points of the castle, is the special attention given to the disabled access infrastructures, and especially their disabled access room - the Traquair Room.

 

Cringletie House has been made completely accessible for wheelchair users, and it includes a range of disabled facilities quite exceptional for a historic building. The design brief was to give people with disabilities full access to all facilities. The new car park and ramp allow wheelchair users full access to the house. The chairlift is located at the entrance to the ground floor of the house. All facilities are designed for use by guests, and staff are, of course, on-hand to assist if necessary.


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The season of summer may be coming to an end, but who’s to say that the holiday season has to end too? Now the roads are less busy as the children are back at school, why don’t you treat yourself to a post-summer castle tour?

We have so many tours on offer. Explore the UK in depth with the ‘Wales, England and Scotland Tour’ or perhaps you want to get a feel for Ireland with the ‘Taste of Ireland Tour’. If a city break is what you’re after, why not try the ‘London to Edinburgh Historic Cities Tour’ and explore some of the UK’s most interesting cities. Alternatively, you could see a part of Scotland you may never have seen before with the ‘West Coast of Scotland Tour’; there is no better way to see this fantastic country! 


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Having slept in hundreds of castles, nothing has ever moved in the night for me, but saying that, I have heard some amazing stories, sitting beside large, open fires, from people who have and continue to experience these spooky events regularly. At breakfast the next morning we then hear who hadn't slept as their imagination got the better of them. 'Oh, was that a bump I heard?'

Lumley Castle is supposedly haunted by the spirit of a 14th century lady of the manor, Lily Lumley. The story goes... she was murdered by two priests after she refused to follow the Catholic faith and was thrown down a well in the castle grounds. She continues to haunt the castle to this day, wandering the corridors and rooms, spooking guests and staff alike.


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It is All Hallows’ Eve at Coombe Abbey. On the 31st of October, a witch is brought to trial… ghostly characters are conjured up. This is a banquet where anything could happen. Enjoy a night of haunted fun, which includes:

  • A four-course feast

  • Three goblets of red wine

  • Three beakers of mead

  • Disco until 12.30am

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It is hosted at the Abbeygate, which is located next to the main hotel. Arrival is at 7.00pm and dinner commences at 7.45pm. The bar is open until midnight and the spooky disco goes on to 12.30am.


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Langley Castle is fantastic – there's no denying that. Whether it be for a romantic overnight stay, wedding or coporate event, Langley Castle has it all. But don't just take my word for it. 

I spoke to Anton Philips, General Manager at Langley Castle about his thoughts and memories about the castle, and great reasons why Langley should be the next castle you stay in.


What is your role at the castle, and how long have you worked at Langley?

I am the General Manager of the castle, and have worked here for 23 years.


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Thornbury Castle resonates with history. But step behind the heavy oak doors and you'll find a magnificent hotel with roaring fires, delicious modern cuisine and sumptuous bedchambers. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn once walked the castle's rooms and grounds. Today, the 500 year-old castle with its beautiful oriel windows, Tudor hall and historic parkland is a place of tranquility.

Thornbury Castles Wonderful Wedding Offer

Thornbury Castle is a Tudor castle offering the perfect luxurious retreat – combining 500-year-old architecture with sumptuous facilities and a picture perfect venue for your Big Day. 

And for those looking to celebrate their wedding in these stunning surroundings then there's a fantastic price to take advantage of:


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This exceptional sixteenth century Scottish Castle has been lovingly renovated to accommodate up to ten overnight guests in authentic, relaxing and comfortable surroundings. Whether you are looking for peace, calm and to be left alone to enjoy your stay and surroundings or wish to be spoilt with fine food and drink, the discreet, efficient and friendly staff of Aikwood Tower will meet your every need.

The castle sleeps 10 guests in 5 Double Rooms, 1 of which can be made into a Twin Room.



The following September dates are discounted to the below prices:

Monday 8th September – Monday 15th September 2014
Friday 19th September – Monday 22nd September 2014

Weekend breaks are reduced from £2650 to £2120.
Week breaks are reduced from £3150 to £2520.

This means 10 people can stay for a week at £36 per person per night.

Book now to avoid disappointment!




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