As you know, we like to get out and about here at Celtic Castles. It so happens that my most recent castle trip coincided with my birthday and a visit to the North East, so my family came along for the ride.
We set off on our journey to Lumley Castle in Chester Le Street, just under a 2 hour drive from the Celtic Castles Head Office in Halifax. "Are we nearly there yet?" asks Jasmine from the back of the car. "Not long now,," I say as I spot the Angel of the North in the distance. As we got closer, we spotted Lumley to the left; it looks wonderful in the distance.
I'm not sure who is more excited, Jasmine or me. I've visited Lumley Castle before but never stayed, so I am really looking forward to the experience. Nathan (aged 17 months) on the other-hand has no idea where we are or where we are headed! Jasmine the little adventurer that she is, is on about her 14th castle stay, Nathan is just about to embark on his first. When travelling with little ones, especially when representing the company and need to retain a professional air (I say with banana squished in to my shoulder!) you always wonder whether they will try to draw on the furniture or shout something inappropriate at the wrong time! I like to think of my children as well behaved, but you know the saying...'kids will be kids'! Luckily Lumley Castle is a great child-friendly property, evident from the moment we are greeted by Sharon at Reception.
After check-in, we are shown to our room by the porter (poor thing - we don't pack light, even for a night!). As there is no lift, the porter takes our case up to our room. Lumley Castle is like a maze, I did wonder if we would ever find our way back to Reception! Lumley, however, have thought of everything and there are plenty of signs to guide you back.
After settling in to our room, my family surprise me with dinner in the Black Knight Restaurant. As we headed down there, Jasmine wanted to pose for photographs by all of the knight statues. She particularly enjoyed the Heads Corridor.
The staff were great with the children, and there was plenty of choice. I opted for the Garlic Chicken, whilst my partner opted for the Vegetarian Mushroom Roulade dish. Both tasted delicious. As it was my birthday meal, it would of been rude to not take dessert, so I chose the Sticky Toffee Pudding to finish. Jasmine and Nathan enjoyed sitting on the throne chairs, great for playing 'Princesses and Princes'.
Back in our Castle Feature Room, Jasmine makes herself comfy on the grand Four-Poster bed, whilst Nathan took a liking to the bathroom (boys will be boys!).
The room is all set with an extra bed for Jasmine and a travel cot for Nathan. After settling the children in to bed, Naomi and I hear music outside, so look out of the window in time to see the fireworks taking place for a wedding couple. The colours light up the sky, and it is easy to see why Lumley is such a spectacular choice for a wedding.
Now I love castles and castle stays for many reasons, and one such reason is the heavy curtains covering the windows. True to previous castle stays the kids stay in bed until 8am, a rarity at home, so that in itself is a success!
Heading down to breakfast, we head through Heads Corridor, and Jasmine stops to look at the model castle replica. There is plenty of choice for breakfast with cereals, pastries, yoghurts, cheeses and a selection of juices. There is also a menu to choose a hearty cooked breakfast, along with tea, coffee and toast. Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I could eat like a queen every day!
After breakfast we head back to the room; check out is not until 11am, so it gives you a little extra time to enjoy your room. We gather up our things and head back down to Reception. The North East folk are a friendly bunch, and as I chat with Sharon on Reception (who knows a thing or two about the castle, having been there 18 years) and Jane the Reservations Manager; it is easy to see why guests return to Lumley Castle.
I take a tour with Jane of the Medieval Banquet areas, one of the specialities of Lumley Castle. If you are looking for something different then a Medieval Night is a real treat for a special birthday, hen night, anniversary or just for a good old night out.
After looking around the castle (Jasmine wants more pictures, Nathan on the other-hand is too busy avoiding the camera!) we head back to the car. We really enjoyed our stay at Lumley. Our guests say they want to stay in a castle that looks like a castle, well, if you are looking for a castley castle stay then Lumley could be the one for you. The décor and the ambiance add to the castle feel and it really leaves you wanting to return.
As for Nathan, luckily all he drew on was his clothes, but that's what washing powder is for!
If there is one top tip thought that I can pass on to parents, it is not to exceed your child's expectations one day with a castle stay and then expect them to be ecstatic about staying in a leaking tent the night after!
Further options to stay in a castle in england