The Big Six: British castle stays

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Roch Castle, Wales

A beautifully restored Norman castle high above Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. Refurbished as a five-star holiday let, it has six modern rooms encased within the heavy walls. Views are of the Irish Sea, St David's peninsula or wild Welsh countryside. The House Manager is on hand for breakfast, the larder is stocked, and a private chef is ready to rustle up a special evening meal.

Roch Castle, Roch, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales SA62 6AQ (01422 323200; Weekly rental from £4,000, including breakfast. Sleeps 12.

Stonefield Castle Hotel, Scotland

One of Scotland's loveliest lochs is the setting for Stonefield Castle. This 19th-century baronial manor stands on the Kintyre peninsula, with spectacular views of Loch Fyne and acres of private woodland. A spot for bracing walks around the West Coast, rounded off with warming whisky and plates of local smoked salmon and oysters. By night, sequester yourself amid wood-panelled walls and period furnishings.

Stonefield Castle Hotel, Tarbert, Loch Fyne, Argyll, Scotland PA29 6YJ (01880 820836; Doubles from £190, B&B.

Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire

Play lord of the fortified manor at this Tudor castle on the fringes of the Cotswolds. Built in the early 16th century, it has welcomed Henry VIII (who had Thornbury's architect, also a distant cousin, executed) and Queen Mary, who lived here for several years. Now part of the Luxury Family Hotels portfolio, its impressive original features – coats of arms, carved ceilings and an on-site vineyard – are available for everyone to enjoy.

Thornbury Castle, Castle Street, Thornbury, Gloucestershire BS35 1HH (01454 281182; Doubles from €190, including breakfast.

Haldon Belvedere, Devon

Haldon Belvedere is a Grade II-listed triangular tower, also known as Lawrence Castle, in the heart of the Devon countryside. It was built in 1788, and renovated by the Devon Historic Buildings Trust in 1994 to include a top-floor apartment that makes the perfect romantic hideaway. Exeter is to the east, Dartmoor to the west, while Torquay and the beaches of South Hams are due south.

Haldon Belvedere, Higher Ashton, near Dunchideock, Devon EX6 7QY (01392 833846; haldonbelvedere. Three-night rental from £325, self catering. Sleeps two.

Hazlewood Castle, Yorkshire

Hazlewood's halls have a history that stretches back centuries. The former monastery was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 and it's claimed a priest haunts the Tansy bedroom. Converted in 1997, it offers cosy, traditional rooms. Events throughout the year include Jazz Sunday lunches and champagne brunches ahead of horse race meetings at York and Wetherby.

Hazlewood Castle, Paradise Lane, Hazlewood, near Tadcaster, North Yorkshire LS24 9NJ (0808 1787666; Doubles start at £160, including breakfast.

Beauchamp Castle, Worcestershire

Lavish rooms set the scene at Beauchamp Castle, on the banks of the River Severn. Dodge the stuffed bear on the stairs to reach rich suites bedecked with suits of armour, coats of arms, rich red carpets and well-stocked bookshelves. The grounds are more sedate, with manicured lawns, a flagstone terrace and tennis courts. Worcester, Droitwich Spa and Kidderminster are a short drive, along with gentle walks in the Malvern Hills.

Beauchamp Castle, near Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire (0845 389 9582; Weekly rental from £6,714, self catering. Sleeps 16.

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