Ever wanted your very own castle for the day, weekend or even week? Well Walton Castle, a 17th century estate complete with turrets is available to hire!
Nestled in the north Somerset countryside overlooking the Severn Estuary, you’ll find Walton Castle. Originally built back in the 1600s it was later abandoned and became the haunt of grazing cattle until the challenge of restoring it was taken up in more recent years.
Now back to its former glory, (but with mod cons like electricity, central heating and a heated pool!) the castle is available for private hire, making it a wonderful option if you’re after an exclusive getaway with friends and family.
Emma and I recently headed over to Walton Castle to meet with Franco de la Croix-Vaubois, the castle’s managing director, for a tour of the grounds and a chat over a cuppa. After driving up a steep country lane the trees parted and we came face to face with the impressive façade of the castle, which looks over Clevedon Golf Club from the top of its hill. Walking through the main gates and into the grounds, we headed to the main octagonal keep, which sits in the centre of the castle, surrounded by eight outlying turrets.
Epic octagonal kitchen
Entering up a few stairs, the ground floor of the keep is an amazing kitchen area. At the centre lies a large circular table, with a chandelier hanging from above. The space feels welcoming and homely despite its size and I can imagine a family gathering or a group of friends having a wonderful time together making dinner or having a drink. Who wouldn’t want to cook on that Aga?
Here we met Franco, who talked us through the castle’s uses before giving us a tour. The castle is available for private hire and is currently used for weddings, corporate events and holiday lets. This is an area Franco is keen to expand, as he has a passion for bringing people together and he feels the castle is a wonderful place for friends and families to escape to and spend quality time together.
A private turret for a bedroom
Five of the outlying turrets are self-contained bedroom suits – all uniquely decorated with both modern and antique pieces picked out by Franco’s wife, an interior designer. With plush carpets, and inviting beds that you could happily sink into, it was hard to pick which was my favourite!
As well as great places to cook, eat and sleep, the castle also has its own dedicated games turret with bar, pool table, dartboard and foosball table and a 10m heating swimming pool and exercise area so you’re spoilt for entertainment choices too. And that’s not counting the opportunity to play lawn games like croquet or even have a go at archery!
From here Franco took us around the flour floors of the main keep, which includes an amazing master suite on the top floor, complete with roll-top tub in the bathroom and an amazing little balcony that offers panoramic views of the countryside and estuary – now that’s the kind of spot I’d like to have for my morning cup of tea!
We then headed down a floor to the lounge, which even has it’s own little library. You can imagine this place coming alive in the evenings when everyone comes together after their day of games or exploring Bath, Bristol or perhaps even Glastonbury, all easier reachable from the castle.
A passion for hospitality
Here Franco told us about how he ended up at Walton Castle and his big plans for it going forward. Franco’s career has always been focused on hospitality and he told us some great anecdotes from his time managing private yachts for the rich and famous. He even told us that one of his past clients was a Middle Eastern prince!
His clientele continues to be names you might recognise, as one of the castle’s most recent guests was Monsier Cartier himself – and if it’s good enough for him, I reckon it’s good enough for us!
Digital detoxes and relaxing retreats
Franco’s passionate about focusing on holiday lets at the hotel as he loves the idea of bringing everyone together, but alongside this he’s offering a growing number of experiences, which cover everything from cooking experiences with a private chef and digital detoxes and relaxation retreats through to weekend escapes with vintage car hire, so you can drive through the winding Somerset roads in a classic convertible with the wind blowing through your hair.
After chatting with Franco we felt pretty inspired and now reckon it’d be a great location for a blogger escape. So, who’d be up for joining us on a blogger’s weekend escape to a castle?!
Find out more about Walton Castle at http://waltoncastle.com/.