Stay: Astley Castle

Warwickshire, England
08.03.2012 | by: Meghan

The Landmark Trust is a pretty amazing organization. It’s a preservation charity in the UK that rescues historic buildings at risk–including “follies,” castles, towers, cottages, and old mills–and turns them into holiday stays to help them survive. Sure, they’re already working with some pretty spectacular stock, but what I appreciate most is the creative approach they take with so many of the properties, blending the old with the new (and often bringing in artists and designers) in order to make it all work. Helen from Design Hunter sent over this newly renovated fortified manor called the Astley Castle (she attended the grand opening). Apparently, the history runs deep: the ancient moated site was entangled with the succession to the throne of England through Elizabeth Woodville (wife of Edward IV), Elizabeth of York (wife of Henry VII) and Lady Jane Grey during the 14th and 15th centuries–and it’s said to be the inspiration for Knebley in George Eliot’s Scenes of Clerical Life. During the second world war it was requisitioned for convalescing servicemen and it was later turned into a hotel before suffering fire damage in 1978 and falling into ruin.

After more than 30 years of abandonment and debate, The Landmark Trust worked with Witherford Watson Matts architecture firm to create a beautiful space that masterfully combines clean lines with crumbling brick. The detail that perhaps best exemplifies the aesthetic: looking out the huge windows of the super-slick modern kitchen, a crumbling interior courtyard formed by ruined spaces.

The Details
The four-bedroom manor sleeps eight. Price starts at $1,870 for a three-day weekend. No TV; gardens abound. Rent it at The Landmark Trust.


[Photos: by Design Hunter (all but second and fifth images) and courtesy of The Landmark Trust. Thanks, Helen!]


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