I’m so excited about renting a castle next November for NaNoWriMo.
I’ve been looking at castles for the past few years, here are my favorites.
I’ll be looking for something with 7 to 9 rooms. The tricky thing about castles are that some look great on the outside but are too modern on the inside.
I want both the outside and inside to look and feel like a castle. These are the best I could find.
This one is in Italy
Not as exciting but… near Pisa and Florence.
Pretty area, lots of rooms and spaces. Kind of digging it, for the privacy, and it has more bedrooms so we can invite more guests. France.
Leading favorite… because it looks authentic and a little spooky. France.
One more, kind of awesome
I can’t see what the outside of this one looks like, but inside is awesome. Amazing decoration – it’s in Germany.
This one has a lot going for it too… spacious, high ceilings, lots of room. France
—Save for another time—
I love this one but it’s probably too casual… I might use it sometime but for NaNoWrimo I want something visual stunning and impressive.
I love this one; the property is amazing, but the living quarters are very normal and plain. Quiet and quaint.
This one seems to be a pretty good mix of interior and exterior, though parts of it seem pretty bland compared to the others.
I’m not sure how I feel about this one but it’s different. Parts of it look comfortable.
Which do you like?
It will depend partly on cost and who else is sharing it, but I’d like feedback on which seems the most fun. Keep in mind it will probably be cold in November, so we might be inside a lot. I want somewhere I’ll be comfortable enough to get a lot of writing done; somewhere with lots of space so we won’t all be stuck in the same room; somewhere we can have dinner guests or throw a party.
Ideally there will also be at least one desk in every bedroom, but if there aren’t I could pick up a few at Ikea. There will need to be plugs/wifi, at least in central areas. If you have other considerations/worries, let me know and I’ll plan accordingly.
Frankfurt book fair
Since we’ll be in Europe next fall, I’m thinking of going to the Frankfurt book fair, the word’s largest, and doing it really well… with my own booth, and probably giving a talk about visibility in the YA genre (how to reach teen readers). This year I’ll be aggressively testing instagram, tumblr and snapchat to see what works.
If you want to come early and attend/maybe speak, it would be pretty awesome… if not I can still put your books in the display.
The Frankfurt book fair seems to attract a lot of cosplayers:
I’d like to go and do crazy/fun stuff, not stuffy publishing insider stuff.
In 2016 I’m going to rent a castle for a month during Nanowrimo. I’m inviting some bestselling authors to join me – and I’ll be doing a giveaway so two or three other people can come and write novels with us (no charge for them, but they’ll have to get to Europe on their own). If that sounds exciting, sign up on the list below so you don’t miss your chance to win.
In the back of my mind, I’ve been thinking that for CreativCastle to be achievable, I need a list of 100,000 people who are interested in the idea. Conversion of 1% of a list is industry standard… so I thought I’d just keep doing what I’ve been doing and growing my lists.
The obvious problem with that is, although I’m growing an email list of authors and writers interested in publishing, but not necessarily the type I will need to fund/support CreativCastle.
Recently I’ve been using some giveaways for list building and last night I finally decided to listen to all those people who have told me I shouldn’t just go out and buy a castle, I should rent first.
Test the idea out. So I’m going to: I’ll rent out a magnificent place for a couple weeks, maybe 2 or 3 times a year, and invite other people to come stay for free. I’ll run giveaways for the chance to win.
I’ll share pictures and videos and testimonials of how amazing the experience was. This could seriously work. 🙂
I have serious castle envy after seeing pics of this one; it’s more like an old church than a castle. Small but comfortable and authentic. And the view is to die for. True, you only get the view if you’re up on the tower, and I could probably just buy a little cottage nearby.
But it’s only 1.5million usd. Looks amazing, I want it.
Since Wales is considered to be the “castle capital of the world,” it is a given that, of course, there are a lot of castles to visit around the place. Today, we focus on three amazing castles from Powys, that can serve as potential locations you can use to set your writing in, or as places you can visit when you are on your own personal writing retreat, and you happen to find yourself in Wales, at some point.
Montgomery Castle is located in Montgomery, in Powys, and is just one of the many Norman castles between the Welsh and English border. The original parts of the castle were built under the Earl of Shrewsbury, Roger de Montogomery, during the late 11th century. The castle, after weathering a few events, was rebuilt in stone during 1223, on Henry III’s 16th birthday, but Huberd de Burght. The castle also served as a place for treaty negotiations, and it was where Llywelyn ap Gruffud was given the title of Prince of Wales. Today, what is left of Montgomery Castle are only its ruins, although it is still a place worth visiting, as the ruins are beautiful and the view majestic.
Powis Castle is found near the town of Welshpool, and has been given many names in historical records, among which are: Castell Coch, Castell Pola, and Red Castle. It’s a beautiful place, home to a lot of gardens, a wonderful parkland, and a landscaped estate. Today, Powis Cstle is under care of the National Trust. The castle was built during the 13th century. Much of the original castle was improved over a two-hundred year period from 1600 to 1800, adding terraced gardens and the State bedroom.
Found in Abermule, Dolforwyn was established by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd as a fortification during the 13th century. It is said that the the maiden Sabrina of legend drowned at Dolforwyn. John Milton writes about this maiden. Historical fiction author Bernard Cornwell also wrote about Dolforwyn in his book “The Winter King.” This castle, then, appears to be a great inspiration for writers, who have used legends attached to it – and not just the place itself – in order to inspire, fuel, or to add to their writing – something which you may want to try someday, if you ever get the chance to visit the place.
Those are just some of the many castles in Wales, of course, and those are just some of the beautiful places that may serve as locations for your writing retreat. It may be fun if you manage to find writing retreats in the area (we will cover that sometime – keep checking back), but it would be amazing if you manage to visit the place on your own pace and walk around, see the sights, and the ruins and castles that are steeped in history and have played their part in the shaping of Wales’s story.
There are a lot of amazing castle hotels in Britain, but we’re putting the spotlight on one of these castle hotels today. Located in Ireland, this castle hotel is interesting because it’s located in the place the inspired the famous poet, William Butler Yeats. This is the Markree Castle Hotel, in County Sligo.
The bedrooms in this castle hotel are unique. Each has its own style and charm, so you could stay here twice and receive different – but equally wonderful – experiences in terms of accommodation.
There are a lot of things to do while staying at Markree, as well. One can go riding around the estate, exploring the surrounding areas. You can go on treks and trailrides, as well, and there are different packages for that depending on what you want to do. The location of this hotel makes several golf courses accessible for anyone who’s into golf. As well, one can go to Queen Meave’s grave, which is on top of Knocknarea mountain. There are a lot of things to do, and a lot of places to experience.
Sadly, though, at the time of this writing, this castle hotel is for sale, so the management is unable to take reservations. You are welcome to visit the website and check back, however. Once you get the opportunity to visit, it will be great to stay at the Markree Castle Hotel.
We were extremely pleased with our brief stay at Markree Castle. I hope that in the near future we will be able to schedule a longer visit. The staff was most pleasant and helpful, from the receptionist to the housekeeping staff to the servers in the dining room.
– Carl Webber, from USA
Markree Castle was the highlight of my trip to Ireland. I’ve always wanted to stay in a castle, and I finally had my chance. It was magical.
– Arlene Scallon, from USA
All images and comments are credited to the website, Manor House Hotels of Ireland.
Here are two more Scottish castle hotels worth checking out!
Found in Ayrshire, this castle is great for both corporate events and wedding ceremonies. It originally belonged to the Kennedys, descendants of Robert the Bruce. It was during David Kennedy’s – the 10th Earl of Cassillis’s – time, however, that a castle was built and designed to showcase the family’s wealth and legacy.
Guest comments on Culzean Castle:
“Our stay at the castle was beyond anything we could have hoped for! The staff so accommodating we couldn’t have had a more magical time! I would definitely stay here again and recommend it to anyone.”
– Chrissy Bradburn
“Excellent, inspiring location. Wonderful amazing castle and grounds. We were looked after incredibly well for our 16th wedding anniversary. The surprise at finding that we were the only people staying for the night was delightful! Wonderful food, hospitality second to none.”
– Joyce Hunt
All images are from the castle hotel’s website. For more information, click the castle hotel’s name to get redirected to the website.
The Tower of Hallbar was once home to the Lockharts of Lee. Built during the late sixteenth century, it was a response to the 1535 Act of Parliament. A parapet was added to the structure during the Victorian era.
Comments on Tower of Hallbar:
“A wonderful, unusual house combining ancient grandeur with modern luxuries.”
– Ron and Mary Davis
All images are taken from the castle hotel’s website. For more information, click the name of the castle hotel.
Here is today’s list of beautiful castles, this time ones found in Scotland!
1. Linlithgow Palace
While already in ruins, Linlithgow Palace is still a site frequented by travelers and tourists, under the care of Historic Scotland. During the 12th century, a royal manor was on the site on which the palace now stands. This manor is later replaced by a fortification built during the 14th century under the guidance of Edward I. This site became a military base. During the 15th century, the town of Linlithgow was destroyed by fire, and King James I decided to have the Palace rebuilt for Scottish royalty. Different people – from James III, James IV, and James V – added to the structure.
2. Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar Castle is a medieval fortress in Scotland, located south of Stonehaven. The buildings on the site were generally built during the 15th and 16th centuries, but the site itself dates back to the Early Middle Ages. Dunnottar Castle has played so many parts in the history of scotland, from the Jacobite risings to being the hiding place of the Scottish crown jewels, the Honours of Scotland. The area itself is surrounded by cliffs that overlook the North Sea.
3. Tantallon Castle
The 14th-century fortress, Tantallon Castle, is located in East Lothian, Scotland, and looks out onto the Firth of thE Forth. It is the last medieval curtain wall castle built in the country, constructed by William Douglas, the 1st Earl of Douglass. Douglas’s descendants kept it for years until it was besieged by both James IV and James V – during different times, of course. Apart from that, Tantallon Castle was also there when Oliver Cromwell invaded Scotland during the 17th century, when it sustained severe damaged. The Marquis of Douglas eventually purchased it, and the site is now in the care of Historic Scotland.
4. Spynie Castle
Spynie Castle belonged to the Bishops of Moray for about half a millenium. The castle was founded in the 12th century, and was built thanks to the grants made by King William I to the Holy Trinity of the Bishopric of Moray, as the Bishops of Moray needed housing.
5. Dunfermline Palace
The former Scottish royal palace of Dunfermline is found in Dunfermline, Fife, and is, again, another castle under the care of Historic Scotland. It is also a prominent tourist destination in Dunfermline. Many Scottish monarchs loved the place – during the 11th century, Malcolm III made it his capital, and even had Malcom’s Tower built nearby. Two other monarchs, David II and James I, were born at the place. During the 16th century, James VI gave it to his wife, Anne of Denmark, after their marriage. Their three children were born there. Today, what remains of the old Dunfermline are the kitchen, the cellars, and the south wall.
We’ve been looking at a lot of castles in England, Wales, and France. This time, the spotlight is on two Spanish castles, Parador de Mazagon and Parador Oropesa.
Parador Oropesa has served as a refuge for all kinds of people, from monks to travellers. The castle was restored in the 15th century, and this restored version still stands today. The castle has its own restaurant, which specializes in a lot of interesting and delicious local dishes, and the chef will recommend some of them, including a partridge stew and their version of cream puffs.
Guest comments on the Parador:
We had a fabulous two night stay at Oropesa on the way down to Mijas. The parador and staff were excellent.
– Alison Staniforth
We arrived at the Parador of Oropesa having travelled through the Gredos mountains and as ever had a good welcome. The room as always was most satisfactory. The public areas were very interesting. The food was good and the hotel has an excellent position near to the town. The staff throughout were as usual helpful and happy. This will be another Parador we would visit again.
– M. Winborn
All photos are from the parador’s webpage gallery. Visit the site here.
Parador de Mazagon
Parador de Mazagon is located near Huelva, Spain. This beautiful castle hotel is named after Christopher Columbus, or Cristobal Colon, who, for a time, lived in the area. The Donana Nature reserve and the Mazagon beach front are found nearby. The hotel’s restaurant serves all kinds of food, but specialties include fish dishes, particularly shell shrimps, prawns, and cockles found in the area. A lot of interesting places surround the parador – churches like the church of San Pedro and La Merced, and the Monestary of La Rabida, are places worth visiting.
My wife and I spent a lovely week here in September this year and would recommend it it anyone. The location is stunning, the room was superb (with a terrace overlooking the gardens and pool for reading and sunbathing). The staff were welcoming and always friendly and helpful.
– John Costello
As usual the Parador hotels are excellent and the staff are also very good and attentive to your needs. Rooms are excellent and we had a sea view. Easy car ride into Huelva which has good night life and restaurants. many local places of interest and a day trip to San Antonio also recommended.
– Mr. and Mrs. Berry
All photos taken from the parador’s webpage gallery. Visit the site here.