Augill Castle

UK England North West England Cumbria Kirkby Stephen

A straight-up Victorian Gothic castle, now an upmarket B&B.

Other country residences may use and abuse the title, but Augill is an honest-to-goodness, straight-up castle, in the best Victorian Gothic style, built as a rustic-retreat-with-knobs-on in 1837 and run as a B&B since 1998 by Simon and Wendy Bennett, whose family home it still remains. Their children have grown up here, which partly explains the extremely informal air – wellies by the door, family pets, kids’ games in the grounds and a general make-yourself-at-home welcome. They pitch themselves as a "B&B with a lot of extra bells and whistles", which basically means some very agreeable rooms and suites that make full use of the castle surroundings – your own private turret here, stained glass there, sturdy but not scary antique furniture, a sherry decanter in every room and wonderfully big baths. A lavish communal breakfast is taken around an enormous oak dining table, while country dinners have a similar house-party atmosphere, with the kids being given an earlier High Tea and then whisked off for games or movies and popcorn. It’s a pretty singular place all-round, from scratching chickens and adventure activities in the grounds to a very handsome library bar where you’re encouraged to pour your own drinks. You’ll be hard-pressed to leave. One geographical note – Augill is just outside the market town of Kirkby Stephen which is as near as dammit in the Dales – just a few miles from lovely Swaledale and remote Arkengarthdale – but technically in Cumbria, hence the postcode.

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Augill Castle, South Stainmore Kirkby Stephen Cumbria CA17 4DE

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