Royal residences where you can stay

Have you been inspired by the stunning castles and historic homes that take a starring role in the new BBC drama Wolf Hall? We select five royal retreats—including one chosen by Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn—where you can spend the night.

Sovereign’s Gate, Osbourne House, Isle of Wight
Sovereign’s Gate was the ceremonial entrance to Osbourne House, which was commissioned in the 1840s by Prince Albert as a seaside retreat for his wife, Queen Victoria, and their children. Sovereign’s Gate provided the estate with an entrance worthy of the status of its guests, which included Emperor Napoleon III, Tsar Nicholas and the royal family. The gate was also the site of departures—none more dramatic than Queen Victoria’s final journey from Osborne after her death in 1901. It was through Sovereign’s Gate that she left her seaside home for the last time, and where the crowds outside had their first glimpse of her funeral cortege. (Two cottages each sleeping four.)

Three nights from £402 (

Forthampton courtForthampton Court, Tewkesbury
Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn reputedly stayed at Forthampton Court in 1535 during their progress through southern England. The house belonged to Tewkesbury Abbey from its foundation in 1102 and was the country residence of abbots until the dissolution in 1540. The Great Hall still survives from this period. After the dissolution, John Waleman, last abbot and first Bishop of Gloucester, was granted the house. A wing was added around 1890 by the Arts-and-Crafts architect, Philip Webb. This wing can be rented and dinner can be arranged in the Great Hall (Sleeps 10.)

Three nights from £1032 (


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Tranquair houseTraquair House, Scotland
Traquair, which dates back to 1107, is the country’s oldest inhabited house. It was originally a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland. Alexander I was the first Scottish king to stay and hunt at Traquair. At that time it was a remote castle surrounded by forest. Upon Alexander III’s death in 1286, the peace of the Borders region was shattered and Traquair became a key link in the chain of defence that guarded the Tweed Valley against English invasion. In 1491 Traquair was passed to the Stuart family, who remained there for the next four centuries. (Three rooms available.)

From £110 per night (


appleton sandringhamThe Apple Tower at Sandringham, Norfolk
In 1871, Edward, Prince of Wales fell ill with typhoid while staying on the royal estate at Sandringham, as did his eldest son three years later. These were chilling reminders for Queen Victoria of the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert from the same disease at Windsor Castle. Tests on the Sandringham water supply showed it to be unsatisfactory and a clean, reliable water supply for the whole estate was an urgent priority. Engineer James Mansergh was appointed to oversee the new waterworks and a 60-foot tower was constructed in 1877. Realising the upper levels would command a dazzling view of much of Norfolk, Mansergh reserved the second-floor room as a viewing room for the royal family and their guests. There is a view on all sides over miles of wide, open landscape, with even a distant gleam of the Wash. Today you can enjoy these views, just as the royals once did. (Sleeps four.)

Four nights from £472 (


Astley CastleAstley Castle, Warwickshire
Lady Jane Grey, who reigned for just nine days in 1553, may have lived here during her youth. Her family owned the property from 1415 until 1554 when she, her husband and father were beheaded for treason. In the 19th century, Astley Castle became a dower house and was let to a succession of tenants. It inspired writer George Eliot, born Mary Ann Evans, who grew up on the Arbury Estate where her father was an agent. The property briefly became a hotel in the1960s but was largely destroyed by fire in 1978. It was recently restored, however, and can now be rented. (Sleeps eight.)

Four nights from £871 (