European history is rich with beautiful architecture and lavish Castles. You can hardly turn a corner anywhere in Europe without running into a building that is many hundreds of years old. But perhaps the most famous of all the medieval constructions are the castles themselves. Scattered across all of Europe and often dating from around the time of the Norman invasion in 1066, many of these massive stone fortresses are owned by the government. Now, nothing more than relics and ruins, they are run as tourist destinations and are not suitable for habitation. But a few castles are still not only suitable for living in but are some of the most lavish homes in the country. Purchasing them might be incredibly tough, but what are the most expensive castles you can buy today?
Westenhanger Castle, Kent – £2.6m
Westenhanger Castle in Kent, priced relatively low, blends the old and the slightly newer. There has been a castle on this spot since the 14th Century, but the most ancient parts of the building have since collapsed. In their place, generations of architects have added their own personal flourishes. The original castle walls and turrets form one part of the building, while other sections have been added, renovated, and removed over the course of hundreds of years. For just over two and a half million pounds, you’re getting a lot of history.
Bran Castle, Romania $135m
Bran Castle, otherwise known as Castle Dracula for being the residence of Vlad III in 1459, of which Bram Stoker based his famous character Dracula on Vlad III.
The castle is now owned by Archduke Dominic von Habsburg Grandson of King Ferdinand I and Queen Marie of Romania. Bran Castle had been seized by the Communist regime in 1948 but was recently retroceded back to Archduke Dominic at which point he put the castle up for sale for $78 million and a promise of treating the castle with respect. A New York investment firm picked up the listing and upped the asking price to $135 million making it the most expensive castle in the world.
Needless to say, the castle never sold. Instead, the Archduke maintained ownership and turned the castle into a museum dedicated to Queen Marie and the royal family.
Ashford castle, Ireland $ 68 m
Ashford castle is the oldest in Ireland, it’s located in Cong, near Ireland’s border. Its origins can be traced back to the year 1228. In 1852 Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness added two large Victorian extensions that were supervised by Irish Architect John Mulcahy. Since it has been transformed from medieval castle to luxury hotel, and in 2012 was rated the best in Ireland and the third best in Europe.
Castle Howard, Yorkshire – £42m
Castle Howard might not appear as defensible as some of the other buildings on this list, but it is almost the most expensive. A more stately home that portcullis and battlements, it’s quite possibly the finest home in Yorkshire. It’s got a history on the screen itself, having featured in the landmark BBC series, Brideshead Revisited. Attached to the home is a 13,000-acre estate, which one can see as they stand in any one of the 145 rooms. Stuck out in the north of England, the home might be worth even more if it were in one of the Home Counties. However, it would almost certainly lose some of its charms.
Alnwick Castle, Northumberland – £32m
If you’re looking for the authentic castle experience, then Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is ideal and costs just £32 million. The traditional seat of the aristocratic Percy family, the building’s history involves blood, magic, and everything you’d ever expect from a medieval fortress. What’s more, its most famous use as of late has certainly been taking the role of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter film series. While the outside might appear medieval, the interior is very much Victorian and is decked out in the finest décor. But it’s not the most expensive home on this list.
Devizes Castle, Wiltshire $ 3.2 m
Devizes Castle’s history goes all the way back to Henry VIII, as it was the property of Catherine of Aragon. The castle was built at the beginning of the 12th century. In 1645, during the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell ordered parts of the castle to be destroyed. Since then the castle has undergone renovations, and though it is only a fraction of its original size, it has become one of the most modernized castles available. It even houses an indoor pool, which would make it a great vacation destination.
Caverswall Castle, Staffordshire – £3m
To purchase a castle with a moat, and a dungeon, you need to spend a little more. Clocking in at around three million, Caverswall Castle in Staffordshire can trace its roots back to the 13th Century. These days, however, it’s resplendent in 18th Century design after having been completely overhauled. The owners kept many of the most traditional features, however, and have converted three of the turrets into private living quarters. One of the best features is the moat, now fed by natural spring water and reinstated after almost a century of being disabled.
Bonaly Tower, Edinburgh – £795,000
At the lower end of the spectrum, Bonaly Tower in Edinburgh costs just over three-quarters of a million pounds. While it may not look like a conventional castle, it does boast the towers and turrets many have come to associate with the fortresses of yore. Included in the price is the original library, passed down from generation to generation.