Recently, I’ve been putting much more focus into the ‘travel’ aspect of What Emma Did, taking my readers and social followers on a few travel experiences, both near and far.
2018 so far has been an extensive list so far, and I’m super happy with the direction my travel blogger and influencer work is going. So far, we’ve seen the sights of Thailand, Phuket and Phi Phi Island, and then the refreshing views of the Great British countryside. Snowdonia, Anglesey, Huddersfield…. the list goes on.
So what up next? Today I’m bringing you a review of Peckforton Castle, nestled in the heart of Cheshire, in Tarporley. Tarporley is a beautiful little town, taking on a country market town feel, with the luxury vibe that Cheshire brings, along with lots of tradition.
And whilst we’re talking about tradition, lets take a closer look at one of it’s key highlights which puts it onto the map: Peckforton Castle.
Many of you might be familiar with Peckforton Castle as a wedding venue, which is how I first heard of it. It’s a real enchanting venue to host weddings, due to it being an actual castle with traditional castle grounds and red sandstone walls, marble floors, vaulted dining rooms and open fires all around, making a beautiful setting for vibrant photo opportunities.
The castle also hosts civil ceremonies, with five licensed rooms catering for any number of guests from 10 to 160. It’s certainly a venue with a difference.
As you can see from the photos, it’s truly unique, grand and historic, all at the same time. If you follow me on Instagram (which you can find here) you may have watched my Instagram stories when I arrived at Peckforton Castle. If you didn’t, I’ll give you a quick rundown: after driving along miles of secluded, old-fashioned roads and through the medieval town of Beeston, I finally drove through the magnificent gatehouse and slowly glides through the loooooooong drive to the castle.
I have to say, the forests that wrap around the entrance and those long drives create some kind of a build up – which is why I’m guessing it makes it that extra bit special for weddings and occasions.
Upon the arrival, it becomes apparent how Peckforton Castle is such an individual and special venue, nestled in the idyllic views of Cheshire. I was really excited to get here, as you can probably tell by this point!
We were taken to our suite upon arriving, which was just as magical as I imagined. I don’t know how many times I’m going to say this phrase, so I’ll try limit it after this, but you really feel like a Princess in a castle. The room was just like how I would imagine Princesses lived in castles in the medieval days…
Stone walls, large windows and olde-worlde stylings. But keeping it a little bit modern, I noticed straight away that Peckforton Castle literally has one of the speediest WiFi’s I have ever used (typically blogger) and they leave a damn good selection of very unusual choccies out on arrival!
Thanks guys! These were something else…
The bathroom was modernised but with that classic, kind-of vintage touch. A large metal standalone bath sat in the corner, positioned right underneath a mile high sky light, as if you were bathing under the stars.
It was a cosy, enchanting room, all very in-keeping with the theme. The rooms are slightly low lit, adding to that secret castle feeling, and really ‘bringing it back’ to another world.
We were situated on the 5th floor with just other suites, so it felt very private. Our room was actually adjoining with another large suite next door, which was obviously locked as we were there on our own. But for large parties or bridal parties, it’s more than ideal to opt for that room and join together through the door (the room was the Kelsall suite, FYI…)
When we arrived, we took a little bit of time to relax in our room before giving ourselves a little tour of the hotel and its grounds.
We noticed they offer a range of activities upon the grounds, such as a Land Rover Experience (you’ll spy all the Land Rovers parked at the front of the castle). But if driving isn’t your thing (it would be much more suited to my partner than I!) then you have this super duper list to chose from:
- Air rifle shooting – for those with a keen eye and a steady finger
- Archery – an historic sport of skill and strength
- Fort boyard
- Giant garden games
- Laser clays – fantastic entertainment for groups of friends or families
- Mountain bikes – for those who like the challenge of two wheels
- Picnic bag
- Rollerball and stomp rocket
- Treasure hunt
- Segways *new*
The hotel also offers a luxury spa, which unfortunately I didn’t get the time or chance to check out, but I know I’m desperate to re-visit Peckforton Castle again, and I’d make sure I’d find the time to give this pampering spa a visit.
With a wide list of treatments, the Spa (called Tranquillity) is designed to appeal to both women and men, using the highest quality products and treatments so that their experiences exceed expectations.
New additions to Tranquility include the brand new relaxation room and wet facilities, including two hot tubs, a sauna and Caribbean experience shower. They also do a range of facials and massages, so it’s pretty much right up my street…
On our way around the hotel, we also spotted this lovely line up of all the awards this gorgeous venue has scooped, for being both a pretty amazing hotel and venue.
Check these out!
As you can see from my photos, the corridors and rooms all around Peckforton Castle are truly magnificent. But lets give you a bit of history so you can understand this place a little better. I found it extremely interesting researching up on this place whilst we walked around and explored.
Firstly, it was during World War II that Peckforton Castle was actually used as a hostel for 200 disabled children, evacuated from the London area. This project was recognised and rewarded in 1952, when it was granted a Grade 1 listed building status by the English Heritage.
The castle was then remained as unused until 1969.
Over the years, Peckforton Castle has been used by TV producers as a location for film making, and for TV and cinema. Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes (and not forgetting Doctor Who) are some of the ones I was familiar with.
Then, in the 1980’s, the new tenants used it for a private club called The Treasure Trap, where members don medieval costumes and play ‘George and The Dragon’ type fantasy games. Then in 1989, the castle was sold again to become a business venue, specialising in weddings and conference.
By 2001, it’s history blended with more modern times, becoming licensed for civil ceremonies beyond the traditional registery office.
This stunning castle is now a family run business, and I could tell how much pride and love is put into the place to keep it so beautiful.
The castle boasts the stylish 1851 restaurant and the atmospheric wine cellar – a place to enjoy drinks in a cosy underground style cellar, in which can also be hired out for venues/conferences.
We visited both 1851 and the Wine Cellar, checking out the restaurant for a three course meal and a cheeky bottle of rose wine, and the wine cellar for some pre-bed tipples!
The 1851 Restaurant is a modern looking dining room, fairly cosy and had a nice friendly buzz and atmosphere as we were taken to our seats. We were warmly welcomed, and the waiting staff were overly attentive and friendly through our dining experience.
The menu featured classic French and modern British cuisine, brimming with fine dining options. Some more classic with a modern twist, and others as full of imagination and a little more unique.
This restaurant is a holder of 3 AA Rosettes and a Taste Cheshire Award. I ahve to say I’m not surprised, I couldn’t fault any of my courses. They feature carefully selected, locally grown and reared produce, all hand picked by the Executive Head Chef Jason Hodnett to best reflect the season and the region.
Our starters consisted of Sea Bream and a Pea and Ham Hock soup, in which the soup was mine and it was so tasty. A real thick, chunky texture which I love with home-made soups.
I went a little different for my main course, as I don’t really eat a lot of meat, but for this occasion I chose the Rabbit main course. It was so cleverly put together, with three difference ways of cooking rabbit put together on a tasting plate.
My partner went for the steak, and we were pleasantly surprised at what a good portion size it was, with a generous serving of potatoes and tomatoes, as well as a pepper sauce.
But in true Emma style, the dessert was the course I digested way too quickly, leaving nothing but a smidging of dark chocolate left on the plate. I went for a soft chocolate mouse, which came with little nuts and rolled into a crumb outer, with delicious dark chocolate, sauce and cream.
Mmmmm… I could eat this all over again.
As Tarporley is only 35 minutes from where I live, I have to say I’m surprised I hadn’t yet found an excuse to visit Peckforton Castle before, whether it be for an occasion, an overnight stay myself, or generally a look around. It was such a stunning place: a truly incredible evening was spent here and I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.
I actually felt like a Princess in a real life castle for the night!
A huge thanks to all the team for their hospitality and service. Now I just need to get myself a wedding invite for an excuse to visit here again, or potentially get married one day myself and cheekily drop this place is as a hint…