A restored 12th Century castle has won one of the UK’s most prestigious architecture awards. Astley Castle in Warwickshire was largely destroyed by fire in 1978, and until recently lay in ruins. But the Landmark Trust sought to give the remaining structure a new lease of life, by inviting a number of architectural firms to draw up concepts for the site’s restoration.
Now, almost 35 years later, the building is a unique contemporary living space – available to rent for £645 for four days. It is arguably the ultimate holiday home for lovers of the past, since the building has born witness to 800 years of history. For those among our holiday home insurance customers with a love of unique getaway options, Astley Castle is an impressive sight.
Along with a roofless outside dining hall and a large open fire, the £1.35m building boasts its own moat, too. The architects worked hard to maintain as much of the original building’s charm as possible.
With links back to the days of the Saxons, Astley Castle is connected to no less than three English queens. The first Yorkist queen, Elizabeth Woodville, is thought to have lived here in the middle of the 15th Century before she married King Edward IV. She gave birth to the unfortunate Princes in the Tower, while their daughter went on to marry Henry VII.
The castle is also connected to Lady Jane Grey, who became queen of England in 1553, but was executed alongside her father just one year later.
Each year the Royal Institute of British Architects awards the Stirling Prize, and this year Astley Castle was the proud recipient – and the very first conservation project to receive the coveted award.
Architects Witherford Watson Mann was lauded by RIBA President Stephen Hodder, calling their winning design “an exceptional example of how modern architecture can revive an ancient monument”.