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“Beautiful, but frustrating...”
3 of 5 bubbles Review of Augill Castle

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Augill Castle
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Leeds, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful, but frustrating...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 26, 2014

My wife and I visited Augill Castle for our 1st Wedding Anniversary, just before New Year. We both decided to stay somewhere 'different', and a castle seemed the ideal spot. It would form the first night of a short tour of the northern Yorkshire Dales.

Before booking, we consulted the website, and the promise of a unique, quirky room in a beautiful remote setting, coupled with a friendly, sociable welcome, seemed to be perfect.

Upon arrival, we were met by a very friendly and welcoming girl, who showed us around the ground-floor facilities, and booked us in. We were delighted with the castle - it was stunningly beautiful, superbly appointed and looked very comfortable - it seemed to promise so much. Our room proved to be very cosy, imaginatively decorated and comfortable. Thus far it was everything we had hoped.

We noticed on the website that dinner was to be a communal affair. The only reason we did not stay for dinner was the fact that we were on our wedding anniversary night, and wished to be alone for a while. We hoped that we'd get the chance to engage with the sociable aspect the castle promised later in the evening. This was not to be, however.

Unfortunately for us, the castle management - in our humble opinion - were not forthcoming as to just how welcome children were in the communal areas of the castle, nor to what extent. The ground floor of Augill Castle comprises seven rooms available to guests, all in a roughly linear arrangement: a cinema, conservatory with honesty bar, library, music room/lounge, dining hall, reception, and further lounge.

From approximately 4.30pm until 6pm, young children were permitted to run freely up and down the entirety of the ground floor, playing games, shouting, throwing things, leaving things everywhere, slamming doors, and tunelessly playing a grand piano. This was fine, we thought - kids are kids, they need to play and burn off steam. So we took our leave and left for Kirkby Stephen for a (very) early dinner at a restaurant. We enjoyed a long meal, hoping that when we returned to the castle, the children would have either settled down, retired to one room or activity, or gone to use the cinema for example.

We returned at 8.30pm, and the exact same game of very loud hide-and-seek was still in full flow, again spanning all seven rooms. This made relaxing, conversing or reading impossible, We both moved several times, to see if the problem was us, or maybe we might find a quiet corner. It was after all, a stunning place to relax in. This was not to be. The parents of these children were either oblivious, non-caring, or absent - their dinner was served at 8, and whilst they enjoyed their food, the children (whom had eaten earlier) were free to roam.

As the piano was struck up once more, we gave up, and went to our room.

As the castle is (obviously) an historic building, allowances must be made for things like creaking floorboards. Unfortunately, once too often, children's pounding footsteps thundered past the door. I went outside to ask a parent if they would mind keeping their children quiet outside our room, to be sarcastically greeted with "They're only playing...".

As I went downstairs to fetch a couple of drinks from the bar, there were younger children playing on the stairs. I politely asked them to excuse me as I returned up with drinks in hand, but was greeted with another rude guest. I fully appreciate that any guest house cannot legislate for the behaviour of their guests, but I feel I must mention this in context, as the frustration my wife and I were experiencing was building.

It was fully ten o'clock by the time the noise abated, and we went back downstairs. This time was wonderful - the lounge areas are extremely comfortable, with hot fires, sumptuous furnishings and atmospheric lighting. At 11, the staff signed off for the night, turning all the lights off bar one, leaving us to our own quiet time. This was very pleasant, albeit very brief.

Breakfast the next day was perfectly perfunctory, well cooked and delicious. The staff were also courteous.

We left shortly after, headed for Askrigg.

So why the low rating?

My wife and I have never before been so frustrated with a stay away. We have stayed in many varied places, and none have caused us to reflect quite as much as Augill has.

It has a huge amount to recommend. The location is magnificent - easy to find, yet rural and secluded. The scenery, grounds and building are stunningly beautiful. The castle is wonderfully furnished, and on paper promises a fantastic experience for anyone wishing to get away from it, relax, and enjoy a friendly welcome.

Unfortunately, our night there was anything but pleasant, overall. The enormous frustration of young children being allowed to run unhindered throughout the entirety of the communal areas, creating as much mess and noise as they wished was intolerable. It essentially rendered the whole of the downstairs pointless for us, and as nice as our room was, it certainly was not worth £160 per night to spend our whole night in.

The enormous frustration came that, even late into the night, there was not a quiet retreat for guests without children. Just one room was all it would have taken. There were seven rooms available downstairs - just one room out of bounds to young children, or maybe a 'no hammering the piano after 7pm' policy could have helped. Maybe a member of staff could have followed them around, picking up the rubbish, bottles, clothes, books, toys and more that was strewn over most of the seating. Or perhaps the parents should have been more considerate? That is not for us to say, or to have to say.

Ultimately, the disappointment at not being able to relax in the gorgeous castle was a bit too much for us. We began to focus on even little things that normally would not have caused us to complain - the bathroom door not fitting properly and needing to be slammed to stay shut, or the unwashed towel with lipstick in the bathroom - because we were fed up.

Having read the many reviews on Tripadvisor and more, it seems that we were partly to blame - if we had read up more thoroughly, we definitely would not have booked into a place that was so progressive with families and children. That is not to fault the castle for being so, far from it. But the website and literature, we felt, needs to be changed to reflect that this is not the place for a young, childless couple in search of quiet.

Perhaps we were unlucky, with it being out-of-school term; perhaps it was a freak booking comprised entirely of young families. The price, however, certainly wouldn't allow us to gamble on a re-visit - which we both found really, really frustrating!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank David D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cumbriancastle, Manager at Augill Castle, responded to this review, February 27, 2014
Dear David

Thank you for your candid review. You raise some valid points. We try to welcome families in their entirety and to make children feel as welcome as possible. Unfortunately, on occasion, this means that we have families where parents feel they can simply switch off and abdicate any responsibility for their own children's behaviour. This isn't our idea of family friendly and when it happens, which is rare, it is unpleasant for everyone.

We don't think we are in the business of policing our guests' parenting styles but we have, quite by chance, addressed the issue this Spring as part of our continual drive to improve the Augill experience for everyone. The Drawing Room, a beautiful dual aspect room at the end of the castle is now a child free zone which we feel will benefit both childless couples and parents needing respite. We are also going to better police the piano, although whether we can get away with an ability test before it is played remains to be seen.

So we have shared your frustrations and understand what you say. Thank you for all the lovely things you have said about the castle. We hope that you can see from this reply that we have taken steps to remedy some of your frustrations which, ironically were brought to our attention by a parent at half term.

All that said, any situation is alway subject to individual interpretation. A comment in our visitor book last week says 'Thank you for letting children be children'.

When I was a young man I dreaded sitting on a train or a plane near other people's young children. When I had young children of my own I cringed whenever they made too much noise. Now, as the parent of teenagers, I have nothing but sympathy for parents of young children. We do offer those parents a chance to experience something family friendly and welcoming without compromising on quality and comfort and they are, on the whole very thankful for what is, in Britain at least, a rare thing: somewhere that welcomes adults and children equally.

We're sorry that you won't be returning. Out of school holiday time Augill is a very different place but perhaps there are other places that better match your expectations.

Best Regards
Simon & Wendy
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (149)
Date | Rating
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English first
Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 11, 2014

We stayed just one night at Augill Castle but it was great fun. From the real log fire in our room to the well stocked honesty bar, cinema (yes cinema!), beautiful bedrooms and lovely staff, this was a great find. Great credit to our hosts for restoring Augill Castle to its former glory and offering people a truly unique experience!

Room Tip: Make sure you check out the well stocked library and don't miss the chance to wander around the...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank ianm2005everton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2014

We got married here on the 21st December after also having extended the 2 day wedding package by another 2 nights to have time for hen and stag do's beforehand. We wanted an informal but stylish wedding where the focus was on our friends and family having a relaxed time and Augill met all our expectations and more.
Leading up to the wedding we had a series of specific requests and arrangements that any other hotel would have said no to I'm sure (fire pits in the garden, hen parties in the drawing room, snow machine, to name just a few) and nothing was an issue. Wendy's default answer to absolutely everything we asked was yes and that, for us, was the difference between Augill and other venues.
For the 4 nights we were there we were left to feel at home and relax in slipper and pyjama's if we wanted but as soon as we needed anything someone was there and more than willing to help. There was stuff that we had forgotten to organise or didn't get round to doing on the day and every time Wendy and her staff jumped in and helped. The team made, what is meant to be one of the most stressful events of your life, seem like a walk in the park.
I can't stress enough how beautiful the castle is and how amazing each room looks. All our guests were blown away and commented not only on their individual rooms and how comfortable they were but how the feel of the whole place was different to anywhere else they had been where the staff were discreet but available when you needed them.
We ate at the castle a few times and each time the food was delicious and again was specifically commented on by several of our guests, breakfast was a specific favourite!
We wanted a wedding that was a comfortable house party with friends and family where a wedding happened to be in the middle of it all and it truly was all that and more.
Thank you to Wendy, Simon and the team for really making our special day as perfect as it possibly could be.

Room Tip: All the rooms are stunning, we had someone in each room and no one was disappointed (there were a lo...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Plan104
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cumbriancastle, Owner at Augill Castle, responded to this review, January 4, 2014
Dear Spencer & Danielle

A perfect wedding comes not just from our hard work but also from the Bride & Groom and their guests.
We can honestly say your wedding was one of the most enjoyable and memorable we have hosted at the castle. You and your guests were a delight to look after so thank you for being the perfect guests!
We are still basking in the after glow of a December which saw your wedding followed by another super wedding party and then a Christmas house party from heaven - the easiest and most gracious people to look after and now to round off the season, another lovely family returning for their second house party.
Thank you to you and everyone for helping to keep the Augill magic alive.

Best wishes for a Happy New Year

Simon, Wendy and everyone at Augill Castle
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wokingham
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2013 via mobile

We have just stayed for 3 nights and can definitely recommend this place. Fantastic breakfast, perfect place for the kids to run around and explore safely so we felt like we had a real break too! A couple of people staying there felt their rooms were too cold which was a pity and we saw very little of the owners contrary to other posts I read, but the staff were very friendly and helpful.

Stayed December 2013
Helpful?
Thank WokinghamMel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cumbriancastle, Owner at Augill Castle, responded to this review, January 1, 2014
Dear Mel
Happy New Year.
We are delighted that you found your stay at Augill Castle so relaxing.
Rest assured that the guests who found the castle not as warm as their own homes got the heating they required so no need for you to worry further on that score.
We're sorry that you felt you didn't see enough of us but 'm glad to say our children were more than happy to be able to spend some quality time with us between Christmas and New Year.
Hopefully you'll visit again, perhaps at a different time of year when we'll be sure to give you our individual attention.
Thank you for your kind words about our lovely staff.

Best regards

Simon & Wendy
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North East UK
Level Contributor
165 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2013

We spent a most marvellous weekend celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary, here at Augill Castle. From the moment we arrived, we felt like we were much wanted guests of the owners, and us along with our two young children were treated as such the whole weekend.

We stayed in 'Stable House' which was far larger than we had thought - it really is the size of a small house, consisting of a good sized hallway, day room, family bathroom and big bedroom downstairs and stairs leading up to a gorgeous twin bedroom along with a fabulous bathroom.

We had dinner on both evenings around the huge dining table with the other guests and had such a jolly evening, we almost forgot we had the kids! They had supper at 6pm, and while some children remained in the main castle watching films in the wonderful cinema room, our two stayed in our rooms on a 'baby monitor'.

The food was just yummy, and far exceeded our expectations. Breakfasts were equally divine, leaving you so full it was a bother to move! We could have stayed all week.

Augill Castle is a simply wonderful place and we can't wait to go back.

Room Tip: If staying in one of the outside rooms, take a pair of wellies so you can walk the few yards to the...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Pidge_Pooh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 2, 2013

We had 3 weeks in the UK with 2 kids aged 14 and 12 and this was the best place we stayed. It was like being in a fairytale. Rooms were unbelievably comfortable, bed was the best I have slept in and nothing was too much trouble. Highly recomend this place, well worth the money.
The breakfast was also the best we had on our trip. Fresh, tasty and great service

Room Tip: We had interconnecting rooms Derwent and Raisenbeck. Great!
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank jackief69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South East England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 25, 2013

Without doubt Augill Castle is one of the most wonderful places to stay in the UK....We originally booked a night and ended up staying for a second as the ambience at the castle is absolutely perfect. Whether looking for a romantic getaway, a family friendly hotel, or somewhere to simply recharge your batteries, the castle will meet and exceed your expectations. The care and attention to detail that has gone into the fabric of the building and the genuine warmth of Wendy and Simon and their staff all contribute to making a stay at Augill truly memorable.
Breakfast and dinner are excellent, being well cooked and presented and offering good value.
The honesty bar is well stocked and fairly priced, offering a good selection of extremely palatable wines, beers and spirits.....thereafter choose a sofa to relax on and enjoy one of the many open fires.
If a film takes your fancy there is a lovely 12 seat cinema with a large selection of films to watch....
We loved our stay at Augill Castle and would recommend it unreservedly. Not only would I give it 10/10, but I would also suggest it should be added to everyone's 50/50 or Bucket List!
We loved it so much, we will be getting married there next Spring.

Room Tip: We stayed in Middlemoor....which is beautifully appointed (and has excellent wifi too!)
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Michael R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
cumbriancastle, Owner at Augill Castle, responded to this review, November 29, 2013
Dear Michael

What an awesome review. You have countered all our critics in a way we never could. If we are the perfect place to stay, you are the perfect guests.
We don't try to be all things to all people, it 's an impossible goal so it's really exciting when we find people who really 'get' what we do and are happy to tell others too.
We can't wait for your fabulous family wedding in the Spring.

Fondest regards
Simon & Wendy
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Augill Castle

Property: Augill Castle
Address: Augill Castle Kirkby Stephen | Cumbria the Lake District, South Stainmore CA17 4DE, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cumbria > South Stainmore
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in South Stainmore
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:5 star — Augill Castle 5*
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Visit England five star accommodation, Augill Castle sits where the Yorkshire Dales meet the Lake District. Unlike anywhere you have ever stayed before, it is famously family friendly, relaxed and informal. Great for parties, weddings or for just being somewhere away from it all. Enjoy England's Guest Accommodation of the Year in 2009 and Sawday's Special Places to Stay Favourite British Hotel in 2010. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Priceline and Booking.com so you can book your Augill Castle reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Augill Castle Hotel South Stainmore
Augill Castle England/South Stainmore, Cumbria

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