In recent times Castle Leslie ceased operations as an hotel and, following extensive refurbishment, re-opened as a private venue for weddings, conferences etc - however it has now turned the full circle and reopened as a hotel again (see below).
Guests can stay in the Castle or in the Lodge at Castle Leslie Estate, which is a modern 4* hotel just inside the castle gates; built around an atmospheric stable courtyard, it is popular with riding enthusiasts participating at Castle Leslie’s impressive Equestrian Centre, which offers miles of trekking, cross-country rides and jumps on the 1000-acre estate. The Lodge features all manner of horsey memorabilia with the newer bedrooms designed to appeal especially to horse lovers.
The Victorian Treatment Rooms specialise in organic treatments, which are popular for weddings and as an indoor focus for short breaks.
Non-residents are welcome to dine at the bar or in the hotel’s informal Conors Bar or Snaffles Restaurant, where Andrew Bradley cooks up a storm in a wood-burning stone oven.
The Lodge: Conferences/Banqueting (40/50); free wi/fi. Rooms 29 (all separate bath & shower, 5 family, 11 ground floor, 1 disabled all no smoking); B&B about €95 pps (for current rates please check hotel website). Children welcome (under 2s free in parents' room, cots available free of charge, baby sitting arranged). Lift. Open all year except Christmas (24-27 Dec). Equestrian Centre, Victorian Treatment Rooms.
Snaffles Restaurant in The Lodge: Seats 80. Children welcome (high chair, childrens menu); D daily 5.30-9.30pm; à la carte; house wine from €25. Bar food served daily in Conor's Bar, 12.30-8.30pm. Amex, MasterCard, Visa, Laser.
Castle Leslie Estate
During the three centuries that this extraordinary place has been in the Leslie family it has changed remarkably little - and its fascinating history intrigues guests as much as the eccentricity of Castle Leslie as they find it today.
Once inside the massive front door (guarded by family dogs who snooze in beds flanking the stone steps) there is no reception desk, just a welcoming oak-panelled hall (and afternoon tea in the drawing room), and there are no television sets or clocks in the rooms, although concessions to the 20th century have been made in the form of generous heating and plentiful hot water.
The bedrooms are all different, furnished and decorated around a particular era, with en-suite bathrooms a feature in their own right with huge baths, wacky showers and outrageous toilets, all done in a tongue-in-cheek style, reflecting the family's eccentric history and the wonders of Victorian plumbing.
In a charming reverse of circumstances, the family lives in the servants' wing, so guests can enjoy the magnificence of the castle to the full - it has all the original furniture and family portraits.
The estate has wonderful walks, and pike fishing; boating and picnic lunches on the estate are available by arrangement. Due to the nature of the castle (and the fact that the Leslies see it as a wonderful refuge from the outside world for adults) this is not a suitable place to bring children. However, children are very welcome at the The Lodge (see above).
Except for Afternoon Tea at the Castle, dining options for residents of both the Lodge and the Castle are the hotel’s informal Conors Bar or Snaffles Restaurant.
Castle Leslie: Bedrooms 20 (4 master, 16 heritage); not suitable for children; 12 seater cinema. Afternoon Tea from 2.30pm, €25pp.