Ahead of Crufts 2023 (March 9-12), award-winning Northumberland-based dog-friendly castle, Langley Castle, has named what seem to be the most appropriate breeds to lap up the chance to be a canine king or queen of the castle.
14th century Langley Castle – England’s most authentic fortified medieval hotel, based in Langley-on-Tyne near Hexham – has named a ‘doggy dozen’ of breeds, with a name connected to the castle and its rich history, who could be its canine kindred spirits.
Furthermore, Langley Castle is offering a free overnight stay to any Crufts 2023-competing dog from one of these breeds, which becomes the overall Crufts champion this year or a breed competition winner in one of the categories of Toy, Utility, Hound, Terrier, Pastoral, Gundog or Working dogs.
Airedales, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, King Charles Spaniels, Chow Chows, Dalmatians, English Setters, Greyhounds, Hovawarts, Lapphunds, Leonbergers, Papillons and Skye terriers, should all be taking to the show ring with extra enthusiasm, if they want a castle to go with their Crufts crown.
If a dog from one of these 12 breeds wins at Crufts, it can even bring its owner along too! It can then ask the owner to request a treat all canine guests at Langley Castle can enjoy. This is a Certificate of Stay that proves the doggy lounged in what is regarded as England’s most authentic, fortified medieval hotel.
Langley Castle Hotel’s executive general manager, Margaret Livingstone-Evans, says: “We have seen Crufts winners from our 12 selected breeds in the past*, so there’s every chance we could be welcoming a Crufts champ to our dog-friendly venue and treating it like the king or queen of the castle. We can’t wait for Crufts to come along, to see which canines become champs but will, of course, offer the same warm welcome to any pooch who wants a wonderful doggy stay, regardless of their breeding.”
So, all eyes will be on Crufts 2023, to assess whether any dog or bitch can take up this regal offer and really rule the roost at the Northumberland castle this year.
In the meantime, any dog owner wishing to give their best friend a chance to be a king for the day, can book a dog-friendly Castle View room at Langley Castle at a cost from £xxxx in 2023. This covers accommodation plus hearty Northumbrian breakfast for two, and the daily Battlements Tour. These rooms can be booked by calling 01434 688888, with a call ensuring that a comfy dog bed and water bowl are ready to greet the canine visitor. An additional charge for the dog itself, ranges from £20 per night for a standard package, to £25 for the Poochy Déjeuner experience. Either way, the doggy can get a little treat, if they flash their canine passport at Langley Castle’s reception desk and can also get their Certificate of Stay printed off, if they ask at reception and woof their name.
Lots more information, to make a Northumberland stay as exciting for a doggy visitor as possible, can be found in the Doggy Guide to Canine Castle Capers, at bit.ly/3IfYI06
The information below explains why the 12 chosen breeds have connections to Langley Castle and its history. Their chances of winning are not at all bad and overall Crufts winners have come from these breeds a total of 12 times since 1928, as follows:
Chow Chow (1936); Greyhound (1928; 1934; 1956); Airedale (1961; 1986); English Setter (1964; 1977; 1988); Dalmatian (1968); Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (1973); Papillon (2019).
Doggy visitors to Langley Castle can breathe in fresh air within 12 acres of grounds so rich in delights and aromas that Langley Castle has a booklet – a Doggy Guide to Canine Castle Capers – which includes a ‘Doogy Scents of Place Guide’ that names seven scents for a canine guest to sniff out.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and King Charles Spaniel
Much of Langley Castle’s history in the 18th century was tied up with its owners – James and Charles Radcliffe – trying to help their cousins, the Stuarts, regain the throne. Both were executed for trying. A Jacobite Society memorial bench, now sits in Langley’s grounds in their honour. Take Fido for a quick walk down the road and you will discover another memorial to the pair.
Food-loving pooches can enjoy a few titbits from their pet parent’s full Northumberland breakfast but could also have their own sausages and egg treat for breakfast, if a Poochy Déjeuner break is booked for them. They can also enjoy some of their owner’s chow, when they dine from the relaxed dining menu in the gorgeous, chandelier-filled drawing room.
Stones in Langley Castle’s walls are believed to have been hauled from nearby Hadrian’s Wall, visible on the skyline from the Langley Castle battlements, when owners and dogs are enjoying the daily Battlements Tour. As Dalmatian soldiers, from Croatia, were some of those who guarded Hadrian’s Wall, any of these spotted four-legged friends, with their sentinel instincts, should feel right at home.
Langley Castle’s first owner, Thomas de Lucy, was a trusted English knight – so much so that, when his first wife died, King Edward III urged him to marry his royal cousin, Agnes de Beaumont. Thomas must have been set on potentially long periods under siege in the troublesome borderlands between England and Scotland, because he equipped Langley Castle with 12 garderobes (early loos). Having been so well preserved, these are now the best examples of such garderobes in Europe.
Greyhounds with anything of the Scooby Doo about them, will want to try to get on the trail of Langley’s alleged ‘Grey Lady’, when visiting the castle building. This figure, who some have seen weeping around the castle, is said to have inspired J K Rowling’s ‘Grey Lady’ ghost in ‘Harry Potter’.
Talking of Harry Potter, there’s more than a touch of Hogwarts about Langley Castle, which was visited by J K Rowling whilst writing the books. A Hovawart would surely want to check out the cupboard under the stairs and learn of the tunnel supposedly once connecting the castle to the local village. An astute doggy may also reflect on how much the staircase resembles that at Hogwarts!
Guests just love Langley Castle’s raised window seats – perfect reading nooks set into its seven-feet-thick medieval walls. Another great attraction is the roaring drawing room fire. Take your dog to either and it’s sure to try to curl up on your lap and get in on the action.
Whilst enjoying the daily Battlements Tour, a Leonberger will be thrilled to know that the Langley Castle Chapel, found on the battlements, was allowed to be created there, thanks to the special permission of Pope Leo XIII.
Langley Castle’s French connections run deep and former owner, Josephine d’Echarvine, was the lady who asked Pope Leo XIII for permission to build the chapel. Langley Castle’s 2AA Rosette dining room is named after her, as is the Josephine room inside the castle.
Langley Castle is located in England’s first International Dark Sky Park and runs regular Starry Knight experiences, which allow guests to combine a stay and dinner with a wonderful stargazing extravaganza at the world-renowned Kielder Observatory – and even a snifter on their return! Whilst Rover would yawn at that, he would enjoy poodling around the grounds, under the twinkling stars, before turning into dog-friendly Castle View accommodation in the grounds.
Any dog can enjoy a stay at Langley Castle in one of these dog-friendly rooms and also head into the castle itself, to spend time in the drawing room or enjoy the Battlements Tour.