ONE of the district’s mediaeval castles has put up the defences once again to keep coronavirus at bay.

The 14th century Langley Castle, which is now a luxury hotel and wedding venue, has reopened for visitors, after the Government eased lockdown restrictions on the tourism and hospitality sector.

Executive general manager Margaret Livingstone-Evans said the historic venue had been “buzzing” during the first week of a new chapter, which began on July 4.

She explained: “We stayed upbeat and optimistic, and managed to generate enquiries throughout lockdown, by being creative about the ways in which we can make things happen, in a safe way.”

Margaret said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, people had been keen to book their stay at Langley as soon as it was safe to reopen.

Changes at the castle have gone far beyond the introduction of hand sanitiser and social distancing measures.

The castle has been liaising with local vicar, the Rev. Benjamin Carter, to make arrangements for ‘bubble’ weddings, which have already started to take place.

The smaller wedding gatherings have proved to be both intimate and memorable, and have attracted interest from as far afield as New Zealand.

Margaret added: “We are continuing to evolve what we can offer and a lot of product development is taking place. This may well see us trialling new experiences now, which become permanent features.

“Whether that is afternoon teas in our extensive grounds or the new bubble weddings which are already proving such a hit, it’s all about being positive and having a can-do mentality, whilst operating within the boundaries of what is legal and safe to do.”

Everyday life at Langley has seen changes to basic activities, such as menu choices and payments, while check-in and check-out times have been altered to ensure the castle’s housekeeping team to carry out deep cleans.

The castle is also using the government’s decision to reduce VAT charges on hospitality businesses, as a means of kick starting the industry, to the benefit of customers.

Margaret said that the castle was hoping to offer job opportunities in the near future.

She added: “The castle may be able to take advantage of some of the new government incentives that will provide roles for trainees, helping to boost the local job market and continue the castle’s long policy of providing job opportunities for local people.”

Langley Castle has a long and fascinating history, and earlier this year, there was a new development in the venue’s ‘Grey Lady’ ghost story.

For decades it was said that the Grey Lady was believed to be Maud de Lucy, who was broken-hearted when her knight husband was killed in battle and, on hearing the news, died after jumping out of a castle window.

However, a study of the genealogy of the De Lucy family made hotel staff question the lady’s true identity.

The castle has served as a hotel since 1986, and was taken over by current owner, Dr Stuart Madnick, in 1991. Margaret is now occupying the role served by popular former general manager, Anton Phillips, who retired in 2016 after 25 years at the castle.

For more information visit