There is something special about eating in a dungeon, especially when you have the keys to get out!
In the quiet village of Thornbury, beneath the stalwart walls of its Tudor castle, the 16th century dungeon plays host to a bonded wine cellar, now opened to adventurous diners who are seeking a very special & intimate ‘wine & dine’ experience. You can be imprisoned by candlelight with your favourite people around you, surrounded by an award-winning wine collection from some of the best artisan winemakers and estates in the world.
There are styles and regions to suit every palate and pocket – the castle's talented sommelier will help with your choices to create an enchanting evening. Alongside amazing wines, the chef will design an equally sensational menu to enhance your wine choices and ensure the perfect balance is created.
Thornbury Castle offers guests a rare and intimate opportunity to spend a decadent evening in a Tudor dungeon, to create lasting memories with friends, family or perhaps to impress your most prestigious clients. You may just wish to pop the question as well...how romantic! A three-course meal and matched wines starts from £85 per person. Maximum party size of eight people. Available from May until September.
Heading across the border to Scotland, you come across one of the largest dungeon restaurants at Dalhousie Castle in Edinburgh. Situated in the bowls of the castle, this used to be the entrance to the castle and has high ancient barrel-vaulted rooms. Yes rooms; there is a lot of space in this area of the castle, and you can seat up 20 people in one of the vaulted areas. It is just as nice for individual tables for two and is a very romantic area in candle-light.
The rich ingredients and exquisitely presented creations are befitting of such an elaborate location, with dishes that include roast partridge with a purée soubise, served with creamed haricots blancs and pickled girolle mushrooms. Elsewhere on the menu, try loin of pork with crackling and apple and bramble compote, or the aromatic cod with pak choi, smoked mussels and lemongrass sauce. Dessert is the award-winning confection of white chocolate and vanilla parfait with pistachio sponge, meringue and griottine cherries.
The dining experience fits the back drop of this 13th-century fortress on the banks of the River Esk. Following dinner you can climb the stone steps to the library and sit beside the fire for a coffee or liqueur before retiring for the night. Two courses from £42.50 / three courses from £49.50 per person.
Number three on my list has to be the best underground wonderful wine diner that you can have in Ireland. On the shores of Lough Corrib, Ashford Castle offers the newest dungeon experience, which they call the 'Wine Cellars at Ashford Castle'.
Gone are the days when, if you were a servant at Ashford Castle, you would have to enter the castle near the bridge and walk through what was originally a coal bunker and walkway underneath the castle. As you passed through, you would fill up a coal bucket to take up to the rooms upstairs to heat the castle.
These 16th century tunnels have now been transformed and they provide three unique private spaces with a cosy ambience and soft lighting. These secret passageways were unearthed during recent renovations in 2015, so you can now enjoy what feels like a 'dungeon' dining experience. Do not mix this up with the airy Dungeon Restaurant on the lower ground of the castle beneath its historic curved stone ceiling.
The extensive wine list has been carefully selected by the castle’s knowledgeable sommelier, where you can sample a fine selection of vintages and a choice of new and old world wines in this remarkable setting. A Coravin system is used for tasting expensive bottles of wine, without having to take the cork out, keeping the wine fresh for longer. You can sample wines from €8 per glass up to €4,500 per bottle.