What a dream-come-true for children, and grown-ups too: stay in a castle on your summer vacation.
As Europe for Visitors remarks, Europe has more historic castles than North America has Burger Kings; and --what with the high cost of keeping up a hundred-room mansion these days --many of these castles offer accommodation for visitors.
For example, About.com's Guide for UK Travel has a collection of castle hotels in England, Scotland, and Wales. Or have a peek at the Hotel Schloss Eckberg Castle, in Dresden. Or try the Chateau de la Guillonniere in France.
Naturally, some castles tend to be in the higher price levels. However, the budget-minded may be able to find castles run as hostels-- And before you say, "Hostels???" keep in mind that hostels have changed greatly in recent years and many now offer private rooms for families. For example, check the Carbisdale Castle in Scotland, which has an art collection, Italian marble statues, beautiful setting, family rooms (and a ghost.)
Finding Castles Online
The Europe for Visitors site has links for castles in many countries. One great benefit of the Internet is that you search thousands of listings for lodgings: complete with pictures, prices, and information on amenities. Many websites offer online booking; otherwise, you can communicate with the owners/operators by email.
More Summer Vacation Ideas in Europe: