A LANDMARK castle serving as a luxury hotel has been placed on the market with a £6m price tag.

Specialist property adviser Christie and Co has been appointed to handle the sale of the spectacular 14th Century Lumley Castle Hotel, near Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

The Grade I Listed castle, which has been the seat of the Earl of Scarbrough for over 700 years, occupies a commanding hillside position within six acres of picturesque parkland. The estate is close to the A1 motorway and overlooks Durham County Cricket ground and Chester-le-Street Golf Course.

According to the sellers the 4-star hotel "offers 74 intricately designed bedrooms and suites that exude regal splendour, grand conference and banqueting facilities as well as its own dungeon".

The premier property has been in the same ownership for the past 43 years and over this time the business has enjoyed continued success and hosted some of "the most exquisite weddings in the region".

Simon Stevens a director of Christie and Co's London office said: “This is a genuine retirement sale following 43 years of continuous ownership by passionate clients who have developed the castle from a medieval banqueting venue to one of the regions foremost hotels with a profitable trading reputation to support the business.”

Mark Worley, a director with the firm's Newcastle office, added: “As a local, I am fully aware of the regional affection towards this unique and historic building.

"Add to this the outstanding opportunities to further develop the already impressive profits, Lumley Castle represents an excellent trophy asset and business proposition.”

Christie and Co is seeking offers in excess of £6m for the long leasehold interest in Lumley Castle.

The castle is named for its original owner, Sir Ralph Lumley, who converted his family manor house into a castle in 1389 after returning from wars in Scotland.

His first wife is the castle's most famous ghost. After her murder, she was thrown down the castle well.

It was reported in 2005 that certain Australian cricketers staying at Lumley Castle could sleep only with the lights on.

Shane Watson was the Aussie spooked by the legendary ghost of Lily Lumley, forcing him to sleep on Brett Lee's floor and withstand much ribbing from Darren Gough in the following day's one-day international.