The striking Scottish landscape is dotted with ancient castles and baronial manors. From imposing clifftop structures to fairy-tale buildings beside serene lakes, Scotland is ethereal.
As you explore the countryside, you'll discover castles in various states of disrepair. For the romantic at heart, there are few things more appealing than getting a chance to call one home for a few days.
Walking down centuries-old stone passageways and waking up to views over misty moors is reminiscent of a bygone era. We've rounded up our favourite luxury castle stays in Scotland that will ensure your visit is both magical and memorable.
Crossbasket Castle, Glasgow
Together with ornate décor and rich fabrics, the period features of 17th-century Crossbasket Castle have been carefully restored using traditional methods and materials. The Stewart Drawing Room features detailed cornices finished in gold leaf, and each of the rooms is decorated in a classical style and named for one of the historical custodians of the castle. Make your way up a spiral staircase to the four-storey fairy-tale bridal suite in a turret, with views out over the Calder River. Stroll beneath the trees along the winding river, or sit on a quiet bench and enjoy the sounds of the countryside. This is a romantic old-world retreat fit for royalty.
While the original castle that was recorded in the area as early at 1593 no longer remains, the grand house, “Cromlix Cottage”, set on 34 acres of woodlands has been converted into a luxurious 15-room country hotel. The rooms, decorated to fit the house’s heritage with antique Scottish furniture, look out over carefully manicured grounds. Natural wood furnishings and warm colours make for an inviting, luxuriously comfortable escape. In 1903 Colonel Arthur Hay Drummond became the laird of Cromlix and had it enlarged and the gardens landscaped. It is now owned by tennis legend Andy Murray.
Fonab Castle, Highlands
Nestled in the heart of Highland Perthshire near Cairngorms National Park, Fonab Castle blends the old and new. Originally built as a home for the Sandeman family in 1892, the castle has cycled through a few uses, including a hospital during the First World War, and Scottish Hydro offices while the nearby Pitlochry Dam was being built. It stood empty for several decades before finally being restored and transformed into a hotel. It is constructed of red sandstone and still features much of the original design work inside, but a modern glass and wood structure which houses the restaurant has been added.
Inverlochy Castle, Highlands
With the striking Ben Nevis as a backdrop and its own loch, Inverlochy Castle is grand hotel offering guests and aristocratic welcome and impeccable service. Décor in the 17 unique rooms and the hotel’s public spaces is an eclectic mix of 19th-century styles, which combines with tasteful modern features. The lush grounds and surrounding hills are perfect for walking, mountain biking and exploring. Visit the nearby falls at Glen Nevis, the monument at Glenfinnan and the mountains of Glencoe.In 1873 Queen Victoria visited and wrote in her diary that she had never seen a lovelier or more romantic spot.
The Torridon, Highlands
Built as a hunting lodge over 20 years by the first Earl of Lovelace, William King-Noel, parts of this stately home are dedicated to Queen Victoria. You’ll find nods to her in the Hall and Eilean Chasgaig Room, as well as the Zodiac ceiling in the Drawing Room. Surrounded by 58 acres of idyllic parklands, the hotel is the perfect place from which to experience the rugged Highlands. Head out and spend your days mountaineering, gorge scrambling and having a go at clay pigeon shooting or archery.
For day trips
Even though not all castles are set up as hotels, many of them are open to guests, so you can still explore the exquisite gardens and ornate halls. At some of them, you can browse collections of art and keepsakes passed down through the generations. Here are some of our top castles to see while you’re in the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands.
If you’re visiting the Scottish Lowlands, be sure to visit the 14th-century Kellie Castle with its beautiful gardens and historic artworks. In the Lowlands you’ll also find Floors Castle, Scotland’s largest inhabited castle. It was built in 1721 for the first Duke of Roxburghe. You’ll discover an impressive collection of fine art, porcelain and tapestries.
Set in the heart of Cairngorms National Park is Braemar Castle, a striking example of Highland architecture. It is home to the chiefs of Clan Farquharson and the interior rooms display family memorabilia. Head to Speyside and you’ll find Cawdor Castle, ancestral home of the Campbell family. One of the highlights is the castle’s beautiful garden. Finally, you’ll discover the romantic Eilean Donan Castle on a small island where three lochs meet.
Our Team's Favourite Trips to Scotland
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