Scotland, a land steeped in history and legends, is home to some of the most magnificent castles in the world. These castles not only offer a glimpse into the country’s rich past but also provide a unique opportunity for travelers to experience a truly enchanting stay. In this article, we will explore the top castles to stay in Scotland, highlighting their locations, historical significance, and the unparalleled experiences they offer.
Table of Contents
Factors to Consider when Choosing a Castle
When embarking on your castle-stay adventure in Scotland, several factors should influence your decision-making process.
First and foremost, consider the location. Scotland boasts diverse regions, each offering its own breathtaking landscapes and attractions. Whether you desire the bustling cityscape of Edinburgh and Lothians, the untamed beauty of the Highlands, or the coastal charm of Argyll and Bute, you’ll find a castle that suits your preferences.
Accommodation options are another crucial aspect to ponder. Some castles operate as luxurious hotels, pampering guests with exceptional service and lavish amenities. Others provide the charm of a bed and breakfast, where you can immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of the Scottish countryside. Additionally, self-catering options allow for a more independent stay, perfect for those seeking privacy and flexibility.
While indulging in the castle experience, it’s important to consider the facilities and amenities available. From fine dining restaurants showcasing local cuisine to on-site recreational activities like golf, fishing, or spa treatments, these offerings add an extra layer of enjoyment to your stay.
Historical significance also plays a role in castle selection. Many castles have witnessed significant events throughout Scotland’s past, with tales of battles, royal encounters, and cultural milestones. Choosing a castle with a compelling historical narrative can further enrich your experience and deepen your connection to the country’s heritage.
Lastly, accessibility is essential for a smooth travel experience. Consider the proximity of your chosen castle to transportation hubs and local attractions, ensuring ease of travel and the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas.
Castles to Stay in Scotland
1. Edinburgh and Lothians Region
Perched majestically atop Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle is an iconic landmark offering stunning views of the city below. With a history dating back over 1,000 years, this fortress has witnessed countless significant events. Experience the grandeur of the Royal Palace, the ancient Stone of Destiny, and the magnificent Crown Jewels during your stay.
Nestled in a picturesque setting near the River Esk, Dalhousie Castle is a magnificent 13th-century fortress that combines history with luxury. Boasting beautifully appointed rooms, fine dining, and even its own spa, this castle ensures a truly indulgent experience for its guests.
A short drive from Edinburgh lies Dundas Castle, a 15th-century gem surrounded by breathtaking countryside. This exclusive-use castle offers a range of luxurious accommodations, including elegantly appointed bedrooms and self-catering lodges. With its enchanting surroundings and impeccable service, Dundas Castle is perfect for weddings, special celebrations, or a romantic getaway.
2. Highlands Region
Set amidst the dramatic landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, Inverlochy Castle is a 19th-century fortress turned luxury hotel. Its regal interiors, Michelin-starred dining, and proximity to the Ben Nevis Mountain make it a haven for nature enthusiasts and discerning travelers seeking a tranquil retreat.
Overlooking the Moray Firth, Castle Stuart offers a unique blend of history and modern comfort. This magnificent castle-turned-luxury lodge provides stunning panoramic views, championship golf courses, and access to nearby attractions such as Culloden Battlefield and Loch Ness.
Situated in the charming town of Dingwall, Tulloch Castle transports you back to the 12th century. With its ancient architecture, cozy rooms, and tales of ghostly encounters, this castle provides a truly atmospheric stay. Explore the nearby Black Isle or embark on whisky tours, immersing yourself in the region’s cultural delights.
3. Aberdeenshire Region
Balmoral Castle, nestled in the stunning Cairngorms National Park, holds a special place in the hearts of the British royal family. With its rich royal heritage, expansive grounds, and luxurious holiday cottages, Balmoral offers a glimpse into the regal lifestyle. Enjoy scenic walks, fishing on the River Dee, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Scottish Highlands.
Known as the “Pink Castle,” Craigievar Castle is a fairytale-like fortress perched atop rolling hills. Its distinctive pink exterior and turreted design make it a sight to behold. Step inside to experience its richly furnished rooms, ornate ceilings, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. This romantic castle is sure to transport you to a bygone era.
Fyvie Castle, located near the town of Turriff, is a fascinating blend of architectural styles and centuries of history. This grand castle boasts opulent interiors, a magnificent portrait gallery, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Explore the castle’s nooks and crannies, unravel its legends, and soak in the charm of its well-preserved medieval heritage.
4. Argyll and Bute Region
Inveraray Castle, nestled on the shores of Loch Fyne, is a magnificent 18th-century castle renowned for its fairytale-like appearance. Admire its stunning gardens, browse through the ancestral relics, and witness the splendor of the Clan Campbell’s seat. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Scottish Highlands while enjoying the castle’s self-catering apartments.
Standing proudly on the banks of Loch Awe, Kilchurn Castle offers a breathtaking backdrop for a memorable stay. While it no longer provides accommodations, this picturesque ruin can be explored during the day, providing a glimpse into its medieval history and offering stunning photo opportunities against the scenic Loch Awe.
Dunans Castle, located in Glendaruel, is a unique and recently restored castle offering exclusive self-catering accommodations. Enjoy the grandeur of the castle’s Great Hall, wander through the surrounding woodlands, and experience the magic of this hidden gem.
5. Perthshire Region
Set amidst the stunning landscape of Highland Perthshire, Blair Castle is a grand and historic fortress dating back to the 13th century. With its beautiful gardens, extensive grounds, and captivating interiors, this castle offers a captivating glimpse into Scottish history. Explore the castle’s extensive collections, take part in Highland games, and indulge in the charm of this remarkable estate.
Castle Menzies, located near the charming town of Aberfeldy, is a striking example of Scottish Renaissance architecture. This beautifully restored castle offers both bed and breakfast accommodation and self-catering options. Delve into the castle’s intriguing past, stroll through its walled garden, and admire the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Scone Palace, situated near the city of Perth, holds significant historical and cultural importance as the traditional crowning place of Scottish kings. This splendid castle boasts magnificent interiors, an extensive art collection, and stunning gardens. Take a guided tour to learn about its rich heritage, explore the beautiful grounds, and revel in the grandeur of this iconic Scottish landmark.
Tips for Planning a Castle Stay
When planning your castle stay in Scotland, keep the following tips in mind:
- First, consider booking well in advance, especially during peak seasons, to secure your preferred dates and accommodations.
- Research and read reviews of the castles you are interested in to ensure they align with your expectations and preferences.
- Set a budget for your castle stay, taking into account not only the accommodation costs but also additional expenses such as meals and activities.
- Plan your transportation to and around the castle locations, whether it’s renting a car or utilizing public transportation.
- Consider the length of your stay at each castle, allowing enough time to explore both the castle itself and the surrounding area.
Staying in a castle in Scotland is a dream come true for many travelers, providing an unforgettable experience filled with history, charm, and breathtaking landscapes. From the grandeur of Edinburgh Castle to the romantic allure of Craigievar Castle, each castle offers a unique glimpse into Scotland’s rich heritage. So, embrace the opportunity to make your castle stay in Scotland a truly magical and memorable adventure.
You May Also Like: