There is no better way to experience the Scottish countryside than by staying in one of the centuries old castles that now warmly welcome guests. Sleep in rooms originally built for royalty, and enjoy meals in gorgeous stone walled dining rooms at these most beautiful castle hotels across Scotland.
Cornhill Castle Hotel
Nestled in the Scottish countryside, roughly an hour outside of both Glasgow and Edinburgh, guests will find Cornhill Castle Hotel. The French Renaissance period style castle dates back to the 1800’s when it was commissioned by East India merchant Alexander Kay. Since then, it has been artfully updated to balance its historic beauty with the modern comforts of a luxury hotel.
On property, The Ghillie Restaurant exudes Scottish heritage in both atmosphere and cuisine. Situated right on the banks of River Clyde, a meal at the hotel’s restaurant offers local salmon and trout. Their dining room features a warm fireplace along with views of the surrounding countryside where diners can enjoy sunset.
During your stay, be sure to experience the natural beauty of the countryside by walking the hotel’s natural trail. Or, take the short drive to the historic town of Biggar. Here, you can have a bite at the local pubs, find the Little Sparta Gardens and stop by local museums.
The 17th century Crossbasket Castle is a wonderful representation of Scottish charm. The 25 minute drive from Glasgow transports you to what feels like a far away escape in the beautiful countryside.
Since its completion, the current building has been home to many powerful and famous families. Former residents of the castle include Thomas Peter, Dean of Guild of Glasgow, and Charles Macintosh, the inventor of waterproof cloth and the raincoat.
Being so close to Glasgow, a trip to Crossbasket Castle would be incomplete without stopping by one of Scotland’s largest cities. It also would be a shame to miss out on the the area’s quaint attractions. The hotel offers many tours with private guides including ones exploring the surrounding castles and historic homes. Or, take part in the distillery tour where you can compare Whisky from the Highlands and Lowlands.
The hotel’s Albert and Micheal Roux Jr restaurant is a must visit spot during your stay. Originally overseen by his French Chef father, the late Albert Roux, Micheal Roux Jr now has taken over. Whether you chose to dine in the Ballie Room surrounded by antiques, or in a private dining area, delicious meals prepared by an award winning chef are sure to please.
The beautiful 28 acre Cringletie Estate is located a convenient 45 minutes from Edinburgh. The land was obtained in 1600 by Sir Alexander of Black Barony from the Crown in order to build the first Cringletie for his son. The current building was completed in 1861 by the Wolfe Murray family and was later transformed into a hotel in 1971 by the Maguire family.
On property, guests can walk the 1-mile Nature Trail which opened in 2015. The historical trail brings you around the estate through the natural woodlands. The surrounding Scottish Borders area is also home to ample space for hiking, horseback riding and world renowned golfing.
The original Walled Garden from 1600 still is a focal point of the estate with breathtaking floral displays and fruit trees. Here, visitors can see the kitchen garden where produce is grown for the hotel’s award winning The Sutherland Restaurant. Head Chef Iain Gourlay serves up classic meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with traditional British daily afternoon tea sittings and Sunday lunch.
Dalhousie Castle Hotel
Dating back to the 13th century, the original Dalhousie Castle’s thick foundational walls and vaults still stand. The spectacular building where guests can now stay was completed in 1450. Dalhousie Castle Hotel is just under an hour from Edinburgh Castle, one of the largest castles in the world.
For centuries, it was home to the Ramsey family. Throughout their familial history, the Ramseys continually fought in heroic battles to protect their land and notably fought to defend Mary Queen of Scots.
The Dalhousie Restaurant boasts double AA rosettes, so guests are sure to enjoy their cuisine which combines French and Scottish classics. No matter if you’re looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the hotel restaurant uses the finest local ingredients and serves a wide variety of meals for the whole family.
Without even leaving the property, visitors can take part in some classic Scottish activities. Try out falconry or archery, or simply walk the castle’s beautiful grounds. The short 30 minute drive to Edinburgh center also provides guests with ample opportunities to explore the Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile and the breathtaking Royal Botanical Gardens.
Dornoch Castle Hotel
Dornoch Castle Hotel is located seaside in the northern Highlands. The castle is almost surely on the land of the original Bishop’s Palace of St. Gilbert, who founded the nearby Dornoch Cathedral in the 13th century.
Dornoch Castle Hotel is quite far from any of Scotlands major metropolitan centers, but it is only an hour north of the cultural capital city of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness.
On site, the Dornoch Distillery offers intimate experiences with their handcrafted ‘old style’ whiskey. Even more uniquely, this microdistillery is located within the old property Fire Station. A trip along Scotland’s North Coast 500, or Route 66, offers incredible views, an array of scenic castles, as well as many walking and cycling routes.
A fine dining experience at The Vault is offered in the original dungeons of the castle. Two options of six course tasting menus, with optional wine or whiskey pairings are available.
Glenapp Castle is located in the South Ayrshire region of Scotland. As the Castle settled in the south of the country, the best months to visit fall from June to August. The nearest major metropolitan area is Ayr, about an hour’s drive north.
In the late 1800s, David Bryce was commissioned to design Glenapp Castle for the Earl of Orkney. As exemplified by this castle, Bryce is known for Scottish Baronial style: a combination of Gothic and Renaissance features. The castle was converted into a luxury hotel in 1994.
The hotel has many boating experiences, as there are many islands off the coast worth exploring. Some of these boating trips even include a private chef onboard! However, the most unique activity offered by Glenapp Castle has to be the helicopter tour/trips to local Hebridean Island distilleries. You’ll find that the helicopter landing pad is mere minutes from the front entrance of the hotel.
While lunch and dinner at the hotel are spectacular, Glenapp Castle also features a luxury afternoon tea. Each dining experience incorporates local, organic produce.
Glenapp Castle is proud to have their very own apiary. There are six hives of Buckfast bees! The hotel’s Beekeeper, Mark, looks after the bees, ensuring their health and welfare and managing pests and diseases. He will help guests don headgear and overalls and discuss why beekeeping is a hugely important role within our immediate ecosystem. Guests can learn how to harvest honey and the role of each bee in the colony.
An hour drive along Loch Ness from Inverness will bring you to the gorgeous Glengarry Castle Hotel. Built in 1866, today the castle warmly welcomes guests to stay during their open season which lasts from March through November.
The comfortable country house turned hotel lays on the same property as the ruins of Invergarry Castle. This historic castle was home to the Chiefs of the MacDonnells, a powerful branch of Clan Macdonald, until it was burnt down in 1654. Today, guests have the unique opportunity to visit the ruins during a walk around the property.
With access and spectacular views of the Loch Oich, guests can enjoy all that the waterfront property has to offer. Whether you are looking for leisurely lochside strolls, row boats or tennis matches, the hotel has a way for everyone to enjoy the outdoors.
Inside, the Victorian era dining room is the perfect place to enjoy traditional Scottish fare and afternoon tea. In the lounge, guests can even sit by the wood burning fireplace after a long day of exploring the local area.
Glengorm Castle’s unique location on the north coast of Isle Mull in the Inner Hebrides, means visitors take a gorgeous ferry ride from one of the mainland ports. From Oban-Craignure, it is about a 40 minute boat ride.
The castle property has a diverse range of accommodations for every guest’s needs. The main tower, which was built in 1860, houses beautiful serviced apartments and classically styled bed and breakfast rooms. Throughout the grounds there are also many self servicing flats and cottages, all with an extremely cozy and quaint feel.
Glengorm Castle is situated perfectly for those looking to discover the entire island. The 15 minute drive to Tobermory will bring visitors to attractions like the Tobermory Aquarium, Baliscate Standing Stones and Tobermory Lighthouse. Tobermory harbour, one of the ports visitors can board a ferry from, also is a great spot to catch a boat ride to see the coast.
The Isles of Mull is home to many quaint and cozy Scottish restaurants, pubs and cafes. Trying out some of the locally owned eateries is a must while you’re there. The Ninth Wave Restaurant serves delicious fresh caught seafood and organic meat from the island. As seasons change, so does their menu to reflect the varying available ingredients.
Gordon Castle is settled in the northern region of Moray. Depending on the desired temperature for your vacation, traveling in Moray is lovely all the way from April to October. Sitting close to the coast, the Castle is approximately an hour and a half drive from Aberdeen.
One of Scotland’s oldest families, the Gordons, lived here, beginning in the 1770s. During World War I, the estate was even used as an auxiliary hospital for injured soldiers. However, the property was sold to the Crown in 1938 after the inability of the Gordons to afford the property any longer.
The Castle’s hidden gem is the walled garden, spanning over eight acres. The garden is open all year, allowing visitors to enjoy it in every season. To try some of the garden’s fresh produce, head to the on-site cafe. Gordon Castle also offers guided salmon fishing on the River Spey.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Inverlochy Castle Hotel is situated in the south of Scotland’s Highland region. A little bit over an hour away, driving along the coast, you’ll find the city of Oban. The best time of year to explore the Scottish Highlands is the summer, specifically from June to August. While this time of year will be warmer, don’t expect any scorching hot days.
This castle was built in the mid 1800s, by the 3rd Baron Abinger. It is located a mere two miles from the 13th century ruins of Inverlochy Castle, the source of its name. In 1873, Queen Victoria visited the estate for a week, complimenting “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.”
During your stay, Inverlochy Castle Hotel offers many activities for all age groups, including photography tours, golf, horseback riding, and archery. For anyone interested in sport shooting, they offer Clay Pigeon Shooting and High Velocity Rifle Shooting. These are guided experiences, available to adults and accompanied children over the age of 12.
Star chef Michel Roux Jr runs the kitchen, as the son of the talented, late Albert Roux. With three exquisitely-decorated dining rooms, the restaurant serves French-influenced British cuisine. Lunch and afternoon tea are served in the lounge, while dinner begins in the dining rooms at 6pm.
Tulloch Castle Hotel is just a 30 minute drive from Inverness city center making it the perfect getaway from city life. The 12th century castle was once home to Clan chiefs, but today houses 22 guest rooms for visitors to enjoy. The restored castle holds on to many of its original elements including fireplaces, ceilings and the 250 year old Great Hall.
Being in the golfing Highlands, just a short drive from Tulloch Castle visitors will find 3 Championship golf courses along with over 50 other nearby courses. Aside from golfing, guests can explore local wildlife and walking trails at the Cairngorms National Park, and possibly even see a pod of dolphins on the Moray.
A trip to the hotel’s The Turret’s Restaurant gives guests the chance to try Highland dishes made with the best local produce available. Round out the day by stopping by either the Green Lady Bar or reception lounge for a cozy drink by the log fire.