So, you’re dreaming of spending some time at a castle on your trip to Scotland. What’s that? You want to stay in a castle – as in sleep there overnight? Who do you think you are? Sleeping Beauty? Prince Charming?
Actually, maybe you are – or you can be – at least for a night or two. Castle stays aren’t all luxurious, although you can certainly splurge if you want. You might find that you can afford to stay in a castle while in Scotland. Here are a few that might be worth checking out. All are hotels or B&B’s versus self-catering. And all vary in price and location.
Broomhall Castle – This 3 star castle hotel is located near the town of Menstrie, not far from the larger town of Stirling, and northwest of Edinburgh. Built in 1874 and in the Balmoral Castle style, this castle was originally a private residence. In 1941, the castle, which had become a boys school was destroyed by fire, by the Germans. The building sat in ruins until 1985 when it was rebuilt and used as a nursing home. In 2003, the current family bought it, restored it and turned it into the small hotel it is today.
The castle has 10 en suite rooms of varying sized and a restaurant on site. Prices in high season run a little over $200/night at the high end and do include breakfast. It’s one of the more affordable castle stays and has a lovely setting.
Nearby, beside the beautiful town of Stirling, are the William Wallace Monument and Doune Castle, which was used in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. You’ll recognize it at once if you’re a Monty Python fan!!
Dalmunzie Castle Hotel – This is another 3 star hotel in Cairngorms National Park area, southwest of Aberdeen. Dalmunzie is a former laird’s residence dating from 1510 and sits on 6500 acres. Dalmunzie became a hotel after WWII after being a private residence in some form or another since its inception. It was thoroughly refurbished in 2004 and 2005.
This castle hotel has 17 individual rooms in various parts of the house. There is also a Michelin recommended restaurant and a 9 hole golf course on site. The setting is beautiful!
Room prices here are $370 for the top end in high season (includes breakfast). So, it is a bit of a splurge. But, it is recommended in Alastair Sawday’s Britain guide. These guides contain special places to stay that are hand-picked and always unique in some way. So, if a place is in this guide, I’m usually on board too!
Glengorm Castle – This castle, located on the Isle of Mull, is actually a family home. The family lives here year round, but they love sharing this amazing place with their guests.
Glengorm is quite special as it is enveloped by nature. It’s not just a castle, though the house is impressive. This is the place to come for the surroundings. In 2013 the owners started the Glengorm Wildlife Project as a way to protect all the wildlife found in the area. They have a ranger to oversee this project and to educate visitors. It’s a wonderful destination for anyone of any age, including kids.
There are 4 ensuite rooms, 1 room with an adjacent bathroom and the tower rooms which are actually an apartment that sleeps 4. There are also self-catering apartments scattered about the estate for those wanting more space and their own kitchen. The B&B rooms run approximately $300 per night for double occupancy at the high end in peak season and do include breakfast. Dogs are welcome here as well. This is one of my favorites!!
Duchray Castle – Another selection found in Sawday’s Britain guide, this castle sits in Trossachs National Park in the heart of the forest. It’s a wonderful choice for those seeking peace and quiet and time in nature.
Duchray was probably built in the late 1500’s by the Graham family who owned it until the 1940’s. It was set fire to a couple of times through the years and was most likely rebuilt around 1825.
In 2010 Frances and Oliver Bigwood purchased the abandoned building and took 2 years to restore it and add onto it. They opened their doors in 2013. The family lives on the property, so in many ways, it’s like staying at a friend’s house. Albeit, a pretty grand one!
With only 4 ensuite rooms, Duchray is one of the smaller castles on the list, but I find that smaller places give you that much more attention. Prices run around $250 per night for 2 people at the high end in peak season. Price includes breakfast. Although they don’t have a formal restaurant on site, the staff will create a special occasion dinner or a dinner for larger groups. Arrangements must be made in advance.
Barcaldine Castle – This choice is located just north of the town of Oban on the west coast of Scotland. It is also known as the Black Castle as it was built by “Black” Duncan Campbell in 1609. It was restored in 1897.
Barcaldine sits on the shores of Loch Creran and has stunning views to the north of the peaks of Glencoe. But while it’s situated in the midst of the natural world, there are also some little towns to visit. And there is easy access to some of the islands via the town of Oban.
This castle is another “intimate” choice with just 5 ensuite rooms. Rooms will run about $350 at the top end for double occupancy in peak season and include breakfast. There is no restaurant for dinner on site, but the staff is happy to assist you in restaurant recommendations and reservations.
There are certainly more castles and grand homes to stay in on your visit to Scotland. These are just a few that have captured my attention for various reasons. And yes, there are some that will cost a bit less, and there are some that will cost a bit more. But, wouldn’t it be fabulous to feel like royalty, even for a night?