Croy Shore with Culzean Castle behind, South Ayrshire
Prestonfield House Hotel, Edinburgh
Traquair House, south of Innerleithen
From 5-star luxury hotels to self-catering options, the historic former homes of Scotland’s lairds and nobles now open their doors to overnight visitors. Retaining all their charm and character from bygone days when they were formidable strongholds, you’ll enjoy a unique experience staying at one of Scotland’s castles or stately homes.
Constructed in strategic locations on islands, beside lochs or in glens, they were built centuries ago by our ancestors to defend against both marauding invaders and wily foes. While many now poignantly lie in ruins following ferocious sieges and battles, or simply neglected and fallen into repair over many hundreds of years, there are some of Scotland's great castles that have stood the test of time.
Startling examples of evolving styles of architecture, these magnificent buildings are part of the fabric of Scottish history and now that their former medieval defenders are long since departed, they're there for the taking.
Get comfortable with a good book and sit in an armchair next to a roaring fireplace in large halls or reception rooms once graced by royalty and the nobles of Scotland. Or why not stay the night in a bedchamber in which a monarch such as Mary, Queen of Scots may well have rested her head?
Many castles and former stately homes have been transformed into 4 or 5-star hotels which offer a luxury experience fit for the aristocracy. Dine like a king at exquisite castle restaurants and then work off your meal with a leisurely stroll around the sculpted gardens or the fringes of a nearby loch. Or why not simply relax with a pampering spa treatment?
Set in 60 acres of woodland gardens, romantic Stonefield Castle is an example of Scottish Baronial architecture and still retains much of the original furnishings, wood paneling, ornate ceilings and marble fireplaces.
Nestled deep in the Queen Elizabeth Forest lies Duchray Castle, a 500 year old tower house with links to Rob Roy. Now newly renovated it offers luxury accommodation and a warm welcome in a stunning secluded location.
West Lodge is one of two newly renovated luxury holiday cottages. The cottages originally formed part of the former Dukes of Hamilton's head gamekeepers residence, accommodating the estate dogs and horses. The lodge sleeps 2.
Winton House, a castle just outside Edinburgh in East Lothian, has comfortable, historic bedrooms which provide luxury accommodation for parties of 2-16 guests. Where better for an utterly unforgettable holiday with dinner, bed & breakfast?