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?
Faside Castle overlooks the Firth of Forth and is approximately ten miles east of Edinburgh city centre. The Tower is a barrel vaulted room situated at the top of the 14c keep offering complete privacy and ideal for a romantic break.
Built as the grand baroque home for Edinburgh's Lord Provost in 1687, Prestonfield is the city's most individual hotel, as you would expect from its owner - James Thomson the creator of the famed Witchery by the Castle.
This fine building appears outwardly plain, but inside is another matter and gives an insight into the life of a Jacobean laird. The hall is 30 feet long, with a fine fireplace and from it the laird's private stair leads to the bedrooms.