Ever dreamt of dining in a grand hall, sleeping in a four-poster bed, or having vast lands on your doorstep to explore at your own leisure? Throughout history, Scotland has been proud of its magnificent country estates with their dramatic backdrops, impressive buildings and beautiful gardens.
Once upon a time, these residences were the lavish homes of Scottish landowners. These days, many of these centuries-old estates open their doors to everyone, offering unique accommodation, food and drink and activities in their grounds. Yes, you too can spend a day, or even a whole week, living like a laird or lady!
A few famous Scottish properties were featured in PBS’s Great Estates, a four-part series exploring behind-the-scenes of some iconic properties, with tales told through the eyes of today’s owners, staff, ghillies, visitors and guests.
Here’s a little more about each of the incredible properties featured in the series.
Dumfries House, Ayrshire © Ayrshire & Arran Tourism
Opening times: 1 March 2015 – 31 October 2016
Surprisingly, this elegant 18th century stately home isn’t found in the town of Dumfries. It’s actually nestled in the gorgeous Ayrshire countryside. The property blends the architecture of Robert Adam with the furniture of Thomas Chippendale – some of Chippendale’s most sought-after original cabinets are still in situ. Take a guided tour, admire the artworks and relax in the serene gardens.
Opening times: 25 March – 31 October 2016
This rather marvellous castle has been the ancestral seat of the Dukes of Argyll, Chiefs of the Clan Campbell, for many generations. The family have been based in Inveraray since the early 15th century. Just like the Dukes, you won’t want to leave!
As you wander through the entrance of the castle into the Armoury Hall, admire the artefacts including swords from the Battle of Culloden. Outside on the wider estate, try some countryside pursuits or go for a walk in the fresh air.
Kincardine Castle © Jim Henderson Photography
Opening times: open all year
It’s easy to see why Queen Victoria fell in love with Royal Deeside, and this castle is just one example of a fabulous Victorian-era castle in the area. The 3,000 acre estate is perched on a hillside overlooking the royals’ favourite landscapes and the towering hills of the Cairngorms National Park. Close to the city of Aberdeen, nowadays the castle and its grounds cater for weddings, large parties and corporate events, as well as hosting adventurous outdoors activities in the surrounding countryside. Don’t forget to explore more along the Victorian Heritage Trail whilst you’re visiting Aberdeenshire.
Opening times: open all year
The enigmatic Rosslyn Chapel, featured in the Da Vinci Code and set in an atmospheric wooded glen, has intrigued locals and travellers for many generations. The ruins date back to the 15th century and the chapel is filled with myths and legends, with its ornate stonework alluding to biblical stories and moral messages from times gone by. Hear all about the various theories from expert guides and throughout the visitor centre. Once you’ve explored the chapel, enjoy an afternoon hike along the beautiful Rosslyn Glen Walk.
The PBS series Great Estates was filmed entirely in Scotland. If you missed it, the DVD is available to buy now.
Have you been to an impressive stately home or Scottish country estate recently? Share your pictures and experiences on social media using the hashtag #ScotSpirit, or start a conversation on the iKnow Scotland Community forum.