As 2017 is Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, we thought we’d celebrate this country’s unique and colourful history by showcasing some of the best Scottish castles for you to visit as part of a break with us and have even highlighted special places to stay nearby.
Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries
The literal translation of Caerlaverock is ‘castle of the lark’, but this gentle name seems somehow at odds with the imposing sandstone walls of one of the most powerful-looking castles in Scotland. Located in Dumfries and Galloway on the edge of the Solway Firth, this medieval fortress is packed with fascinating tales of its turbulent history and yet has a fairytale appearance and its own moat. It was even used as a filming location for the film ‘The Decoy Bride’ back in 2011.
Enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep in a full size Scottish box bed set into the wall in the beautiful Ghillie’s Bothy in Dumfries and Galloway. Tradition combines with modern facilities to offer a scenic, peaceful base for visiting Caerlaverock Castle and the surrounding area. Sleeping 2 people and welcoming 2 pets, prices start at £295 for a 7 night stay.
Stirling Castle, Stirling
One of the largest and most imposing castles in Scotland, Stirling Castle sits dramatically on top of Castle Hill, surrounded on 3 sides by step cliffs – an ideal defensive position. Several kings and queens of Scotland were crowned here, including Mary Queen of Scots, who also lived in the castle as a child. It has the largest medieval banqueting hall ever built in Scotland – and even comes complete with a ghost.
The Ridge is the lower section of an old turreted Scottish baronial mansion situated just a short walk from Stirling Castle. This elegant, spacious property sleeps 4 people with prices starting at £335 for 7 nights.
Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye
Dunvegan Castle, situated at the heart of a 42,000 acre estate on the Isle of Skye, is one of the great Hebridean castles and has been continually occupied by the Clan Chiefs of Macleod for over 800 years. It is absolutely filled with paintings and clan treasures including one of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s waistcoats and the famous Fairy Flag, a sacred clan banner that is said to have with magical powers. When it was unfurled in battle, the clan would snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Sandaig Cottage is a modern, open plan cottage with gorgeous views out over the Sound of Sleat where you can relax and keep an eye out for the otters, seals and dolphins that are often spotted along the shoreline. Pet friendly and sleeping up to 4 people, prices start at £550 for 7 night stays (with linen, towels and WiFi included).
Tantallon Castle, near North Berwick
Tantallon Castle is the ruined stronghold of the Red Douglas dynasty. Set high on a cliff edge looking out towards the Bass Rock, it was besieged by both James IV and James V but was ultimately destroyed by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in 1651. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore, including the remains of the Great Hall and the spooky pit prison.
A short drive up the coast from Tantallon Castle, on the outskirts of Dunbar, is The Beach House set just 50 metres from the shores of beautiful Belhaven Bay. There is the potential for surfing at mid to high tide, plus lots to explore nearby. The Beach House is pet friendly and sleeps up to 3 people with prices for 7 night stays starting at £355.
Floors Castle, Kelso
Floors Castle is Scotland’s largest inhabited castle and it’s easy to see why it is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Scottish Borders. It is a truly stunning building, designed by William Adam in 1721 for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe and subsequently remodeled by William Playfair between 1837 and 1847. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and filled with treasures including fine art, newly-restored tapestries and porcelain, it is a lovely place to spend an afternoon.
Kingfisher Cottage near Kelso is a spectacular conversion of part of an old mill dating from 1774 that has been carefully renovated with all 21st century comforts. It has plenty of space to spread out into with a spacious open plan living area and separate galleried TV room upstairs that makes sure all viewing tastes are catered for. The cottage sleeps up to 6 and prices start at £450 for 7 nights.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan is one of the most photographed castles in the world, thanks to its stunning setting on an island at the entrance to Loch Duich. Many different versions of the castle have been built and rebuilt since the 13th century but after it was partly destroyed in a Jacobite rising in 1719, Eilean Donan lay in ruins for around 200 years until it was restored to its former glory and became one of Scotland’s best-loved attractions.
Letterfearn Cottage is situated right on the shore of Loch Duich and looks across to Eilean Donan castle. It makes the perfect base for forest walks, cycling and, of course, visiting the castle itself. Letterfearn sleeps 4 people and prices start at £395 for 7 nights (WiFi and linen included).
With cottages spread out across the whole of Scotland we have just the place for you to enjoy this special Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology by visiting some of the other castles Scotland has to offer, as well as historic dwellings, stately homes and heritage sites galore. Just delve in and immerse yourself in the stories of Scotland’s past. Give us a call on 01835 822277 to speak to our helpful booking team or browse the whole portfolio online to find your perfect fit. We even have some properties that are set in some pretty historic buildings themselves.