From investigating impressive rubble ruins to touring ominous stone structures that still stand tall, the castles of Scotland offer a significant glimpse into the colourful past of this historic land. Take matters one step further and clamber even deeper through the keyhole. Discover the most magical castles in Scotland that you can actually stay in.
Culzean Castle in Maybole is celebrated for being one of the most impressive Scottish masterpieces to come from architect Robert Adam. It was crafted for the 10th Earl of Cassilis in 1792 and took 10 whole years to build. In 1945, the Marquess of Ailsa gifted the castle to the National Trust for Scotland. Today, the upper floors of this 18th-century castle — which can be reached by a fabulous 1920s elevator — make up the unique and intriguing Eisenhower Hotel. The six grand bedrooms, elegant circular drawing room, private dining room and 600 acres of enchanting land resemble a scene from a period drama. Interestingly, this country house hotel is said to be haunted. Perhaps such speculations have to do with the castle being featured in the 1973 film The Wicker Man.
Culzean Castle, Maybole, Scotland, +44 1655 884455
Savour a taste of the good life and absorb the best contemporary comforts in the historical setting of the grand Fonab Castle. This opulent, five-star castle hotel sits majestically amongst the most magical tribe of trees. The castle has been perfectly restored and is a prime pick for those who love the finer things in life. Delight in the plush grand rooms adorned with gold accents and heavenly crisp white interiors and indulge in some of the most exquisite Scottish cuisine. A castle wouldn’t be complete without a luscious spa and stunning loch views, of course. Roam the extensive grounds and wander into your very own fairytale.
Fonab Castle, Foss Rd, Pitlochry, Scotland, +44 1796 470140
After enjoying a tipple or two at the Ben Nevis Distillery, check into the magnificent Inverlochy Castle. This luxurious castle hotel has 17 rooms, all of which are simply divine. Guests must pinch themselves upon waking up in one of the four-poster or half canopy beds, as the period-style furnishings and glamorous accents verge on being too beautiful to be true. If the interior isn’t enough, gaze out the window and admire the scenic surroundings of the magnificent lochs, wise mountains and picture perfect gardens. This beauty, which was built in 1863, is home to one of the best full Scottish breakfasts and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Reside like royalty and play the day away in the billiard room, try your hand at golf, set sail on a boat trip and partake in the top-notch selection of adventure sports on hand.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Torlundy, Fort William, Scotland, +44 1397 702177
Trek just an hour out of Inverness and you’ll find Dornoch Castle. This family owned and run hotel is riddled with character and history. Each room is decorated with a different theme and exudes a soothing ambience while staying true to that classic castle stereotype. For those seeking that quintessential castle feel, X marks the spot here. From tartan interiors and gargantuan fireplaces, to velvet chairs and wood panels, this traditional turreted pick is the kind to create memories.
Dornoch Castle, Castle St, Dornoch, Scotland, +44 1862 810216
Once upon a time in a bonnie land called Scotland, there was a magical place called Glenapp Castle. This baronial-style luxury hotel dates back to 1870 and is renowned for its fairytale essence and incredible service. Experience the majestic landscape and wildlife of Scotland while strolling through the 36 acres of gardens. Upon return, enjoy a delectable three-course lunch or savour the taste of miniature everything with a spot of afternoon tea. The sea views and incandescent chandeliers will not go un-noticed either.
Glenapp Castle, Ballantrae, Girvan, Scotland, +44 1465 831212
On the little island of Shapinsay in Orkney sits the most dignified castle. From the De Gournay silk wallpaper to roll-top baths, formal gardens, decadent decor and indescribable views of vast vistas, Balfour Castle is everything the imagination could ever conjure up, and then some. Oh, and the turret on top may just be the fact that guests arrive in style on a private charter boat. This venue really is exclusive with its unrivaled views, stunning surrounding wilderness and the way in which the most divine light pours through the giant windows casting delicate dancing shadows.
Balfour Castle, Shapinsay, Orkney, Scotland, +44 1856 711282
Experience a true snippet of Scotland by staying at Glengorm Castle (also referred to as Castle Sorn). Thankfully, this 19th-century rural retreat is available to all and actually a bed and breakfast. Live like royalty at the top of the tower or reside close by in one of the many quaint cottages. Guests are able to explore the magnificent library, enjoy the main hall and feast in the dining room. This intriguing castle is a stone’s throw away from Tobermory on the Isle of Mull.
Glengorm Castle, Tobermory, Glengorm, Isle of Mull, Scotland, +44 1688 302321