The Best Hotels to Book Near Glasgow, Scotland

Glenapp Castle has all the trappings of a fairy-tale palace
Glenapp Castle has all the trappings of a fairy-tale palace | © Findlay / Alamy Stock Photo
Mike MacEacheran

Contributor

Ditch the city in favour of rural retreats, stately homes and fairy-tale castles that will put you in prime position to explore Scotland’s great outdoors.

With so many spoil-yourself hotels just beyond Scotland’s biggest city, a road trip out of town is a great way to reset your batteries or avoid the urban bustle all together. From a living art museum once frequented by royalty to a Wimbledon champion’s home away from home, accommodation options outside Glasgow are varied and intriguing. Bordering the Scottish lowlands, there’s plenty of natural beauty on the doorstep, too.

1. Fife Arms

Hotel

Could this be the fanciest hotel in Scotland? You wouldn’t bet against it. Built in the Victorian era, this glammed-up Braemar manor is a textbook example of how time-honoured Highland piles ought to be restored. Renowned Swiss art collectors Iwan and Manuela Wirth are the brains behind the project, and their creative influence is visible at every turn. Look out for a neon tangle of lights hanging in the hallway, a watercolour of a stag’s head painted by Queen Vic herself and a monumental 19th-century mahogany and pine chimneypiece carved with scenes from the works of Scottish poet Robert Burns. Meanwhile, the surrounding countryside promises myriad muddy-boots experiences when you’re ready for some fresh air.

2. The Attic at Edenmill

Hostel

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Courtesy of the Attic at Edenmill / Expedia

The Trossachs, home to Rob Roy legends and spellbinding scenery, is to Glaswegians what the great national parks are to Californians: an adventure playground full of stunning lakes, forests and trails waiting to be explored. And this five-star hostel near picturesque Loch Lomond is a sure-fire bet for your accommodation. Inside you’ll find a functional dorm, a sociable lounge, a self-catering kitchen and a farm shop selling locally sourced meats, veggies, chutneys and jams. The real draw, however, is the great, wild outdoors. Just don’t forget your waterproofs.

3. Bonnie Badger

Hotel

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Courtesy of the Bonnie Badger / Expedia

All exposed brickwork, wooden floors and fire-lit pub grub, this historic hotel is now in the hands of Edinburgh celebrity chef Tom Kitchin and his partner Michaela. It’s a 90-minute road trip from Glasgow, but can be used as a base from which to explore Scotland’s so-called Golf Coast. Here, some 21 courses sprawl along the East Lothian shoreline, including Royal Muirfield – a serial host of the Open, golf’s most prestigious tournament. With Kitchin overseeing the larder, you can expect dinner to be as satisfying as a hole-in-one. Order the game terrine and hearty beef wellington to go to bed feeling very well fed.

4. The Popinjay Hotel and Spa

Hotel

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Courtesy of Popinjay Hotel and Spa / Expedia

Half an hour into the bucolic pastures of Lanarkshire you come to this coaching inn with creaky Tudor frontage, overlooking the ancient River Clyde. Mornings are best spent soaking in the pool or hot tub, afternoons with craft burgers and cocktails by the fire, or indulging in fine steak and wine. A day trip to nearby New Lanark is a must – listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, it feels like an 18th-century cotton mill village. History buffs, casually curious types and even young children will love it.

5. Cromlix

Hotel

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Courtesy of Cromlix / Expedia

This Perthshire stately home belongs to none other than Scottish tennis hero Sir Andy Murray. Both he and his brother Jamie tied the knot here (though not to each other), having grown up in Dunblane, a charming town down the road. Murray was said to be smitten by this regal property’s sprawling woodlands and chapel, so decided to turn it into a smart hotel to share with friends and anyone else looking for a special rural escape. There are 16 moody suites and a Roux-inspired à la carte restaurant, plus the chance to take part in no small number of country sports: fishing, archery, golf, Highland safaris and – you guessed it – tennis.

6. Crossbasket Castle

Hotel

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Courtesy of Crossbasket Castle / Expedia

From Glasgow, a 20-minute drive south will bring you to this 17th-century citadel. It’s a popular venue for weddings, hiding nine beautifully furnished rooms, among them the Lindsay Tower Suite, reached by a Sleeping Beauty-style spiral stone staircase. There’s also an on-site fine-dining restaurant, helmed by two-star Michelin chef Michel Roux Jr. Make sure you book in advance to guarantee yourself a table. Next day, hike it off on a woodland trail that leads to the property’s very own waterfall; this is Scotland at its wild glens-and-rivers finest.

7. Glenapp Castle

Hotel

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Courtesy of Glenapp Castle / Expedia
Located two hours to Glasgow’s southwest, this ancestral seat in Ayrshire may be hidden behind iron gates, but couldn’t be more tempting. It has all the fairy-tale traits you’d hope for in a castle – think pointy witch-hat towers, a chandelier-lit drawing room and Red Riding Hood-style woodland – and service as polished as a glass slipper. For cosy afternoons and nights, duck into the Victorian afternoon tea parlour or get acquainted with the bar’s selection of single malts. Other things to do? Choose from sea safaris, loch fishing trips, deer stalking, mountain biking, golf, tennis or pampering in the spa.

8. Mar Hall

Resort, Spa Hotel

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Courtesy of Mar Hall Golf and Spa Resort / Expedia
With views over Erskine Bridge on the banks of the River Clyde, Mar Hall brings you untold luxury, illustrious history, and lots (and we mean lots) of golf. The mansion was designed by Sir Robert Smirke, architect of London’s British Museum, and forms part of the Earl of Mar Estate – the oldest earldom in Great Britain. Fine dining in Cristal restaurant and classy cocktails in the Spike Bar will keep you well fed, while the spa, often rated among Scotland’s best, has a full thermal suite and a swimming pool.

9. The Steading

Hotel

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Courtesy of the Steading / Expedia

Aberfeldy, a Perthshire rural retreat, is a bit of a trek from Glasgow, but one that is nonetheless worth making for the rolling hills, autumnal forests and glistening rivers. Hidden amongst the rowan trees, the contemporary home has three rooms to pick from – our favourite is the converted loft with views of craggy Ben Lawers – while fresh breakfasts comprise organic yoghurt, organic eggs and local milled oatmeal porridge, locally baked breads and Glen Lyon roasted coffee. If you’re set on a day of outdoor activity, there’s no better fuel for your engine.

For more options in the city, discover our guide to accommodation in Glasgow for the savvy traveller, the best boutique hotels in Glasgow or find out where to stay throughout Scotland, and book now on Culture Trip.

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