Today many of Scotlandâ€™s finest castles and mansions have joined the tourism industry and welcome guests to enjoy a taste of heritage
Scotland is renowned for its castles and historic houses and for many of our visitors they are a huge attraction. As the decades have rolled by many of these properties have opened their doors to the general public as hotels and venues for weddings, balls and various functions.
Many of these great houses are interwoven into the history of Scotland and down the centuries have given shelter to such important figures as Mary Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie. Past glories One such ancient house is Traquair, near Peebles, the oldest continually inhabited house or castle in Scotland. A loyal Jacobite, the 5th Earl of Traquair is associated with one of the most romantic episodes in the history of the house, the closing of the Bear Gates. He closed the gates one late autumn day in 1745 after wishing his guest, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, a safe journey, with a promise that they would remain closed until the Stuarts were restored to the throne.
The gates have remained closed ever since. Mary Queen of Scots stayed for some weeks in Jedburgh in 1566 and the house where she lived is now an internationally famous museum. In Ayrshire, Culzean Castle, with its dramatic cliff edge setting overlooking the sea, is a former stronghold of the Kennedys and former US President Dwight D Eisenhower was given a courtesy apartment in the castle. Today paging guests are welcome to enjoy a stay in this wonderful clan castle. The following are a selection of hotels steeped in history where visitors can enjoy being part of the heritage of these treasured castles and mansions which are so much part of Scotland’s rich past
The Castle Hotel, formerly know as Huntly Lodge, was built as a Dower House for the Dukes of Gordon in the early 18th century. It was the much loved home of the last Duchess, Elisabeth Gordon, who lived there until her death in 1864. ‘Approached by a bridge over the rocky Deveron, and a long straight avenue, with a broad green sward of grass on either side and lined with rows of noble Beeches and Limes. The scene, though rather formal, is invested with an air of stateliness.’ Castle Hotel, Huntly. Aberdeenshire AB54 4SH. Tel: (0)1466 792696 and fax (0)1466 792641 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org hotels with history
A 12th century stronghold, Chillingham became a fortified castle in 1344. Steeped in history it occupied a strategic position as a fortress during Northumberland’s bloody border feuds, often besieged and at many times enjoying the patronage of royal visitors. In Tudor days there were additions, but the underlying medieval character and strength have always been retained. The 18th and 19th centuries saw decorative refinements including the gardens and grounds laid out by Sir Jeffrey Wyatville – fresh from his triumphs at Windsor Castle. Chillingham, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 5NJ. Tel: +44 (0)1668 215359, Email: email@example.com, www.chillinghamcastle.co.uk
A luxurious, fully wheelchair accessible, AA 4 red star and VisitScotland 4 gold star Country House Hotel in 28 acres of grounds and gardens near the town of Peebles. Cringletie House was built in Scottish Baronial style by famous architect David Bryce in 1861. The 12 luxury bedrooms and one suite are individually designed and decorated. Public rooms all have original features and log fires. Mouthwatering dishes are served in the stunning dining room, overlooking gardens and hills. Fly-fishing in the River Tweed is exciting! Cringletie House, Peebles EH45 8PL. Tel: 01721 725750, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.cringletie.com
Dornoch Castle is set in the historic town of Dornoch opposite Dornoch Cathedral in the Market Square. This impressive 15th century castle commands views along the coast, and across to the hills of Ross and Cromarty. It withstood siege and has been used as a garrison; a courthouse, jail and schoolhouse. It was built as the residential palace for the Bishops of Caithness and later it was given to the Earls of Sutherland. Today, Ros and Colin Thompson have gone some way to restore the former glory to Dornoch Castle. Dornoch Castle Hotel, Castle Street, Dornoch, Sutherland IV25 3SD. Tel: 01862 810216, Email: enquiries@ dornochcastlehotel.com, www.dornochcastlehotel.com
Family run for 50 years, situated overlooking Loch Oich in the heart of the Great Glen. Many good walks all around. Perfect base for exploring to the Isle of Skye, Ben Nevis and Loch Ness. Historic Invergarry Castle, seat of the MacDonells of Glengarry, lies within the hotel’s 60 acres of wooded grounds. Menu based on great Scottish produce, lots of home baking and plenty of whisky too. Fishing, rowing boats and tennis court. Digital TV channels and free wireless internet access. Completely non-smoking. Glengarry Castle Hotel, Invergarry, PH35 4HW, Tel 01809 501254, Email: email@example.com, www.glengarry.net
Dunkeld Hilton Hotel
Perthshire is recognised Europe-wide as ‘Big Tree Country’, green tourism playing an integral part in promoting Perthshire as the place to see wonderful trees in magnificent landscapes. Dunkeld Hilton Hotel grounds exhibit all that is expected of Perthshire Big Tree Country. The Dunkeld estate covers approximately 280 acres on the north bank of the River Tay; of that, some 150 acres are woodland. Amongst many other important trees, the Parent Larch (Larix decidua) stands beside Dunkeld Cathedral, the last survivor of five larch trees planted in 1738; arguably the cradle of modern forestry and the heart of Big Tree Country. Hilton Dunkeld House Hotel, Dunkeld PH8 0HX. Tel: 01350 727771, www.hilton.co.uk
Stein Inn is the oldest inn on Skye, dating from around 1790. It is set in a shore-side hamlet following an original design by Thomas Telford. The inn’s original purpose was to be a fishing station, following similar lines as Tobermory and Ullapool. The full development never happened, so the inn now stands in an idyllic shore-side setting surrounded by a cluster of cottages. Today, the accommodation is of a modern standard and Stein Inn continues to do what it has done for over 200 years, giving a traditional Highland welcome and taking care of its guests needs. Stein Inn, Waternish, Isle of Skye IV55 8GA. Tel: 01470 5923620, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.steininn.co.uk 089-