While there are country house hotels to visit across the UK, there is something particularly majestic about Scotland’s take on the genre, which includes castles and vast estates within its ranks.
Here are 10 of the Good Hotel Guide’s favourite castles and country house hotels in Scotland…
Like something out of a storybook, you arrive at Glenapp Castle through splendid iron gates. Surrounded by meticulous gardens, grounds and woodland, the hotel was a 19th-century Scottish baronial castle, and today it continues its sense of aristocratic design with oak panelled walls and traditional decor. Rooms take in views of either woodland or the nearby coastline, merely adding to the beauty of the place, but amidst the grandeur it is warm and welcoming with dogs allowed in two of the bedrooms as well.
With horses grazing in the fields outside, luxurious and traditionally decorated rooms and suites, and original features of the Victorian country pile still very much in evidence throughout, Kinloch House marries the grandeur of its scale with the comfort of a family home. Antiques pepper the house, while log fires make for a wonderful greeting at the end of chilly autumn or winter days. Meanwhile, fine dining offers an array of Scottish meat, fish and game, alongside produce from the garden.
An 18th century inn where the gardens meet the banks of Loch Shiel and Ben Nevis hovers in the background, Glenfinnan House Hotel is a longstanding family friendly favourite of the Good Hotel Guide. Dogs are welcome and the house is peppered with fresh flowers. There is an old school charm to the place that gives you a sense that summer holidays here should be like an adventure from the Just William stories. For example, no room keys are offered, giving you the sense that you’re staying with friends – although of course if you ask for one it is given without hesitation. In one word, the place is simply ‘charming’.
Pretty enough to sit on top of a wedding cake, Douneside House is a graceful country house hotel on the edge of the Cairngorms national park. Surrounded by carefully tended gardens, it is a genteel hotel complete with details such as a grand piano and a library with an open fire – the kind of grown up retreat that allows you to really get stuck into a good book. That said, children are welcome, and the apartments and cottages on the estate in particular make for wonderful accommodation that will really allow families to relax with plenty of space and privacy.
An exquisite mansion in exceptional grounds that include mown paths, a lake and an organic walled garden, Boath House is a magical and utterly romantic escape but without pretence. There is a charming sense of the old fashioned with dinner for example served at 7.30, while home-made biscuits and a bowl of apples are readily available. It still has a sense of being a family home and proprietors have been careful to be true to its regency roots when it comes to design whilst still incorporating more contemporary design features and artworks, making it everything you could ask for, for a true country house hotel experience.
A very homely kind of castle, Rufflets is a 1920s mansion that is still owned by the grandsons of the original founders. Reputedly one of Scotland’s first country house hotels, its style is unquestionably exquisite with plenty of individual features in each room such as ornate four poster beds and thoughtful touches such as high-end toiletries, home-made shortbread, a hot-water bottle on a chilly night or a teddy bear. Many rooms also benefit from private balconies which are a beautiful way to wake up in the morning and take in the surrounding grounds.
A particularly unique country house hotel because it actually isn’t in the country at all, Prestonfield is situated in pride of place next to Royal Holyrood Park in Edinburgh. Surrounded by fantastic grounds peppered with peacocks, the five star hotel is a characterful and decadent 17th-century mansion, rich in leather-panelled walls and armfuls of swags and brocades, bathrooms lined in Venetian glass mosaic and marble, and superbly fluffy towels and bathrobes.
Situated on the edge of Muirfield golf course, Greywalls is a plush Edwardian home designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Alongside the beautiful location, a mere 15 minute walk to the sea and with views of the Lammermuir hills, the hotel offers superb food in the form of classic French dishes. For those wishing to bring their dogs, there are cottages within the grounds where they are permitted to stay with you, and children of all ages are welcome.
The ultimate country house hotel on the banks of the Rive Tay in Perthshire, Ballathie House Hotel has been a country retreat for generations. The four star luxury hotel has a two AA rosette award-winning fine dining restaurant and provides a wonderful base from which to explore the area.
Beautiful architecture where every bedroom is individually decorated, Cringletie House epitomises the romance of the country house hotel. Fairtytale turrets and feature fireplaces are littered throughout the main building, and there’s a cottage within the grounds for groups of friends to share. Meanwhile unpretentious fine dining using seasonal ingredients is the order of the day.
From a selection of hotels in Scotland HERE.