Lucy Gillmore, The Guardian, August 20, 2014
Blair Castle, Perthshire (woodland lodges)
Blair Castle in bucolic Perthshire, the seat of the Dukes of Atholl since medieval times, wouldn’t look out of place in a Disney film. This white-turreted confection owes its good looks to a spot of Victorian remodelling. You can’t stay in the castle itself but there’s a campsite (open from mid-February to early November), a handful of luxury lodges scattered across the estate and, in a secluded spot, close to the pretty granite village of Blair Atholl, a meadow of contemporary woodland lodges. Named after the rivers on the estate, Errochty, Fender and Tilt sleep four, Tummel and Garry six. The lodges are well-kitted-out with an outdoor terrace, views of woodland and craggy hills, 40 miles of waymarked trails and a host of ranger-led activities.
• 01796 481487, blair-castle.co.uk, from £275 for a four-night break in a two-bedroom lodge (sleeps 4) or £320 in a three-bedroom lodge
Hoddom Castle, Dumfries and Galloway (camping)
Hoddom Castle’s homespun homage to glamping is the chill pod, a cross between a wooden wigwam and a Gypsy caravan. Each pretty painted pod sleeps four (in a double bed and two singles) and has electricity and a small decking area for barbecues. Hunkered into this lush, green corner of south-west Scotland, the 16th-century castle was built to defend the border. Its 19th-century baronial extension was stripped away in the 1950s, and today the original tower looms uninhabited over the estate. For campers there’s a kitchen, shower block, shop, bar and restaurant, plus fishing for salmon in the Annan river, nature walks with the ranger and a mountain bike trail in the woods.
• 01576 300 251, hoddomcastle.co.uk, pods from £35 a night self-catering, pitches for two from £13.50
Culzean Castle, Ayrshire (camping)
Mooch around the round drawing room, marvel at the pistols and swords in the armoury then swan down the oval staircase to explore the grounds: the Fountain Court’s orangery and terraces, the walled garden and glasshouses. Take a last look up at the battlements and turrets – then slope off to pitch your tent. This magnificent 18th-century castle, with its dramatic clifftop setting on the craggy west coast, was designed by Robert Adams and was once home to the chief of Clan Kennedy. Today, the castle and its sprawling estate are owned by the National Trust for Scotland. The campsite is just a short stroll from the castle and has spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde to Ailsa Craig and the moody Mull of Kintyre.
• 01655 760627, campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk, pitch fee from £7.20 a night for non-members, adult from £6.05, child from £2.75 (site closes end October)
Liberton Tower, near Edinburgh (self-catering)
Play king of the castle in this 15th-century tower a couple of miles from Edinburgh, restored by the Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust. Think thick walls, slit windows and a listening hole called the “lairds lug”. The original entrance was over a drawbridge, but today you climb an external staircase into the Great Hall with its wall hangings, heavy oak furniture and roaring fire. Inside, a stone staircase links the four floors from the kitchen with its vaulted ceiling to the master bedroom which has a grand four-poster. From the twin room there’s a ladder up to the stone parapet and spectacular views of Edinburgh.
• 0845 090 0194, vivat-trust.org, three-night weekend from £507 (£42pp pn) including a food and wine hamper and fuel (including firewood)
Dornoch Castle, Sutherland (hotel)
From the 15th-century castle you can gaze across the square to Dornoch’s 12th-century cathedral. There’s history seeping out of the stonework in this picture-postcard little town on the north-east coast, famous for its golf and windswept beach – and the castle’s history is a colourful one. Home to the Bishop of Caithness and the Earl of Sutherland, it was set alight during a clan feud, then turned into a school, a jail, a courthouse, and a hunting lodge before becoming a hotel in the mid-20th century. The 24 rooms are split between the castle and modern extension – to splash out check into the sumptuous Old Courtroom, with its hand-carved four-poster, log fire, soaring ceiling and panelled walls.
• 01862 810216, dornochcastlehotel.com, doubles from £99 B&B
Saddell Castle, Kintyre (self-catering)
Build a bonfire on the beach below this romantic 16th-century tower on the far-flung Kintyre peninsula then climb up to the battlements and gaze out across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran. The Landmark Trust property was built in 1508 by the Bishop of Argyll and became a Campbell stronghold for 400 years. Today, it’s a holiday let sleeping eight, and the stuff of fantasies, with highlights such as a 16th-century fireplace in one of the bedrooms, discovered during restoration. By day you can explore the ruined abbey, go beach-combing, and spot seals and otters along the shore.
• 01628 825925, landmarktrust.org.uk, from £452 for four nights, sleeps 8 (just over £14pp pn)
Glengorm Castle, Isle of Mull (B&B)
The B&B in this magnificent baronial pile on the Isle of Mull is a relaxed affair. It has a slightly higgledy-piggledy homely feel despite the grand carved staircase, panelled library (where you can enjoy a complimentary dram looking out over the sea) and 16th-century oak dining table. But then it is still a family home, complete with chattering children. The five rooms are old-fashioned and elegant: Cranach is in the tower with a wrought-iron bed, Mingary is best for sunsets, Laorin looks out over the Atlantic, Ardmore has a feminine four-poster and Tor has views of the walled garden. If you’d like more independence there’s a self-catering flat sleeping six on the ground floor, and a handful of converted cottages in the grounds.
• 01688 302321, glengormcastle.co.uk, Doubles from £130 B&B, flat from £500 a week (less than £12pp pn)
Barcaldine Castle, Argyll (B&B)
Raisins or whisky with your porridge? This mini fairy tale castle on the shore of Loch Creran was built in 1609 by “Black” Duncan Campbell and comes with the requisite turrets, cavernous stone fireplace, panelling, antlers on the wall – and gourmet breakfasts. It’s now a luxurious B&B with five rooms, and you can choose between tartan trim and creamy tones. Cosy Argyll has a stone fireplace, Airds a white iron bedstead, Barcaldine sturdy mahogany antiques and a roll-top bath, Breadalbane a four-poster and, for the best views, Caithness at the top of the castle, has antique French furniture strewn with velvet and mohair throws. Add Arran Aromatics toiletries, fluffy robes, free Wi-Fi and spellbinding views of Glencoe’s rugged peaks.
• 01631 720598, barcaldinecastle.co.uk, doubles from £140 B&B
Fernie Castle, Fife (hotel)
There are no run-of-the-mill “rooms” at creeper-clad Fernie Castle in Fife, once the home of the Earl of Fife and dating back to the 14th century. The 20 “bed chambers” are categorised as monarch, king, queen, squire and lady – and there’s a wallet-busting treehouse suite perched in six giant sycamores with fantastical woodland murals, a giant elm bed and freestanding tub. Set in 17 acres of picturesque woodland with its own lochan, the castle lives up to its credentials: the vaulted keep bar dates back to 1530, the dining room has a Georgian chandelier, magnificent oils of stags loom over you and you might stumble upon a suit of armour in the corridor.
• 01337 810381, ferniecastle.co.uk , doubles from £130 B&B, treehouse from £445 including four-course dinner in the castle and drinks
Torrisdale Castle (self-catering)
Checking into the Servants’ Quarters at Torrisdale Castle on the Kintyre peninsula is not as shabby as it sounds. This new apartment within the 19th-century castle has just been revamped. Sleeping six, with private entrance and views across the lawn to the sea, it’s not exactly pokey either. The master bedroom has a roll-top tub, the shower’s in the old gun room and there’s a “secret room” you’ll have to hunt for. Design-wise think Cole & Son and Timorous Beasties wallpaper: bright and contemporary with wooden floors, sash windows and shutters. While you’re here you can go stalking with the gamekeeper, wildlife watching, bring your own canoe to paddle from the private beach or walk part of the Kintyre Way, which crosses the estate.
• 01583 431 233, torrisdalecastle.com, Servants’ Quarters sleeps 6, from £550 a week self-catering
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
This article was written by Lucy Gillmore from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.