Whether you’re a history buff, or just want to enjoy life in the countryside overlooking green rolling hills, staying in a luxury castle hotel is an experience you must have at least once on your travels.
It’s no surprise that Ireland and Scotland are home to some of the world’s most luxurious castles, boasting a rich and often royal history. And today we are pleased to say that a few of these magnificent properties have opened their doors to welcome discerning travellers for an unforgettable retreat.
See below for luxury castles in Scotland.
With its lofty spires and whimsical turrets, Aldourie Castle evokes fantasies of fairytales and princesses. This 17th century Highland mansion turned 21st-century luxury castle is presently exclusively available for private hire. Careful attention has been paid to the interiors of this historic house. Lavish furniture is balanced with warmth and intimacy to encourage guests to feel at home in their royal surroundings. There are 13 uniquely stylised bedrooms available for guests to use as well as various plush communal areas.
Aldourie sits within 500 acres of private ground and on the shores of the famous Loch Ness. Guests of the castle can engage in various adventurous activities such as boat tours to the nearby Urquhart castle, canoeing, archery, golf, shooting, fishing, and walking.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel can be found sitting awesomely in the foothills of Britain’s highest mountain Ben Nevis. Lochaber is the Outdoor Capital of the UK and there is plenty to tempt guests outside. Golfing and country sports can be done on nearby estates with pick-ups and drop-offs prearranged by the hotel. There is also plenty of gentle walking in the nearby forests and for those seeking more adrenaline, there is whitewater rafting and mountain biking.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel is most famous for its incredible restaurant, which has Albert and Michel Roux Jr. at the head of the kitchen. With 3 AA Red Rosettes, guests are guaranteed to have their tastebuds delighted with expansive and creative tasting menus.
The interior of this 19th-century castle reflects its status as one of the finest hotels in Europe with 17 beautifully decorated bedrooms and gorgeous communal areas.
What Barcaldine castle lacks in size it more than makes up for with location. You can find this charming 16th century Highland tower house on the shores of Loch Creran surrounded by the lush landscapes of Argyll.
Barcaldine is the only ancient castle in Argyll which operates as a luxury B&B. It has 5 spacious bedrooms, and each one is en-suite and comfortably decorated. Guests of this sturdy Highland keep can enjoy the panoramic views of the wild Glencoe mountain range across the loch.
During the day guests can explore their romantic setting with various walks and plenty of easy cycle routes nearby. A highlight for many travellers to this corner of Scotland is taking the steam train from Fort William to Mallaig. The train crosses the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is more broadly known as the Harry Potter bridge.
The Emerald Isle has its fair share of castles too. From decadent luxury to rustic charm and medieval elegance, read on to explore some of the best castles to stay in across Ireland’s rolling green hills and wild coastlines.
See below for luxury castles in Ireland.
One of the most well-known country castle hotels in Ireland, Ballyseede more than lives up to its grandiose reputation. The castle has two restaurants on the grounds. The 2 AA Rosette award winning O’Connell restaurant and Pappy’s bar, which serves Irish pub favourites. Ballyseede Castle distinguishes itself for being a family friendly castle hotel, with dedicated family rooms and a baby sitting service.
Aside from warm Irish hospitality and charming interiors, Ballyseede Castle offers guests stunning surroundings to explore during their stay. The castle sits in 30 acres of ancient woodland and in the heart of County Kerry. Visitors are perfectly located to go explore the various coastlines, lakes and mountains whilst out fishing, shooting, riding, walking and golfing.
Belleek Castle is definitely one of the quirkier castles on this list. Inside of the castle you’ll find a medieval banquet hall and a bar created out of the wreckage of a former Spanish Armada ship. The property was purchased and restored in 1961 by merchant navy officer Marshall Doran. Because of this many of the interiors of the castle have a nautical theme. Marshall Doran was also a keen collector so visitors and guests to the castle can undertake the historic tour. The tour shows off the castle’s rich history and Marshall’s collection of fossils, antiques and medieval European armour.
If you are seeking the Irish country experience as much as a luxury getaway, Castle Leslie is the destination for you. Castle Leslie is nestled in a 1,000 acres of stunning Irish countryside. Guests and visitors can go for a wander in the ancient woodlands or go picnicking at one of the nearby lakes.
Castle Leslie is also the destination for horse riding aficionados. There is a highly rated equestrian centre on castle grounds. Fishing, guided walks, kayaking, falconry, and clay pigeon can also be arranged. Days out adventuring can be followed with relaxing treatments in the in-house Victorian spa.
The dining options are of the highest standards as well. There are two restaurants to choose from; the 2AA Rosette Award winning Snaffles and the more informal Conor’s Bar, both are known for the high quality and locally sourced artisan foods.
Aside from offering great countryside and a luxury experience, Castle Leslie is a castle with a lot of fascinating history. Every single room is linked to a past resident or former purpose of the castle and decorated in a unique style accordingly.
At the heart of Connemara’s wild landscape you’ll find the imposing riverside castle hotel that is Ballynahinch. This is the largest castle hotel on the list, comprising of 48 large guest rooms.
Ballynahinch castle has been welcoming visitors for over 250 years and has a colourful history of owners and guests. The castle has ties with the famous Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley, ‘Humanity Dick’ who initiated great advances against animal cruelty and even an Indian Prince.
Ballynahinch resides in its own 450 acres of woodland and in the shadow of the Twelve Bens mountain range. Overlooking its own salmon fishery on the Ballynahinch river, it’s understandable why many of the guests you’ll encounter at the castle are avid fishers.
The castle offers visitors fly-fishing lessons as well other outdoor activities such as walking, clay pigeon shooting, cycling and guided boat trips.
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