Abbotsford House is located on the banks of River Tweed in the small town of Melrose in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. The estate was once a small farm of 100 acres and was purchased in 1811 by famous novelist and poet, Sir Walter Scott. Scott built a small villa on the property and continued to build additions to the house to create the mansion seen today. Scott had some of the stones brought in from ruined castles and abbeys in Scotland and had them built into this Scottish Baronial mansion. Scott was a collector of books, ancient furniture, armor, weapons, and other historic relics, many of which are located in the Museum of Scotland. Scott had the jougs (metal collars used to punish criminals) removed from Threave Castle and attached them to the castellated gateway he had built at Abbotsford. Although construction finished in 1824, Scott only enjoyed his home for one year before he found himself in debt. In 1830, his creditors gave the library and museum to him. Scott died in 1832, but the property became totally disencumbered in 1847 due to Scott’s publisher, who cancelled the bond upon the castle in exchange for the family’s share in Scott’s published works. The two Scott’s sisters who last owned the property installed electricity in 1962. The sisters Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott and Patricia Maxwell-Scott opened Abbotsford House to the public in 1833 to help pay for the mansion’s upkeep. Dame Jean was once a lady–in-waiting for Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. The mansion continued to be occupied by Scott’s decedents until 2004. Abbotsford House is open to the public. The estate boasts a café, luxury accommodations in the Abbotsford Hope Scott Wing of the castle, formal gardens, and a visitor center with a gift shop.
Skibo Castle is located in the Highland county of Sutherland in Dornoch, Scotland. The castle was built in the 18thcentury and overlooks the Dornoch Firth. An earlier 13thcentury castle sat on this site and served as the residence for the Bishops of Caithness. In 1545, the estate was given by the church to John Gray to form an alliance against the threat of Protestantism. In 1745, Robert Gray surrendered the estate and it was later purchased by a relative who built a modern home on the property. The property changed ownership numerous times. In 1898, wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie purchased the dilapidated estate. Carnegie proceeded to put two million dollars into the property to build a baronial mansion house with turrets and battlements. He also created the Loch Ospisdale, constructed an indoor Olympic sized heated swimming pool, and added a 9-hole golf course. Skibo Castle remained in the Carnegie family until 1982, when it was purchased by businessman Peter de Savary, who instituted the private, members only Carnegie Club. The castle went through a 30 million dollar restoration to create a luxury Edwardian sporting estate. The club was sold to Elis Short in 2003. The grounds house eleven well-appointed lodges, extensive gardens, and an artificial lake called Lake Louise. The castle boasts 21 guest rooms, a spa, a private library, and a clubhouse with a restaurant. Activities include golf, swimming, tennis, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, and archery. Skibo Castle houses the Carnegie Club and is only open to its 650 members, however the public can make tee times for golfing.
Barony Castle Hotel is located in Eddleston, in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. The castle is also known as the Black Barony, Blackbarony, and Darnhall. A tower house was built upon this site in the early 15thcentury when John Murray, Laird of Blackbarony was granted the estate and his title by King James IV. After his death, his son Andrew inherited the estate and title. Andrew had the Scottish baronial style castle built on the site of the old tower house. The castle’s French (Jacobean) façade was added in the 18thcentury. By the 19thcentury, plans were drawn up to for a new mansion, but it was never built. Instead the castle was repaired and altered around 1847. A north section was added in 1855 to add more bedrooms, and the house was further enlarged in 1887. The property passed to the Murrays of Elibank in 1771, who held ownership until 1926. The castle was converted into a hotel at that time and a ballroom was added in 1933. The castle served as a station for Polish soldiers until the end of WWII. Thereafter it returned to a hotel under the new ownership of Polish war veteran, Jan Tomasik. Tomasik had the three-dimension, outdoor concrete scale model of Scotland added to the property. The Mercure Group, part of Accor Hotels, currently operates the hotel. Barony Castle is three stories tall with four-story square towers set on 25 acres of mature gardens and woodlands. The grounds boast 19thcentury stables, an 18thcentury icehouse, and a Yew Tree walk. The hotel has 78 bedrooms, 14 meeting rooms, a restaurant and bar, and a health and fitness suite with an indoor pool, sauna, spa, and gymnasium.
Dalmunzie Castle is located in County Perthshire in Blairgowrie, Scotland. The 16thcentury castle was built in the Scottish Baronial style and sits on a 6500-acre estate. The turreted castle is surrounded by mountains, glens, rivers, and its own golf course. The castle serves as a hotel with 20 unique themed rooms named after influential clans in Dalmunzie’s history over the last 500 years. During the period of 1782-1813 the MacKintosh family had financial difficulties and the castle fell into ruin. An L-shaped hunting lodge was built on the site in 1874, a larger lodge was built in 1884, and a Victorian wing was added in the 1890’s. The Gaelic language had been used in the Glenshee area for thousands of years, but disappeared during the late 19thcentury. After 350 years of ownership, the castle was purchased in 1920 by Sir Archibald Birkmyre. Birkmyre built a new driveway, Britain’s highest golf course, and a 2.5-mile railway to Glenlochsie Lodge. He also extended the main house by adding an Edwardian wing, the oak tower, and expanded the stables and staff cottages. Dalmunzie was used as a base during WWII. Dirkmyre sold the estate to a decorated WWII fighter pilot known as DW. DW transformed the castle into a country house hotel. The railway was removed in the 1970’s and the hotel was sold to the Campbell family in 1980. In 1987, the castle sold again, and in 2013 Roger Aston refurbished the castle into the hotel it is today.
Stonefield Castle is located in Argyll, Scotland. The Scottish baronial mansion house was built in 1837 on the Kintyre peninsula and carries panoramic views of Loch Fyne. Stonefield castle was once the home of the Campbell’s, but an earlier building owned by the McAlisters of Barmore sat on this site. The castle boasts original furnishings, ornate ceilings, marble fireplaces, and wood paneling. The castle sits on the shores of Loch Fyne and includes 60 acres of woodland gardens. The estate includes a viaduct bridge, a stable and coach house, a tower folly, and a mausoleum. The castle serves as a hotel with 36 en-suite rooms, a restaurant, a bar, a library, and an arcade. Guests can fly-fish and enjoy the gardens filled with rare shrubs from Chile and New Zealand and rhododendrons from the Himalayans. The castle was sold in 1948 and has served as a hotel since the 1950’s.
Broomhall Castle is located in the county of Clackmannanshire in Menstrie village, Scotland. The Baronial castle was built in 1874 for James Johnstone. The three-story castle has a tower and was used as Johnstone’s private residence until his businesses fell into decline. The castle was sold to the Italian Riding School in 1906. In 1910, the Castle was sold to the Clifford Park Boys Prep School, with 10 boarders. The castle suffered through fire in 1941. The roof fell in and the building was gutted. Thankfully the German Schoolmaster had taken the boys out of the castle for a midnight feast when the fire occurred. Unfortunately, the fire allowed German planes to bomb the Clyde shipyards, and to safely fly away across the Ochil Hills. I’m unsure if this attack was planned in part by the German Schoolmaster, but it definitely sounds like a possibility. Broomhall Castle became a ruin until 1985 when it was rebuilt into a nursing home. In 2003, the castle was converted into a hotel with 16 en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant, and a lounge.
Dunnottar Castle (Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Fhoithear, “fort on the shelving slope”) is a ruined medieval fortress located upon a rocky headland on the north-east coast of Scotland. The surviving buildings are largely of the 15th and 16th centuries, but the site is believed to have been fortified in the Early Middle Ages. Dunnottar has played a prominent role in the history of Scotland through to the 18th-century Jacobite risings because of its strategic location and defensive strength. Dunnottar is best known as the place where the Honours of Scotland were hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s army in the 17th century. The property of the Keiths from the 14th century, and the seat of the Earl Marischal, Dunnottar declined after the last Earl forfeited his titles by taking part in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. The castle was restored in the 20th century and is now open to the public.
The ruins of the castle are spread over 1.4 hectares (3.5 acres), surrounded by cliffs that drop to the North Sea. A narrow strip of land joins the headland to the mainland, along which a steep path leads up to the gatehouse. Buildings within the castle include the 14th-century tower house as well as the 16th-century palace. Dunnottar Castle is a scheduled monument, and twelve structures on the site are listed buildings.
Atholl Palace is located in Pitlochry, Scotland. The turreted palace has been established as a hotel for over 135 years, but was used as a school during both World Wars. In 1874, the palace was designed as a Baronial Hydropathic hotel with Turkish baths, treatment rooms, and luxury accommodations. The construction took 150 men four years to complete. In 1886, the lands were sold to William MacDonald who converted the palace into a luxury resort. The water therapy treatments were still available, but MacDonald wished for the “fashionable” to visit his hotel and so he added motor rallies, fancy dress balls, and tennis as further entertainments. In 1913, the Lunn brothers and their company purchased the castle and began modernization of the electrical; powered by generators. In 2001, The Castle Collection Company purchased the palace and an extensive refurbishment began. This included restoring the Victorian spa and Turkish baths. In 2005, the Atholl museum was established in the old servants wing of the palace. The Palace boasts 106 en-suite rooms, a spa, a snooker room, a library, conference rooms, all weather tennis courts, 49 acres of gardens, a putting green, a pitch and putt course, and guest cottages.