Big Trips · Castles · Scotland · Travel

5 Unique Places to Stay in Scotland that are Steeped in History

There are certainly plenty of amazing and unique places for you to stay at in Scotland. With castles, country houses and centuries-old building that have been converted into beautiful holiday properties, there is always somewhere perfect for you to stay in Scotland.

It’s been years since I last visited Scotland, but since I’ve limited my travels to only local areas it’s left me dreaming of the adventures that I could be having in the future. At the moment, I’m dreaming of going back up to Scotland (my family is Scottish on my dad’s side, so that’s a great connection). But of course, since it’s a bit far up for me to just travel to in one day, I thought it would be perfect to plan where I would be staying when I next visit.

As many of you will know, Scotland is full of stunning historical gems. I still have plenty to explore up North, from the might of Edinburgh Castle to the melancholy atmosphere of Culloden Battlefield.

Scotland is a country with a rich past which delights many visitors from across the globe. So when travelling becomes more normal and we don’t have to worry about this virus, then make sure to check out these places with intriguing histories, that will be sure to impress you, your friends and family!

Why not browse these options to find historic places to stay that will transport you to times gone by and unusual accommodation that you won’t find anywhere else.

Kenmore Hotel, Kenmore

Image from Kenmore Hotel

Kenmore Hotel is widely considered to be the oldest hotel in Scotland. It was built in 1502 as a tavern and the inn offered both accommodation and refreshments. In 1572 though, the Laird Colin Campbell commissioned the structure and Kenmore Hotel was created. He granted a lease to his servant and his wife in order to run it as an honest hostelrie.

The hotel is nestled in the middle of mountainous highland Perthshire set in the quaint, picturesque village of Kenmore and is certainly in a picturesque location (so that’s another reason to stay here, as well as for the history as well). It sits on on the banks of the River Tay and offers guests unparalleled views of the picture perfect mountain scenery that is unique to the Scottish Highlands.

For more information on the history of Kenmore Hotel – than a cool fact is that a famed guest, Robbie Burns, literally left his mark in the form of a few lines of verse on a chimney breast in the, now, Poet’s Bar, which always grab the attention of people when they visit.

But this isn’t the only historical fact, in the 17th century, Cromwell’s army marched past in pursuit of the Earl of Montrose, and dined in the hotel. Such was their liking of the meal, they spared the hotel from torching and destruction that took place in the area.

And lastly, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert enjoyed their honeymoon at the hotel (which is pretty cool if we’re being honest)!

As you can see this hotel is rich in history – of course it has more to offer the people who decide to stay with them. Just check it out below…

Images can be found at Kenmore Hotel

In-room features include:

  • Tea/Coffee making facilities 
  • En-suite bathroom with a selection of toiletries 
  • Hairdryer 
  • Wireless internet access 
  • Some with work space/desk 
  • Direct Dial Telephone 
  • Wake-up call facilities 
If you are interested in booking a room at this hotel (subject to availability), please click the link here to the Kenmore Hotel Website.

Dornoch Castle, Sutherland

Image from Dornoch Castle

This is a 500-year-old converted Scottish castle, which is set in the centre of Durnoch, opposite a 13th-century cathedral. It boasts period features throughout the property, as well as fine dining and quiet walled gardens.

If I’m being honest, I was actually really fascinated by this castle – partly because it has such a violent past (which is quite scary, but also interesting). This castle is thought to date back to the 1400s, and even though it has a violent past, it is now a luxury retreat.

The history of Dornoch Castle goes as follows: after the clan Murray and Mackay war and subsequent siege in 1570, the castle was set alight and all former history and documentation was destroyed, which obviously makes things quite difficult for us to figure things out now.

But what we do know, is that the Castle sits on the site of the original Bishop’s Palace of St. Gilbert, who founded the cathedral in the early 13th Century. In 1557 the Palace was gifted to the Earl of Sutherland by Bishop Robert Stewart in order to safeguard the property of the Church. If this is a period of history that you don’t know about though, then I can tell you that this safeguarding of the Church did not happen as promised.

The Castle is almost certainly on the site of the original Bishop’s Palace of St. Gilbert, who founded the Cathedral in the early 13th Century. However, it is not known when the oldest surviving part of the present building was put up. In 1557, the Palace was given to the Earl of Sutherland by his brother in law, Bishop Robert Stewart. It is clear that the building was erected before that date and may well be of the late 15th Century.

The Castle has had a lot of rebuilding though since the fire (and this includes the addition of the upper part of the distinctive tower). There were also further rebuilding and alterations in the 18th Century when the castle fell into disrepair.

This castle hasn’t always been a hotel either, in fact it’s been a few things. It’s been a school, jail and hunting lodge before being turned into a hotel in 1947. Very interesting, but clearly a lot has happened – if only walls could talk haha!

Images can be found at Dornoch Castle

In-room features include:

  • Tea/Coffee making facilities 
  • En-suite bathroom with a selection of toiletries 
  • Hairdryer 
  • Wireless internet access 
  • Some with work space/desk 
  • Direct Dial Telephone 
  • Wake-up call facilities 
  • Bathrobes
  • Fireplaces
  • Iron
  • Flat Screen TV
If you are interested in booking a room at this hotel (subject to availability), please click the link here to the Dornoch Castle Website.

The Witchery by the Castle, Edinburgh

Image can be found here

This hotel has such an amazing alluring name, and is such a stylish boutique of a hotel – yet what is the history behind it?

This is a hotel that is located in a 16th century building at the heart of the city’s old town and is right by Edinburgh Castle (so this is an absolutely perfect place to stay in if you are visiting Edinburgh). Not only does it have a great location, but it is also a five-star abode which also boasts an award-winning restaurant (including Scotland’s ‘most civilised dining room’) and some quirky, Gothic suites for people to stay in.

Named The Witchery by the Castle – this should tell you a little bit about it’s history (be warned it’s a little bit gruesome). It has links to the burning of witches in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is thought that more women were put to death on Castlehill during the reign of James VI than anywhere else in Scotland (which is a pretty neat fact – if not unsettling. Although there is nothing we can do about the past, except learn from it).

The building, Boswell’s Court, was originally inhabited by James Boswell, the uncle of Dr Johnson’s biographer and has been in continuous occupation for over four centuries. The entrance to the hotel is still pretty much as it was; a traditional stone close just off of the bustling Royal Mile. The original carved inscription on the doorway can still be seen and includes the initials and motto of the former owner, merchant Thomas Lowthian, for whom the building was constructed for in 1595.

Images can be found at The Witchery

In-room features include:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Safe
  • Telephone
  • Flatscreen TV
  • Housekeeping
  • Complimentary Toiletries
If you are interested in booking a room here (subject to availability), please click the link here to The Witchery Website.

Ackergill Tower, Wick

Image can be found here

Ackergill Tower in Wick is certainly a castle that can impress the people who stay here. Boasting it’s own private beach is just one of the many unique aspects of this historical place.

Built in the 16th Century (but with reference to the land dating as far back as the mid-14th century), Ackergill Tower is awash with legend, family feuds and the odd ghost or two (but don’t worry you won’t be scared when you stay at the place)! It is a Tower that is filled with history, and certainly offers a unique experience to anyone who stays there.

If you would like to know a little bit of history for this place, then ownership of the Tower was passed down from Sir Reginald de Cheyne to his daughter where it remained in the family for eight generations. A feud then ensued between clans Gunn, Keith and Sinclair, after which the Tower was acquired by John Campbell, the 2nd Earl of Breadalbane and Holland in 1676 as repayment of debts owed by the Sinclair’s.

After a period of neglect, Ackergill was bought by Sir William Dunbar of Hempriggs in 1699 and renovation work started. The Dunbars’ remained the owners of the Tower until 1986 when it was sold and underwent further restorations. It was opened in 2012 after a further sale, and remains a five-star luxury destination so would make for an absolutely perfect getaway.

Images can be found here

In-room features include:

  • Satellite TV
  • Desk
  • Room safe
  • Coffee machine/tea-maker
  • Iron + ironing board
  • Hairdryer
  • Bathrobes
If you are interested in booking a room here (subject to availability), please click the link here to book a room at Ackergill Tower.

Roman Camp, Callander

Image can be found at Roman Camp

Roman Camp is possibly one that you might have heard of (or seen) before thanks to its pink colour. It is certainly a stunner of a building and has some great history behind it.

It was originally a 17th Century manor house (which possibly incorporated a hunting lodge) on the estate of the Earl of Moray, and it was named after the earthwork found to the south of the gardens, which is believed to be Roman and may be linked to a Roman Fort at Bocastle, to the north of Callander.

Today the hotel, known for its distinctive pink colour, is a boutique-style retreat with a beautiful garden and grounds, perfect for weddings. It honestly would make for such a magical wedding (or just a romantic weekend away with your partner)!

The main building was remodelled in 1909 by Lord Esher, who acquired the house in 1897. The main additions were the towers of the north and east sides, one of which houses a small stone chapel, the library, drawing room and guest house. All of these additions paved the way to the house becoming the hotel it is today and it is definitely a fine hotel to stay in.

In-room features include:

  • All rooms are en-suite most with Spa Baths
  • Bathrobes
  • Luxury Toiletries
  • Free Internet access
  • Satellite LED TV UK & International channels
  • Radio through TV
  • Hair dryers in rooms
  • Ironing facilities in room
  • Laundry services available
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Children welcome
  • Local and National newspapers available to order daily
  • Room service available
  • Free car parking
  • Disabled access to the hotel
  • All rooms non-smoking
If you are interested in booking a room here (subject to availability), please click the link here to the Roman Camp Website.

So there you have it 5 unique places that you need to stay at if you visit Scotland that are just filled with history. There are so many places in Scotland that you can stay at, but these places are perfect for people who love history!

Have you stayed in one of these historical hotels before? Or are there any other historical hotels (or B&Bs/holiday cottages) that I might have missed? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

54 thoughts on “5 Unique Places to Stay in Scotland that are Steeped in History

  1. Wow, I loved this. One of my goals for 2021, provided it’s safe, is to travel and explore more of the Uk and especially Scotland since it’s only a short train ride away from me. I love the look of all these places but will admit that I would like to go to The Witchery the most I think?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Witchery is one of my favourites – I mean the rooms and the food just looks amazing (and the history is fascinating)! I’ve got everything crossed that it will be safe to travel again in 2021, would just be nice to have something to look forward to x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a packed post full of information. I’ve never been up north and certainly never been to Scotland. I’ve always wanted to go, the places that you have mentioned look adorable, especially the second one, I love the exterior of the building. I would also love to travel
    To Scotland and try some fantastic scotch whisky. Looks like me and Isobel are going away next year… hopefully 😁 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scotland is a place you need to visit (not just once either, or just for a week). I could easily spend all year just exploring up North – if only work would let me haha! Of course, you would love to try some scotch whisky, there are some fantastic breweries up there – would make for a perfect trip 😀 x

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s honestly a dream to stay in a castle hotel at some point and this has put a few on the list! The oldest, fanciest place I’ve stayed was an old manor house outside York which was amazing, and these look stunning too! As a history lover, there’s something so satisfying about staying somewhere so steeped in history! Thanks for sharing 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so cool that you stayed in an old manor house outside of York – whenever I go travelling I always try and find something that’s got a lot of history behind it, which just makes things absolutely fascinating! Just need more time to do it though haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this! Scotland has always been high on my list. I come from a Scottish background and I know that there is a lot of family history to learn over there. My husband and I have been talking about making the trip sooner rather than later – it’s a trip that we’re both genuinely interested in taking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s absolutely perfect that you and your husband would love to go (hopefully soon) and the fact that you have a Scottish background is amazing. I’m honestly super excited for you, even though you haven’t’ booked it yet haha!

      Like

  5. Oh wow! These are some amazing places! I’d be happy to stay in any one of the, but the Dornoch Castle would be my first stop I think. I’ve never stayed in any place like these before and would love to.

    Like

  6. These all look like such great suggestions with something interesting to learn with each of them! I’ve never been to Scotland. I’m way down South and it’d take ages for me to get there but I’d love to make a trip one day!

    Like

    1. That’s so cool you live in Scotland – it’s always crazy how many great places there are to explore that could be just around the corner. I always feel like we think we need to go far to have an adventure, but actually, that’s not always the case!

      Like

  7. Loved this ! I’ve never really given Scotland much thought when it comes to traveling BUT this post was so great and so informative. Definitely adding it to my travel bucket list

    Like

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