Staying in a castle has long been etched onto my travel bucket list. Growing up watching Disney, I developed a penchant for all things fairytale (although truth be told – I always wanted to be a mermaid most of all). With over 2000 castles in Scotland, it seemed like the perfect place to make my dream to stay in a castle come true! When we started planning our road trip to Scotland, I also immediately started looking into the best castle to stay at in Scotland. I knew after two weeks on the road that a bit of luxury would be well and truly needed.
With this in mind, we chose to stay at Glenapp Castle. Our stay at Glenapp Castle far exceeded all my expectations and will remain one of my favourite ever travel experiences. It also made it firmly onto our list of top castles to visit in Scotland! Glenapp Castle was in the perfect location for us to stay following our road trip. Being 70 miles south of Glasgow on the Ayrshire Coast, the location was perfect as it allowed us to edge our way closer to England while seeing a new, beautiful part of Scotland.
The castle itself is nestled into the rolling countryside in Ballantrae, less than two miles from the coast. However, you won’t find any street signs for this hidden gem, so make sure you have Google Maps loaded or a paper map with you! Upon arrival at the gates to Glenapp Castle, I immediately felt like a VIP. There’s something special about the exclusivity you feel from having to press the buzzer to gain access to the castle. We proceeded through the gates and up the sweeping mile-long, tree-lined drive, which added to the feeling of seclusion.
Our excitement was piqued as we first glimpsed the beautiful ivy-clad turreted façade of the castle. Arriving at the entrance, we were met immediately by two smiling staff members, ready to assist us in to our new home. Stepping through the doors, you immediately feel like you’re coming home (albeit a home I could never afford!). There’s no stuffy reception desk or check-in counter; instead, you enter a warm welcoming parlour that is neatly lined with wellies, umbrellas and rain jackets for guest use. Rather than filling in forms, you are merely asked to sign the guest book. The interior is a flawless blend of Victorian character and charm, with the modern amenities you’d expect from a 5-star hotel.
From here, we were met by the lovely Hazel, who led us up the carpeted staircase to the drawing-room. Natural light flooded through the ceiling-high windows, bathing the room with a warm glow. The room was clad with perfectly appointed period furnishings and antiques, and the tables were set ready for afternoon tea – so I knew where I was going to be spending the afternoon!
The far window framed a stunning view across the Irish Sea to the island of Arran and Ailsa Craig. We learnt that Ailsa Craig is an uninhabited, volcanic island, and is where the granite for all the Olympic curling stones comes from (including those around the castle used to hold open the doors).