Scottish Castle Hotels – But First, a Little Background for the History Lovers!
The first castles, as opposed to more rudimentary hill-fort-type constructions, started to appear in Scotland in the 1100s, built both by local feudal lords and Norman or Anglo newcomers.
The Norman Era
The Normans had a long presence in Scotland, and were politically very powerful, but they never actually invaded the country.
Instead many members of their aristocracy and military were invited there by King David I, a noted ‘Normophile’ and keen modernizer, and their cultural and political presence was quickly felt.
Initially their castles were mainly wooden, motte-and-bailey type structures but, as elsewhere, they became replaced, by the 13th century, with more solid, high stone-walled structures.
Little by little Scotland came under English dominance, and the castles they built as they went played an important role in the subjugation of rebellions and the defence of territory, particularly in the Wars of Independence of the 13th and 14th centuries.
The End for Castles
As the Middle Ages progressed things became got more peaceful in Scotland – the previous feudal system had given way to centralized power structures, and so internal conflicts and clan wars became fewer.
In the conflicts that did happen though, there and elsewhere in Europe, castles were too often becoming breached by advances in gunpowder technology.
They quickly therefore, went out of favour for military purposes but their imposing characters and strategic (generally scenic then) locations still counted for something.
By the 19th century, many castles had been re-designed or completely rebuilt as aristocratic residential palaces.
They may have retained much castle architecture and castle-like features but always merely for aesthetic purposes.
In Scotland this included the classic Scots Baronial and Neo-Gothic folly structures that were mainly built in the Georgian and Victorian era and still abound today.
The Royal Family’s residence, Balmoral Castle, is probably the most famous, and grand, example.
Our choices for the best castle hotels in Scotland include all the above – medieval defensive castles, Neo-Gothic follies, and Georgian/Victorian era palaces, and they all have lots of individual history to tell.
Most are family-friendly, many are pet friendly, some have both B&B and self-catering accommodation, and a few are 5 Star luxury castles with a whole range of top hotel features like spa facilities, swimming pool, golf course, etc.