Scotland is a land of mystery, magic, and breathtaking scenery. One of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in Scottish culture is to spend the night at a unique guest house. Scotland is replete with quaint traditional blackhouses, working farms, and castles where visitors can spend several days and nights sipping Scotch, watching sheep saunter through the fields, and exploring magnificently gorgeous lochs and highlands.
Gearrannan Blackhouse Village
In the 1800s, Gearrannan Blackhouse Village was a quaint seaside town where residents lived in simple stone houses with thatched roofs known as blackhouses. Virtually every villager shared the interior of their home with livestock such as sheep. The bulk of the residents made their living by producing wool that ultimately became hand-woven Harris Tweed. Gearrannan Blackhouse Village thrived until the mid-20th century when the remaining elderly residents could no longer rethatch their roofs and fortify their stone homes.
In recent years, Gearrannan Blackhouse Village has been restored and has opened its blackhouses to visitors who wish to step back in time to experience 19th-century Scotland. Visitors can spend the night in a rustic single-room blackhouse which features a comfy bed, a cozy fireplace, and plenty of antiques from the days of yore. Visitors can also observe the friendly village sheep, watch traditional weavers create Harris Tweed, and explore numerous hiking and biking paths that offer sweeping views of the sea.
Newton Farm Holidays
If the friendly sheep of Gearrannan Blackhouse Village leave you yearning for more time in a pastoral setting, consider booking a stay with Newton Farm Holidays. Newton of Fothringham Farm is a working family-owned farm that offers comfortable beds, breakfasts that feature farm-fresh eggs, and rooms stocked with coffee and tea.
Visitors can tour Newton of Fothringham Farm and participate in several farm experiences which include feeding and petting animals such as goats, sheep, and lambs, grooming Highland cows, and walking with alpacas. Newton Farm Holidays is truly an animal lover’s paradise, as the farm is home to numerous unforgettable characters such as a micro pig, a friendly black lab, and several sassy hens. Visitors can also walk the hills, fish in the surrounding waterways, and play golf at a nearby golf course. Newton Farm Holidays even offers a wedding package that provides sweet and curious alpacas to stand at the altar and bear witness as lovebirds say their vows.
No trip to Scotland is complete without visiting a locale where you could potentially spot the Loch Ness Monster. Fantastic Lighthouse—located at the Northern End of Loch Ness—allows visitors to spend the night in a lighthouse once known as Bona Lighthouse. In its heyday in the 1800s, Bona Lighthouse was the smallest manned lighthouse in the UK, with a single light shining from a bay window on the first floor.
These days, Fantastic Lighthouse features bright, modern rooms with king-sized beds, TVs, a fully equipped kitchen, and access to a private garden. There is even a washing machine so that visitors can catch up on their laundry mid-trip. The master bedroom still features a historic light in the window. Fantastic Lighthouse offers a sweeping view of misty Loch Ness. If you book a stay at Fantastic Lighthouse, you can spend an entire day lounging in bed snacking on Scottish eggs, watching boat traffic and waiting for Nessie to emerge.
If you’re a goth at heart, booking a stay at a boutique hotel called The Witchery—which is in close proximity to Castlehill, where hundreds of accused witches were burned in the 16th and 17th centuries—is an absolute must. The Witchery features 9 suites with lavish décor that looks as though it was carefully selected by a Victorian vampire. Each of The Witchery’s suites has a different theme, such as the Library—which features an opulent bathroom with a bateau bath surrounded by shelves of books. Visitors can spend a relaxing evening soaking in the tub while reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire by candlelight.
The Witchery is also home to a sumptuous restaurant that serves Scottish dishes such as Red Deer and Haggis Wellington and Dry-Aged Scotch Beef. The Witchery features an extensive wine list so that visitors can sip the finest Champagne, Bordeaux, and Burgundy in an exquisite Old World Dining room that will transport you a few hundred years into the past.
In the 1840s, Her Royal Highness Queen Victoria wrote in her diary that Glenshee was a solitary place of peace and freedom where visitors could forget their woes and bask in the beauty of nature. Queen Victoria even noted a beautiful castle where visitors could check their worries at the door that was surrounded by mountains, glens, and rivers. Many consider Dalmunzie Castle—which is the castle that Queen Victoria mentioned in her diary—to be one of the most picturesque estates in Scotland.
Dalmunzie Castle initially belonged to the Mackintosh family, but it was a World War II era fighter pilot named Denis Winton who transformed the estate into an elegant hotel where newlyweds, urbanites, and any person who needed to relax and recharge could book a room for the weekend. Visitors who stay at Dalmunzie Castle have access to lavish gardens, plush guest rooms that are truly fit for royalty, and an expansive golf course that will make any golf lover’s heart skip a beat.
Spending the night in quaint village homes, lighthouses, and castles that are steeped in Scotland’s rich history is one of the best ways to get the most out of your travels. Exploring Scotland’s past while participating in the country’s rich living culture creates memories that will last a lifetime. If you choose authentically Scottish accommodations, you can befriend sheep, scan the horizon for the Loch Ness Monster, and play a magnificent game of golf right next to the bedroom where you lay your head to sleep. Spending a few days on a working farm may even convince you to move to the Scottish countryside.