We take a look at the finest country houses, castles and estates for sale in Scotland.
With just the right mix of flagstone floors and suits of armour in the hallway, Bardowie Castle ticks a lot of the boxes for would-be castle owners — especially with its glorious waterside location, just a few miles north of Glasgow.
Yet there are a lot of modern country house creature comforts here too. The place has been impeccably designed and decorated within, and everything has been done sensitively as befits its category A listed status.
Bardowie once hosted Rob Roy himself, according to local lore, and boasts what is apparently Scotland’s oldest original stone castle keep, dating to the 16th century.
What the Stobo Estate lacks in castellations and turrets it more than makes up for in terms of land: 3,884 acres of it, described by the agents as ‘an opportunity to purchase the best of what Scottish estates have to offer’.
The two principal houses — Home Farmhouse and Easterknowe Farmhouse — are both beautiful, but just the start: 15 more cottages and houses are part of the sale.
As well as farmland, moorland and property there are also spectacular lakes and gardens, which include a quite stunning garden with waterfall that feels more tropical paradise than a slice of southern Scotland.
One of the finest fortified houses in the south of Scotland’ say agents Savills of this imposing edifice near Girvan, a castle dating to 1338 and that was in the ownership of the Cathcart family until 1954.
While it has a slightly forbidding aspect from outside, the inside could scarcely be more spectacular thanks to a huge transformation and restoration project five years ago which brought it back to its full glory.
The castle comes with 166 acres of land as well as a gatehouse and two cottages for extra accommodation — but it’s those spectacular interiors which will be the biggest draw here.
Kinlochdamph is an estate which, for the romantically-minded, has everything except the castle: over 4,000 acres of mountains, rivers, lochs and waterfalls.
Agents Goldsmith & Co describe this as ‘some of the most spectacular landscape in the Highlands’ — a bold claim, but the pictures here tell their own story.
There is a lodge here — four bedrooms, recently refurbished — but for a new owner with the right vision, it’s not hard to imagine an estate of such natural grandeur fitting well with a grander residence, subject to the usual permissions.
Showing just what can be done with the right architect (and the right budget) is the Tower House near Oban.
The house was built in 2015 in Scots Baronial tower style, and sits within 107.5 acres which run all the way down to the shore of Loch Melford.
The rooms make the most of the tower shape and the style, with the curved walls particularly eyecatching in the bespoke kitchen.
There’s a confident design vision at work in the Straloch House Estate, 244 acres of land with a Georgian house at its heart which is graceful and grand.
Built in 1780, the main front elevation of this beautiful home looks like it’s escaped from a Jane Austen adaptation, and the front door opening onto lawns and a lake only adds to the effect
Right now, the idea of swapping city life for the wilds of Scotland sounds great — almost too much so. And when we see a property for sale along the lines of Glencruitten House, that feeling gets even stronger. Especially when you consider that Glencruitten’s price tag of £975,000 via Galbraith is less than you’d pay for a terraced townhouse in Henley.
The great highlight is the library — or the Lorimer Library, as its known, after its designer — which is accessed either from the main doorway or else, brilliantly, via a spiral staircase from the estate office below, from which you emerge half-way into the room, opposite a vast stone fireplace.
If you’re leaning towards the ‘estate’ side of the ‘castles and estates’ brief of this article, then Cairnty looks perfect: there are 586 acres of land included with this residential and sporting estate, which enjoys a spectacular setting in the lower Spey valley.
That’s not to say anything against the main house itself — far from it. This Georgian-style home was completed just eight years ago, and is a beautiful, modern family home described by the owners as ‘the house built without compromise that keeps on giving’. The main house has eight bedrooms, high-speed broadband and ground-source heating.
There’s a mix of farmland, woodland and meadows — and if you feel the need to take on a project, then a ruined cottage within the estate could be truly beautiful.
Originally commissioned by Robert Bruce in the 17th century as Lairds House, Auchenbowie House was substantially remodelled in 1768 and again in the 1900s and occupies a scenic parkland setting surrounded by 11 acres of formal gardens and paddocks.
The façade of this magnificent residence is a particular feature and it is studded with large windows allowing light to flood the spacious rooms including nine bedrooms, many with fine fireplaces. Staff accommodation is provided at the rear of the property.
Should you need to venture from this glorious property there are motorway connections, rail links and both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are within easy reach.
A true 14th century landmark rising proudly from surrounding farmland, the magnificent Fa’side Castle commands spectacular views over the Forth Estuary and the Lothians. Despite its historic origins, it is well designed for modern life with practical kitchen, magnificent hall and five bedrooms in addition to unique B&B accommodation in a tower and two cottages.
For those with a head for heights, it features a glass walkway atop an old dungeon and a foof top walkway to take in the panoramic views, as well as many classic features of the era.
Excellent transport links mean Edinburgh is an easy commute. Excellent local schools are within easy reach and the locality boasts the oldest golf course in the world — Musselborough — in addition to famous walking and cycling trails and wonderful beaches.
More than 800 years of turbulent Scottish history sit lightly on the castellated walls of majestic Seton Castle near Longniddry, on the Firth of Forth, some 10 miles from Edinburgh’s vibrant city centre.
Robert Adam’s last Scottish masterpiece, it sits in gracious splendour within 13½ acres of lush lawns and paddocks, surrounded by the rolling fields and woodland of East Lothian’s famous golf coast.
No, the price isn’t a typo. This really is a castle at less than the price of a Range Rover.
That said, you’d be a lot more comfortable living in the Range Rover — at least until the work is done, for Knockhall Castle has been a ruin for over a quarter of a millennium, ever since the former stronghold of Clan Udny burnt down in 1734.
For whoever takes it on, however, the potential here is quite incredible.
Easily reached from Edinburgh, this Baronial mansion comes with stables, fishing rights on Heriot Water and well-established gardens.
Aside from the verdant 12 acres of land, Borthwick Hall has 10 bedrooms and a multitude of handsome entertaining rooms.
Interesting, the master bedroom is on the ground floor, making it ideal for anyone who wishes to make Borthwick their forever home.
Brechin Castle is big – very big. Eight reception rooms, 16 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms mean that this is a place big enough for pretty much anything that you could throw at it, an early 18th century place set in 40 acres.
The rolling grounds and situation on a bluff overlooking the River Esk are brilliantly dramatic, while the walled gardens are famous in their own right.
The castle itself is full of original detail, with carved wooden walls, fine ceilings and columns in the main entrance hall.
The drawing room is particularly noteworthy, full of detailed woodwork designed by John Keeble and created by local craftsmen. This is house from a time when things were done on a grand scale.
Six miles north of Gretna and just 15 from Carlisle, Robgill Tower was once an important strategic stronghold on the border between England and Scotland. Today, that location makes it ideal for those who want to retain easy access to London – fast trains from Carlisle reach Euston in three and a half hours.
The attractions of the house go far beyond that, however: this is a fine little castle that’s been beautifully and sympathetically restored, with all sorts of original features retained – most notably this gorgeous and romantic dining room set up in the cellar.
There are also superb sporting facilities: stables, paddock, an indoor pool and gym, plus a snooker room for more sedate moments of leisure.
Gardeners will be just as delighted to find as fine a greenhouse as you could imagine in a private home.
Set on over nine acres, Tillycorthie is simply magnificent. With Spanish influences evident in the beautiful palmed courtyard, the Mansion House has been used as a family home, an academic facility and is now looking for a new owner, with residential and commercial possibilities.
Renovated since it’s 1911 construction, Tillycorthie comes equipped with fully functional ornate fireplaces, moulded ceilings and a 3000 bottle capacity wine cellar, as well as the latest luxury kitchen appliances and a home gym. With a spiral staircase leading to a tower with a rooftop vista of the Scottish countryside, this period property really is straight out of a fairytale.
Dating to the 17th century, the strikingly pretty Cassillis Castle was the home of the Earls of Cassillis. Laid out over five floors, this is a labyrinthine building with huge rooms, magnificent ceilings, spiral staircases, sweeping hallways, breathtaking views and extraordinary grounds.
The Drawing Room is arguably the pick of the many rooms, built in the style of William Burn’s work, though believed to be the work of David Bryce. Vast windows flood the room with natural light, and whilst the fireplace forms a centrepiece for the room, it is undoubtedly trumped by the fine ceiling plasterwork.
The Inner Hall and Dining Room also have grand fireplaces, with the hall’s glazed roof bathing the space in natural light.
The spiral staircase is part of the original Keep of Cassillis, and is built clockwise – apparently the best way to make it easy to defend by a right-handed swordsman.
The Ballroom and adjacent Library were originally the bedroom and living quarters of the Earls of Cassillis. At almost 30′ in length and 20′ in width, the Ballroom is a superb room for entertaining, with windows overlooking the River Doon below.
There is even a secret staircase just off the entrace to the keep, which lead up to the East Chintz Room. At the top of the steps a faded, hand painted notice on the wall advises staff that this staircase was for the use of the Earl and his family only: the sign reads ‘Step no further Master Porter!’.
Grand as it is, the castle is just the starting point – there is also an attendant gate lodge, garden cottage and walled garden, coach house and stable block, all within 310 acres of rolling South Ayrshire countryside that encompass a long stretch of the River Doon. The fishing rights are included as part of the sale.
The property is also only a short distance from the coast, with the famous Turnberry golf course within easy reach.
The Cassillis Estate is for sale via Savills – see more pictures and details.
The lovely Earlshall Castle is a dream find for lovers of history or golf: it’s just a few miles from St Andrews, was built by the descendants of Robert the Bruce, and once hosted Mary Queen of Scots.
The castle, as it stands today, is a 10-bedroom building with a great hall, dining room, gun room, library, study and 10 bedrooms, among other things.
Without doubt the most eye-catching of the interior spaces is the Long Gallery, whose painted ceiling is justly famous for its intricacy. It dates back to the 17th century, and is a phenomenal and unusual work.
Catch up on the best country houses for sale this week that have come to the market via Country Life.
These beautiful listed country homes stand in the heart of some our most beautiful countryside.