With sprawling estates and rich historical tales to be told, Scotland’s stately homes are unlike any others.
Ranging from the most northerly grand home down to the Scottish borders, make the most of your next campervan holiday by paying a visit to some exquisite homes of the past.
Beginning with the most famous of all the Scottish stately homes, Balmoral Castle. Built in 1856, Balmoral has acted as the Scottish holiday home for the Royal Family and is still regularly used by Queen Elizabeth II.
Despite the Royal connection, much of the estate is open to the public. You can take in guided tours of the home, and various walks and activities take up much of the grounds. You can even keep an eye out for red squirrels on the website’s squirrel cam feed.
Situated in Aberdeenshire, around 6 miles from Ballater, this stately home is easy to get to by popular roads.
Gosford House is next on the list, with a stunning building situated in a 5000-acre estate. While Edinburgh and the surrounding areas are populated with many famous stately homes, such as Hopetoun House in South Queensferry, we feel this lesser-known spot is also worthy of a visit.
Acting as the seat for the Earls of Wemyss and Merch, the home offers tours and visitors are invited by permit to wander the vast grounds. The estate is even home to Craigielaw, a championship links golf course, for those who fancy getting in a quick 18 holes while on their holiday.
Situated in Longniddry, just south of the Firth of Forth, Gosford is easily accessible by public road and has onsite parking for tours.
Shifting our view to the west coast of the country, Glasgow is home to Pollok House. Built in 1752, Pollok is the ancestral home of the Stirling Maxwell family.
This stately home houses an impressive collection of international art – with pieces by William Blake and Spanish artists Francisco Goya, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo and El Greco. The grounds are also available to peruse, and if you go at the right time of year you can take in over 1000 different species of rhododendrons.
Nestled in Pollok country park and situated surprisingly close to the city centre, you will have no trouble reaching the grounds and parking your recreational vehicle.
Like all of the stately homes on the list, Dunrobin offers a guided tour of the castle and access to the grounds – with a potential spot of Falconry also available. But what sets Dunrobin apart from the rest is the architecture, as the castle itself is designed to resemble a French château.
Overlooking the Moray firth, Dunrobin is situated on the east coast of the Scottish highlands. Just north of the village of Dornoch, it is easily accessible; however, you’ll have to hurry, as the grounds are only open to the public between 1st April and 31st October annually.
We move now from Dunrobin at the tip of the Scottish mainland, down to Bowhill House nestled in the heart of the Scottish borders.
Similar to the aforementioned Pollok House, Bowhill is also home to a large private art collection. Visitors can gaze upon exceptional pieces by Canaletto, Henry Raeburn and Thomas Gainsborough. The grounds also boast some impressive walks and views, with an additional small adventure park for the kids.
Visitors can book tours of the grounds and home, with free parking on site. The estate is situated only a few miles west of Selkirk and is easy to reach on the road.
Remaining in the Scottish borders, our final destination is Abbotsford House. This stately home was famously the home of Sir Walter Scott, arguably Scotland’s most prominent author.
Abbotsford provides a stunning day out: the house and gardens are accessible by booking, and there are an additional museum, chapel and cafe on-site to take in a spot of lunch.
The home offers free parking for visitors at no additional cost. Abbotsford is an hour south of Edinburgh, and only a 45-minute drive from Rosiesle, and so makes for the perfect stately home to tick off the list first!
* all the attractions listed are available to visit at the time of writing; however, your ability to safely carry out the ideas in this article may change with developing Government advice in your country and those you plan to visit. Stay safe and visit gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19 for the latest guidance in Scotland or gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest guidance in England.
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