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Luxury castle holidays in the UK

Mentioning to friends that you’ve booked a luxury break almost always invokes images of clean white beaches, clear blue seas and being waited on hand and foot as you sit in a sun lounger sipping a cocktail and letting the world pass you by. While this is seen by many as the peak of indulgence and the pinnacle of luxury relaxation there is a sector emerging in the luxury travel industry which is taking the notion of treating its customers like royalty to a whole new level. In the UK, in Scotland especially, there are companies now offering the opportunity to hire and receive exclusive use of a castle, a distinct step up from the typical 5 star hotel stays usually on offer. The range of properties available is surprisingly large and there are huge varieties in style and structure, ranging from quirky tower houses to grand and spectacular castles with large estates and gardens. Aldourie Castle is just about as stereotypically Scottish a location as you’ll ever see, and is magnificent for exactly that reason. Located on the southern shore of the world famous Loch Ness, the castle has been extensively and sensitively restored over the past few years to regain all of its former glory and it offers visitors an exclusive taste of the Highland Estate lifestyle. With 500 acres of highland countryside on the doorstep and even a private marina on the loch it really is a special way to see one of Scotland’s most scenic locations. Just off the North East of Scotland is the Orkney Islands, a distinctly remote location which has been almost entirely unspoilt by commerce and industry. On the island of Shapinsay there lies the stunning Balfour Castle, which despite its remote location is reasonably simple to access and richly rewards those who go out of their way to visit. Despite being from the Victorian era the castle now features a number of modern facilities, including a private cinema and a room with a state of the art golf simulator. It can sleep up to 18 guests and the in house chef picked up the Scottish Chef of the Year award in 2009. Inveraray Castle is very much the cliché ‘jewel in the crown’ in one of Scotland’s most beautiful towns. The town of Inveraray is accessible after a scenic drive through the Argyll forest area, and its slightly remote location means the town is fairly quiet for most of the year. The castle itself is unmistakably Scottish and has been standing since the 1400s, and guests can rent a suite of 5 star rooms as well as having the State Dining Room, Armoury Hall and Saloon available for private functions. The castle is situated in stunning gardens, with 14 acres of woodland and 2 acres of colourful flowerbeds and manicured lawns and is just a short 2 minute walk from the shores of the loch. These are just a small sample of the accommodation available in this niche, and it really offers a different take on the idea of a luxury holiday. For some it just won’t compare to cocktails on the beach, but for those looking for something different a stay in one of these beautiful castles might be something they remember for the rest of their lives. Stuart Young is Owner of The UK Tourist Blog. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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