Some castles in Scotland have an amazing history; it is unusual to have one family linked to a castle through the centuries, although it does happen, and this just adds to the historical significance of the property and the experience you will have when you stay there.
I like the way Craufurdland Castle is hidden in the estate; as you drive through the trees down the long entrance, you suddenly catch a glimpse of the turrets as the drive bends and brings the castle into view. The Laird's House entrance is of Gothic style, with a large arched stained glass window prominent above the powder blue doors. Guests' entrance is via the Towerhouse, a 12th century Norman vault to the right.
A lovely quote from a BBC journalist who interviewed the owner, Simon, for a programme called 'The men who own Scotland' said, “The Houison Craufurd family is like a thread of Tartan through the history of Scotland.”
The family has links to William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, saving King James III of Scotland’s life, washing of the hands ceremony for the monarch, and recently the discovery of the epitaph, written by Robert Burns, that went on to be in the poem Grizzle Grim. So you can see the connection to history the family holds and the castle has had with characters over the last eight centuries.
Craufurdland Castle is one of the oldest castles in Scotland; it's been linked to the same family for nearly 800 years. Set in 600 acres of stunning Ayrshire countryside, surrounded by woodlands with its own lake, it is a hidden treasure on the West Coast of Scotland. Glasgow is the nearest large city, with easy access from Prestwick, Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.
This self-catering castle in Scotland, or vacation rental as it is sometimes known, has a Georgian drawing room with stunning views over Craufurdland Water and the library has over 3000 books, with the oldest dating back to 1515. You could get lost in history in this room alone!
Each of the ten bedrooms is uniquely decorated...it’s hard to say which is my favourite; perhaps King James with the roll-top bath in the window or Knights with its priest hole. I slept in Wallace, with a very comfortable double bed on a mezzanine floor, accessed by iron spiral steps with an amazing huge stained glass window. This is the room above the Laird's entrance. The light coming through the stained glass is magical.
Like any great castle you will see family portraits hanging in many of the rooms; this just adds to the historical feel of the property. I would always recommend taking the owners up on their offer of an historical tour, which lasts just over one hour; this brings the paintings and the castle to life and will enhance the enjoyment of your stay.
Remember, you are on the West Coast of Scotland, so places to visit include:
Ayr, the birthplace of Robert Burns, so plenty of Burns attractions;
The paddle steamer Waverley visits Ayr during the summer months and is worth a journey; it also makes journeys from the Clyde north to Loch Fyne and Argyll if you want to venture further out to the islands;
Ferries from Ardrossan connect Ayrshire to Arran and the beautiful islands that sit between Ayrshire and Kintyre. Arran is popular for golf, it has no less than six coastal courses. Walking is very popular on the island. Check out the vast range of ‘Taste of Arran’ goods;
Culzean Castle is a great day out, run by the National Trust of Scotland.