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CathyF Jul 19th, 2003 08:22 PM

Castle Hotel Worth it?
We will be travelling with another family to London (4 nights), York (2 nights) and Edinburgh (2 nights) in November. There will be 4 kids ages 5-9 and we think they would love the experience of staying in a castle hotel.

We were originally planning to stay one night at Dalhousie Castle outside Edinburgh but they are booked the days we will be there. I have read about Langley Castle and Lumley Castle - both located between York and Edinburgh. Do you think staying at a castle hotel would be worth changing our itinerary? Are we making too much of the "castle experience?" This is a big trip for us and we are anxious to make it memorable for the children.

Thanks for your opinions!

janis Jul 19th, 2003 09:56 PM

Most Castle hotels are not like staying "in a castle" - they are mostly pretty posh county house-type hotels. Most are very nice, but they are not a child's idea of a castle with turrets to climb and dungeons to explore.

CathyF Jul 20th, 2003 09:29 AM

Great point, Janis! I was wondering about that myself as I browsed the pictures on the web. Many have the appearance of an upscale hotel room - some even had wallpaper! I was visualizing exposed stone walls etc...

Maybe a good alternative would be to book one of the dreaded "Elizabethan banquets".

EJ Jul 22nd, 2003 06:57 AM

I would recommend Langley Castle.

timjstark Jul 22nd, 2003 08:35 AM

Hello Cathy,

We stayed at two "Castle Hotels" last summer in Scotland with our two kids (ages 16 and 12). One was Dalhousie (which has been converted into a fancy country hotel) and one was Borthwick (which has retained much of the original character of a castle). It truly depends on what you want. Dalhousie looks more like a castle from the outside, while Borthwick feels more authentic within. Our kids loved both of them realizing that they each had their own atttributes. Since Dalhousie is booked already, you might want to think about exactly what you want...(then ask Sheila and the other wonderful Scotland experts on this message board. They helped me on my trip planning immensely!)
I think that staying in a castle hotel, especially with kids is well worth the expense!
Take care,


CathyF Jul 25th, 2003 03:56 PM

Thank you for the responses. I just received an email from Dalhousie and they have a room available for one of the nights we will be in Edinburgh!

Tim - I just checked out the Borthwick Castle and it looks very nice. Which hotel did your children enjoy the most? Did you stay in a themed quad at Dalhousie? Could you tell me a bit about it?

As for what we are looking for - just to have the kids sleep in a castle! We thought it would be fun to splurge one night. It doesn't have to be posh but I would like it to be "special". I would rather it have a more authentic feel than have it be like staying in a 5-star hotel.

dragon Jul 26th, 2003 04:13 PM


Lumley Castle is definitely a real castle - not a country house. I've never stayed there but I have eaten there and the food was excellent. It's also very handy to get to - just off the A1.

gualalalisa Jul 26th, 2003 07:24 PM

Cathy: My husband and I have stayed at Dalhousie and would give it a big thumbs up! The whole place was beautiful and the service was outstanding. We had a room with a turret - overlooking a hillside meadow with grazing horses. We also stopped by Borthwick which is worth a visit for historical purposes (Mary, Queen of Scots spent time there and her portrait is in the great room) but the accomodations were not half as nice as Dalhousie.

Have fun!

iorioj Jul 27th, 2003 06:26 AM

I'm interested to hear from those who have stayed or planning on staying at Dalhousie about how they travelled whilst there. Did you rent a car or was there other transportation available to get into Edinburgh or surrounding areas.

gualalalisa Jul 27th, 2003 10:19 PM

We did have a rented car (we drove throughout Scotland later) but took taxis into Edinburgh while staying at Dalhousie becasue it seemed easier than dealing with city traffic and parking. The taxi drivers were also very informative and pointed out many sights along the way, making it like a mini-tour.

Nicole Jul 28th, 2003 02:53 PM


We stayed at Dalhousie in August 2001 and loved it. The outside looks like a fairytale castle; the inside is similar to a very nice hotel with nice comfortable furnishings, but with definite castle architecture and features (especially the dungeon restaurant). We did feel like we were sleeping in a castle, but I understand what others mean that it also has a "hotel" feel because the rooms do have a coziness that you would not traditionally think of when you think of an old castle. I think the kids (and you) would have a ball there.

The disadvantage is that it is about a 20+ minute drive into Edinburgh. Since you're only in Edinburgh 2 nights, this could be inconvenient. You could take a cab into Edinburgh each day - but then you're stuck there until you want to go back at the end of the night. It depends on your travel style - I prefer to stay in the center of town so I can go back to the hotel after sightseeing, relax and get cleaned up, then go back out for dinner. If it doesn't bother you to stay out of town, then I would definitely splurge on the castle for both nights.

What we did was stay in Edinburgh for a few days, then on the last night we stayed at the castle after we were done with all our sightseeing in Edinburgh. We then took a cab from the castle to the airport the next morning. This may be a good idea for you if you don't mind switching hotels.

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