Stay in a Scottish castle: Turrets, bed steps, and Mary Queen of Scots

The Big Six

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The Independent Travel

Fonab Castle Hotel, Perthshire

Set in the heart of Scotland, on the banks of Loch Faskally, this turreted castle dates back to 1892, but only opened as a hotel in 2013. Each of the rooms is decorated with an individual feature wall, but check into the penthouse on the fourth floor for high, vaulted wooden ceilings and original panelled walls. The bed is so large that steps are provided to help guests clamber in. All of the rooms promise great views, with the Fonab Brasserie looking straight out onto the loch, just a few steps away.

Foss Road, Pitlochry, Perthshire PH16 5ND (01796 470140; Doubles from £220, half-board.

Balbegno Castle, Aberdeenshire

This self-catering castle is ideal for fans of the great outdoors, with access to an eight-hectare ornamental lake where you can hire rowing boats and fish. Shooting can also be arranged. Bedrooms scream retro-Britannia with Union flag motifs and stag-printed pillows. The 16th-century castle's kitchen comes stocked with essentials; food hampers can be pre-ordered. Rustle up dinner and eat in the Great Hall, whose ceiling bears 13 Scottish peers' coats of arms.

Balbegno Castle, Fettercairn, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire AB30 1YD (01330 850689; Three nights' rental (minimum) from £2,500, including breakfast; sleeps 13.

Blairquhan Castle, Ayrshire

As a filming location for the Oscar-winning film The Queen in 2005, this grand Ayrshire castle practically has the royal seal of approval. Completed in 1824 and reopened as a hotel in 1970, Blairquhan Castle has 15 bedrooms, where period furniture sits alongside contemporary bathrooms, and tall sash windows offer dreamy views of the grounds. For a more informal stay, check into one of the eight self-catering cottages in the castle's grounds.

Maybole, Ayrshire KA19 7LY (01655 770 239; Doubles from £315, B&B.

Aikwood Tower, Selkirk

For a right royal weekend, this five-bedroom 16th-century castle can be rented in its entirity. Guests enter via a walled garden and are met by a roaring fire and plush furnishings in the Great Hall. The dining room and kitchen are set beneath a vaulted ceiling and include a selection of recipe books for guests to use, while a small study provides a quiet spot. More active visitors can play croquet or pick apples, before kicking back in the Gallery for a spot of TV, or a chance to mix their own cocktails at the bar.

Selkirk, Scottish Borders TD7 5HJ (01750 700 500; Two nights from £1,150, self-catering; sleeps 10.

Myres Castle, Fife

Once visited by Mary Queen of Scots and Sir Walter Scott, this 16th-century castle is now a family home and luxury bed and breakfast. It is set in 44 acres , with a woodland walk, a rose garden, and its own herd of Highland cattle. The 10 individually styled bedrooms are decked out with antique furniture and floral fabrics. Enjoy a game of billiards, or croquet or tennis in the gardens before rustling up dinner in the guest kitchen using fresh local produce which can be provided by the owners at 24 hours' notice.

Auchtermuchty, Fife KY14 7EW (01337 828350; Doubles from £150 (two night minimum stay), B&B.

Barcaldine Castle, Argyll

Dating back to 1609, Barcaldine is the only ancient castle-turned-B&B in Argyll. Set on the shores of Loch Creran, its five bedrooms all offer views over the water or the surrounding countryside, including the snow-capped mountains of Glencoe. Neutral walls are complemented by an otherwise traditional decor – think sturdy wooden furniture and touches of tartan. Pick up a book from the library and hunker down in front of an open fire in one of the cosy communal reception rooms.

Argyll, Benderloch, Oban PA37 1SA (01631 720598; Doubles from £195, B&B.