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beyond headed north to discover
The Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa, a breathtaking Scottish castle filled with romance and the perfect retreat to step back in time and enjoy some medieval magic.

I f you’re looking to escape to a fairy-tale castle that dates back to the 13th century and is bursting with all mystery and magic you could possibly imagine, then may we take this opportunity to share a very special secret with you.

Welcome to The Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa, a place that will draw you in, seduce you and take you back in time to a bygone era when kings, queens and blood-curdling shenanigans were all the rage.

Battlemented towers, thick walls, hill-top position – this four-star hotel is a place dripping with atmosphere and that’s before you even wander through its enchanting corridors, discover its hidden rooms or hear of resident ghosts looking to scare the living daylights out of you.

Dalhousie Castle is located in the Scottish lowlands, a 20 minute drive from Edinburgh and surrounded by green pastures, farmlands and a thick fir tree forest. The medieval castle was built in the 13th century and is today a welcoming boutique castle hotel on 11 acres of grounds with a gourmet restaurant, beautiful spa, and offers a noble pastime of archery as well as a thrilling falconry experience.

The woods and grounds surrounding the castle are nothing short of breathtaking and one almost expects to see pixies, elves, and unicorns strutting their stuff in the woods. There are well marked trails ideal for long walks where hours feel like minutes exploring the fields, livestock paddocks and strolling along side of the picturesque River Esk.

But it is behind the thick, battle-scarred walls of this imposing monument where the magic really happens. Roaring open fires, heraldic-patterned wallpapers, heavy curtains, throne-like armchairs, gilt-framed paintings, tapestries and candelabras, all set against flag-stone floors, exposed stone walls and vaulted ceilings make this the epitome of dungeons and dragons with a lot of luxury thrown in.

The 29 rooms and suites are situated on four levels of the castle which are individually designed and range from less prestigious castle rooms to their uber elegant suites. Over the 700 years of the castle’s existence, royalty, heads of state and luminaries have visited and bestowed the castle with the honour of their namesake suite such as the Queen Victoria, Oliver Cromwell and Lady Catherine.

But with our trusty pooch in tow we stayed in one of the ground’s cottages – a sumptuous and spacious retreat hidden amongst the trees and the perfect spot to unwind and relax.

Rooms are exquisitely styled and are full of character with antique furnishings, comfy beds with Egyptian cotton bed linen, Edwardian era wall art, and a cheery and light-coloured palette accented with sumptuous Scottish tartan, twill and tweed textiles thrown in. All accommodations feature an en-suite bathroom, robes, and Molton Brown toiletries.

After enjoying a relaxing massage in the spa and then a gin and tonic on the terrace where we gazed across the forest and watched the sun slowly set, it was time for a dining experience that will long live in the memory.

Having been escorted by our waiter down through the winding stairs of the castle, we were shown to our awaiting table in their highly regarded, and aptly named Dungeon Restaurant.

The venue is in the lower level of the castle in what was previously the castle stables and is now a cavernous dinner room space of rough-hewn stone walls and high arched ceilings. The medieval ambience is set with ominous coats of armour, polished shields and crests, and battle axes and swords that adorn the walls and spaces around the room. The textures, arches, and curves of the brick walls create a romantic space where candle lights flicker and create shadows as romantic couples settle in for the royal feast that awaits.

The dining experience is exceptional, with French-inspired cuisine using fresh and local produce. Expect to dine on an exquisitely crafted menu, such as the halibut with almond milk, braised beef cheek with haggis pomme dauphine and imaginative dishes of game meats including venison, guinea fowl, and rabbit. Each dish is perfectly paired with a wine selection from their extensive wine cellar.

The Orangery is their second and all-day dining restaurant where after a good night’s sleep and an early morning walk through the grounds, we enjoyed a hearty Scottish breakfast of eggs, sausage and bacon, button mushrooms, haggis, black pudding, and potato scones.

A trip to a castle is all about the chance to live like the noblemen of old, even if only for a few days and Dalhousie Castle provides that in abundance with guests even allowed to partake in the sport of kings, falconry.

The Dalhousie Castle falconry experience is incredible and allows guests to get up close to 42 fascinating creatures, including hawks, owls, falcons, eagles and exotic birds such as their Russian Steppe Eagle or a Turkmanian Eagle Owl.

The thrilling two-hour experience begins with a demonstration and then you, as the falconer, command the raptors, corvids and owls as these impressive birds take flight from your hands and circle around the grounds before returning at your call.

Whether you’re looking to escape in one of the country’s oldest castles, indulge in a romantic retreat, or enjoy a great weekend break for the family, there truly is something for everyone at this magnificent retreat where you really can live like a King.

The Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Aqueous Spa Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH19 3JB

T: 01875 820153

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