Stay in a Scottish Castle
Borthwick Castle

Imagine staying in a fifteenth century baronial castle, amidst the beauty of the gentle, verdant-green landscape, where you may sleep in Mary Queen of Scots` bedroom with a true `Queen size` four poster bed, adorned in crimson-red brocade drapes. Travel writer Vivien Devlin and her partner did just that and she relates here her visit.

Mary Queen of Scots
Borthwick Castle In 1567 Mary Queen of Scots, one of the most beautiful and tragic heroines of British history, fled with her third husband the Earl of Bothwell to seek sanctuary in the castle. Here they spent their final days of freedom before they were separated for ever. She was soon taken to England to be executed at the command of Queen Elizabeth I. The Earl was later to die in a Danish prison. The atmosphere and grandeur of the castle`s regal past is still preserved; the elegant State Room, the Great Hall, and a small chapel, once used by Mary Queen of Scots. The 10 bedchambers, high up steep stone spiral staircases in the twin towers, are furnished in period style with dark mahogany beds, walnut chests and wall tapestries.

Staying at Borthwick Castle Borthwick Castle

Borthwick also particularly welcomes those in search of a quiet rural getaway and the ideal location for exploring the Scottish Border country or driving up to Edinburgh for a day out. My partner and I arrived late one Friday afternoon and as you make your way along the narrow country lane just off the A7, the stunning reddish stone castle with its dominating tall twin towers, looms into view from a mile or so away. If that is not impressive enough, wait until you walk into the Great Hall, a stunning and ornate long room, with arched windows, armour, swords, wall hangings, portraits and at the far end a vast medieval fireplace. We were taken up the spiral staircase - at least 90 steps up the to the top of the tower - to Mary Queen of Scots Bedroom. This was utterly amazing, not just the superb four poster bed, and the furnishings, but to observe the fourteen foot thick walls, with long window seat recesses. Through the narrow arrow slit windows was like a series of watercolour landscape paintings of the surrounding gentle rolling countryside.

Weddings are particularly popular where the family may have exclusive use of the Castle for the ceremony, a grand reception prepared with great style and accommodation for the wedding party.

Elegant Dining
After changing into something a little more elegant and formal, in keeping with our grand surroundings, we ventured down the stairs to the Great Hall. Here we enjoyed an aperitif sitting beside the roaring log fire. This was certainly large enough to roast a very large animal. We then studied the menu which offers a select but varied selection of traditional Scottish cuisine, with specialities in fish and game. The portions are very generous indeed.

We enjoyed a quiet, candlelit dinner and then sat by the fire again for coffee. Soon, very weary we made our way back to Mary`s Bedchamber. We had heard stories of Castle ghosts who walk and cry in the night, but nothing disturbed our deep and comfortable sleep.

The next morning, breakfast was served in our room, starting the day with a good plate of Scottish oatmeal porridge. We sat at the window, admiring the view, still rather in awe of the unique atmosphere all around us. A visit to Borthwick Castle is to experience living history which is unforgettable and utterly romantic.

Facts and Figures
Bed and breakfast [for two] in a double bedchamber costs 115 - 135. The Mary Queen of Scots Four Poster room costs 195 a night.

Bookings can be made via the Borthwick Castle Hotel Web site

Return to the Index of Great Places to Stay in Scotland.


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