The history of Balfour Castle
During a study trip to Scotland, a visit to the Orkney island of Shapinsay should not be missed out on a visit to Balfour Castle. The graceful mansion has been on the Scottish Monuments List since 1971 and has been in the highest category since 1995.
The land on which Balfour Castle is located was first acquired by the Buchanan family in the 17th century. In 1770 they were sold to the Balfours of Trenaby. The first generation planted the trees there that make up the dense Shapinsay forest today. David Balfour, the fourth squire of the family, finally hired David Bryce, the pioneering Scottish architect of his time, to build the castle. It lasted from 1846 to 1859 and also includes the partially integrated Cliffdale House. A previous house, the Gregorian villa House of Sound, was burned down by the Hanoverian troops in 1746. Bryce pursued the Scottish barony style, a British variant of the neo-Gothic, in the design.
Balfour Castle consists of three floors and a four-story tower as well as various additions.
Leisure and recreation at Balfour Castle
Today, Balfour Castle is a five-star luxury hotel. Not only because of its idyllic location in a sheltered bay in the southwest of the island of Shapinsay and its green surroundings, it is considered a perfect refuge. All six rooms are individually furnished with attention to detail – the silk wallpaper is from De Gournay and the shower heads are based on the Victorian era – and offer either a view of the garden, the forest or the lake.
You can of course visit Balfour Castle without spending the night there. The luxury restaurant offers the opportunity to dine in groups of 10 people or more. The award-winning French chef, Jean-Baptiste Bady, likes to serve multi-course meals with seafood and the best meat from the region.
Around Balfour Castle there are plenty of leisure activities such as fishing, clay pigeon shooting, bird safari, tennis or golf.
A romantic retreat in the Scottish highlands
The Kinnaird Estate is a large property built around a historic mansion close to the parish of Dunkeld in the Scottish Highlands. The manor house is used as a three-star bed and breakfast and there are five smaller buildings on the property that are rented out as holiday homes. At the Kinnaird Estate, tourists will find peace, relaxation and fresh air on their journey through Scotland. The surrounding area is ideal for sporting activities.
The pension and the holiday homes
The guest rooms in the main house of the Kinnaird Estate are very spacious with comfortable beds and upholstered furniture. They all have a large bathroom. The guests meet in the morning in the breakfast room. In the evening maybe a game of billiards or a cozy get-together in the TV room is on the program. Those who choose one of the holiday homes have to cater for themselves, but that’s not a problem, as the supermarkets and restaurants in Dunkeld or Pitlochry are only a 20-minute drive away. Incidentally, the supermarkets can also deliver goods to your home on request. The largest of the holiday homes is actually a small castle. Five people can live in it. There are also two “farmhouses” (for up to eight guests) and two cottages (each suitable for four people) to choose from.
The Kinnaird Estate extends almost to the River Tay. As there are a lot of fish (even salmon!) In the river, it makes sense to go on a fishing trip. The staff of the guest house can also arrange fishing lessons. Anglers also enjoy their hobbies at the nearby Millpond and Skiael Hill lakes. Golf courses can also be found in the region. For example, the 18-hole golf course at the Dunkeld and Birnam Golf Club is recommended. It is fun to take a stroll in the property’s park or take long hikes through the Scottish highlands.
It is only an hour’s drive from Dunkeld to Edinburgh (southbound). You should definitely plan a day for a visit to the Scottish capital. Tourists who want to explore the region visit one or the other castle or take part in a tour of a whiskey distillery. The “Edradur” and “Glanturret” distilleries are close to Dunkeld!