I Stayed in a Scottish Castle for my Wedding Anniversary, and It Was Amazing

How you can also check this item off your bucket list

photo by the author, 2019

Before the apocalypse hit, my wife and I usually traveled somewhere overseas every year for our anniversary. In 2019 we took a trip to the UK and Scotland, which remains in my mind as one of the best places we have ever visited. Maybe it stands out more because it was the last real trip we got to take. Or maybe it is because we visited Stonehenge. Or maybe it is because on the night of our anniversary, we actually stayed in a Scottish castle.

Whatever the case may be, I have many pleasant memories of that trip, which in many ways felt like an adventure. The biggest piece of advice I can give about taking trips like this, is don’t limit yourself to being confined by the immediate surroundings of your hotel and taking only hosted tours in an attempt to structure your trip around time or safety concerns. The best vacations I have been on, have been the ones in which my wife and I simply rented a car, and drove around the countryside site seeing on our own.

Scotland is such a beautiful country. We took a short plane ride from London to Edinburgh to get there. When we landed at got situated the first thing we did was visit Edinburgh Castle. And WOW. To walk the land and visit places I had only read about or seen films about, so see actual items owned by Robert the Bruce…stunning. Then we rented a car.

The next day we drove throughout the country, stopping and visiting various castles and parts of the landscape that caught our attention. If you are a lover of history, this place just abounds with it. If you are someone who appreciates the natural beauty of the world, Scotland is pure heaven.

That night, for a surprise, my wife had booked us a stay in Kilmartin Castle. An actual historic castle that had been purchased by some entrepreneurial folks who decided to turn it into a bed and breakfast.

photo by the author, 2019

According to their website, the castle had been maintained and occupied as early as 1550. The current owners acquired it in 2018 and spent several months refurbishing it. You have to see it to believe it.

Now, you can book yourself a stay here and feel lost in the magic, in this remarkable collision of history and modern convenience. The owners themselves greet you and will candidly recount their story of how exactly one goes about buying a castle in Scotland. It’s pretty much a fairy tale brought to life.

That night we slept in an upstairs room, with a stone window we could un-shutter and stare through into the starry Scotland night. Our room held a large copper bath tub, which my wife used to relax in before we settled in for dreams. The aesthetic of the place was extraordinary. Kind of the perfect combination of rustic historical accuracy (the front door locked with a large wooden board slotted into the stone) and modern luxury accoutrements. In the morning, the owners themselves were present to serve breakfast.

photo by the author, 2019
photo by the author, 2019

If you get the chance, I highly recommend you experience this for yourself. After our stay in Kilmartin Castle, we spent the next day driving the Scottish coastline along the Isle of Skye.

Aside from our visit to Iceland, the Isle of Skye held some of the most breathtaking visuals I have ever seen in my life. Every corner, every hill, every precipice we climbed, revealed a landscape that was nothing short of majestic, as if carved from the imagination of the gods. We visited castles, neolithic stone sites, and just took in all the scenic glory that Scotland could offer, as best we could in the time we had.

I realize that right now traveling is limited and a risk that one simply should not take given the current environment during a pandemic. But this pandemic will not last forever, and soon the world will return to some form of normality. When it does, if you get the travel bug, which I know many will after this torturous tenure of isolation and cabin fever, you should definitely consider Scotland and the Isle of Skye as a bucket list destination. I know you won’t regret it.

Provocative truth teller, author of 14 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at: Jaysizemore.com.

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