Gle­napp Cas­tle

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Easy Trips -


The sea­son of ‘mists and mel­low fruit­ful­ness’ is a mag­i­cal time to visit Scot­land’s south­west coast, with the low sun cast­ing a glow over a patch­work land­scape of rus­set- and am­ber-leaved forests.


Gle­napp Cas­tle ap­pears at the end of a tree-lined drive, like a grand house in a Gothic novel. Built in the 19th cen­tury in Scot­tish Ba­ro­nial style, with crenellated tow­ers and cone-shaped tur­rets, it sets the stage for an at­mo­spheric au­tumn get­away. Padded jack­ets and welling­ton boots of all shapes and sizes can be found by the main door, en­cour­ag­ing you to ex­plore the es­tate’s gar­dens and secluded wood­land trails. After a brac­ing stroll, we set­tled down with the pa­pers and a scrump­tious cream tea.


The 20 rooms are spread across three floors, and each is unique but tra­di­tional in style, with high ceil­ings and pe­riod fur­nish­ings. Many have sea views, look­ing out over the the Firth of Clyde and its mys­te­ri­ous un­in­hab­ited is­land, Ailsa Craig. If you’re here on a spe­cial oc­ca­sion, book one of the two mas­ter suites. These have huge win­dows, a fire­place and our favourite fea­ture – se­cret ac­cess through the tur­rets down to the gar­dens be­low.


We bagged a spot by the sit­ting room fire for a pre-din­ner snifter and canapés, before en­joy­ing a can­dle-lit six-course tast­ing menu in the el­e­gant dining room. You’ll find such lo­cal de­lights as roast crown of Burn Cas­tle Grouse with hag­gis bon­bon or grilled fil­let of Loch Duart salmon with baby leeks on the au­tumn menu. The restau­rant’s pro­duce is all sourced from nearby Ayr­shire farms, and the greens are pulled from the cas­tle gar­dens.


We unashamedly wiled away al­most an en­tire week­end with­out leav­ing the cas­tle grounds but there’s plenty to do in the area, from shoot­ing, archery and moun­tain bik­ing to hik­ing and sky-gaz­ing at the nearby Gal­loway For­est Park. Gle­napp can also pro­vide an as­tronomer for a night-sky tour. If sea fish­ing is more your style, the ho­tel boat can be char­tered for trips out into the Firth of Clyde.


Trav­el­ling from the south, we opted for a re­laxed trun­dle up to Glas­gow on the Cale­do­nian Sleeper train, ar­riv­ing in time for break­fast at 7:20am (from £140 for a cabin; BA, easyJet and Flybe fly to Glas­gow from var­i­ous UK cities. The Cas­tle is just un­der two hours from Glas­gow, so a car is handy. Pick-up can also be pre-arranged with the ho­tel (£145 each way).


Dou­bles start at £209. The Mas­ter Suites cost from £421 per night (gle­nap­p­cas­ A three-course din­ner menu is £45 per per­son, while the six-course menu is £65.

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT Ailsa Craig, the vol­canic out­crop, where blue hone gran­ite is quar­ried to make curl­ing stones, now a bird sanc­tu­ary home to gan­nets and puffins; roast fil­let of aged Scotch beef with white onion puree and a truf­fle scented jus; a Grand Gar­den view room; an aerial view of the cas­tle and grounds look­ing out to the Firth of Clyde and beyond; after­noon tea in the li­brary

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