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16 In Travels

Where to Stay in Scotland during your Travels

You’ll have noticed that I’ve been a bit absent from the blog lately. I thought September started quite well, but something big happened and it has taken a lot of my focus. But I’m now back in Canada for a short while and hopefully back on the right track!

Back to the actual topic of this post now – where to stay in Scotland! Either this is for a road trip or simply planning on coming to Scotland for a weekend, I hope I can be of help!

During our road trip of last June, we booked a variety of accommodation and it felt great to experience the broad spectrum of what Scotland has to offer.

Hostels

Did you know that I had never stayed in a hostel until 2015 when I did a road trip with the Brit? After extensive search, we found out that the best options for our destinations were hostels. I never wanted to try hostels before, mostly because I hate the thought of sharing a room with randos, but since we’re a couple we booked private rooms for a very affordable price. 

I loved both my experiences during that trip, both in Oban and on the Isle of Iona (pictured below). Actually, if you can ever visit Iona and stay at the hostel there, I highly recommend you do. It’s by far the best setting I have ever experienced – it’s surrounded by sheep, right next to a private beach and is surrounded by the noise of the wind and the sea. It’s magical.

road trip 10

B&Bs

B&Bs are my favourite places to stay around Scotland because you get to be taken care of my amazing welcoming Scottish people (And Scots aren’t known for their customer service so you can tell that those who have B&Bs really just want to make your day nice!). They are usually very affordable, very cosy and give you a hearty start to each day (with free full Scottish breakfast). 

I’ve stayed in B&Bs across the country (from Ullapool, to Inverness, to St Andrews) and it’s always been a great experience. They are usually very accommodating as well – regarding check in or check out (which is great if you’re on the road!) or simply leaving your luggage with them for part of the day. They truly have the personal touch that I love about travelling. 

where to stay in scotland b&b

Hotels

Hotels in Scotland can be a hit or a miss. It’s always difficult to judge, even by the price, so please check the reviews before booking (especially if it’s expensive!).

We once stayed in a really expensive hotel in Oban (with my in-laws) and it was by far the worst experience I have had in Scotland yet. It seemed posh from the outside, but the inside looked like someone vomited tartan everywhere (and I’m a fan of tartan). It was creaky, the pressure was bad and, worst of all, there were holes and stains on the bed linens. Not a winner!

However, on our trip this past June, we booked a hotel in Banchory, near Stonehaven on the east coast, (pictured below) because there was a fantastic price on a bed & breakfast deal. It has by far been the best we’ve experienced. We felt out of place because it was so posh, but it was cosy, offered great service and it was in a beautiful rural setting. 

Other options for hotels can include Premier Inn and other budget hotels of the sort. We actually quite like PI – it’s nothing fancy, but it’s usually affordable and their beds are so comfortable!

where to stay in Scotland hotel
hotels-in-scotland

Castles & Estates

As everyone knows, Scotland is a land of castles and fancy estates. Some of them are transformed into hotels and welcome guests all year long. For some reason that now eludes me, I was adamant that I wanted to stay in a castle at some point. Hence as our road trip coincided with my birthday, I decided to treat myself and book us a room at a fancy estate just outside St Andrews (it’s called Cambo Estate if you want to Google it). 

I would say that I recommend this experience for those who might be intrigued. However, I don’t think I would do it again. While the room itself was amazing (pictured below), this estate in particular wasn’t a hotel per say and we felt very out of place. 

This may be what you’re looking for if you want a one of a kind experience!

where to stay in scotland castle estate-scotland

AirBnB

I have never used AirBnB in Scotland, but I know that some people use it mainly for city breaks. Edinburgh and Glasgow have some great options that can be useful to have a base to call home while you visit. The Airbnb’s I have seen in the Highlands have been comparable to B&Bs, so I wouldn’t particularly recommend that option. 

What is your favourite accommodation experience while travelling?xx

where-to-stay-on-your-trip-to-scotland

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  • I have to say that I agree – hotels can be hit or miss in Scotland! I would love to stay in a castle! In Scotland. How magical. I hope that everything is ok x

    • I was shocked by the state of some hotels seriously! This castle in Scotland, and just outside our first home in St Andrews was just so magical!

  • I hope everything is okay and that the “big” thing in your life is a positive!

    That being said, I would love to stay in a castle! x

    • It wasn’t unfortunately 🙁 I’m in the middle of a new visa application which is so disheartening, but I’m hoping it’ll get fixed soon!

  • Hope you are ok, sending lots of love from Chile! 🙂 In general I tend to mix and match where I stay when travelling; hostels, hotels and air B&B… and I haven’t yet stayed in a castle! How fun to have that experience, even if it isn’t the best.

    • Aw thanks Marcella! I’m in the middle of some immigration nightmare, but hopefully it’ll be resolved soon! haha concerning the castle, it was definitely an experience that was worth it! I felt like a princess for the night of my birthday 🙂

  • Ami Schwabenland

    Nice and helpful post! My husband and I have done a B&B, hotels, a castle, and self-catering cottages in Scotland and have been really lucky (we do a lot of research, but sometimes it comes down to “This one sounds good, let’s just try it!”). We have relatives near Edinburgh, but we never stay long (Mark Twain said “Fish and visitors stink after 3 days”!). We stayed in a hotel at Loch Ness Lodge (Drumnadrochit) once and signed up for the full dinner menü both nights. The first night the meal was mind-blowingly delicious. Food noises galore. The second night there was a “Rent-a-Chef” van outside and the expensive meal was blah. Things happen. B&B hosts had a bottle of Skin-so-Soft in our bathroom for us to use against the midges. Lovely! And a fabulous breakfast – she even sort of forced me to try Stornaway black pudding, and I found it really good! Glengorm Castle on Mull is lovely (we got married there), and that’s where we usually stay for a week or two in a self-catering cottage or flat. Self-catering is our favorite, but to be fair we’ve only done it at Glengorm on Mull (loading up the car at Tesco in Oban before getting on the ferry, and buying beef and lamb from their estate). 🙂

    I hope all is well.

    • Thanks so much for your post! haha that Mark Twain quote really made me laugh! Too funny! I think I may have stayed at the same lodge in Drumnadrochit! It didn’t seem like the most consistent of places, but as you say things happen. I guess travelling is all about going with the flow. You’re making me dream of going back to Mull! It’s such a wonderful place!

  • I want to go to Scotland so bad for a roadtrip!! really nice post! 🙂 I love hostel and I dont mind sharing a room, so its always my first option and also I like couchsurfing. I never tried Airbnb before but I really want to give it a goal 🙂

    http://nyrdagurblog.com/en

    • Oh you definitely should! It’s such a fun experience! There are so many cool hostels in Scotland so it can definitely be your first port of call when you’re here!

  • I hope everything’s ok! I go for a mix of AirBnBs and hotels depending on what my needs are. AirBnBs can be great if you get one with a kitchen, definitely helps with self catering and gluten free issues… However I’m not sure I’d go for a shared room one, and I’ve had mixed experiences with traditional B&Bs here in the UK so I’d tend to steer clear of those. Chain hotels get a bad rap but the good thing about them is you know what you’re getting!

    • I’m currently in the midst of a new immigration nightmare lol, but I’m hoping that it’ll be fixed in the coming month! I can totally see that having a kitchen would help when you have to restrict what you eat! I just love it because you can just bulk buy a few things like breakfast and juice and it’s so much more economical! What do you mean by shared room? As in like someone else is also staying in the same room??

      • Oooh noo my hostelling days are far behind me. Sorry, by shared room I meant shared apartment/house – it’s someone else’s place but you just rent a bedroom. Often they turn out to be actual B&B’s in disguise and I figure if you’re going to the trouble of getting an AirBnB why wouldn’t you go for one with your own kitchen/bathroom/living area etc?

        Good luck on the immigration nightmare! That sounds really stressful 🙁

        • Oh yes! I noticed in Scotland they are very guilty of that! I was trying to find an Airbnb in Ullapool once and it was mostly all B&Bs, I didn’t really get why they were on there. We stayed in an ‘shared’ Airbnb in Dublin and it was great. We had our own room and bathroom and we could use their kitchen. It was perfectly chill for a weekend 🙂

  • one day I’d stay in a castle..