Living in a Scottish Castle



Last week Matt’s family came to visit us in Scotland — it was schwonderful and I miss them already. But do you know what was the icing on top of the trip cake? We stayed in a castle. A for real castle. With a turret and everythang. And dungeons, people. Dungeons. It would have scared the bejebus out of me staying there alone, but luckily I had my nephews to hold my hand when I wanted to go exploring:


Originally (we’re talking 1590s-1700s) the castle looked a bit more like this (that house-y bit to the left is what we stayed in):


We spent most evenings by a roaring fire in this room (the portraits looked way creepier at night with the fire flickering):


Cath and I have stayed in a number of grand houses via The Landmark Trust (in Italy, Cambell Town, and Aryshire). The difference with this ole pile is that it’s still owned by the St. Claire family (aka the Earl of Roslin and his brood) who’ve been around this neck of the woods since the Norman Invasion. So Roslin Castle still feels quite lived-in, what with the ancestral portraits, photos with the Queen (for reals) and such. And it’s quite cosy, you know, for a castle (she says like she’s stayed in lots).



So what does one do in a castle all day, you ask? Drink tea, eat copious amounts of clotted cream with warm scones and sunbathe in the courtyard-which-used-to-be-the-great-hall-in-1590 natch:



We had lovely dinners in this red dinning room which is supposedly haunted by a lady in white (wayyy creepier at night when it’s just lit with candles — but good creepy).



Another thing to do in your castle? Take timed self-portraits — such good backdrops for blog photos! But know that if you are staying in a castle with nine other souls (or more — lady in white and co.?) someone will walk in when you are doing your blogger posing and then you end up looking like a startled prairie dog:


This was the stair down to one of the bathrooms. When I was little and in princess-mode I never imagined Princess Buttercup et al descending the turret stairs to the toilet. What do princesses need loos for?


Roslin Castle is situated right above a gorgeous glen that acts as a sort of three-quarter moat (Yes, a moat! And there was a bridge over the moat!). So lots of lovely walks to be had. And it’s just a short walk up the hill to Rossyln Chapel of The DaVinci Code fame. Rosslyn Chapel is beautiful and really magical even if you don’t care for the Dan Brown-iness of it all.



Do you want to hear some modern day magicalness surrounding Rossyln Chapel? Weeeeell, we went up to the Chapel for mass on Sunday. When I walked in I noticed this lovely young Asian woman in the back pew — one notices such things in more rural parts of Scotland where the general population is decidedly not Asian nor young. Halfway through mass I noticed she’s waving at me and mouthing the words “Lar.” Holy smokes! I know that lovely young Asian woman!

Three and a half years ago Cath and I met the author Cheryl Tan at the Decatur Book Festival and got to interview her for this here blog (read the interview here). So a writer from New York met a blogger from Atlanta once in Decatur, and then they meet again in Roslin, Scotland nearly four years later?! What are the chances?

Lesson to be learned here? All Asians do know each other. Red coats are in. Rosslyn Chapel is magical.


(Cheryl, I’m still so excited about this! And I’m so glad I’ll get to see you in a few weeks post-retreat!)

So, hows about it guys? Have I finally convinced you that Scotland needs to be number 1 on your places you must visit now? If you come, we’ll go castle hunting together.


Dearest Cath,

Even though this year has been utter poop in a lot of ways, it has also been the exact opposite of that. I got to see you like FOUR times in six months and we stayed in a villa in Italy. And now me in a castle. Next stop? Move over Karl, the AsianCajuns are staying in Versailles.

The only logical next step, non?

It’s only been a week, but I feel like I haven’t talked to you in 20. We have to stop being busy and just skype each other all day. What are you doing? Whatchu you got on this week? When are you coming?




14 thoughts on “Living in a Scottish Castle”

  1. Beautiful post, L! It makes me miss you so much – and grab a plane ticket to a lovely vacation with you immediately. All I have to do is brush my teeth and hair first. see you soon! 😛

  2. I agree with Emily – such a beautiful post. And you make staying in a castle sound even more fun than it already does. I feel so luck to have stayed in those Landmark Trust homes and I wish I could have explored this Castle with you. I remember visiting Rosilyn Chapel and thinking the surrounding countryside was so beautiful.

    I still can’t believe that you and Cheryl ran into each other! That is completely, absolutely magical. What were the chances?!?! I feel like stuff like that only happens when you travel/are abroad, you know?

    I feel the same way re: feeling like we haven’t talked in forever. Once a week is just not right. If I won the lottery, i would literally just fly over every weekend, deal with the jet lag and layovers just so I could hang with you – even if it was one day a week.

    love you!
    xoxo, Cath

    1. Oh please please please win the lottery!!! If I could see you that often it would be heaven — heaven, I tell you!

      Whatchu up this week? I hope you are having a nice one.

      The whole UK is awash in glorious weather (Hotter than Spain, reads one headline) — yet Scotland is in a misty murk — cold, foggy and rainy for days. We should be independent because we are literally divided by climate.

      Miss you oooooodles!


    1. Me too Sally! Next trip to Scotland should be 100% in a Castle with us! We decided to do it because everyone in Matt’s family had been to Edinburgh before so we didn’t feel the need to go in and do the touristy bits, as they already had — and so have you! So second trip to Scotland (with castle!) soon, eh?

  3. What a beautiful place! And there was something very serene about this post. I felt relaxed just looking at the pictures!

    Also, the world is very very small indeed. It’s amazing who you’ll meet, and where. 🙂

  4. Lar, it may not be Roslin Castle so much as the entire, whatever you’d call it that the UK is.

    Did you hear about what happened to Magno when he and Meg were out there visiting you guys? Well, in case you didn’t, and for all your readers who hadn’t heard, dig this:

    He went to an open mic night at a local pub when he was there, and while waiting his turn to sing for the locals, he ran into a regular Starbucks customer of his whom he had been serving coffee to in Decatur for years.

    Neither of them knew prior to that moment that the other was a performing singer/songwriter, and of course, neither of them expected to be at the same, random, open-mic night at the same, random pub in Edinburgh.

    Nevertheless, the magic that lives in that part of the world conquers all!

    Can’t wait to get back there.

    1. BFOC, you are so right! Magno did tell us! Brigadoony for sure — it’s like the Bermuda triangle but with a positive spin. Please come back soon — you guys are so right in Scotland in my unbiased opinion!

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