Unique Places to Stay in the South of Scotland

by Scotland Starts Here, 13th January 2020
Aikwood Tower | Selkirk
Unique Places to Stay in the South of Scotland

From defending your own castle to cosy hideaways by the seaside, the South of Scotland will bring your storybook holiday to life. Here, every property comes with its own intriguing stories and quirky historical facts, and many are set in jaw-dropping landscapes. Explore the great outdoors, experience the warm welcome of local market towns or get the thrill of adventure on tracks, roads and at sea. And all of it is set right on your doorstep. 

If this sounds like your perfect idea of spending a few days, read on. We have picked a range of unique self-catering and exclusive use accommodation options that will get you dreaming about your next trip. 

Blue Cabin by the Sea | Cove

Where: Cove

A small, cosy cottage nestled on the beach of picturesque Cove Harbour, only reachable through a rock-cut tunnel, the Blue Cabin by the Sea seems straight out of a novel. With its bright colour scheme covering both the exterior and interior of this fabulous little sanctuary, it’s impossible to miss. Traditional straw-back Orkney chairs invite you to relax while specially commissioned art pieces add to the quirky style. 

The attention to detail inside is only matched by the outstanding natural beauty outside: Relax on the beach and spot herons and goldfinches, go rock pooling and watch fishing boats drift past. 

Gelston Castle Holiday Cottages

Where: Castle Douglas

There are five cottages in the historic old stable courtyard of Gelston Castle but for a romantic hideaway head for Kirkmirren Cottage, situated at the foot of rugged Screel Hill. Here is an ideal bolthole for those wanting to get away from it all. All guests will enjoy exploring the 4,500 acre estate which stretches six miles down to the Solway Coast.

If you do opt for the courtyard cottages you’ll find an outdoor swimming pool open from mid-May to early September plus a steam room, tennis court and plenty of other games and space for larger groups to eat together in the multipurpose room on site. Who wouldn’t enjoy kicking back and relaxing here for a week or two?

Aikwood Tower | Selkirk

Where: Selkirk

The historic charm of an ancient Border peel tower meets 21st-century comforts and style; Aikwood Tower is sure to amaze anyone who stays here. While the imposing castle-like structure evokes strong links to the Scott’s, a renowned Border Reiver (cattle thieving) family, the interior will make you feel like a lord or lady. Sensitively restored to frame 500 years of history, sumptuous furnishings will see you relaxing in front of the impressive stone fireplace or taking in the views from your bedroom window. 

The surrounding rolling hills, as well as the woodland trails through the Ettrick and Yarrow valleys, will see you plotting your own adventures and making memories throughout your stay. 

Wigwam Holidays | Wigtown

Wigwam Holidays

Where: Wigtown

These wooden ark shaped cabins offer an escape from it all, situated on a small beef and sheep farm. Wake up with the cows and sheep grazing quietly in the adjacent field. Choose a cabin with a hot tub to soothe away the stresses or if you need more space, opt for the one that can sleep a family of five, which is also wheelchair accessible and has a wet room to accommodate anyone with disabilities.

St Abbs Lighthouse Holiday Cottages | St Abbs

Where: St Abbs 

Feel like you’re holidaying at the edge of the world, with a stay at one of four cottages at St Abbs Lighthouse. Perched high on the cliff tops of St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve, the cottages spoil visitors with magnificent views of the North Sea, while seabird colonies that have made their home in the rugged, rocky outcrops and steep cliff sides are the only neighbours. 

The Old Mill at Dod Mill | Lauder

Where: Lauder 

The second you step foot into the grounds of this former grain mill, you will never want to leave. The Old Mill, a converted 1700s water mill, is a bijoux escape that is sure to win your heart. Many original features and quirky nods to the buildings’ industrial heritage have been retained – including the water wheel of the Old Mill – to add to the homely atmosphere. No modern comforts were spared either, with underfloor heating and handcrafted finishes elevating the airy, open space.

If you can tear yourself away from the cosy interiors, meander along the Boondreigh Water to the old millpond. With quirky old artist cabins scattered around the grounds, there is lots to discover. Alternatively, greet the resident sheep and get involved in the action by assisting with shepherding. Lovers of wildlife will enjoy spotting everything from deer to salmon, and – if you’re lucky – even otters.

The Boathouse by Coldingham Loch Holiday Cottages | Coldingham

Where: Coldingham

Spend your holiday overlooking a loch, with your very own boat moored right underneath your accommodation. Staying at the Boathouse at Coldingham Loch means unwinding with beautifully tranquil scenes right on your doorstep, or in this case, your pier. The Victorian boathouse sits right on the shore of the loch, making it the perfect spot get away from it all. Watch the abundant wildlife that calls this landscape home, and – if you’re a keen fisherman – set out onto the loch for fly-fishing. 

The Pend, GAP
The Pend | Whithorn

Where: Whithorn

In the 15th century Whithorn was a place of sacred pilgrimmage for the House of Stuart and its kings and queens. Today you can stay in the charming Pend, a 15th Century monastic gatehouse, which serves at the entrance to historic Whithorn Priory. Through here the Stuarts would have passed at their pilgrimmage end to pray and see the shrine of St Ninian. Indeed, the archway is surronded by the Royal Arms of Scotland, dating to around 1500. Inside, the cottage has been lovingly restored with authentic period features, open fires, but updated with the best of modern convenience, such as underfloor heating, log burners and wi-fi. The Pend is furnished with oak furnishings, lime-plastered walls, and has two public rooms, with a master bedroom with a four-poster oak bed.