Scotland has always been the home of golf, and of course, the premier destination for the sport since the game was first taken up on the rabbit farm that bordered St Andrews, owned by the Cheape family of Strathtyrum House. As further courses were built throughout the country, golf became Scotland’s great contribution to the world of sport and five key areas emerged as having the finest links courses in the world.
East Lothian, Fife, Ayrshire, Aberdeenshire and Angus are the counties which the world’s top players head to and where the championship courses are located. Scotland has, of course, other great golfing counties where famous courses are located like Royal Dornoch in Sutherland, Loch Lomond in Dunbartonshire and many much beloved gems like Machrihanish in Argyll. However, the five counties mentioned are where the greatest concentration of top courses are to be found. Links courses (built on sand) are what excite visitors to Scotland, as these are unique to our country and form the bedrock of Scottish golf. Whilst playing these great and challenging courses, we recommend the following luxury Scottish houses to rent and enjoy with a group of friends.
Gilmerton House, East Lothian
In East Lothian we send many guests to Gilmerton House, a fabulous Georgian House close to North Berwick. It has beautiful en-suite bedrooms and is situated in the middle of a 1,000 acre estate. This home is within very easy striking distance of 11 top East Lothian golf courses including Muirfield, Gullane, Luffness and Dunbar. Edinburgh is only 40 minutes away by car or there is an excellent train service from North Berwick. The local area has much to offer and a wonderful coastline to explore. The boat rides to see the puffins at Bass Rock are popular and locally Glenkinchie Distrillery produces the only lowland malt. Gilmerton House has an excellent team of staff, who offer delicious cuisine and a very warm welcome.
There is delightful accommodation for 20 people. There are two dining rooms with seating for up to 40 along with three wonderful and grand reception rooms which gives plenty of space for entertaining should our guests wish. Situated within a private estate of 1,000, Gilmerton offers enormous privacy for anyone staying and a peaceful and relaxing environment to unwind.
Kemback House, Fife
A little further north across the firth of Forth and into Fife, LTR has a very historical home, Kemback House, just 10 minutes drive from St Andrews, the home of Golf. Completely restored by the current owner, whose family have lived at the property for over a century, this magnificent property boasts a stunning collection of art and sculptures which are dotted throughout the house and grounds. This is one of the most stylish properties in our portfolio and everyone reflects on the artistic sensitivities of the owner and his family, who have a deep love of art, music, literature and nature.
The grounds are no less impressive and there is a full team of staff to ensure a similarly impressive level of service and cuisine. From here golfers can play Carnegie, Kingsbarns, smaller local coastal courses like Elie and Crail and the much loved inland course Ladybank. Non golfers can enjoy the fishing villages of East Neuk, the gardens of Kellie Castle and Falkland palace and are in easy reach of other stately piles like Glamis Castle and Scone Palace. This estate offers 7 bedrooms in the main house and 2 in the lodge, which is decorated to a similar standard as the main house and is a short walk or ride in the golf cart. The estate produces its own apple juice, honey, lemons and has magnificent vegetable and fruit gardens. This is truly a hidden gem and a perfect home for our more discerning clients.
Kinross House, Kinross-shire
Kinross House is the earliest and most important neoclassical Palladian mansion in Scotland. It has also been described as Scotland’s “noblest classical country house”. In recent years it has been sensitively and exquisitely restored to it’s former glory to include 14 beautifully decorated en-suite bedrooms. With five grand reception rooms all with stunning views, the house lends itself to extravagant entertaining which makes it ideal for very special golf gatherings. There are two golf courses adjacent to the house, the Bruce and Montgomery courses. Also, the championship courses of Gleneagles and St Andrews are within easy reach for playing on.
The grounds of the estate are fabulous and offer spectacular views over Loch Leven. For those non-golf moments there are various other country pursuits available including wildfowling and fishing on the estate. With Kinross House being only 50 minutes drive from the capital city of Edinburgh, a cultural day trip into Edinburgh is very easy and a great way to enjoy many of the urban delights that Scotland has to offer. We have a wonderful guide who can take guests around Edinburgh and enthuse with her tremendous historical knowledge of the city.
Aldourie Castle, Loch Ness
As you head up to Inverness-shire, you hit the next cluster of famous Scottish courses which our guests love to play. Here we have Aldourie Castle, a large Victorian castle, which can accommodate you in baronial splendour and where you will be assured of a very warm welcome. This is one of the finest castles in Scotland and has been fabulously restored with meticulous attention to detail ensuring that guests stay here in extreme comfort in one of the 13 delightfully decorated bedrooms. Aldourie Castle is within easy reach of the links courses of Nairn, Castle Stuart and Royal Dornoch which will give golfers plenty of variety and challenge.
Again, for those non-golfing moments, Aldourie Castle and the 500 acre estate has much to offer. There is an abundance of outdoor pursuits available including the private marina on the shore of Loch Ness from where guests can take boat trips along the loch either to fish or merely just to enjoy the freedom and stunning views. There are various nearby battlefields to explore, such as Culloden Battlefield as well as several castles which offer an insight into Highland Scottish history. For those whisky lovers, there are plenty of whisky distilleries to visit and learn all about the complex processes involved in the production of Scottish whisky.
Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire
The final area we send our golfing clients to is across on the lower west coast of Scotland in Southern Ayrshire, where Donald Trump has acquired another famous golf course, Turnberry and is reputedly sinking several hundred million into a huge refurbishment. LTR has another wonderful 17 bedroom (soon to be 22) Victorian castle, Glenapp Castle, overlooking Ailsa Craig. This is an aristocratic home formerly belonging to a famous shipping family where a new owner is massively upgrading an already successful castle hotel. The cuisine is really excellent and don’t forget to try their marmalade.
Aside from Turnberry, Troon, Prestwick and Wester Gailes, guests can explore Ayr and other seaside towns and visit the stunning Culzean Castle with its Eisenhower Suite, given to the General by a grateful nation. It is now also possible to enjoy the splendours of Dumfries House, rescued for the nation by HRH Prince Charles. This is the only house in the world to still have its entire collection of Chippendale furniture with all the records intact thanks to the efforts of Lord Bute, who always employed an archivist. From the castle, guests will soon be able to take a boat up the coast to the Isle of Arran or indeed be dropped at coastal golf courses instead of having to endure the summer traffic. This is the last of the great Scottish golfing areas which we have profiled in this article but of course, nearly every town in Scotland has its own golf course and there is pleasure to be had wherever you decide to go and at whatever level of course you wish to play. Just be prepared for the odd sheep to wander onto the course and eat your ball.
If you would like to find out more about the luxury Scottish houses we have on offer to rent for a fabulous golfing holiday, please contact Andrew on firstname.lastname@example.org or + 44 (0) 1835 824642.
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