Dalhousie Castle

Cockpen, United Kingdom

Dalhousie Castle was the seat of the Earls of Dalhousie, the chieftains of Clan Ramsay. The patriarch of the clan was Simundus de Ramesie (Simon of Ramsey), an English knight of Norman descent from the Huntingdonshire village of Ramsey. Simundus, a vassal of David, Earl of Huntingdon, followed his lord to Scotland in about 1140, when David inherited the Scottish crown. He is considered the founder of the Ramsay clan and the first to have lands at Dalwolsey.

The first castle at Dalhousie was constructed by him. The red stone castle is situated in a strategic spot overlooking the River Esk. The drum tower, the oldest part of the current structure, an L Plan Castle, dates to the mid 15th century. The majority of the current castle dates to the 17th century. There was originally a dry moat surrounding the castle. The moat was later filled in but partially excavated in the late 20th century.

Dalhousie Castle has seen much history. King Edward I (Longshanks) stayed at the castle on his way to meet Sir William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk. In 1400, Sir Alexander Ramsay withstood a six-month siege at Dalhousie by English forces led by King Henry IV. Oliver Cromwell used the castle as a base for his invasion of Scotland. Many Earls of Dalhousie have taken an active part in British political and military leadership.

Around 1800, Walter Nicol designed the new layout of the walled garden.

At the turn of the 20th century, the seat of Clan Ramsay was moved to Brechin Castle, although the Ramsay family continued to retain ownership of the castle until 1977. At the time of the sale, Dalhousie had been in the same family for more than eight centuries, longer than any other castle in Scotland. Throughout the 20th century, the castle was leased out to a series of tenants, including a boarding school. In 1972, the castle was converted into a hotel. In 2003, Dalhousie Castle was purchased by the Von Essen Hotels company.

On 26 June 2004, a major fire erupted in the castle's roof area. The building was evacuated and the Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade were called to extinguish the blaze. The damage was significant but limited to a relatively small area of the building, and no major structural damage occurred. The damage was repaired and the hotel resumed normal operations.

In April 2011, Von Essen Hotels fell into administration. In March 2012, it was announced that Robert Parker, owner of Doxford, Eshott and Guyzance Hall in Northumberland, had purchased Dalhousie Castle for an undisclosed sum.



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Cockpen, United Kingdom
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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rowan W (3 months ago)
The castle itself is fantastic, and our room was brilliant. Unfortunately we were left disappointed though as we booked mostly for the Spa, which was lacking in facilities. Most of it was closed, and in the morning closed all together due to work being done. We weren’t told about this prior to booking, and no offer of refund was offered.
Shelagh Hughes (3 months ago)
What a truly fabulous stay! Dalhousie is a real castle and the weekend was totally relaxing. The spa was a wonderful start to the weekend break, the rooms were beautifully decorated in different styles, the beds were very comfortable, the staff were extremely helpful and friendly and the food was delicious. We had read previous reviews and were slightly hesitant about what we would find, but it was fantastic! Drinks in the library and Dinner in the dungeon were particularly special, with books, fireplaces, swords and suits of armour and old stone surroundings....stunning! Would definitely recommend and return!
Brad Talbert (3 months ago)
We loved our stay at Dalhousie in Oct 2030. It was wet and stormy all across Eastern Scotland but the staff and rooms were warm and inviting. Dinner in the orangery was fantastic. Being from the U.S., we hear all sorts of things about haggis, I loved it. Our waitress was a lady about our age with short hair. She was very friendly and gave great suggestions about the menu. Be warned - old castle, no elevators, lots of stairs.
James Robertson (4 months ago)
Cannot fault either the food nor the service! Both were excellent! Staff were amazing, food was absolutely incredible! I think that was possibly THE best venison dish I've ever eaten and the peanut mousse with the banana sorbet was outstanding! Cannot recommend either highly enough! The Spa experience was a letdown though. We were given a specific time which made me feel therefore all facilities would be available. This was not the case. One was closed and the rest was too busy! This should trade more on it's history and less than on it's spa! Honestly the surroundings are epic, food amazing, drinks (specifically cocktails) epic! Surroundings absolutely incredible! You WILL love this if you want amazing food, drinks and castle experience! If you're going here to have a Spa, go elsewhere!
Sarah Thompson (5 months ago)
Review of the spa. The whole spa is very tired and tatty, extremely cold, and very limited in space. Desperately in need if a refurbishment. The relaxation room is particularly awful , but the changing room is a close second fir badness with lots of black mould in the showers. The facilities are limited and difficult to use, the day we went the lacomiun was not Working, the steam room is tiny, and the hydrotherapy pool cold, on top of which you have to get out if it to press the start buttons fir the jets which switch off frequently. The massage treatment was OK, but the room in not particularly nice. No sense of luxury anywhere.
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