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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Details

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

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

betty binysh (10 months ago)
Brilliant, castle with warm and comfy four-poster bedroom. Gourmet food to rival London in a 'dungeon' decorated with arms and armour. Great friendly 'Scottish' atmosphere without being false.
Rob Will (11 months ago)
We visited during covid so was very quiet with minimal facilities. But the food in the restaurant was 5* and setting atmospheric. Beautiful old building full of character. Would love to return when fully open to enjoy all the facilities
Nicholas Whitaker (13 months ago)
Pros - Great location, beautiful hotel full of character and history, wonderful eating experience in the dungeon restaurant. Great service from Roberto and Lefteris at dinner and in the main positive interaction with the staff was excellent both breakfast and dinner. Ideal location to drive in and out of Edinburgh. Amazing collection of falcons in the garden. Cons- on 2 occasions service prior to going to dinner was appalling. We were left without drinks for over 30 minutes. On going to the bar to request service, my wife was told she could not have a drink as there was a queue by a rather abrupt barman. Menu was limited and was not varied during the 4 nights we stayed. £10 surcharge for steaks feel excessive given the price you are paying for the meal. Request for toilet rolls and top up milk and tea took 2 requests one day. Covid - the impact of covid kept the spa closed and there were various other rules that were sensible and clear to follow. Final thought, if the bar staff had just offered us a drink whilst we were looking through the the menu our dining experience would have been far more enjoyable.
Alex Crossley (13 months ago)
We had some niggles to begin with, but they were dealt with excellently, thanks to the staff - especially the Deputy Manager Stephen - we would definitely recommend going here, and we fully intend to go again soon!
John Spence (14 months ago)
Fantastic room, beautiful grounds. Perfect for a relaxing night away and stunning wedding venue. Staff were all really helpful. Will be back again soon
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