In his 1786 poem ‘Home’, Robert Burns spends most of the ten verses feeling sorry for himself. He laments a doomed romance, questions his future and wallows in his own perceived failure as both a poet and a man. It’s melancholy, miserable stuff.
Little did ‘Rabbie’ know that, over two centuries later, his countrypeople — and many more lovers of his literature the world over — would still be gathering together, whiskies in hand, to toast his good name. And, whilst ‘Home’ may have marked a low point for the Scottish poet, searching for your own Burns Night bolthole may well mark one of your highs.
Because, from a small clifftop eco-lodge to a genuine historic castle, there are plenty of rentable options ready to welcome you to Scotland in time for Burns Night. Below, we’ve rounded up seven of the very best — from a coastal cottage to a cabin in the Cairngorms…
To reconnect with nature, Harlosh Black H
On the rugged, beautiful west coast of the Isle of Skye, you’ll find a minimalist, monolithic house called H. Private, contemporary and luxurious, it was designed to withstand the bitter, biting weather of Skye and, while it may look a little industrial from the outside, it hides a world of comfort within its black ridged walls.
What’s more, after you’ve enjoyed your traditional Burns Night supper on the 25th — an annual eating of haggis, drinking of whisky and reciting of Burns’ poetry — there’s plenty of nature on your doorstep to help you recover when morning comes. Otters, sea eagles and dolphins are right there to help you get over your hangover, before you hike back to H to recharge and rest.
Wardhill Castle will make you feel like royalty
In rural Aberdeenshire, your shot at living like 12th century royalty is sitting pretty on the Wardhill Estate. In the hands of the Leslie family for over 500 years, Wardhill Castle was incredible even before it was refurbished — but is now a stunning, lavish eight-bedroomed bolthole perfect for a Burns Night getaway. You want grand drawing rooms, open fireplaces and a well-stocked library? This is the castle for you.
There are also 700 acres of beautiful parkland to explore, from which you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Bennachie hill tops. Alternatively, if you want to decamp on a royal visit, some of Scotland’s finest first-class golf courses are nearby as well as, of course, distilleries — from Fettercairn to Ardmore.
For stunning sunsets as a Burns Night backdrop, Tinhouse
Back in 2017, Scotland was voted ‘the most beautiful country in the world’ by Rough Guide. And it only takes a trip back to the wild coast of Skye to see why. Tinhouse is a uniquely Scottish cottage on the cliffs of the island, overlooking the dramatic seascape of the North Atlantic. But don’t worry about getting caught in the squall and spray; despite looking less-than-solid, Tinhouse is an ideal weatherproof getaway.
Finished with the highest quality furnishings and fittings, the house was built and designed by its owners — and features an open plan living, dining, and kitchen space complete with a panoramic window. The bedroom also features a cathedral ceiling, super king-size bed and a wood-burning stove keeps things toasty and bathed in a sunset glow. Did we mention the sunsets? Because, from here, you’ll see some of the best in Scotland.
Number Nine is ideal for any adventurers
On the Outer Hebridean island of Barra, you’ll find the strangest airport in the world. A shingly stretch of cockle shell beach, almost two miles long, acts as the runway — where regularly scheduled flights in de Havilland Canada Twin Otters land (surprisingly softly) from Glasgow. Take one of these adventurous journeys and you’ll land just in front of your new favourite holiday home; Number Nine.
A newly-renovated, traditional stone-built cottage in the picturesque township of Ardmhor, Number Nine is just yards from the beach. But, despite its remote location, the small hideaway has everything you need to celebrate Burns Night. It’s got wood burners for atmosphere, a well-equipped kitchen to prepare a fine supper and room enough for six guests. There’s even WiFi so you can stream the ‘Burns Night Bangers’ playlist on Spotify. (Oh, it exists).
For a crowded Cairngorms party, The Post House
A home-away-from-home in the ever-canny Cairngorms, The Post House began its life as the Kingussie Post Office. Unceremoniously shut down in 1995, it is now an Ecosse escape with a huge sitting room, six bedrooms and room for 14 guests. In other words, it’s the perfect place for a big Burns Night bash.
There’s a 12 foot long banqueting table crying out for a whisky tasting, a pool table on which to show off your skills and a piano around which to get going a good rowdy rendition of ‘O my Luve is like a red, red rose’. And, when you’re feeling a little worse for wear the morning after, you can fish, ski, canoe and climb in the Cairngorms National Park. Or, if you really went in on the whisky, there’s also some less-active, head-healing bird-watching in the area.
For any budding bagpipers, Fiskavaig Studio or The Hen House
There’s an inordinate amount of bagpiping during a Burns Night supper. The guests are piped in, the host is piped in — even the haggis gets a burst of the bagpipes when its silver platter is carried through the door. It’s a tartan-clad cacophony of a festivity — and it’ll pay to hire somewhere remote so as not to annoy your neighbours. Enter the twin options of either Fiskavaig Studio or The Hen House, a pair of uniquely designed, compact studios on the Isle of Skye’s Minginish Peninsula.
Warmed by Charnwood stoves, the twin spaces will remain cosy — whatever the weather. They sit quietly in the rugged landscape and everything from construction materials to requirements for energy and resources have been designed to be eco-friendly. You’ll even enjoy a well-equipped kitchen in which to cook your haggis. With only sole bedrooms in each, it’ll be a squeeze for a party (and Fiskavaig Studio is taking a break from rentals for 2022) but they’re both so remote that you can pipe without consequence well into the early hours.
Kyle House is ideal for a quiet Burns Night getaway
A careful re-invention of the traditional Scottish cottage, Kyle House sees simplicity mixed with old building materials; the best craftsmanship and contemporary design coming together in one spectacular Sutherland getaway. Built from the remains of the 2,000-year-old Dun Mhaigh Broch — an iron-age building — you’ll now find a series of finely detailed oak box rooms within those lime-plaster walls; a retreat steeped in luxury.
The living room has a large, deep-set window. The kitchen is exquisitely crafted in Danish oak. The bathroom has a window-side bath looking out to Ben Loyal. Kyle House is the ideal choice if you’d rather have a tranquil couple of days to yourself around Burn’s Night — rather than a celebration. It’s the perfect place for a small supper, quiet contemplation and a well-needed break.
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