With the number of castles gracing the British Isles, it's nearly impossible to pick just one to visit. But, when we were planning our excursions for sailing with Princess Cruises, that's exactly what we had to do. Between all the cities on our itinerary (Dublin! Edinburgh!), and the coastline with its stunning vistas, I alloted myself one castle excursion for this trip.
To say we hit the castle jackpot when visiting Dunrobin Castle in Scotland, on the most gorgeous day ever would be an understatement.
It was an early morning excursion, which usually means a sleepy bus ride to our destination, but when we arrived to classic bagpipes and this stunning vista, you better believe I was instantly awake. As I practiced my royal wave from the balcony, I imagined how many people had looked out over the perfectly groomed gardens to sea over the decades (since the 13th century), I was in complete awe. The grounds were designed in 1850 and were inspired by the gardens at Versailles. Since then, the layout has changed very little, and, in fact, the additions to the castle were also very much inspired by both French and Scottish architecture giving it a unique fairytale feel. As impressive as the gardens were (even in late summer), the interior of the castle far surpassed my expectations when it came to inspiration. Not surprisingly, I find it incredibly rare that the actual furnishings of a castle or palace appeal to me on a realistic level, but this castle felt livable, cozy, and even offered moments of simplicity.
Who knew this post would turn into a '10 Interior Design Ideas to Steal from this Scottish Castle'? And who knew that what appeared to be one of the sleepiest excursions on our trip proved itself to be one of my favorites? So, here we are.
First up? Worn leather benches (with tassels!) and greens. A perfect entryway moment if you ask me. At the top of the stairs you arrive to the main landing where you can take in the view of taxidermy (get ready for lots of it) and family portraits (also plenty of those) nestled into perfect nooks and topped by a magnificent but not nearly as over-the-top as it could have been chandelier.
A peek from the billiards room introduces another common theme for the castle decor: tapestries and tartan. If you are looking for a new travel blog theme and happen to live in Scotland, this is it. You're welcome. The castle tour allows you to walk through the entire home, starting with the common spaces. Our good luck with the weather meant bad luck for photography as the sunlight was just streaming in through windows big and small. But I think I still managed to capture most of my favorite details in the rooms. The upholstery on the furnishings was exquisite. The tapestries stole the show. And this fireplace stole my design heart.
If you are building yourself a fireplace surround anytime soon, please steal this idea.
Perhaps it's due to the return of this style that I was so obsessed with photographing every square inch of this place, but the mix of all the floral prints with classic patterns that you see repeated on the sofa and chairs really just killed me in the inspiration department. And while I know that it's hardly kosher or kind to be placing real animal head rugs in your home these days (please don't), the chance to see them in this setting really was so fun and wild. Perhaps my favorite room for obvious reasons (it's green. it's feminine), this bedroom was such a surprise after going up a small winding staircase with zero decor and the most simple wood paneling. In fact, I think it may have been the most lavish room in the entire home. I love all the layering of textiles here: rugs on rugs and tapestry on sofas!
But the room that really won me over was the one I could see living in today...
A family room and study where only the carpet felt outdated. The raw wood walls making the argument for never painting your wood. Ever.
The casual draping of family heirlooms over a sofa. The touch of green marble in the fireplace. The gilded family portraits, and the cozy pillows. It's all SO. GOOD.
Dear, Sir Robert Gordon. Do you think you'd let me move in?