Who doesn’t love a castle? We’ve all heard of Camelot, Castle Dracula, Sleeping Beauty’s castle, Hogwarts, and other impressive buildings of fiction. It’s always nice to visit a real castle to recreate the mystical feeling that we often associate with our favourite stories. Plus, they can teach us something about our country’s history.
There are many good reasons to visit a castle on one of your trips – but why just visit a castle when you could own one for the day? With exclusive use, you can take full advantage of the scene and truly relish the castle-y experience.
From ancient gates, to grand towers and magnificent grounds, here are our favourite reasons/excuses to indulge in your castle fantasy and experience it all to yourself, just for a bit.
Perhaps the most obvious reason to rent a castle is for a wedding in the perfect setting. Since the royal wedding earlier this year, many engaged couples might be tempted with a royal wedding of their own, and the dream fairy-tale wedding is definitely a stylish way to tie the knot. Where better to do it than a place that was built to last?
Even for those who are already married, a party to celebrate a special anniversary would be just as romantic, if not more so, and we think it’s very deserving of such a beautiful setting. Even without a special anniversary coming up, there are still special birthdays to celebrate – and who could think of a cooler birthday party? Castles could suit a bunch of different types of parties … but personally, we’re thinking of a themed murder mystery!
Sometimes an office Christmas party isn’t a good enough thank-you for the team. And they might just need a change of scenery. So why not treat them like nobility? As well as having plenty to see and explore nearby, a castle is the ideal setting for some memorable team-building activities.
We’ve established that castles are fun, so why not put that fun to good use and start a fundraiser? A fun run, a themed gala, even a charity ball. Such a grand venue is sure to grab the attention of potential donators.
And we don’t just mean to take your usual pics for your post-holiday slideshow or your social media. We mean that any photographer, professional or amateur, with or without a model in regal fashion, deserves a historic scene for some artsy shots. Different castle interiors can offer all kinds of scenery, from grand and elegant to rugged and medieval, so they set the tone for an array of purposes.
From history documentaries to medieval dramas to fantasy films, we love to watch some drama in the great hall! Even an amateur filmmaker could set their stage and shoot a scene with a stunningly realistic background.
For filming in Barcaldine Castle, find out more here.
We hope at least one of these ideas has tickled your fancy, and we hope you’ll pick The Black Castle for all your castle needs. For more information about renting here, please visit our Exclusive Use page.
After a lovely breakfast at Barcaldine Castle, wandering and seeing the sights nearby can work up quite an appetite. When it isn’t time for afternoon tea at the castle, a nice meal out should do the trick … and if your adventures take you to the charming town of Oban, you’ll be spoilt for choice. From a variety of cuisines and a range of prices, we’ve selected 10 tasty places to eat in Oban, to help you find what you fancy.
If there’s one thing Oban does well, it’s fish. From 11:00am ’til 11:00pm every day, Oban Fish and Chip Shop has plenty of choice, whether you’re eating in or having a simple chippy takeaway. This popular spot on George Street offers pies, burgers, seafood, vegetarian options, and of course some good old fish ‘n’ chips.
If you’re eating in, most mains on the menu are £8-13 each. Mussels are offered in various styles for £7-14, or you could share a fried seafood platter for two for £38. A children’s menu is also available, including a fair few popular options, alongside a choice of chips, beans or peas, all for about a fiver each.
If you’re taking away, most mains are around £3-7, with children’s options for about £2-5.
This charming chippy has been described as “by far the BEST in town” on TripAdvisor, and we think it’s definitely worth a try.
Located further down George Street, this handsome restaurant and bar’s name is Gaelic for “big ocean”, which certainly matches its fantastic view of Oban Bay.
Open 12:00-9:30pm every day, Cuan Mór’s kitchen uses fresh and locally-sourced produce – including, of course, seafood. It also offers gourmet burgers and steak, salads and low-calorie options, and a selection of other very popular dishes.
On the regular menu, most mains are £10-16, and sirloin steaks are £22.
There are also set menus, a lunch menu, a gluten-free menu, and more. Cuan Mór also does Meat Free Mondays, a Gourmet Burger Night on Wednesdays, a Steak Night on Fridays, and Seafood Saturdays.
Cuan Mór has a well-stocked bar (open 11:00am-late every day) serving the finest local beers, real ales and whiskies, as well as other spirits, wine and cocktails. Meanwhile, their back bar boasts about a hundred single malt and special blend whiskies.
We recommend that you book in advance if you want to sample Cuan Mór’s “excellent food and service” (TripAdvisor), but please note that they only make reservations for parties of 5-8 – for any more than that, it’s best to email.
If you’re not in the mood for seafood and fancy something more exotic, Spice World has what you’re looking for. One TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Wonderful food! We ate here twice while we were away on holiday in Oban. The food was absolutely superb!”
Even further down George Street, this mix of Indian, Chinese, Thai and Bangladeshi cuisine is up on the first floor, where its view of Oban Bay is clear and uninterrupted – well worth booking a table by the window (but we recommend booking anyway, even if you can’t reserve a window spot).
On Monday through Saturday, Spice World is open 12:00-2:00pm then 4:00-11:00pm, and on Sundays open 12:00-10:00pm, offering its wide range of tasty and spicy dishes along with wine, beer and a full bar. Of its many, many, many main course options, most are £9-12, with rice being about £3.
Tucked away up an alley (John Street) from George Street, this café is described as a “vegan oasis”. It’s a hidden gem for those seeking vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and lactose intolerant options.
Apart from catering to these specific diets (for a very reasonable price of around £4-7) and offering a wide choice of teas, The Little Potting Shed Café is very allergy-aware, not to mention dog- and child-friendly, making this a safe and inviting place to eat.
Over on the Railway Pier, between the train station and ferry terminal, The Olive Garden is a great place to bring the kids. It offers seafood, risotto, burgers, pasta, pizza, and more.
Most mains come at a wide range of prices of £9-21. A seafood platter comes for £28 while prices vary for lobster or steak specials. Their £7.50 children’s menu includes one of several popular mains with juice and ice cream.
Apart from its “lovely food and friendly service“, The Olive Garden has plenty to drink. It offers a range of European wines, gins and cocktails, as well as mocktails, non-alcoholic beer and cider, and the best coffee in town.
The Olive Garden is open every day: 12:00-2:00pm for lunch, and 5:00pm for dinner (without any rush to finish). There’s plenty of space (though we recommend booking in advance) but, if you prefer not to eat inside this summer, outdoor seating is available 11:00am-10:00pm. A takeaway service is also available for 10% off the menu price.
As one reviewer has said, “looks can be deceptive”. This green shack, located between The Olive Garden and the ferry terminal, is simple and truly about the food. Imagine all the fancy restaurant service stripped away until all that remains is excellent food for a good price.
Oban Seafood Hut is popular for serving the freshest seafood, expertly prepared and delicious, in cheap but large portions. It has a range of prices, from a £3.50 prawn cocktail to a £29.95 grand platter for two (including lobster).
Another TripAdvisor reviewer said, “It’s your own fault if you miss this place.” This seafood hut is open 10:00am-6:00pm every day. There’s no booking – you just turn up, order your seafood, grab a spot at the table, and enjoy.
Named the phonetic Gaelic for “fish”, fish is what Ee-Usk, the Seafood Restaurant of the Year, does best. It serves fresh, locally caught fish and shellish, simply cooked to keep their naturally delicious taste. Meanwhile, its floor-to-ceiling windows give its guests a clear view over the bay from the North Pier.
Open 12:00-3:00pm (’til 2:30pm in winter) and 5:45-9:30pm (’til 9:00pm in winter) every day, Ee-Usk offers a lunch / early evening set menu (3 courses for £16) 12:00-1:00pm and 5:45-6:45pm. Its à-la-carte mains are normally £13-24, or a grand platter for two is £100, including lobster, oysters, fishcakes, and more.
Ee-Usk is normally so busy that we recommend booking in advance. Also please note that children under 12 are not allowed in the evening so, if you have little ones, be sure to go for lunch instead – it will be worth it.
Right beside Ee-Usk on the North Pier, this tasty Italian also offers an excellent view of the bay. It offers a selection of pasta and pizza 12:00-3:00pm (2:30pm in winter) and 5:45-9:30pm (9:00pm in winter).
Its Italian food and burgers are cooked to order with fine ingredients, with most mains priced at £8-13. “Lovely food, reasonably priced!” said one TripAdvisor reviewer. As well as food, Piazza has a range of wines, by glass or by bottle. If you’re not stopping for a meal, it offers coffee and snacks from 10:00am. If you’re looking to dine, however, please don’t forget to book.
Right in the middle of George Street, in a pretty former bank building, Coast Restaurant is described as the “best restaurant in Oban”.
Apart from fish and shellfish, Coast serves meat and poultry, vegetables and herbs, all of which are locally sourced. Its mains are £15-22 (or a fillet steak £28), although its menu changes seasonally, so be sure to check it out.
Coast is open for lunch 12:00-2:00pm Monday-Saturday and for dinner 5:30-9:00pm every day. We recommend that you book in advance; please note that children under 10 aren’t allowed in after 7pm and must leave by 8pm.
Last but not least, we had to finish on one of Oban’s fishiest places. On the Railway Pier, between The Olive Garden and the ferry terminal, the Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant is up on the first floor. It has a wonderful view of the bay and lots of fish to match!
At 12:00-2:00pm and 5:30-9:00pm every day, Waterfront Fishouse Restaurant has plenty to choose from. It has a regular menu of fresh seafood and a non-seafood selection, as well as a gluten-free menu. The fishhouse’s Lunch and Early Evening Menu (12:00-2:00pm and 5:30-6:45pm) offers a starter and main for £14.99.
Its regular mains, on the other hand, are all £11-20, except for its £22.99 Scotch sirloin steak. However, its menu changes at least semi-annually, so please check it out on their website. It’s also best to book in advance and to email for parties larger than six, but we think it’s definitely worth it.
We hope something jumps out for you to try on your next trip to Oban. Wherever you end up eating, whether it be one of our 10 Tasty Places to Eat in Oban or not, be sure to let us know on our Facebook page!
Everyone dreams of a fairy-tale setting, and what could make it more magical than having the perfect Scottish castle wedding?
From the breath-taking scenery of the West Coast of Scotland, to the elegant rooms we have to offer, Barcaldine Castle makes the perfect venue for your wedding.
Travelling from a church or registry office to the reception can take up precious time on your big day, and most function rooms can’t offer both character and luxury. The convenience of having both your ceremony and reception in a historic Castle, gives you the best of both worlds. No time-consuming travelling and oodles of luxury and character to admire.
Castles were made for being private and secluded. What better way to celebrate your wedding day than to escape from the outside world and have the whole castle to yourself!
Can you think of a better backdrop for your wedding than to have a historic Scottish castle in the background of your photos?
All castles have some form of history. By marrying at one, you’re becoming a part of its history and adding to its centuries old story of romance!
As it’s your wedding day you already are the centre of attention. Why not make it a day to remember by dressing like royalty, as well as feeling like it? You are in a castle after all…
Our ceremonies take place in the Great Hall in front of the large, open log fire. However, they can also take place by the sundial outside in the garden. Both options giving you fabulous views of the surrounding area. The tall ceilings and wooden beamed roofs give the castle an atmosphere of charm and character, but what more would you expect from a Scottish castle wedding?
As we currently don’t provide in-house catering or any services of this kind, we pride ourselves on having close relationships with highly recommended suppliers. From caterers to florists to bagpipers, we are more than happy to help you plan and organise everything for your big day, ensuring a perfect Scottish castle wedding with it being everything you hoped it would be and more!
Please note: the maximum number of guests that we can seat for your wedding ceremony is 36 and we can accommodate up to 14, so, if you’re looking for an idyllic dream venue to host your intimate Scottish castle wedding, we could be just what you’re looking for!
If you would like to take a look at what our previous happy couples had to say, see our guestbook. To see what’s included in our packages, go to our Castle Weddings page. Alternatively, you can contact us.