Wardhill Castle

Following on from my last post about guests arriving – just in case you do not have enough room, why not relocate the whole family to a remote castle in the Highlands for a week?

Wardhill is a fairytale castle, pictured here from a distance, with its magical spires and turrets.

Up close, the creamy, faded stonework is laden with patina and the castle is steeped in history: it only survives because in 1746, after the Battle of Culloden, advancing Hanoverian troops were bribed by the chamberlain to burn bales of straw around the outside to make it seem from afar, to their superiors, that it was on fire. A good investment now! It has been in the Leslie family for over 850 years.

The young owners, Will and Sarah Leslie, took over the castle and it’s many challenges when they married in 2014. The above image of the drawing room, is in it’s original state before Will and Sarah fully tackled it – beautiful but in need of a little TLC. We did this shoot for Period Living magazine and they loved the glorious rawness it exhibited at this stage. However, if you visit the website you will see how much more comfortable Wardhill has become since.The recent overhaul included all essentials such as painstakingly sorting the dry rot and replacing the roof, as well as installing every modern convenience, including central heating, an up to date kitchen, luxurious roll top baths and powerful hot showers, but they have not ‘stripped the life’ out of it. Tapestries, wallpaper and furniture, that has been there for generations, all remain. Often accompanied by fascinating stories of exotic family connections.

The curtains in the cosy snug above, were hung originally in the British embassy in Paris, where a family member was working. The portrait above the fireplace is Will’s Spanish great grandmother, lady in waiting to the Empress Carlotta, a Belgian princess who became Empress of Mexico by marriage.  The wallpaper dates back to the 1920s, it is stunning against the teal painted woodwork on the fireplace and wall panelling. The antique candle chandelier is the only centre light Sarah has arranged table lamps from India Jane around the room for evenings in front of the fire.

This bedroom is known as the ‘Spanish Room’. The lavish antique bed was gifted by the Queen of Spain, to Will’s great-grandmother. Updating the property, Will and Sarah are walking a tightrope between preserving family history and adding their own contemporary stamp. The result is a startlingly beautiful backdrop layered with modern comforts. ‘At the end of the day, it is our home and we want it to suit us’ the couple point out.

In the drawing room, Sarah feels the yellow 1970s wallpaper, hung for a family celebration, although faded, is still on trend and has chosen to preserve it. Crumbling curtains had to be taken down, her and Will have reinstated the working shutters instead. This room is now fully furnished and looks wonderful.

Thanks to their efforts a sumptuous welcome awaits you at Wardhill. Available on a self catering basis or with an in house butler and chef. The spacious accommodation with eight bedrooms is perfect for special occasions. Excellent discounts are available for a full weeks stay, so do enquire.

I honestly had the best night sleep ever in the bed above!


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