Scottish castles are steeped in enough history and atmosphere to satisfy all sorts of travelers, but typically those with deep pockets — royal lodgings don't come cheap. Law Castle in Scotland, however, has something a little extra: an original 'murder hole' and, if you're to believe local whisperings, ghostly residents.
The 600-year-old castle in Ayrshire is open for guests and if you're quick, you might be able to bag a stay for a spooky Halloween weekend. Originally built as a wedding gift for Princess Mary, daughter of James II of Scotland, it once served as a court and a prison. Now the Grade A-listed building is a luxurious guesthouse that can host up to 14 guests.
Inside there are all sorts of gorgeous features like the original stone fireplaces, a secret stone staircase, and silver goblets that sit on a huge oak dining table. The bedrooms have four-poster beds dressed for royalty with velvet drapes, and candelabras that hang from the ceiling. Windows look out across the Arran, and from its location on Law Hill, it's only a short stroll to the town of West Kilbride with its art galleries and cozy cafes.
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But some features lean towards the dark side. The castle's original 'murder hole' is still here – a sort of medieval defence mechanism that allowed soldiers to pour boiling oil down onto unwelcome visitors outside. There's also the original pit prison, left over from the castle's days as a courthouse, which can be accessed through a secret flagstone trapdoor from the great hall.
Law Castle is also the source of some haunted tales, with ghostly sightings reported in local media. A previous guest and ghost hunter once described to the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald the "strange sensations" she felt when performing a seance in one of the bedrooms.
But Law Castle is a rather warm and welcoming place. Underfloor heating provides warmth to the stone floors during Scotland's cold winters, and the castle is designed to be enjoyed by visitors of all ages, once you get used to the low ceilings and steep stairs. It's available to rent on Snaptrip, with prices starting from £1770 (€1950).
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