Knock Old Castle – Scotland
Although we all love a fairy tale castle, we don’t often get the chance to stay in a castle in Scotland. Knock Old Castle is a fairy tale castle unto its own and is accessible to all who want to experience something completely unique and different. We are so excited to share it with you!
This castle in Scotland is set on the west coast in Largs, Ayrshire with outstanding views over the sea. Set on the same grounds as the new Knock Castle this amazing building not only has an amazing history, but an amazing story as to how it became the magical building it is now. Its quirky design and beautiful aesthetics are down to the talented brain behind ARC Management, and having watched the video about the renovation of the castle, we are completely dumbfounded by the architectural talent that exists within Scotland.
“Largs is a very sequestered spot, and hence perhaps, the common proverbial saying “ Out of Scotland into Largs” the air is pure, the water clear and bright, snows generally melt as they fall, seldom lying near the shore. There are scarcely any fogs, whilst the rest of the country forty miles round, is often buried in them; so that this Parish has been by some called Montpelier of Scotland” The Reverend Mr Gilbert Lang 1791
The History in Brief: Knock Old Castle is a late 16th century tower house, however there has been a building there since as early as 1380 when early records show it was passed by marriage to the Frasers of Lovat. Since then it has been passed through several families and landed in the hands of Bruce Walker some 10 years ago! With amazing imagination and incredible vision, Bruce along with project managers, ARC Management, Architects ARP Lorimer and the fantastic team that ARC put together, have made his dream a reality by restoring the castle to what it is today, with fascinating personality and character shining through. Before I go on to show pictures of the interior just check out what it was like before!
The interior of the castle does not fall short of perfection. Every little thing has been thought about and considered to make it completely unique in every way. The oak ceilings, beams, window frames, window sills – and everything else that is oak and elm – have been hand crafted from the grounds very own oak and elm trees that were blown down and destroyed in a storm around 6 years ago. Instead of burning the whole lot they saved all of the wood and incorporated it into the structure and design of Old Knock Castle.
On the ground floor there is the lovely open plan kitchen and dining area as seen in the photos above. Large windows frame two of the walls of this gorgeous room letting in plenty of light and offering sunny views when cooking and eating. Going through the kitchen you come to a rather interesting snug…
This is one of our favourite rooms. No sign of a radio or a TV, just a cosy wee room with a wood burning stove, offering a peaceful place to sit and have a coffee with a good book. The colourful ceiling was hand painted by a local artist and all of the furniture is bespoke, adding to that one of a kind feel the whole building exudes. This is the perfect spot to relax in the evening while your friends do all the cooking!
From the kitchen/ dining room you can go up the oak spiral staircase which takes you to the main living room…
This room mirrors the layout of the kitchen/dining room and has two nice seating areas. One takes full advantage of the spectacular window views, and one is more of a cosy corner to snuggle in with the TV on, read the newspaper, or simply to lie down and admire the beautiful artwork which hangs around you. You will notice that all of the furnishings and fittings are to a luxurious standard so there is no doubt that you will feel like you are in heaven whilst enjoying your time here.
When you leave this room and carry on through you come to a twin bedroom. You will notice whilst we travel through the house that the bedrooms have small shower rooms built in to the walls. This adds to the quirkiness of the castle and it is a feature we really grew fond of. The twin bedroom on this floor does not have a WC, but there is a “Thunderbox” right next door in the corridor.
The bedrooms throughout have these fantastically chunky wooden beds, and although set up as twin rooms theses are zip-linked beds so can be pushed together if you so require. The bed linen is all white crisp Egyptian cotton, and each one has a warm woollen throw which you can drape over for extra warmth. Having sat on them myself I have no idea how you would get out of these in the morning, they are super comfy!! There is one bedroom on the first floor, a twin bedroom on the second floor, a twin bedroom on the third floor (all accessible from the spiral stone staircase up the side tower) and a cosy bedroom on the fourth floor with a king-sized bed!
Each room is different but the same aesthetics run throughout: muted tones mixed with splashes of colour, woollen patchwork ‘wall-paper’, bespoke furniture, brightly painted radiators, oak beds, decorative pillows and animal door handles! The fun doesn’t stop there….
One the second floor, if you can find your way onto the spiral stone staircase you will come to this door…
Now if you are slightly creative, or into puzzles, you will read this handmade stained glass window as “bear all”….could this mean we have to take our clothes off? We might just be correct!
When you open the door you are able to step out on to the Barmkin wall walkway which leads to a little turret at the end, and in that turret belongs a sauna!! With a beautiful mosaic ceiling, with Hemlock and Aspen clad interior this really is an awe inspiring spot to heat up your bones and fully relax. How many people can say they have enjoyed a sauna in the turret of a historic castle? On a sunny day the walk way is a lovely place to chill out with a coffee and enjoy the view.
On exit of the sauna, and at closer glance, you will notice some fluffy residents on the sedum roof of the modern extension. Yes, that is a sheep with her lambs. We will leave you to discover if they are real or not!!! If you look to the top turret you will see the ‘piece de resistance’ – the 360 degree rooftop look out point! I got so excited when I was shown this and I know you will love it too.
On finding your way up to the top floor, where the king-sized attic bedroom lies, you will come to a beautiful oak and iron ladder which takes you up to the highest room in the castle. When you climb up the stairs you will fall upon the coolest cubby-hole ever!
With built in seating and a central table this is a fabulous spot to gather in and play a board game with a tasty glass of whisky. Just make sure you remember that you have to get back down that ladder! We were all blown away by this special feature and could have sat up there for hours gazing at the view.
Now you have seen the attention to detail that the interiors have been given, but the exterior is just as special. The sheep on the roof is one thing, but as you look along the barmkin wall you will notice a rather unusual type of gargoyle! Usually these are dark creepy creatures that resemble those from your deepest darkest nightmares, but not on Knock Old Castle. The owners have had them specially sculpted to represent their own pets. They have a wise old owl, a horse, a goat, Woffle the dog and Ripper the cat!
The imagination and creativity behind the whole design is unbelievable and we feel really lucky to have Knock Old Castle on our books. Located in the area of Largs, and right on the coast, you have ample opportunities for beach walks, day trips to the Isle of Arran and Bute, adventures to the Trossachs National Park and even the chance to play a spot of golf in Troon or Turnberry. But a day spent in the ground of this castle is as good as any with large grassy lawns to lie on and soak up the sun, or fairy hunts can be carried out in the woodlands that surround the castle.