Although I am not one for overly commercialising castles or other historic sites – and there is a restaurant now attached to the castle itself – I still put this on my top 5 list for Scotland because of the way in which the aura of this place harkens back to an era that has long since passed. Although putting a picture gallery on a staircase might not now seem the best of ideas given how natural it is to want to linger there and look at the faces, names and dates on display, it is just this staircase that helps put into perspective the history of this grand house and surrounding estate.
Between the picture staircase, the tapestry room and the massive and highland-picture-perfect ballroom it is difficult to say which part is my favourite. There is also, though, a large hallway that runs almost the length of the castle and is adorned with large antlered light fixtures and lined with portraits and dark hues that by itself would conjure up images of highland hunts, grand balls and drunken Caley dances. The surrounding area is awash in natural beauty, as are the immediate grounds and gardens. Give the restaurant a pass as there are better things farther afield, but do indulge in the history on display as well as the sheer and almost unparalleled highland grandeur of the place.