Beautiful Home known locally as "The Castle"
- United Kingdom, Scotland,
- 3BR/3BA (Sleeps 8)
Just 1.2 miles outside St Margaret’s Hope, overlooking the Sands of Wright resides this Historic House with its views over Widewall Bay towards the Hoy Hills and Scapa Flow.
Known locally as the “The Castle” and previously home of the Lord Lieutenant of Orkney, it is one of the finest and most imposing houses on the island, spoiling its guests with both spectacular views and remote hideaways in its own woods and secret gardens. Please feel warmly invited to discover one of Orkney’s finest places.
Our family’s home will become an Orkney experience for you and offers the highest standard of hospitality for guests - Orkney itself will put its spell on you.
The bedrooms are en-suite and our accommodation within the house includes a galley kitchen for the guests to use at their convenience. You have digital TV in the bedrooms as well as a strong WiFi connection all over the house. Besides the dining room where we serve the breakfast in the morning our guests are invited to use their own drawing room with open fire, our conservatory and our library all with stunning sea views. And once all the views are gone - our guests often choose a game of pool in our billiard room. You will love the walled gardens available all day long.
Bedrooms have been individually designed to give our guests the most comfortable room experience. They are spacious but cozy, light in color and offer spectacular views. The downstairs bedroom would be suitable for guests with disabilities and features a very large bathroom.
Our beds, mattresses, bed linen and towels have been carefully chosen to the highest standard. Spacious wardrobes make storing your luggage easy.
We use top brands as well as 100% organic cotton material. Local toiletries are provided to welcome our guests in their individual bath rooms.
The wireless broadband connection is offered all over the house and allows our guests to sign in from any room. Digital TV is available in the upstairs bedrooms but are easily removed if not wanted.
Bedroom 1 “Honeysgeo”
Kingsize bed, dressing table, chaise-longue, 2 chairs, table, towel rails (heated and wooden), TV, radio alarm, En suite bathroom with bath and shower
Bedroom 2 “Eastside”
Available as Twin room, Double (Kingsize bed) and Single, towel rails (heated and wooden), TV, radio alarm, En suite shower
Bedroom 3 “Quindry”
Double bed, table and two chairs, towel rails (heated and wooden), radio alarm, En suite shower
Dining room, Conservatory, Drawing room with open fire, Library, Pool room
It is our pleasure to provide a breakfast served in our dining room in the main house that won’t leave any wishes unfulfilled. And Homemade biscuits and cakes are available throughout the day.
With outstanding quality and selection of the food provided. We buy organic and local products for guests and serve our own organic free range eggs and homemade preserves.
Breakfast will be freshly cooked to every guest’s taste. Special menus which take care of special dietary needs can be individually arranged beforehand. We like to talk to our guests about their wishes to serve the exact breakfast they would like to enjoy.
Guests usually choose from our continental buffet (vegetarian option available), taste the traditional English or Scottish breakfast, freshly made porridge or chose from a wide range of cereals, muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurts.
The galley kitchen in our guest accommodation is well equipped for our guests to use at their convenience. Providing a fridge, microwave, grill, washing machine, as well as a wide selection of tea and coffee and full cutlery sets we’ll give our guests a “home from home,” feeling hassle free and comfortable.
This home and its gardens, recently featured on TV in “Britain’s Best Mansions” instantly puts a spell on its visitors. But to discover and experience its style, its flair, the solitude and stillness one has to come to stay. None of its guests so far have left the house not wanting to return.
The lands (which originally included much of the peninsula of Hoxa and other farms on the island) surrounding the present House had been farmed by the Gray family since the early 17th century. Thomas Gray, an Udaller, farmed Hoxa and Cletts and called his home (then situated nearer the shoreline). His son, William, was granted a charter in 1649 for these lands in Hoxa by the Earl of Morton and they were continually farmed by the Gray family until 1922, when the farm was sold.
The House itself was built in 1861 and remained in the family until the beginning of the 21th Century. During the Second World War the house was occupied by the Army and used as staff accommodation and administrative offices for a military centre. Temporary huts were built within the walls which had been erected in the late 19th century by Yorkshire builders using stones from a local quarry and remain shielding 4 acres of garden and woodland to the present day.
The House has always been a family home and remains so to the present day. The grounds and gardens are home to our family dogs and cats, chickens and peacocks.
It is our pleasure to share the magic of our house with guests who come to find peace, a relaxing atmosphere and space to breathe Orkney’s clean and fresh air and to admire unspoiled views to the horizon.
After extensive decoration we are delighted to offer reception rooms for wedding ceremonies and corporate meetings with magnificent sea views you won’t find anywhere else on the island.
Feeling very strongly about our homes tradition and history it is our desire to keep it alive and to continue its story in style.
With a population of around 20,000, Orkney is perhaps best known for its Neolithic remains and its large number of archaeological sites. It boasts superb fishing and bird life, enchanted views over open country side dominated by the ever changing waters. The sky over Orkney seems to be higher than anywhere else, decorated with rainbows and fascinating sculptures of clouds.
Orcadians have always been in tune with the elements and the changing seasons and light play a big part in the enjoyment of the Islands. In the summer months the long hours of daylight are a great benefit and there are wonderful opportunities to sight seals, otters, dolphins and some of the 94 different species of birds that frequent the Islands.
When night falls over Orkney visitors are invited to purple red sunsets, followed by a dome of stars, sometimes even the miraculous Northern Lights. And once the moonlight spreads over silent meadows old Orcadian folk stories seem to come alive…
George Mackay Brown, the great Orcadian poet, said that “The Orkney imagination is haunted by time” and this certainly remains true today.
There are about 70 islands within the Orkney Archipelago, 13 of which are inhabited. South Ronalsday was at one time the most southerly of the Orkney Islands. It is now linked to the Orkney Mainland by The Churchill Barriers built during the Second World War after a German U-boat penetrated the block ship defences of Lamb Sound and sank the Royal Oak in 1939, killing nearly all on board. With the aid of Italian prisoners of war, who also built the famous Italian Chapel 4 barriers were erected and crossing them can be spectacular due to wind and sea.
St Margaret’s Hope, the main village on South Ronaldsay, was where Queen Margaret of Scotland died in the 14th century. Queen Margaret was the daughter of the King of Norway and was sailing to celebrate her marriage to the King of Scotland when she died en-route in St Margaret’s Hope. Orkney and Shetland were pledged to Scotland in lieu of her dowry.
Today St Margaret’s Hope is a picturesque small village, yet the third largest settlement on Orkney.
Due to the Gills Bay-Orkney ferry terminal used by the Pentland Ferries the village is connected to Scottish Mainland by the shortest car ferry crossing. It also has an excellent pub, shops, a gallery, a tennis court, a golf course, as well as an active bowling club, a gym and Orkney’s best restaurant, “The Creel” which has again been voted one of the 100 best restaurants in Britain 2008.
The Orkney Islands are truly irresistible. From Sandy beaches to towering cliffs, from peaceful lochs to rocky skerries, the 70 islands that make up our archipelago offer every kind of enchantment.
Here on Orkney, sites that would be archaeological wonders anywhere else can be discovered and explored at your leisure. 5000 years of history - nowhere else will you find the distant past so alive. Orkneys landscape is dotted with innumerable archaeological wonders, from Viking churches to Stone age villages, many of them preserved in stunning condition.
On Orkney you’re not only touched by history’s long saga: you can touch right back. With more ancient monuments per acre than anywhere else in Western Europe, you can get hands on with standing stones, enigmatic brochs, our beautiful Norse cathedral or ancient tombs.
On your arrival you will find booklets, leaflets and brochures of places to visit on Orkney for you to use.
As we love to explore and discover new places with our family we have written our own recommendations down for you that might add some new destinations to your itinerary.
From sandy beaches where seals rest only metres off the shore to rocky cliff walks we happily give away all our secret spots you won’t find in any official tourist guides.
Places like the Eastside with its cemetery and sandy bay, Honeysgeo beach, walks from Hoxa to St Margaret’s Hope overlooking Scapa Flow and the rolling hills of South Ronaldsay are within minutes away from our house.
With The Tomb of the Eagles only 7 miles away one of the most exciting sites to visit on Orkney is within easy reach. Even Orkney’s most frequently visited attraction, the Italian Chapel, is less than a 15 minutes drive away - but you might get distracted on the way and try a dive at Scapa flow….
Tips for families
Orkney’s safe, clean environment makes it an ideal destination for families and kids of all ages. Who needs theme parks when you have real life adventures like these on your doorstep!
Explore rock pools for minnows, crabs and anemones.
Fly a kite along the beach - there are so many to choose from.
Venture across the causeway at low tide to explore the Brough of Birsay.
Fly the world’s shortest scheduled flight, from Westray to Papa Westray.
Follow the footsteps of the Norseman along the Viking trail.
Paddle in the Atlantic in the morning, and the North Sea in the afternoon - or swim if you dare.
Climb to the top of Britain’s tallest land-based lighthouse on North Ronaldsay - and spot the seaweed-eating sheep down the shore.
Become a pavement artist for the day during Stromness Shopping week.
Fish for sillocks from a pier, or mackerel from a Churchill Barrier.
Join a charter boat to explore caves and cliffs from sea level, and spot dolphin and puffins too.
And if the weather turns, there are plenty of indoor adventures too!
See glow in the dark minerals and 350 million year old fossils at the Fossil & Heritage Museum in Burray.
Enjoy the cinema, sports centre and soft play area at the Pickaquoy Centre.
Get up close and personal with Orkney’s sea life at the Orkney Marine Life Aquarium near St Margaret’s Hope.
Search the sweetie shops to collect every flavor of Orkney fudge or Orkney Ice cream.
Get lost in the music at the Folk Festival, the Jazz Festival, the St Magnus Festival…all with special events aimed at children (“peedie bairns” on Orkney)
Orkneys’ award winning restaurants, cafes and bars often have stunning views to match the excellence of their cuisine.
The best of them all “The Creel” offers both and will beat all your expectations. Being awarded the “Scottish Chef of the Year Award” Alan and his wife Joyce have brought haute cuisine to St Margaret’s Hope. As it has been listed in 2008 once again under the first 100 restaurants in Britain early booking is essential and we are happy to organise a table for you.
Other local restaurants and cafes like the “Sands Hotel” in Burray, and the “Galley Inn” in St Margaret’s Hope serve fresh local food, like Orkney seafood, full of intense, briny flavours. Cooked quickly and simply it will be a truly unforgettable experience, especially when your dining table is looking out over water it came from. And no matter if you prefer true spirit or a good bottle of wine- here in the North we offer surprisingly both to unbeatable standard. Choose from the selection of the Orkney Wine Company, Britains most northerly winery or the world wide well known Highland Park Distillery and Scapa Whisky Distillery.
Besides a breakfast that won’t leave you hungry until teatime we serve evening meals by individual arrangements. If you don’t feel like dining out - there is no need for it. You can indulge yourself in a quiet private atmosphere enjoying a breathtaking sunset over Hoxa Head or listening to the rattling wind embracing our home.
We are delighted to create an Island retreat of the highest standard. Taylor made to our guest’s requirements, occasions at our House are second to none. We invite guests to experience a Scottish Island in the most secluded and luxurious way.