Emily Escaped


Emily Escaped: reviews and photos of holiday homes for design lovers

Emily Escaped

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Written by homes journalist Emily Brooks, this blog is dedicated to seeking out UK holiday rentals that are all about great design

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Balbegno Castle, Kincardineshire

An ancient building that’s part ancestral home, part exuberant splurge of fun – from the people behind cheerful British interiors brand Pedlars

The Great Hall, Balbegno Castle

There can’t be many scheduled ancient monuments that come decorated with a disco-ball chandelier, but then, the whole point of Balbegno Castle is to play things a little left-of-centre. The creation of Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, who run British interiors brand Pedlars, this place is part ancestral home, part exuberant splurge of fun.

It took two years to restore and refurbish the building, which comprises the castle itself, dating from the 1560s, and the early Georgian wing attached to it, containing the bulk of the accommodation. The original castle’s Great Hall, home to that giant sparkly chandelier, has a painted ceiling featuring the heralds of all the Scottish peers as they were in 1561. New plasterwork on the walls has made it sing again.

Pedlars is known for mixing old and new with great flair, so the couple mined a stuffed-to-busting barnful of old furniture they’d either inherited or collected to sell. Vintage industrial furniture, and a considerable amount of Pedlars’ own accessories, complete the look. The aim is for grandeur and comfort at the same time – no stuffy formality, because the castle is aimed squarely at families with children.

With isolated beaches 20 minutes in one direction and the Highlands 20 minutes in another, there’s plenty to occupy holidaymakers, but you might not need to stray even that far, given that there’s a garden and trout lake on the doorstep. The local village, Fettercairn, has a small shop and a decent dining pub, the Ramsay Arms (make sure you have a dram of Fettercairn 1824, made in the village’s own distillery).

Nearby: Boating and fishing on the lake; sandy, deserted St Cyrus beach, 20 minutes away; the foot of the Cairngorms is half and hour away

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Photos via Balbegno Castle website and Pedlars

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