Castle of Park

Glenluce, Dumfries and Galloway - Sleeps 7

About this Landmark

This is a true Scottish tower house, built in 1590 and then improved in the 18th century. Living here gives a very different impression of the life of a Jacobean laird from the stony shells of so many less fortunate and abandoned towers in Scotland today.

Dog Beds 1 Single, 2 Twin, 1 Double

  • Sleeps7
  • 4 nights from from£361
  • equivalent to £12.89 per person per night

The life of a Jacobean laird

The exterior of this house is deceptively modest. Inside, it is another matter. With the walls plastered and the surprisingly spacious rooms well-furnished, you gain a vivid impression here that the life of a Jacobean laird was not as spartan as might be imagined from the stony shells of so many abandoned towers.

The large hall has a lovely fireplace. From the hall the laird's private stair leads to bedrooms, each with it's own privy (perfect for hide and seek). The wide main stair, in its own tower, has a little room at the top called the cap house, from which you can glimpse the sea. The 18th century brought larger windows to let more light in, the bright clear light of a western peninsula

Luce Bay

There are notable gardens to visit, lovely Luce Bay is nearby, and the rolling fields are grazed by cattle more numberous than the human inhabitants. Threave Gardens, Caerlaverock Castle and the Robert Burns Centre are all wonderful places to visit nearby.

Floor Plan

‘Mother does not want to leave at all.’

‘Candlelit dinners will never be the same.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

On a plateau above Luce Bay and on the edge of Glenluce village stands Castle of Park with two other houses. The building is surrounded by farmland but the coast is only a mile or so away.

Castle of Park
Glenluce, Dumfries and Galloway - Sleeps 7
Clear directions

Places to visit nearby

Threave Garden and Estate

Portpatrick

Robert Burns Centre

Caerlaverock Castle

‘Mother does not want to leave at all.’

‘Candlelit dinners will never be the same.’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Stranraer – 10 miles
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes there are three car parking spaces adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters, a stove and a log burning stove.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker, separate freezer, dishwasher and microwave.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There are three bathrooms, one with a shower over the bath and two others with baths.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are steep, narrow and spiral.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a garden (not enclosed).

    Booking and Payment

  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will advise you as to whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to carry out the changeover then we consider that it is open and available. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, which may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Is it true there are no televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.

Work began on 1st March 1590

The inscription over the door tells us that work began on the Castle of Park on the first day of March, 1590 (in time for a good long season's work before the next winter); and that Thomas Hay of Park and his wife Janet MacDowel were responsible for it. Thomas had been given the Park of Glenluce, land formerly belonging to Glenluce Abbey, by his father in 1572, and it is said that he took stone from the Abbey buildings for his own new house.

This he built in the tall fashion of other laird's houses of the period, usually known as tower houses. Although very plain, it is on a grand scale, as is shown by the large rooms and the fine quality of the stonework.

The Hays of Park descended from the Earls of Errol. Their first connection with Glenluce was through Sir Thomas Hay, father of the castle's builder, who was Secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots and, from 1560, Abbot of Glenluce. Sir Thomas was also a protégé of the Earls of Cassilis, his wife being a daughter of David Kennedy of Culzean, younger son of the 2nd Earl. It was probably due to the Kennedys' influence that the Hays obtained Glenluce and Park.

Like many tower houses, the Castle of Park was greatly improved in the 18th century, when the windows were made larger and fitted with sashes, and the main rooms were panelled. Two small wings were added on the south and north-east corners at the same time, enclosing a courtyard and providing extra accommodation. Near the castle there were gardens, all long vanished.

In about 1830, the castle was abandoned by its owners, when the contents, and much of the panelling, were taken to Dunragit, the home of Sir James Dalrymple- Hay, who had inherited the Park estate through his mother. From that time, the upper floors of the tower house were left empty, or used for storage, but some panelling remained in the 1890s. The wings meanwhile, were lived in by a farmer, who probably used the old kitchen too. The wings were still in good condition in 1912, but were derelict by 1950.

In 1949, the Castle of Park had been transferred to the Ministry of Works. A year or two later, the roof was renewed, but the floors were stripped out and the wings demolished. Then, in 1976-8, Historic Scotland carried out a full repair of the outside walls, and renewed the floors and windows. Inside, the Castle was left unfinished, with bare stone walls. The upper floors were undivided, and had no ceilings. For several years the Castle continued to stand empty, while a viable new use was sought for it. Such a use has now been found: the Landmark Trust's first visitors arrived on 24th April 1993.

Typical layout of a tower house

The main entrance to the castle is in the sheltered angle between the main wing and the tall stair tower. The door opens into a lobby at the foot of the stair, a common arrangement in tower houses. Turning to the right, you enter a passage which leads to all the rooms on the ground floor. These were service rooms, a scullery and larder (one now a bathroom), and at the north end, a kitchen with a huge fireplace on which the cooking was done. The stone vaults of these rooms are again a typical feature.

In 1976-8, the hatch between kitchen and passage was found, through which the cooks could hand food to the waiting servants. Beside the fire, there was evidence for a sway, a moveable bracket to hold cooking pots, and in the chimney itself there is a smoking board, for hams. The room in the corner was for the cook, and has a drain for waste water. The newly restored stair to the first floor from the room at the south end of the passage was for the servants.

The main stair leads to all the upper floors of the castle. The whole of the first floor was occupied by the great hall, the main room in which the whole household dined once a day. Its importance is shown by the finely-moulded stone fireplace surround, placed in the side wall to heat as much of the room as possible. Draughts were reduced by a wooden screen across the "low" or entrance end, roughly on the line of the new kitchen counter. Another screen may have run back from this to enclose a lobby at the head of the stair, and at the same time hide a servery at the top of the little back stair. Servants bringing food from the kitchen would have waited there, in what is now the kitchen, before entering in procession to serve the high table.

When the Castle was built, the windows would have been much smaller. They were enlarged in the 18th century, when the owners of many tower houses tried to make them more comfortable, without going to the expense of rebuilding. New pine panelling was fitted at the same time. Some of this was still there when drawings were made of the Castle in 1898, and was extremely fine, with rich mouldings, and pilasters, or flat columns, on either side of the windows. Originally, the walls would have been hung with woven cloths or tapestries.

In the north-west corner at the "high" end of the hall, a door leads to another stair, which has been completely rebuilt, having been removed long ago. This was for the private use of the laird and his family. It led only to the two floors above, on which were bedchambers and, no doubt, a private parlour. The partitions on both these floors disappeared long ago, so we don't know exactly how they were arranged. There must have been at least two rooms on each floor, because there are fireplaces at both ends, as well as two garderobes, or privies, in the thickness of the wall. These might have opened off closets, as they now open off the new bathrooms.

On the second floor, it was possible to put the new partition between the south bedroom and the passage exactly in the right place, because the drawings of 1898 show the end wall to have been panelled to that point. This panelling, while not as grand as that of the hall, was also of very good quality. It would have been too expensive to replace the panelling, but the sitting room has been decorated with hand-painted garlands.

Under the steeply-pitched roof of the stair tower is a small chamber or caphouse, reached by its own turret stair. A door from this turret also leads into a large attic in the main part of the house, which was probably where the servants slept. This attic is now kept locked, to provide a safe roost for the three varieties of bat which in the past had the whole Castle as their home.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

QuestionWhat's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.