Saddell Castle

Saddell, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute

About the property

Saddell Castle is a complete, early 16th-century Scottish tower house built by the Bishop of Argyll. It sits in a stunning location on Saddell Bay on the east coast of Kintyre, looking out across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran. Breathtaking. It has a wide spiral staircase and each room offers something different.

See all our Landmarks at Saddell

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • RemoteRemote
  • ShowerShower
  • Table Tennis TableTable Tennis Table
  • Washing MachineWashing Machine

Beds 2 Single, 1 Twin, 2 Double

  • Sleeps 8
  • 4 nights from £484
  • equivalent to £15.13 per person, per night

‘A fayre pile and a stronge’

The Castle stands right on the beach, with fine views of Arran and Kintyre from every window on its four floors. Best of all is the battlemented wall-walk round its roof. In 1508 the Bishop of Argyll (clergymen were more martial back then) chose Saddell Bay for his new castle. Planted boldly near the shore at the mouth of a small river, it was described as ‘a fayre pyle, and a stronge’. By 1600 it was firmly in the hands of the Campbells, who then held it for nearly 400 years. Saddell Castle is a fine and complete tower house with a battlemented wall-walk round the roof. When we took it on, large trees were growing from the parapets and all the windows had gone.

Something different in every room

Inside, each room is quite different from the others, and each holds something unexpected and agreeable: panelling or a decorated ceiling, deep window embrasures, or closets in the thickness of the wall. The floor inside the front door is removable so that unwelcome visitors can fall straight into a pit below! But don't worry your passage will be safe today. Outbuildings were built hard up against the castle for protection and only their walls survive because the laird never had any money to spare. Indeed, it seems later structural repairs were a struggle, done with whatever lay to hand, even old cart axles.

The whole of Saddell Bay with its long white strand and rocky point now belongs to Landmark, including the castle, a later mansion and four cottages. Each building stands alone and staying here, you have the freedom of the whole bay in all its wild and unspoilt beauty, where seals, sea birds of every kind and even an otter are regular visitors. The ruins of an ancient abbey are also nearby to explore.

Floor Plan

‘If you’re lucky enough, watch the pink sunset from the castle ramparts!’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Saddell Castle sits on the beach of Saddell Bay, looking out across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran. Less than a mile away on the east Kintyre road towards Carradale lies the tiny hamlet of Saddell. From here you can take a short walk to the beautiful ruin of Saddell Abbey

Follow the The Kintyre Way around the stunning peninsula and enjoy exploring its wealth of hidden coves, deserted beaches and fishing communities offering local produce.

Wildlife enthusiasts can experience the superb bird watching facilities at  The Machrihanish Seabird & Wildlife Observatory  or take a  boat trip around the islands of Sanda, Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre to see puffins, seals and other exciting forms of sealife.

Golfers will enjoy the fine choice of  golf courses  around Kintyre, claimed to be some of the best in Scotland.

Take a look at our Pinterest map for more ideas of things to do and see during your stay at Saddell Castle.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

See all our Landmarks at Saddell

Saddell Castle
Saddell, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute
Clear directions

‘If you’re lucky enough, watch the pink sunset from the castle ramparts!’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

  • How is the property accessed?

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

    Glasgow – 123 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There is parking for two cars approximately 10m from the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage radiators and a solid fuel 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, a dishwasher, a chest freezer and a microwave.

  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There are two bathrooms, one with a free-standing shower unit and a bath and the other with a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are steep and spiral but not particularly narrow.
  • Can I access the roof?

    Yes,  but we would ask that care is taken in inclement weather and that children and dogs are supervised when on the roof.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There are large open grounds and direct access to the beach.
    Please note that public footpaths run through the estate.

    Booking and Payment

  • 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 create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact [email protected]
  • 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
  • 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 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 be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • 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 on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • 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.
  • Am I 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.
  • 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.
  • Are there 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).


  • 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.

A licence to build castles

In 1508 James IV, King of Scotland, granted the lands of Saddell Abbey to David Hamilton, Bishop of Argyll, with licence to "build castles ... and fortify them with stone walls". Saddell Castle was the result, a tower-house typical of the period. It was probably completed by 1512, and used by the Bishop as an occasional residence.

Of this 16th-century building there remain only the outer walls, including the entrance doorway, the great fireplace on the first floor and a small fireplace on the second floor (where there is also a garderobe closet), together with a short stretch of the original barmkin wall to the south of the tower, and some carved stone panels. In 1556 Saddell had been transferred to James Macdonald, who was busy annoying the English army in Ireland. In retaliation the Earl of Sussex mounted a raid on Kintyre in 1558, during which he burned and sacked the Castle, which he described as "a fayre pyle and a stronge".

The Castle seems to have been left as a ruin for the next hundred years, even after it was granted to Archibald Campbell, Earl of Argyll, in 1607. Then in 1650 the Earl, in turn, granted Saddell to William Ralston of that Ilk, a fugitive from religious persecution in the Lowlands, on condition that he made it habitable within two years. The Castle was given a new roof, and floors, and the walls and parapet were extensively repaired. The arrangement of the rooms is mostly of that same date.

William Ralston soon moved elsewhere, and by the end of the 17th century the estate had been granted to a junior branch of the Campbell family, who became known as the Campbells of Glensaddell. During the 18th century they tried to make the Castle more comfortable, by lining the bedroom walls with panelling for example; and they smartened up the sitting room with a new fireplace, alcoves and a moulded plaster ceiling.

They must have felt they were fighting a losing battle, however, because in about 1774 the Campbells built themselves a new and more convenient home, which they called Saddell House. The castle became a farm, and was lived in by estate employees. Stone from the Abbey was used for the farm buildings that cluster around the foot of the tower.

In 1890 the Castle once again became, for a few years, the chief residence of the estate, after Saddell House was damaged by fire. At that time it belonged to Colonel Macleod, who clearly had great fun restoring the castle. It was he who put up the heraldic shields in the dining room, which contain heraldic jokes and puns; and he made several other minor alterations, such as the ceiling in the top bathroom, and fireplaces in several of the bedrooms.

Once Saddell House was repaired the castle went back to being an estate farmhouse. In the 1930s it was given another new roof, but after the War there were no longer the funds to repair it. In 1939 the Saddell estate had been bought by Lt Col and Mrs Moreton, and it was they who in 1975 sold the Castle, with Shore Cottage (built in the 19th century) and Cul na Shee (built in the 1920s), to the Landmark Trust. In 1984 the Trust bought the remainder of the estate, and in 1990 Ferryman’s Cottage.

Experience the castle

For up to 8 people

Saddell Castle is a complete, early 16th-century Scottish tower house in a stunning location on Saddell Bay on the east coast of Kintyre, looking out across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran.

Book a stay

In surprisingly good condition

The walls of the Castle were in surprisingly good condition, only needing minor repairs to the stonework. There was one crack, in the south east corner, which had to be tied together, and some trees had to be removed from the parapet. The walls were then harled in the traditional way, which consists of applying a thin coat of lime plaster.

The roof was reslated. The roofs of some of the outbuildings were unsafe, and these were taken off; some of the walls, including the entrance archway and cupola, were rebuilt.

Inside the Castle, almost total repair was needed - to floors, walls, doors and windows. These last were copied from some casements that survived, which were probably 18th-century. Where possible existing materials were retained, and there were no structural alterations; only a few later partitions were moved or removed, and two bathrooms and a new kitchen were inserted.

On the ground floor a floor was inserted over the original well chamber, to fit in the bathroom.

On the stairs, the original arrow slits were discovered, but they were too fragile to reopen. The inner reveals were opened up, however, and now serve as niches for the electric lights. The larger windows were inserted in 1890. The original stone steps had been replaced in concrete at the same time.

The dining room had a floor of concrete and cobbles, and this was replaced by old stone paving. The shields on the ceiling had been removed for safekeeping to Campbeltown Museum some years before, and these were reinstated.

In the sitting room the 18th-century moulded plaster ceiling was collapsing; in 1975 a new plain ceiling was inserted, but in 1986 this was replaced with a copy of the original. One of the alcoves also had to be renewed. The pitch pine floorboards, like the other wooden floors in the castle, came from the Scotia Distillery in Campbeltown, which was being altered at the time the restoration work was being carried out. By the window on the left as you come into the sitting room there is a carving by Maxwell Allen of Edinburgh. It contains the numbers of the three architects who were involved in the restoration: David Carr, A.V.J. Tod and Stewart Tod.

One wall of the big second floor bedroom had to be rebuilt, and while work was going on the garderobe closet was discovered. In the smaller bedroom the 16th-century fireplace was found behind a Victorian one. The tartan is Argyll Campbell.

On the third floor the 18th-century Scots fir panelling of the bigger bedroom was mostly rotten, but enough was saved to cover one wall, behind the bed heads. The rest of the room was panelled in new Douglas fir. The top floor had some attic bedrooms, but it was decided to remove these, to make somewhere to run about in wet weather. On the roof the wall walk was reinstated, but bars were placed over the openings of the machicolation for safety.

Experience the castle

For up to 8 people

Saddell Castle is a complete, early 16th-century Scottish tower house in a stunning location on Saddell Bay on the east coast of Kintyre, looking out across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran.

Book a stay


Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

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.