Ascog House

Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute


This is a 17th-century Laird’s house on the Isle of Bute, close to the firth and in extensive grounds. The stone staircase, worn by feet over two centuries, winds up its tower towards elegant, airy rooms.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • Electric Car Charging PointElectric Car Charging Point
  • CotCot
  • Mobile signalMobile signal
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • Washing MachineWashing Machine
  • Explorer PacksExplorer Packs

Beds 2 Twin, 2 Double

6 +2
4 nights from
£712 equivalent to £22.25 per person, per night

A Laird’s house surrounded by wildlife

Ascog House once belonged to a branch of the Stewarts and is a typical 17th-century Laird’s house. Seen from the front, the  main rooms are on the first floor, reached by a wide turnpike stair. Go round behind and the rise of the ground brings them level with the garden. Over breakfast at the kitchen table you can often see deer at the end of the garden, and if you take a short walk to the nearby beach you can watch the seals dozing on the sand.

The Isle of Bute

Bute has been called the Scottish Isle of Wight and certainly Rothesay, its capital with its Winter Garden and decorative ironwork, is reminiscent of the South Coast. Ascog lies on the sheltered east coast of the island. Trees (especially beech) and shrubs (Charles Rennie Mackintosh drew fuchsias here) grow lushly in its mild climate. It has been gently developed as a superior resort since the 1840s, with a scattering of respectable houses above the bay. Building on the shoreline was wisely forbidden.

Floor Plan

Floor plan for Ascog House







Note - there is a double bedroom and bathroom in Tom's Tower, 20 feet from the main house.


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Map & local info

On the east coast of the Isle of Bute, Ascog House stands in the large and secluded grounds of the old mansion house of Ascog. Rothesay has many attractions including a golf club  and some magnificent Victorian toilets. Seals can often be seen on the beach at the end of the drive.

Bute is 15 miles long by 4 miles wide but there is lots to see and do. The West Island Way is an island long marked trail which can be tackled in sections – it’s a great way to see Bute’s flora and fauna and the views to Arran and Cowal. Ferries to Rothesay, Bute, run several times each day from Wemyss Bay and there is a connecting train service to Glasgow.

Close by is Mount Stuart (2.6 miles), a grand 19th-century mansion that houses the world's first indoor heated pool.

Discover local walks for dogs with our friends at, the dog walks community.

For more information on things to do during your stay at Ascog House, please see our Pinterest page. 

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.

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Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • Yes. You are welcome to bring up to two dogs. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if you have an assistance dog, for which there is no charge.
  • By a driveway from the main road.
  • Wemyss Bay – 11 miles (via ferry)
  • Yes, two spaces adjacent to the property.
  • There is gas central heating and an open fire.
  • Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit* Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker, separate freezer, dishwasher and microwave
  • There are two bathrooms, both have showers over baths.
  • The stairs are steep, spiral and narrow in places.
  • There are open grounds; with steps in places and also two unfenced ponds.
  • There is a Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge point, delivering a 7.2kW charge, at the property. You will need to request this facility at the time of booking to ensure the outlet has been enabled for your arrival. There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.
  • Yes, Tom's Tower housing a double bedroom and bathroom is approximately 20ft from the main house.
  • 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. Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
Booking and Payment
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two 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 and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • 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.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • 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!
Staying at a Landmark
  • 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.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • 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
  • 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. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • 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.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • 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.
  • 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). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
  • 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.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • 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.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.

Ascog given to the Bute family by Robert the Bruce

In 1312 Robert the Bruce is said to have given Ascog to the Bute family of Glass. In 1594 the estate, including a mill, Loch Ascog and Nether and Over Ascog, was bought by John Stewart of Kilchattan, a distant kinsman of the Stewarts of Bute who later became Earls and later Marquesses of Bute.

John Stewart may have built the first house at Ascog, replacing an older tower. Despite the date of 1678 above one of the dormer windows, the original Ascog House was earlier than that. With its stair tower and cap-house, it is of a type commonly built around 1600. Moreover, in the wall of the present kitchen is part of a grand chimneypiece. This belonged to a great hall whose floor and ceiling were both at a higher level than today.  In 1673 John Stewart of Ascog, grandson of the first John Stewart, married Margaret Cunningharn and it is their initials that are engraved on the house. They must have carried out a major reconstruction, lowering the floors to create two main storeys, and adding the dormer windows. John Stewart was rich enough to lend the Earl of Bute £9,385 to help re-build Rothesay Castle after damage in the Civil War. He was also crowner or coroner of Bute from 1666-98.

During the 18th century, the original mullion windows of Ascog House were enlarged and fitted with sash and casement frames. In 1773 another John Stewart, who had no children, made a complicated will intended to ensure that Ascog would always be owned by a Stewart. His heir, a cousin named Archibald McArthur, had therefore to change his name. Archibald Stewart was said to be both mean and eccentric – he kept pigs in his drawing room in Edinburgh – but he helped pay for a road from Rothesay to Ascog in 1813. He too had no children.  The next heir was a distant American cousin, Frederick Campbell. He tried to sell Ascog but the terms of the old will defeated him. His brother Ferdinand, a professor of mathematics in Virginia, succeeded where he had failed and sold Ascog in 1831 to the eminent engineer Robert Thom.

Ascog passed through various hands until in 1939 when it was bought by the Earl of Dumfries, later 5th Marquess of Bute. Meikle Ascog was lived in by Lord Rhidian Crichton Stuart, then let to a Mr Collins and finally to Patrick Crichton, who left in 1988. Ascog House was divided into several dwellings for estate employees, but structural problems began to appear and the house gradually emptied. To secure its future the late Lord Bute approached the Landmark Trust, as a charity which rescues and cares for historic buildings. In 1989 Ascog House, its gardens and the nearby Meikle Ascog were placed in Landmark’s care. 

For a short history of Ascog House please click here.

To read the full history album for Ascog House please click here.


Gutted by fire

When the Landmark Trust acquired the Ascog demesne in 1989, Ascog House needed complete restoration. This was done under the supervision of Stewart Tod and Partners of Edinburgh, architects with long experience of working for the Landmark Trust. The builders were A. Robertson and Co. of Greenock. Work started in 1990 but tragically, when it was nearly completed in June 1991, an unexplained fire gutted the house. After inevitable delays, work started again and Ascog House was finally furnished in June 1993.

Ascog House now looks as it should, the house of a Scottish gentleman of the 17th century, a typical laird's house with steep roof and crow stepped gables. What is fortunately not now obvious is that the house was greatly and badly enlarged in the mid 19th century. Servants' quarters were tacked onto the back, almost doubling the size of the house. Then in about 1900 a drawing room and staircase were added to the right of the front door.  With these additions the house was far too big for modern use. Moreover, to build on at the back, the ground had been dug away behind the house, exposing the foundations and leaving the back wall extremely insecure. The ground had been lowered in front too, to make what had been a half-basement into a full ground floor. If the building was to survive, the ground would have to go back to its original level. All the additions were therefore removed by the Landmark Trust except for the staircase that remains, as a tower, separate from the main house. 

The walls of the old house were reinforced and later windows and doors blocked for the same reason. The old door into the stair turret was reopened, with the ground level outside it restored. The walls were then harled with a mixture of lime and sand in the traditional manner. Inside, everything you see is new apart from the stone treads of the turnpike stair and the stone fireplace surrounds, which survived the fire. The new work, however, and particularly the joinery, is based on clues found in the building and evokes the appearance of the house in the eighteenth century.

If the appearance of Ascog House has changed dramatically since 1989, so too has that of the garden in front of it. This was entirely overgrown, but Mr Ian Chisholm, the gardener, gradually cleared it, reclaiming paths and steps from the tangle of undergrowth. It is now possible to see the late Victorian layout, but the character of a wild woodland garden remains. Mr Chisholm also worked on the water garden, discovering the old pipes for the ponds and water works with the help of water-diviner's rods.  The water comes from Loch Ascog and drains away into the sea. The wheels operating the six inch valves had not been turned for fifty years or more and were entirely rusted up, but they were all carefully cleaned and in 1993 there was a dramatic moment when the fountain spouted again.

Availability & booking

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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.