Saddell House

Saddell, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute

Overview

Saddell House is a light, spacious and rather grand house, rebuilt in 1900 on an 18th-century core. Make the most of staying in a Scottish country seat as well as the stunning beauty of the Kintyre coast and Arran beyond. 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
  • Outside Dining FurnitureOutside Dining Furniture
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • RemoteRemote
  • ShowerShower
  • Table Tennis TableTable Tennis Table
  • Washing MachineWashing Machine

Beds 1 Single, 4 Twin, 2 Double

Sleeps
13
4 nights from
£715 equivalent to £13.75 per person, per night

A bay of wild and unspoilt beauty

The house commands and overlooks the centre of Saddell Bay with wide views of the Isle of Arran on one side and up the glen on the other. Memories of the house's past and  residents' hunting achievements are never far away, with stags’ heads surveying its particularly fine panelled dining room.

Saddell Bay looks out across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran on the east coast of Kintyre. Here, there was once an ancient abbey, and around 1500 the spot was chosen by the Bishop of Argyll for a new castle, planted boldly near the shore at the mouth of a small river. By 1600 the Campbells owned the castle and they built Saddell House as a more modern residence in the 18th century. The whole of Saddell Bay with its long white strand and rocky point now belongs to Landmark, including the castle, this later mansion and four cottages. Each building stands alone and those who stay in them can explore the the whole bay in all its wild and unspoilt beauty.

Fortunately repaired after a fire in 1899

Saddell House was built in 1774 by Colonel Donald Campbell. The Colonel had fought gallantly in India, earning promotion to become Commandant of Madras. He returned to Scotland in 1771, wounded but with rich recompense from the Nawab of Arcot. It was no doubt this that enabled him to build Saddell House, which he positioned on the edge of the beach to take advantage of views across both the Kilbrannan Sound towards Arran and the fertile plain inland. It was a typical Scottish laird’s house of its period, with generously proportioned rooms and large light windows.

The house proved a good base for hunting and fishing, and it was while an eventual tenant, a Reverend Bramwell, was out shooting in September 1899 that disaster struck. A chimney fire spread to the attic, destroying the roof and gutting the house. Only the walls and a fine set of service rooms in the basement survived. Fortunately for us, Saddell House was judged worthy of repair and rebuilt almost at once. It became what it remains today: an  Edwardian house for a generation or three to spend a holiday together, close enough to an outdoors life but also a comfortable haven from the elements.

Floor Plan

‘You will always see seals in Torrisdale Bay 10 mins. away.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Saddell House sits at the centre of Saddell bay on the edge of the beach enjoying views across the Kilbrannan Sound towards Arran and the woodland inland. 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 House.

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 House
Saddell, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute
Clear directions

‘You will always see seals in Torrisdale Bay 10 mins. away.’

From the logbook

FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • 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 five cars adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There is oil-fired central heating and an open fire.
  • 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, an upright freezer and a microwave.

  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There are four bathrooms, two with showers and two with baths.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are wide but not particularly steep.
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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 webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • 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
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • 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.
  • 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!

    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). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter 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.
History

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.

In 1556 Saddell was transferred to James Macdonald, who had been 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, which he did. 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 the Campbells tried to make the Castle more comfortable, but must have felt they were fighting a losing battle, because in about 1774 Colonel Donald Campbell (1726-84) decided to build a new and more convenient home, which he called Saddell House. Colonel Campbell had served in India with distinction but was wounded in 1771 and it seems likely that a reward from the Nawab of Arcot provided the funds to build Saddell House. The Colonel’s new house was Classical in style and is typical of the country seats built by the merchants and military men returning after a successful career overseas during this time of prosperity in Scotland.

With three storeys, generously proportioned rooms across four floors and large windows, Saddell House was in marked contrast to the castle, with its small, defensive windows and turnpike stairs. The house commands perhaps the best position right at the centre of the bay and was carefully aligned to look out both across the Kilbrannan Sound onto the Ailsa Craig and back up Saddell Glen. A natural change in level allowed the house to be entered at piano nobile level on the landward side, while originally also affording the basement rooms views across the beach. The house was always approached along a carriageway over the bridge across the burn, but its original front entrance was centrally positioned through a portico beneath the pediment. An early drawing shows two small pavilions flanking the house but we have found no physical evidence of these. Sometime in the first half of the 19th century, the sunken area was created all around the house, and then in the later Victorian period, the Classical symmetry of a central entrance was sacrificed for a roomy, two storey porch block, added to the western end.

In 1899, however, there was a disastrous fire. This was during the tenure of Colonel Macleod, great-great-nephew of the builder of Saddell House and who had also just refurbished Saddell Castle. The house was let at the time to an English shooting party and while they were out a fire in the kitchen chimney is thought to have spread to joists in a lumber room. The house was gutted, only walls and porch block remaining. This led to extensive refurbishment, so that internally today the house presents more of a late Victorian than Georgian appearance. A complete set of servants’ rooms remains on the basement floor, including a game room and kitchen with range - this floor was left relatively undamaged by the fire.

On the ground floor, the butler’s pantry on the ground floor has survived with all its Edwardian fittings, and on each landing is a maid’s cupboard with sturdy shelves for bedlinen and a sink, all providing a fascinating record of existence in such country seats. The reception rooms and bedrooms are all large, some with bay windows looking out across the shore.

In 1937 the Saddell Estate was bought by Colonel and Mrs Moreton. During the war, when (the then) Captain Moreton was recalled to active service, Saddell House became home to children evacuated from Glasgow as well as to the Moreton’s own children. The boys slept in the attic and the girls on the first floor and though these were tense days, it seems many happy memories were generated.

The Landmark Trust’s involvement with the estate and buildings at Saddell Bay on Kintyre dates back to 1975. The estate and its buildings were purchased from Colonel and Mrs Moreton to enable them to survive and Mrs Moreton was given a life tenancy of Saddell House, which came to an end in 1998.

Experience the house

For up to 13 people

Saddell House is a light, spacious and rather grand house, rebuilt in 1900 on an 18th-century core. It combines the experience of staying in a Scottish country seat with the stunning beauty of the Kintyre coast and Arran beyond.

Book a stay
Restoration

Thanks to two generous private donations

Landmark refurbished Saddell House in 2004, with the help of two very generous private donors. Externally, the windows were repaired and overhauled. The present harling is cemetitious and was probably applied after the fire in 1899. It has been left for now and repainted to match traces found of the original 18th-century colour. In time, we will hope to replace it with a more traditional lime harling. The stone dressings have also been repainted, as have the window dressings and portico in a darker grey as is traditional in Scotland, specially mixed by our decorator.

The railings around the area (or basement well) have been extensively repaired and overhauled. Electrical cables were buried and new drainage installed. There is no doubt that Colonel Donald Campbell originally intended the view towards Arran to be enjoyed and so we also felled some of the conifers to the front of the house, planted by the Moretons in the 1930s but grown so tall that they were hemming the house in.

Internally, the work done was almost entirely ordinary maintenance, repair and redecoration, carried out mostly by Landmark’s own small internal team of craftsmen, together with local contractor Roly Mauchline and electrical contractor Jim Martin. The original dining room and Colonel Moreton’s Rod Room on the ground floor were made into bedrooms (as indeed the former may originally have been) and the 18th-century entrance hall or Trophy Room became the dining room. The house was completely rewired and a new central heating system installed. A shower was added to the porch, to aid recovery for those brave enough to bathe in the Kilbrannan Sound and also to provide ground floor bathroom facilities. Much of the panelling and joinery was re-grained and a replacement sink put in the butler’s pantry.

We altered the location of the bathroom on the attic floor to provide better views. Otherwise, the attic floor was made weathertight but is not furnished. The basement, which was largely untouched by the fire and so retains much of its 18th-century form, has been left unfurnished for Landmarkers to explore the large kitchen, game room and laundry room.

Experience the house

For up to 13 people

Saddell House is a light, spacious and rather grand house, rebuilt in 1900 on an 18th-century core. It combines the experience of staying in a Scottish country seat with the stunning beauty of the Kintyre coast and Arran beyond.

Book a stay
Video



                                                      

Availability & booking

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.