The Satnav is directing us towards a closed gate, there is an intercom and I press it, and pleasant girl answers and asks how she can assist us. I nervously say we are coming to the castle for afternoon tea. The gates proceed to smoothly open and as I get myself in gear, I look at Shannon and pleasantly bewildered, his look his the same. We have never been anywhere before that gates have been opened for us.
The single-track driveway is vast with towering trees, we pass a bubbling stream and then catch a glimpse of a grouse, followed by several of his mates. I slowly drive as we admire the views encasing us. We finally reach a sign saying the castle is to the right, but the road also continues past a gorgeous yet massive monkey puzzle tree. I carry on and we drive a little further around the grounds of castle estate.
Then we see the beautiful façade of the castle as we pull in to the car park, parking next to Lamborghinis and Land Rovers and dodging the cascading fountain in front of us, we see two Porters approach the car (but I haven’t changed into my pretty boots yet or popped on some more lip balm) the kind Porters open both our doors and help us out, ask us how we are and already know of our arrival (from the intercom girl). They open the massive wooden doors which if to be kept open would be using granite curling stones as the door stoppers.
We are shown the cloakrooms and our jackets are taken from us, we are then guided up a thick and gorgeous wooden staircase which leads to the parlour (my word but I bet that’s what it is called). Our table is not ready yet and we are asked to wait in the library, we look at each other with wide eyes and excitement – for we have spent many a time inside castles, but all on a guided tour, most are ruins or we cannot sit ourselves down on the plush couches after taking a book from the vast bookcases.
After a moment we are guided back through to the parlour (or dining room as we find out it is called) and are invited to take a seat on couch, behind us is views out across the estate and in the near distance the volcanic island Ailsa Craig (where granite is quarried for curling stones) If it were to be a clearer day, we are told we could catch views of Ireland. To the side we have vast drinks cabinets filled with whisky’s and wine, a grand piano is adjacent and as we are seated together, we have views to the other guests, who are relaxed and happily munching into their afternoon tea.
The staff are very attentive and all so pleasant, we are shown the tea menu, of which Shannon has a coffee and I start off with a loose leafed peppermint tea. Soon, a tray filled with finger sandwiches arrives with choices of Galloway smoked salmon & cream cheese, honey roast ham & Arran mustard, free range egg mayo and Isle of Mull cheese savoury. The sandwiches are not exactly dainty, which is great for us. Once we have enjoyed the sandwiches these are whisked away and replaced by a towering cake stand complete with scones, macarons and other scrumptious cakes.
We order another round of drinks; I opt this time for a loose leafed green tea sencha and Shannon has a earl grey blue flower, and we sit back and take in this vast and beautiful room before heading outside (armed with a map the waitress handed us) to view the 19th century Scottish baronial castle’s architecture from afar as we wander around and explore the castle grounds including the Italian gardens and the walled garden.
Glenapp Castle is a 5* hotel also and the photographs of the bedrooms look like something straight out of a period drama, prices are around £400 per night for a garden view or up to £700 per night for the master suite with sea view. Whilst we were enjoying afternoon tea, we heard a couple talking to the concierge about their upcoming wedding and they were discussing what activities to do. The activities and experiences on the estate range from deer hunting, shooting, boat tours to Ailsa Craig, sea safaris and a range of sports.
Afternoon tea starts at £35 per person
We were invited to afternoon tea by the castle, all thoughts are our own, and we will only ever recommend places that we genuinely like