Balfour Castle

Balfour Castle: The Enchanting Isle of Orkney’s Treasure

Have you ever dreamt of escaping to a fairy tale castle nestled in a picturesque island? Look no further than Balfour Castle, located on the enchanting Isle of Orkney. This hidden gem offers a unique blend of history, luxury, and natural beauty that is sure to leave you enchanted.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the charm of Balfour Castle, located on the Isle of Orkney.
  • Explore the rich history and unique architecture of this hidden gem.
  • Experience the luxurious accommodation and dining options available at the castle.
  • Indulge in outdoor activities and exclusive experiences offered on the castle’s grounds.
  • Consider Balfour Castle as a magical venue for weddings and special events.

History of Balfour Castle

Balfour Castle has a fascinating history dating back to the late 1840s, when it was built by David Balfour, a wealthy Scottish merchant and banker. The castle was designed by renowned Scottish architect David Bryce, who also designed the famous Fettes College in Edinburgh.

David Balfour spared no expense in creating his dream home, importing Italian marble, French wallpaper, and furniture from around the world.

Over the years, Balfour Castle changed hands several times, with various owners adding their own touches to the estate, including the creation of stunning gardens and the addition of a chapel.

During World War II, the castle was used as a naval headquarters and later as a school. It fell into disrepair in the post-war years, until it was purchased in 1969 by the late Mr. Brian Young, who spent over 30 years restoring it to its former glory.

Today, Balfour Castle is a testament to the vision and style of its original owner, while also showcasing the efforts of subsequent owners to maintain its grandeur and unique character.

The Architecture and Design of Balfour Castle

Balfour Castle’s unique architecture and design elements are a testament to its rich history. The castle’s distinctive features are a fusion of Gothic and Tudor styles, creating a grand and imposing structure that stands out in its surroundings.

The castle’s construction began in 1846 under the direction of David Bryce, a prominent Scottish architect. Bryce incorporated many unique elements into the design, including the grand entrance hall, ornate stone carvings, and the majestic tower on the eastern side of the castle.

Architectural Features Design Elements
The grand entrance hall with its tall ceilings and intricate woodwork The wall paintings, tapestries, and antique furniture that adorn the interior
The imposing tower on the eastern side of the castle The stunning stained-glass windows that reflect the castle’s history and heritage
The ornate stone carvings that adorn the exterior of the castle The beautiful gardens that surround the castle, adding to its enchanting charm

The craftsmanship that went into constructing Balfour Castle is remarkable, and it is a true masterpiece of architectural design. The castle’s interior decor is equally impressive, with wall paintings, tapestries, and antique furniture that reflect the castle’s heritage and history.

If you appreciate beautiful architecture and design, a visit to Balfour Castle is a must. Its unique blend of Gothic and Tudor styles, stunning stained-glass windows, and beautiful gardens make it a truly remarkable experience.

Exploring the Grounds of Balfour Castle

One of the most enchanting aspects of Balfour Castle is the breathtaking estate that surrounds it. Spanning over 5,000 acres, the castle’s grounds offer a picturesque escape into the heart of the Isle of Orkney.

The Enchanting Gardens

Balfour Castle’s gardens are an absolute delight, offering visitors a tranquil oasis to explore and unwind. The gardens are divided into several sections, each with its unique charm and allure. The Walled Garden, for instance, features an array of vibrant flower beds, while the Kitchen Garden is home to a variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that are used in the castle’s dishes.

The Castle’s Head Gardener is always on hand to offer insight into the gardens’ history and to answer any questions visitors may have.

Scenic Views

From the castle’s grounds, visitors can take in panoramic views of the Orkney coastline and the tranquil waters of the Atlantic. The estate features several walking trails that lead visitors through the rugged landscapes of the island, providing ample opportunities to experience its beauty up close.

Notable Landmarks and Attractions

Within the estate, there are several notable landmarks and attractions worth exploring. The Italian Chapel, for instance, is a stunning example of the creativity and resilience of the human spirit. Built by Italian prisoners of war during World War II, the chapel features exquisite frescoes and stained glass windows.

The estate is also home to several species of wildlife, including otters, seals, and a variety of birdlife.

Overall, Balfour Castle’s grounds offer an enchanting escape into the heart of the Isle of Orkney. Whether visitors are looking to explore the castle’s gardens, take in the scenic views, or discover the island’s history, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Accommodation at Balfour Castle

Staying at Balfour Castle is a unique experience that transports guests to a bygone era of opulence and luxury. The castle offers six individually designed, spacious suites, each with its own distinctive features and character. Guests can choose from a range of room types, including double and twin rooms, as well as family suites that cater to larger groups.

Each room at Balfour Castle is a work of art, with antique furnishings and beautiful artwork adding to the ambiance of the castle. The rooms are equipped with all the modern amenities that guests require for a comfortable stay, including en-suite bathrooms, high-speed Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs with satellite channels.

For those seeking ultimate luxury, the Castle Suite is the perfect choice. This suite is located in the castle’s tower and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It features a grand four-poster king-size bed, a separate living area, and a spacious en-suite bathroom with a bathtub.

Guests can also make use of the castle’s other facilities, including the library, billiards room, and beautiful gardens. The castle also has a bar and restaurant that serves up delicious meals made from locally sourced ingredients.

Staying at Balfour Castle is an unforgettable experience that combines the elegance of a bygone era with all the modern amenities that guests require for a comfortable stay. Book your stay now and discover the charm of this enchanting castle!

Activities and Experiences at Balfour Castle

There is no shortage of things to do at Balfour Castle. From outdoor pursuits to cultural events, guests can indulge in a range of activities and experiences during their stay.

Outdoor Activities

With the castle’s location on the Isle of Orkney, guests can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and golfing. The estate offers miles of scenic trails and picturesque landscapes perfect for exploring on foot or bike. For those looking to cast a line, there are numerous fishing spots nearby, where you can catch salmon and other local fish. And for golf enthusiasts, there is a golf course within the castle’s grounds.

Cultural Experiences

Balfour Castle offers a range of cultural activities, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the rich history and traditions of the Isle of Orkney. Guests can participate in guided tours of the castle and the nearby attractions, such as the standing stones of Stenness and Maeshowe. There are also opportunities to learn about the island’s Viking heritage, with activities such as archery and axe throwing.

Exclusive Experiences

Balfour Castle offers a range of exclusive experiences for guests, providing them with a truly unique and unforgettable stay. From private dining experiences to whiskey tastings, guests can indulge in luxury and fine living at its best. The castle staff can also arrange for helicopter tours, sailing trips, and other bespoke experiences, ensuring that guests have the time of their lives during their stay.

So, whether you’re a nature lover or a culture enthusiast, Balfour Castle has something for everyone. Book your stay now and experience the best of the Isle of Orkney.

Dining at Balfour Castle

Indulge in a culinary experience fit for royalty at Balfour Castle’s exceptional restaurant. Enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared by skilled chefs using only the freshest local ingredients, paired with a carefully curated selection of fine wines.

The elegant dining room offers a sophisticated ambiance, complete with a grand fireplace and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. For a more intimate dining experience, private dining rooms are available for groups or couples seeking a romantic evening.

The restaurant also caters to special dietary requirements, ensuring every guest can savor the exquisite flavors and unparalleled service at Balfour Castle.

For those seeking a more relaxed atmosphere, guests can enjoy casual dining in the castle’s lounge or choose to dine al fresco on the terrace, taking in the breathtaking scenery while enjoying a light lunch or afternoon tea.

Whether indulging in a romantic dinner for two or enjoying a celebratory feast with friends and family, Balfour Castle’s dining experience is not to be missed.

Weddings and Events at Balfour Castle

Balfour Castle is more than just a luxurious accommodation option; it is also an enchanting venue for weddings and events.

Offering a unique and romantic backdrop, Balfour Castle provides the perfect setting for your special day. With a variety of exquisite ceremony locations, such as the stunning Great Hall or the charming chapel, you can exchange vows in an extraordinary atmosphere.

Furthermore, the castle’s meticulously maintained gardens and picturesque grounds offer great photo opportunities to capture timeless memories of your special day.

The castle’s experienced team is dedicated to ensuring that your event is nothing but spectacular. A dedicated wedding planner will work with you to customize your wedding or event according to your personal preferences, and the castle’s chef will work with you to create a menu that suits your taste buds.

Whether you are planning a fairy tale wedding, a milestone anniversary celebration, or a corporate event with a difference, Balfour Castle’s unique charm and attention to detail make it a popular choice for all special occasions.

So why not celebrate in style at one of Scotland’s most hidden treasures? Contact Balfour Castle’s event team to discuss your bespoke requirements for a truly unforgettable experience.


Overall, Balfour Castle on the Isle of Orkney is a treasure waiting to be discovered. Its rich history, unique architecture and design, picturesque grounds, luxurious accommodations, diverse activities and experiences, exceptional dining, and event facilities make it a must-visit destination.

Whether you’re interested in immersing yourself in history, exploring beautiful gardens, or seeking a luxurious castle experience, Balfour Castle has everything you need to create unforgettable memories. The Isle of Orkney is a hidden gem with hidden treasures waiting to be explored, and Balfour Castle is one of the highlights.

If you’re planning a special event or a romantic getaway, Balfour Castle is the perfect location. The enchanting ambiance, exceptional services, and breathtaking surroundings will make your special moments even more memorable.

So, pack your bags and head to the Isle of Orkney for a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Balfour Castle. You won’t be disappointed.


Q: What is the history of Balfour Castle?

A: Balfour Castle has a rich history that dates back several centuries. It was constructed in the mid-19th century and has since been passed down through generations of the Balfour family. Notable events and figures have shaped the castle into the enchanting treasure it is today.

Q: What makes Balfour Castle’s architecture and design unique?

A: Balfour Castle’s architecture and design are truly remarkable. The castle features distinctive features and intricate craftsmanship that showcase its historical charm. Inside, guests will find beautifully decorated interiors that add to the enchanting ambiance.

Q: What can I explore on the grounds of Balfour Castle?

A: The grounds of Balfour Castle offer a picturesque setting for guests to enjoy. Take a stroll through the enchanting gardens, soak in the scenic views, and discover any notable landmarks or attractions within the castle’s estate.

Q: What accommodation options are available at Balfour Castle?

A: Balfour Castle offers luxurious accommodation options that allow guests to experience the splendor of sleeping in a historic castle. The rooms are beautifully appointed and offer modern amenities for a comfortable stay.

Q: What activities and experiences can I enjoy at Balfour Castle?

A: There are a variety of activities and experiences for guests to enjoy during their stay at Balfour Castle. From outdoor pursuits to cultural events and exclusive experiences within the castle’s grounds, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Q: What dining options are available at Balfour Castle?

A: Balfour Castle boasts exquisite dining options that showcase culinary delights. Guests can indulge in the castle’s restaurant(s) and experience unique dining experiences that will satisfy their palates.

Q: Can I host weddings and events at Balfour Castle?

A: Absolutely! Balfour Castle is a sought-after venue for weddings and special events. With its enchanting ambiance, excellent facilities, and impeccable service, it creates a magical setting for celebrations that will be cherished for a lifetime.