Alicja McCarthy

Balfour Castle

  • Where:Orkney Islands
  • Why:A visit to the Highland Park distillery.
  • When:July 2014
  • Who:Whiskey lovers unite.
Get a

One of the many sitting rooms adorned with original art and furniture.

Did someone say Highland Park cocktails? Yes please, make mine with lavender & smokey.

A little relaxy-time in the wood-paneled library.

My huge bedroom with hand-painted De Gournay silk wallpaper and antique furniture.

Ridiculously picturesque views from my room across the archipelago.

More luxury in my bathroom.

The obligatory selfie in the parlour.

A delectable strawberry soufflé with milk ice-cream.

A day later the mist settled in across the ocean - eerie yet beautiful!

Balfour from the water.

The castle grounds.

Gorgeous sunny views of Balfour Castle as you approach.

Highs & Lows

  • Balfour Castle can be described as a museum of curiosities steeped in history thanks to a collection of meticulously restored paintings, furniture, taxidermy and tapestries.

  • The castle is managed by chef Jean-Baptise and his wife Elodie Bady, their level of service and attention to detail is unrivaled.

  • The scenery that surrounds the castle is gorgeous. Glorious skies, the ocean and happy cows all paint a beautiful picture.

  • The food served here is fantastic and locally sourced. Traditional yet inventive…you really won’t want to leave.

The Barometer

  • Design

  • Website

  • Environmental Consciousness

  • Night's Sleep

  • Service

  • Amenities

  • Takeable Treats

  • Refer a Friend

  • Overall Value

  • Life Changing

Total: 48/50

Important Bits

  • Type

    Luxury (exclusive stay) castle and dining retreat.

  • Vibe

    Elegant and regal with magical grandeur.

  • Location

    On the small Scottish island of Shapinsay, which is wonderfully remote.

  • Rooms


  • Music

    You’d expect a bit of Grieg or Elgar but actually, silence is golden here.

  • Year Opened

    Re-opened in 2010 for exclusive use.

  • Designed By

    Originally designed by David Bryce in 1845 it is now a family owned castle with a collection of antiques accumulated over years.

  • Pool/Gym

    A restored Bothy houses a pool with sauna & hot-tub.

  • Restaurant

    Award winning chef Jean-Baptiste Bady looks after the seasonal and local kitchen.

  • Bar

    Each of the many sitting rooms has a table full of local whisky and other spirits. The wine cellar can be explored on request.

  • Minibar

    Help yourself to a wee dram from one of the many corner tables full of booze and take it to your room.

  • Children

    Perfect for small parties of friends or family.

  • Price

    Very reasonable for the brand of unique luxury.

Just on the mainland...a mere boat ride away.

Highland Park Distillery

Highland Park Distillery, Holm Road, Kirkwall KW15 1SU, United Kingdom

Just on the mainland...a mere boat ride away.

Discover one of the many unspoilt beaches.



Discover one of the many unspoilt beaches.

Get your hands on hand-made artisan wares and accessories from pottery to knitwear.

Go on the Orkney Craft Trail


Get your hands on hand-made artisan wares and accessories from pottery to knitwear.

Balfour Castle

Unnamed Road, Orkney KW17 2DX, UK

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