The six Scottish Highland castles where you can live like you’re in The Traitors

The second series of The Traitors is in full swing, the contestants careering through the Scottish Highlands firing giant catapults, setting fire to wicker men on steely loch shores and searching graveyards for buried treasure – but the surprise scene-stealer of the hooded-cloaked whodunit is romantic Ardross Castle and its gobsmackingly gorgeous setting about 20 miles north of Inverness.

The captivating camerawork and sweeping panoramas are a tourist board’s dream and, according to booking platform Trainline, have sparked a surge of bookings to Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, a 25 per cent increase on the previous year.

Those hoping to bed down in one of the turret towers, however, will be disappointed. It’s not a hotel. When the bell tolls at the end of each evening, even the Faithful and Traitors must slope off to their “lodgings”.

Luckily, Scotland has castles over every pine-forested peak; in some you can slumber in four-postered-splendour, others have cosy cottages and cabins in the grounds – or you can pitch your tent beneath the battlements.

Glenapp Castle, Ayrshire

Another television show catapulted this 19th-century Scottish Baronial pile into the limelight. There was a surge of bookings following the screening of the BBC’s Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby.

On the south-west coast, this ultra-swanky hotel has old-school wow-factor and not a minimalist bone to its name. It also does a good line in Traitor-style high-octane activities including a speedboat ride to the uninhabited island of Ailsa Craig for a gourmet picnic, Hebridean sea safaris, sea-kayaking, canoeing and coasteering, archery, axe-throwing and survival skills. Doubles from £323 B&B,

Glenapp Castle
Glenapp Castle hs already featured on the small screen (Photor: Nathan Rollinson)

Cawdor Castle, Inverness-shire

Shakespeare’s Macbeth knew a thing or two about treachery – and was the Thane of Cawdor. This medieval fortress with its moat and drawbridge, turrets and towers has been the Cawdor family seat for more than 600 years.

Dripping in Flemish tapestries, it’s currently home to the Dowager Countess of Cawdor. Her step-daughter-in-law, Isabella, was once a magazine stylist and after moving to the Highlands turned a handful of crofters’ and shepherds’ bothies on the estate into cosy holiday cottages.

Vivid cornflower blue Lochanshelloch sleeps six, rambling rose-framed Achneim, an old gamekeeper’s cottage, is a romantic pad for two.

Achneim Cottage from £809 per week, Lochanshelloch from £1,103 per week;,

Saddell Castle, Kintyre

On the remote Kintyre peninsula, with views from the battlements across the Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran, this 16th-century fortress dates to 1508 and was a Campbell stronghold for 400 years.

Now the Rapunzel-like tower is a Landmark Trust holiday let sleeping eight. The beach is on the doorstep for seal- and otter-spotting, swimming and bonfire-building – as are a cluster of other “lodgings” if you want a less austere base.

Saddell Lodge is a quaint stone cottage at the entrance to the bay, Cul-na-Shee, a cosy wooden cabin right on the shore.

Saddell Lodge sleeps four from £296 for four nights, Saddell Castle from £716 for four nights,

You can stay in cottages like Marble Lodge (Photo: Alexander Baxter)

Blair Castle, Perthshire

Disney could have designed this fairy-tale castle, the white-turreted ancestral seat of the Dukes of Atholl. In the Scottish Baronial entrance hall, there are muskets that were used in the Battle of Culloden, in the Tapestry Room a William and Mary bed dressed in ornate silks made by Huguenots in Spitalfields. You can’t stay in the castle – but it has a campsite that’s footsteps from the door, a handful of luxury lodges and cabins and cosy cottages such as Marble Lodge, an old shepherd’s house five miles up the remote Glen Tilt track with munro-bagging and wilderness walks on the doorstep along with a host of ranger-led activities.

Marble Lodge sleeps four, from £750 per week,

Kilmartin Castle, Argyll and Bute

It’s easy to imagine Traitors-style murder-mystery games being played out in this bijou 16th-century fortification once belonging to clan Campbell in a wild and windswept west coast glen.

Kilmartin Castle once belonged to Clan Campbell (Photo: Stef Burgon)

There are stone-flagged floors, barrel-vaulted ceilings, spiral staircases, flickering fires – and freestanding copper tubs. Available as an exclusive-let, with or without a private chef to whip up gourmet feasts there’s prehistoric rock art, standing stones and burial cairns to explore on the doorstep.

Rental from £1,000 per night (£100 per person),

Castle of Mey, Caithness

The late Queen Mother’s 16th-century holiday home on the remote north coast with its tiny turrets and two-acre walled rose garden is more homely than grand. Tours are peppered with personal anecdotes, the Corgies’ bowls still by the door.

In 2016, King Charles opened a guesthouse in the grounds – dubbed Heir B&B. The Granary Lodge, once an old grain store, was converted into a luxurious 10-room, chintz-heavy B&B. The drawing room opens out onto a terrace with views towards Orkney, while a gallery of black and white photographs of Royal family picnics show what your well-to-do neighbours get up to on their holidays.

Doubles from £247 B&B, minimum two-night stay,