Taymouth Castle, Kenmore

General Details and Location

Name of Building
Taymouth Castle
Other Name(s)
Balloch Castle
Planning Authority
Divisional Area
Reference No
Listing Category
OS Grid Ref
NN 78440 46523
Location Type
HS Reference No


Magnificent Neo-Gothic castle in mainly chlorite-slate ashlar. The main 4 storey block features circular angle towers that rise to 5 storeys. The castle is the result of several schemes of aggrandisement of what was originally the 16th century Balloch Castle, by no less than 5 important architects in little more than a century. The 1st Earl of Breadalbane employed William Adam in 1733 to design 2 classical wings which were linked to the medieval centrepiece by quadrant walls.

In 1799 the 3rd Earl largely demolished the old castle to the centre and a replacement block was begun in 1801 by John Paterson. A new scheme of 1806 by James and Archibald Elliot superseded this, and a new main block with Gothic cloister was completed in 1810, echoing Inveraray Castle. Subsequent extensions resulted in a building on a scale unrivalled in Scotland. In 1818 Adam's east wing was replaced, and by 1823 the west wing had been transformed and castellated.

New semi-irregular extensions were added by William Atkinson. The celebrated plasterer Francis Bernasconi decorated the rooms between 1809 and 1812. The interior was remodelled in 1835 by James Gillespie Graham, who designed the richly carved library and the gothic chapel (or banner hall). In the 1840s, J. G. Crace repainted and gilded the ceilings. The 18th century formal garden is possibly to a design by William Adam, although the grounds were modified and embellished throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. (Historic Scotland)

The castle and its contents were sold in 1922 and it became a hotel. The site operated as a Polish hospital during the war and was later leased to a civil defence school.
Building Dates
William Adam,John Paterson James Elliot, Archibald Elliot, William Atkinson, James Gillespie Graham

Category of Risk and Development History

Category of Risk
Exemptions to State of Risk
Field Visits
June 1990, July 2001, 13/10/2008, 31/08/2011, 19/2/2014
Development History
1979: The castle closes as a boarding school for American children and subsequently lies vacant. June 1990: SCT understands that the castle is lacking a sustained new use. The surrounding grounds now form a golf course. A phased programme of long term works to the ageing lead roof is in place. It is reported that the castle suffers from dry rot in places. Several plans for rehabilitation have been advanced over the years, but none have come to fruition. 30 August 1991: Press reports note that the owners are seeking partnerships with developers to renovate the castle back into a 150-200-bedrooom 5-star hotel. A second golf course would be created in the grounds. The scheme is estimated to cost between £15 and 20 million. 1996: Historic Scotland is in close contact with the owners regarding the future of the castle. Roof repairs have been carried out this year. 20 June 1997: The Scotsman reports that the castle and its grounds are now for sale at £5.5 million. May 1998: SCT understands the castle is now under offer. July 2001: External inspection reveals no major change. The grounds are well kept, and part of the ground floor appears to be in use as offices. 8 November 2002: The Perthshire Advertiser reports that the Four Seasons Hotel Group is preparing to submit £80 million proposals for a 140-bedroom luxury hotel. The Dundee Evening Telegraph repeats the story. 9 November 2002: The Dundee Courier repeats the story. 29 November 2002: The Metro reports that the castle has been purchased by the Four Seasons Hotel Group. 20 January 2003: The Scotsman reports that the castle could become only the world's second 7-star hotel. 21 April 2003: The Dundee Evening Telegraph reports that a formal application for the development has been lodged. This is to be followed by a separate application for developments in the grounds. 22 April 2003: The Perthshire Advertiser repeats the story. November 2003: Historic Scotland reports that new proposals have been put forward, which would see the castle largely unextended, but with an increased development in the grounds. December 2003: Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust notes that despite reports to the contrary, the castle remains in the ownership of Taymouth Castle Estates. Extensive plans for a 7-star hotel complex including over 100 new houses in the grounds have been lodged with Perth and Kinross Council. May 2004: SCT supports the conversion of hotel use, but expresses concern at some design elements, the proposed demolition of the courtyard/east wing, and a proposed extension. 2 August 2004: The Herald reports that the hotel development is likely to be approved, on condition that a colony of freshwater mussels in not disturbed. 5 August 2004: The Scotsman reports that councillors have approved the plans, although the decision will now be referred to the Scottish Executive following concerns raised by Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. 17 December 2004: The Dundee Courier reports that Hotels International may pull out of the project due to delays in processing the Listed Building Consent application. They were due to purchase the building on 31 December, but may withdraw their interest if permissions are not secured by this time. The Aberdeen Press and Journal repeats the story. 21 December 2004: The Perthshire Advertiser repeats the story. 24 December 2004: The Perthshire Advertiser provides further coverage of the story. 31 December 2004: The Perthshire Advertiser reports that the local MSP has written to the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport asking her to intervene. 7 January 2005: The Aberdeen Press and Journal reports that a decision on the development will now be referred to the Scottish Executive's inquiry reporter. 18 January 2005: The Scotsman reports that Hotels International has exercised its option to purchase the castle. The Perthshire Advertiser and Dundee Courier repeat the story. 20 January 2005: The Perth Herald and Post repeats the story. 9 March 2005: The Dundee Courier reports that works are expected to start in the summer. 25 May 2005: The Dundee Courier reports that owners Hotels International have set up Taymouth Highland Village Co. Ltd to carry out the development. Works will begin shortly, with the roof repaired first. 2 June 2005: The Perth Herald and Post repeats the story. 9 June 2005: The Licenced Trade News repeats the story. May 2006: Dundee Courier reports that works are presently ahead of schedule ands that works to date on site include the repair and replacement of some 300 windows, major roof works, repointing of stonework and the cleaning of 70 chimneys. June 2006: Local planners report that the castle is now wind and watertight. 9th August 2007: Courier & Advertiser reports that there are fresh signs that the multi-million pound development of the castle into Scotland's first six-star hotel had not lost momentum.
April 2008: The Courier and Advertiser reports on concerns from the local Community Council that restoration of the Castle appears to have stalled. The article reports on speculation that there may be financial difficulties on the project.
September 2008: The Sunday Herald reports on the restoration work taken place at Taymouth Castle by the developers, Hotels International, before works ceased approximately two years ago. The developers are quoted as stating they are very close to closing a deal which will assure the future of the property.
October 2008: External inspection finds the Castle in fair to good condition overall. The abandonment of the programme of restoration and conversion has resulted in the building being left vacant and uncompleted in terms of re-use. As the future for Taymouth Castle is uncertain, the record has been moved back to ‘at risk‘.
April 2009: The Herald reports that the company undertaking the restoration of Taymouth Castle have gone into administration. The Scotsman repeats the story and states that the windows and roof had been restored by the developers before works stopped in April 2008.
September 2010: The Courier reports on a potential purchasor for the Taymouth Castle. A pensions and investment company, Meteor Asset Management, is reported to have been in discussions with KPMG, as administrators, on the potential purchase of the 425 acre estate.
August 2011: Internal site visit, with site manager, finds that restoration is well advanced, having begun in Oct 2010. The roof has been stripped and reslated. All window frames have been restored and reinserted. The west wing has been repaired and re-rendered. The cast iron staircase and balcony have been restored. A major programme of internal restoration is nearing completion. The owners hope to open the castle as a hotel in the spring of 2012. Moved to Restoration in Progress.
28 March 2013: Local planners advise the owner of the site is understood to be Taymouth Castle Estates Ltd.
19 February 2014: External inspection finds all works have now stopped. The West wing appears to have been completed and fitted out and the East wing has new windows to front with boarded up windows to rear. The works site to the rear of the main block has been vacated. Moved back to At Risk.
13 January 2016: BARR is advised restoration works at the property re-commenced in 2015, moved to Restoration in Progress.

Guides to Development

Conservation Area
Planning Authority Contact
PAC Telephone Number
01738 476598


Current Availability
Not Available
Appointed Agents
Occupancy Type
Present/Former Uses
BARR original text : Residential to Hospital/Medical, Building Uses Information:
Present Use 1: N/A Former Use 1: Hotel/Hostel
Present Use 2: N/A Former Use 2: Residential, BARR original text : Hospital/Medical to Hotel/Hostel
Name of Owners
Taymouth Castle Estates Ltd
Type of Ownership

Information Services

Additional Contacts/Information Source
A number of manuscripts and facsimilies are held by the National Monuments Record of Scotland.
Campbell (1802); Carruthers (1996), p119; Dean and Miers (1990), pp138-139; Haynes (2000), pp123-125; Millar (1890), p145; Morris [1871]; Beautiful Britain (1894), p41; Perthshire Illustrated (1843); Country Life, 135 (3527) and (3528), 8 and 15 October 1964; Garden History, 22 (2), November 1994; Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, (2), 1854-1857; Traditional Interior Design, 2 (2), October/November 1987.
Online Resources
Country Houses, Mansions and Large Villas
Original Entry Date
Date of Last Edit