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Have the kind of family for whom a Carnival cruise or a weekend in the Poconos won’t cut it? You need a place where all those other families won’t bother you—and you won’t kill one another. Maybe a nice private home. A really big private home. Overseas, perhaps. Maybe, you know, like a castle.
Loyd & Townsend-Rose rents out a remarkable selection of estates, with a concentration of more than 30 in Scotland; some can accommodate up to 48 people (sorry, “no room” won’t be a valid reason to exclude your gin-soaked brother). A typical property—though it’s strange to call anything this splendid “typical”Â—is Birkhill, home to various earls and countesses of Dundee since 1780. Its huge stone edifice commands the coast of Fife, with a view across the River Tay of the city of Dundee. Lady Dundee takes great pride in her gardens, with their rare ancient trees and exotic plants that her ancestors brought home from their world travels over the centuries. There are big pink Himalayan magnolias, and figs, apricots, and peaches show up regularly on the breakfast table. As at the other rentable castles, guests have complete run of the grounds and home, with its twelve fairy-tale bedrooms and family portraits peering from the walls.
The heated swimming pool, private beach, tennis courts, and croquet lawn will keep you all busy; the storied St. Andrews golf course, the game’s Ur-links, is a short drive away. The gillie will show you where the salmon are snapping, and the chef will turn them into dinner.
When I visited, the Dundees’ lively daughter, Lady Lavinia, regaled us over dinner with tales of her meeting that day with a lad named William. Prince William. Later, Lady Dundee lit the fire in my glorious bedroom and slipped a hot-water bottle between the sheets of my canopied bed before wishing me sweet dreams. That’s right: Nobility waiting on you, however ignoble you and your kin may be.
Loyd & Townsend-Rose rents Scottish castles for $40,000 and up a week (44-1573-229797; ltr.co.uk).