Scotland boasts a number of grand country houses you can hire for exclusive use, but few are as flexible as Colstoun. At this historic retreat in East Lothian, within half an hour’s drive of Edinburgh, you can stage a big event, enjoy a special anniversary with your extended family or just treat yourself and a small group of friends to a unique night away. The house reclines in expansive grounds, with riverside walks on hand and a cookery school in the grounds. In the interior, tartan twee is eschewed in favour of a more neutral tone in keeping with the house’s Unionist history. The Unionist theme continues with a ceiling carving based around the historic marriage between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, with the thistle and rose rooms echoing Scotland and England (Scottish patriots might not be impressed that the rose room is twice the size!). Four poster beds abound as well as art and all manner of knickknacks that evoke the colonies in a house that manages to feel like a home from home. If you are a laird or lord that is! Sleeps from six people to 26.

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