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Travel experts pick Scotland’s best B&B – a stunning old church

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Travel experts pick Scotland’s best B&B – a stunning old church

A BEAUTIFUL B&B, in an old converted church, has been named the best in Scotland at the prestigious AA Awards.

Every year the AA celebrate the best inns, restaurants with rooms and B&Bs that go ‘above and beyond’ for their guests.

The Auld Kirk in Ballater named Scotland's B&B of the Year

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The Auld Kirk in Ballater named Scotland’s B&B of the YearCredit: Supplied
The Auld Kirk is in pretty Ballater village in Royal Deeside,

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The Auld Kirk is in pretty Ballater village in Royal Deeside,Credit: Getty
King Charles and Queen Camilla are often seen in the village while staying at nearby Balmoral Castle.

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King Charles and Queen Camilla are often seen in the village while staying at nearby Balmoral Castle.Credit: Getty

From a castle nestled in the Highlands to a quintessential English inn with a Bridgerton flair, this year’s lineup celebrates the finest across the Britain.

The ultimate winners for Scotland, England and Wales will now be pitted against each other when they go through to the annual finals in September.

The Scottish winner of B&B of the Year was The Auld Kirk in Ballater, Aberdeenshire, a favourite haunt of the Royals while they holiday at nearby Balmoral Castle.

The AA inspectors said: “This Victorian Scottish Free Church building has been carefully converted into a warm guest house and is now hosted by welcoming proprietors Helen & Kevin.

“Many original features of the kirk have been restored and incorporated in the design.

“Excellent homecooked breakfasts, using the finest local produce, are served at the table in the characterful dining room.”

And the Restaurant with Rooms award went to remote 13th century Mingary Castle in Kilchoan, on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, beside the Sound of Mull.

Mingary Castle is situated on a rocky outcrop in Kilchoan with incredible sea views

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Mingary Castle is situated on a rocky outcrop in Kilchoan with incredible sea viewsCredit: Supplied
Stunning dining room at Mingary Castle

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Stunning dining room at Mingary Castle

It overlooks the sea and was the seat of Clan MacIain for over 300 years before it was abandoned and went to ruin.

In 2016, after a three year restoration, it opened to the public, offering a restaurant and four suites, featuring four poster beds, Caithness stone flooring and lavish furnishings.

The AA inspectors were impressed by the ‘luxurious bedrooms’ and stunning views.

They said: “Built within the 13th-century curtain walls of Mingary Castle, this restaurant with rooms is unique and individual, with high levels of quality, charm and character.

“Luxurious feature bedrooms and en suites combine with a stunning restaurant showcasing great technical skill.

“Guests can explore the top of the curtain wall or climb down the staircase towards the sea and the viewing platform to take in the Isle of Mull just across the water.”

The Inn of the Year for Scotland title was won by the Kildrummy Inn in Kildrummy, near Alford, Aberdeenshire.

The 2 AA rosette winner and former winner of the Fine Dining Restaurant of the year, has a cosy bar and serves up dishes using local produce in it’s stone-walled restaurant.

The inspectors said of it: “Located in the heart of rural Aberdeenshire, Kildrummy Inn is the perfect base for touring the Grampian Mountains and beyond.

Get In - Kildrummy Inn, Aberdeenshire named as Scotland's best Inn

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Get In – Kildrummy Inn, Aberdeenshire named as Scotland’s best InnCredit: Supplied

“This family run, traditional inn combines a harmonious blend of luxury heritage, tradition and nature to form the quintessential Scottish getaway.

“The lounge bar, with a roaring fire and a good selection of beers and whiskies, is a great place in which to while away the time. No visit would be complete without sampling the food on offer, with indulgent, award-winning cuisine capturing the essence of the dramatic Cairngorms landscape.”

Now in its 28th year, the 2024 AA B&B Awards inspected the bed and breakfast scene across England, Wales and Scotland, marking them on the standard of housekeeping and the all-important breakfast, as well as levels of hospitality and attentive service.

Simon Numphud, Managing Director at AA Hotel & Hospitality Services, said: “This year we have a very rich B&B scene across the UK, showcasing an extraordinary level of individuality and the very highest standards of hospitality.

“The calibre of the nine worthy winners represents the very best from across Scotland, Wales and England. With so many to choose from, holidaymakers can explore Britain, enjoying a comfortable sleep and delicious breakfast in an array of B&Bs wherever they decide to go.”

AA Inn of the Year in England went to The Cartford Inn, Great Ecclestone, Lancashire and in Wales to the Y Talbot in Tregaron, Ceredigion.

The Restaurant with Rooms award for England was won by Boys Hall, Ashford, Kent and The Checkers, Montgomery in Powys won the title for Wales.

Read more on the Scottish Sun

Gorgeous Boys Hall in Ashford, Kent was named the best Restaurant with rooms in England

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Gorgeous Boys Hall in Ashford, Kent was named the best Restaurant with rooms in EnglandCredit: Supplied

The Bed and Breakfast of the Year in England was awarded to Mallard Grange, Ripon, North Yorkshire and in Wales it was given to Bryn Derwen in Llandudno, Conwy.

Discover all the top B&Bs across the UK here

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