Agriturisms in Scotland

Scottish farm stays from $15 per person

14th century Fa'side Castle outside Edinburgh, Scotland
The 14th century Fa'side Castle just outside Edinburgh offer B&B rooms in the tower and self-catering cottages converted from ancient barns on the property from $38 per person per night (
Farm stays in Scotland can range from Shenval B&B organic farm in the Highlands near Loch Ness charging £26 ($39) per person (, to a room in the tower of the 14th century Fa'side Castle (or self-catering in one of the converted barns on the property) overlooking the Firth of Forth just 10 miles from Edinburgh city center from $38 per person per night (, to week-long stays in a stone cottage on the Orkney Islands with all meals and guided tours included for £800 ($1,207) total at the Gerraquoy Organic house (

How to find Scottish farm stays

Many local tourist offices have lists of local farm stays.

Sadly, few are listed in general guidebooks—but there are often farm stay guides available in local bookshops.

You can always just look for signs on country roads, pointing down rutted dirt tracks toward a farmhouse set among the fields.

If you want to find and book a few before you leave, here are the best online resources for finding farm stays all across Scotland:

Resources just in Scotland

Visit Scotland ( - That is a deep link to the page within the "Accommodations" section of the official Scottish tourism orginization's website that focuses on Scottish farm stays—more than 90 of them. (It might move, so you might have to root around if the link is broken.)

Farm Stay UK ( - Sometimes buggy site, but if you can get it to work it lists some 75 rural accommodation options in Scotland (farmhouse B&Bs, self-catering rural cottages, campgrounds, caravans, and rural hostels).

Visit Britain ( - In the past, the official U.K. tourism website has broken out farms under their accommodations listings. For unfathomable reasons, this is not currently the case (you have to root around the B&B listings to find them), but who knows? They might start giving us the option again in the future.

General/global resources

Organic Places to Stay ( - OK, nearly two-thirds of the listings here are lodgings that happen to offer organic food. The other third, however, are B&Bs, rental cottages, or homestays on working organic farms—including about 75 in Scotland.

ECEAT ( - The European Center for Eco Agro Tourism is a Dutch concern selling guidebooks to agritourism establishments across Europe. Its sister site (all in Dutch, but the details are easy enough to savvy) lists about three dozen in the U.K.

Become a farmhand; sleep for free - If you really want to get your hands dirty, sign up to become a temporary farmhand through one of two volunteer organizations: WWOOF ( and Helpx ( Full Story

What is a farm stay?

The concept behind agritourism (or farm stays, or guest ranches, or farmhouse B&Bs, or rural tourism, or whatever you want to call it) is simple: you spend the night as a guest on a working farm. From there, though, the concept flies off in many directions.

Sometimes you just hole up for the night in a B&B converted from a farmhouse.

Sometimes you actually stick around to do volunteer work for a few days (a week, two months, a year), as with the worldwide WWOOF and Helpx networks.

Sometimes, just renting a cottage in a rural area where sheep wander past your window is enough to count.

Ideally, the property's owners live on-site and are farmers who derive the bulk of their income from agriculture, using this newfangled form of tourism merely to help make ends meet.

In some countries, the practice of agritourism is highly regulated; in others, it’s a wild west of opportunities, and you have to pick carefully to avoid spending the night in a barn atop a pile of hay (unless that's what you want—I've done that in Switzerland, and it's great).

How much does a Scottish farm stay cost?

Double rooms at farm stay operation run anywhere from $15 to $400, but usually around $70 to $160.

What is a farm stay like?

I've stayed at loads of agriturisms: vineyards and dairy farms, barns amid olive groves and frescoed villas next to horse stables. Each stay has offered me a different experience of farm life for a fraction the cost of a hotel.

Many agriturisms require a two- or three-night minimum stay (for some, a week).

Roughly half accept credit cards.

Sometimes you get four-star luxury and satellite TV. Sometimes you’re a straw's-width from sleeping in a stall.

Most, though, are just what you'd expect from a farmhouse B&B: simple comforts, solid country furnishings, and rural tranquility—barnyard noises excepted.

The hosts tend to be a sight friendlier than your average hotel desk clerk. Some invite guests to dine with them, family-style, in the farmhouse. One shepherd let me stir a bubbling pot of sheep's milk to help it on its way to becoming pecorino cheese. Vineyard owners love to crack open bottles of their best to guide you through the finer points of wine tasting.



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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in November 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.