The Culloden was built in 1876 by a Mr William Auchinleck Robinson, JP and former MP. It took two and a half years to complete, and most of the stone came from Scotland by boat, arriving in the County Down fishing village of Portaferry and being brought to the site by horse and cart.
Mr Robinson carefully chose his site in Cultra within the townland of Craigavad and only 6 miles from the centre of Belfast. He was conscious of the fact that its situation on the Eastern side of Belfast Lough had certain climatic advantages. The site benefited from the shelter of the Holywood Hills, and the cold North and North Easterly winds seemed to lose their strength as they crossed the expanse of the Lough before reaching Craigavad. Consequently, the locality’s temperature was about 3 degrees higher than in Belfast!
Culloden Estate and Spa History
Over the past one hundred years, the Culloden Estate and Spa has proven to be one of the finest and most luxurious hotels in Ireland. Please download our brochure for more information.View Now
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The origins of Northern Ireland’s longest established five-star hotel go back to 1876 when leading Belfast stockbroker William Auchinleck Robinson JP had a beautiful stone villa built on a magnificent wooded site at Craigavad, Cultra.
At the end of the 19th century, Culloden House became the official residence of the Lord Bishop of Down, Connor and Dromore, and was known as The Bishop’s Palace. Four bishops lived here including Bishops lived here including Bishop Crozier who later became Archbishop of Armagh.
Culloden House changed hands several times during the 20th century. In the early sixties it was converted into a boutique hotel by the owner of White’s Home Bakery, Rutledge White. It became widely known for its elegant ambience, French furnishings, beautiful paintings and excellent food.
THE HASTINGS ERA
The hotel was bought by Sir William Hastings in 1967. Since then it has been expanded and has become internationally renowned for its luxury. In 1996 the Culloden Estate and Spa became the first hotel in Northern Ireland to be granted five star-status.
Culloden House was the official residence of the Bishops of Down, Connor and Dromore from 1898 until about 1920. All the bishops bore this staff or crozier, as a symbol of their office, including the aptly-named JB Crozier who served between 1907 and 1911. The crozier continued to be used until 2007.