By Joyce Reid

It's sometimes nice to have a break in somebody else's home. It's sometimes nice just to stay in a place whose family history you know. And it's nice to stay somewhere that is a bit different from your own home, where you can almost pretend to be someone else.

A stay in Glamis House gives you all these things. It sits, beyond its private, gated drive, in the village of Glamis and was built in 1800 to be the accommodation of Patrick Proctor, the Factor to the 10th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. As befits a house on the estate that was the childhood home of Elizabeth Bowes-Lyons, who became Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and was the birth place of Princess Margaret, this is a beautifully appointed property.

The royal connections are all there. The Queen's great grandfather, Edward VII (whose mother was Queen Victoria), was brought up in this house as a child. Glamis Castle has been home to the Lyon family since the 14th century , but it was only this year that Simon Bowes-Lyon, the 19th Earl of Strathmore and Kinhorne decided to renovate the house and use it as self-catering accommodation. And what a renovation!

It was done from top to bottom. Like any old house, the windows, guttering and plumbing had to be updated, there were leaky roofs to repair and electrics to renew, all of which was taken care of by local businesses. But once all that was done, designer Iona Drummond Moray, had the spectacular task of furnishing it. She said that she "lived this project for six months". Most of the furniture came from the castle, much of it from the attic.

Iona said: "The poor men who had to carry all these pieces from the top of the castle."

Tommy Baxter, general manager of Glamis, who oversaw the project said: "It has been so nice to see these old pieces re-upholstered. I didn't recognise most of them when I saw them come into the house."

It is important to state that the house has been renovated, not modernised. The bathroom and kitchen fittings are original, and the furniture is totally in keeping with the building. Although there is central heating, all the open fires are functional, and visitors will be supplied with kindling and logs. Tommy says: "We want people to come here to experience genuine country living. It is old-fashioned and homely, but not so grand it is intimidating."

This, then, is the place to come if you would like to sit in the drawing room where the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret were regularly entertained. You can sleep in the master bedroom, where the Queen slept, or perhaps in Princess Margaret's room, which has the most charming, idiosyncratic bathroom ever.

The classic Georgian house sleeps up to 12 people and has a walled garden that replicates the garden at Holyrood Palace, as well as access to two-and-a-half acres of grounds. It has a heated full-size therapy swimming pool in the games room and access to a full range of sporting pursuits on the Strathmore Estates. It is certainly grand, but it has a homely feel too, with its Aga (though there is also a conventional oven and gas hob for those unsure of using an Aga) and small breakfast room, just off the kitchen. And though you will experience genuine country living, looking out to the peaceful Angus countryside, you are less than two hours away from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, with St Andrews less than an hour away.

Tommy said: "Glamis House fills a gap for us. Quite often we have high-profile visitors, or guests at weddings or other functions but we never had the right accommodation to put them up."

He continued: "We could do marquee weddings here, small and intimate, and full of history. Or you could go down to the castle and have even more history. Or you could have a weekend here and finish off with a gala dinner on the last night." For those who truly want to experience living like the Royals, Glamis House can provide a housekeeper, butler and cook for the duration of your stay.

For more details, or to book the house, please contact Doreen Stout on 01307 840393, or