The designed landscape was laid out in the mid-18th century and was improved during the mid-19th century probably under the influence of John Buonartii Papworth, a well known architect and landscape designer. Later planting, particularly in the pleasure grounds, was designed by William Dewar. There are references to James Ramsay possibly having worked at Cally.
The first known proprietor, named Stewart, lived at Cally in the 17th century. During the late 17th century, Richard Murray married a Cally heiress, and his son, James Murray, commissioned Robert Mylne to build the first house. One of the earliest houses in the area to be made of stone, it was described in the mid-18th century as 'modern, and amongst the largest and most princely in the south of Scotland'.
The site was laid out on an extensive scale: 'over 1,000 acres were planted, with gardens, orchards and pleasure grounds made at great expense'. The hothouses were 'equal to any' in Scotland and there was 'also a deer park well stocked' with venison 'equal if not superior to any in Britain'. Alexander Murray, great-grandson of Richard, modernised and improved the house and in 1835 J.B. Papworth designed the massive portico.
Other additions were made in 1857 to the chapel and conservatory by the architects Lanyon & Lynn of Belfast. The pleasure grounds were landscaped by William Dewar. In 1882 the OS Gazetteer described the 'extensive park' and the 'noble collection of pictures' and sculpture amassed by the Murray family, direct descendants of the first Stewart owner.
In 1939, the Palace and park were sold to the Forestry Commission and during World War II the house was used as a residential school. The Forestry Commission sold the Palace with 100 acres of amenity ground and it was converted into an hotel. The Commission gradually undertook a programme of planting up over 525 acres of their holding of 650 acres, which was completed about twenty years ago. The family still owns the remainder of the estate and much of Gatehouse of Fleet. Cally Palace Hotel was bought up by Trust House Forte who, four years ago, sold it to the present owners, North West Hotels Ltd, Stranraer.