Ballindalloch Castle is a stunning 16th Century fairy tale castle in the heart of Speyside. It is home to the Macpherson-Grants and one of the very few privately owned castles to have been lived in continuously by its original family. The castle has been continually extended and modernised over the centuries, the latest taking place in the 1960s.
In spring the grounds are covered in daffodils and there are beautiful walks along the River Avon, where you might catch a glimpse of red squirrels, ospreys and deer and of course the famous herd of Aberdeen Angus which is the oldest in the world and was started in 1860.
There is a 9 hole golf course, children's play area, a doocot, rock and rose gardens and the recently opened Ballindalloch distillery.
Brodie Castle was the home of the Brodie family until the late 20th century and dates back to the 16th century.
Brodie is home to a magnificent collection of furniture, ceramics and art and an impressive library of over 6,000 volumes.
There have been dramatic events at the castle, an armed attack in 1645, grand architectural and landscape designs, followed by equally impressive levels of debt, personal tragedies and the success of daffodil cultivation. All of these have left their mark on the castle.
The grounds are superb and there are beautiful walks around the estate.
Cawdor is the home of The Dowager Countess of Cawdor and is known as the most romantic castle in the Highlands. The entrance to the Castle is via the drawbridge and there are many winding staircases with massively thick walls, beautiful woven tapestries, dungeons and the original kitchens. The walled gardens are spectacular with many unusual plants. Try your luck in the castle's maze and hopefully find your way out! The castle has a variety of Nature Trails wandering through majestic trees and beside streams. Play 9 holes of mini-golf or while away your time on the putting green. The licensed restaurant in the castle has a wide selection to tempt you from home made cakes to a three course meal.
Discover Blair Castle, set in the dramatic landscape of Highland Perthshire. Nineteen generations of Stewarts and Murrays of Atholl have created a rich tapestry of stories, interwoven with tales from Scotland's own turbulent past. Blair Castle has been transformed through the ages from its cold mediaeval beginnings, through to a fine Georgian mansion and finally a Victorian castle in the baronial style. The castle has had visits from Mary Queen of Scots to Queen Victoria, whose visit led to the creation of Europe's only surviving private army. There is a fine Baronial Entrance Hall featuring muskets used at the Battle of Culloden, a Georgian style Picture Staircase and the Baroque grandeur of the dining room, all set off with pieces of antique furniture, art, and tapestry. The grounds provide beautiful walks, picnic and play areas and plenty of wildlife.
Castle Menzies is the home of the Clan Menzies and was rebuilt in 1571 after being destroyed in a land dispute by the Stuart Clan. It is a traditional Z plan tower house, popular in the 16th century and was defended through the many gun ports in the walls and turrets. The lower level of the castle is built from barrel-vaulted corridors with wide stone spiral stairways leading to the upper spacious living quarters. The unique Pink Room, now used for private functions, is the original Great Hall and Ballroom. Restoration of the castle commenced in 1972 following its acquisition by The Menzies Clan Society. The building had been occupied by the same family for 400 years and shows the signs of many alterations according to the fashions of the years.
Urquhart Castle on the side of loch Ness is probably one of the most famous castles in Scotland. The castle was a 6th century stronghold and has been seized, plundered and robbed many times over the centuries by everyone from English invaders to the Lords of the Isles Today you can see the remains of the kitchens, gatehouse and cellars all overlooking some of the Highlands' most stunning scenery. Learn the history of the castle from St. Columba's visit in the 6th century to the Jacobites destruction of the gatehouse after the 1689 uprising. You might even catch sight of Nessie who it is said lives underneath Urquhart Castle!.
Fort George is one of the most outstanding fortifications in Europe and was built in the 18th century. It was designed by General William Skimmer after the battle of Culloden. It took 21 years to complete and was the main garrison frontier in the Highlands. The Fort was named after King George II. Fort George is an active Military base where you will see soldiers at work and encounter military vehicles. Some parts of the Fort are not open to the public, however, as the site covers around 42 acres there is plenty to see and do. There is more than a mile of ramparts for you to walk along and you may see conservation work taking place carried out by Historic Scotland.
Ruthven Barracks was constructed between 1719 and 1721 as one of four infantry barracks built across the Highlands by George II's government after the failed 1715 Jacobite rising. It was built on a prominent mound which had once been the site of a mediaeval castle. The barracks held around 120 men on three floors which surrounded the parade ground. A stable block was added on the orders of Major General Wade in 1734. Following their defeat at Culloden the Jacobite army rallied at Ruthven before conceding defeat. The barracks currently overlooks the world famous Insh Marshes.
Elgin Cathedral is one of Scotland's most beautiful Gothic cathedrals and was the principal church of the bishops of Moray. Building commenced in 1224 and was altered on three further occasions in 1270, 1390 and 1402. Today, even in its current ruined state, a considerable amount of detail still survives.
The roof was lost a few years after the Reformation in 1560 after which it was occasionally used for Catholic worship. The central tower collapsed in 1711.
The cathedral was once richly carved and adorned with stained glass and painted decoration. Much of the nave has been reduced to foundations, but the spectacular west front remains and is flanked by two tall towers which were part of the original building.
There is a fine example of an octagonal chapter house dating from the late 1200s and this contains a reading lectern and an array of carved beasts and faces - this is now used for weddings.
Opposite the cathedral is a beautiful Biblical garden, well worth a visit.
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