Inveraray Castle has the best garden in Scotland. Commanding the west coast, the castle also provides the sites a visitor to northern Great Britain comes to see. The manicured gardens. A brush with royalty. History lessons. Mist rising off the moors. Ghosts.
As a matter of fact, say “castle,” and I think of Inveraray Castle.
Commanding Scotland’s west coast, Inveraray Castle provides everything a visitor to northern Great Britain comes to see and experience. Manicured gardens. A brush with royalty. History lessons. Mist rising off the moors. Ghosts.
Tradition and Travel in Scotland
Inveraray Castle is the ancestral home of the Chief of the Clan Campbell, the Duke of Argyll. The Campbell family still owns, lives at, and operates the estate, which occupies more than 60,000 acres. A 16-acre garden surrounds the castle, serving as a floral moat of sorts. The castle’s interior dates to 1746 and the Old Kitchen was last used in the 1950s. Believe it or not, a castle has stood at Inveraray since the 1400s.
Inveraray Castle — a Peek Inside + Ghosts
Beautiful British-style gardens with manicured lawns, precisely laid flower beds, pebbles perfectly place are well worth the trip to Inveraray. There’s something blooming in each season — such as daffodils at Easter and azaleas throughout the spring. The greater grounds offer walking trails, hunting, and camping/glamping.
Do plan on visiting the inside, too. There’s an impressive collection of more than 1,300 weapons that includes pikes, muskets, and swords.
On the ground floor are Armoury Hall, The Saloon, and the State Dining Room. There’s a legend that songwriters Lerner and Loewe composed part of “My Fair Lady” on the grand piano in The Saloon while staying at the castle. The Old Kitchen, which has seven fireplaces, is in the basement. The Clan Room, Gallery, and bedrooms occupy the first floor (in the U.S. that would be the second floor). In the mood for a ghost story? The first-floor walls have many tales to tell. Its famous spirits include Grey Lady, a floating ship, and a murdered harpist.
Can you imagine what life must have been like all those centuries ago?
Insider tip: The tearoom serves the best scones with clotted cream and jam. Be sure to try them.
Clan Campbell and the Argyle
Yes, the argyle design pattern, diamond shapes associated with socks and golfing wear, is a descendant of the Duke of Argyll. The Campbell Clan used the design in kilts in the 17th century.
Today, the Campbell family business portfolio includes forestry, hydro and wind energy sourcing, land leasing, and operating Inveraray Castle as an attraction.
Born on May 29, 1968, the current Duke of Argyll is Torquhil Campbell. Officially he is Torquhil Ian Campbell, 13th and 6th Duke of Argyll.
Scotland or Ireland, Who has More Castles?
Scotland and Ireland both house a large number of castles, especially given the two countries small size. Who has more? That depends on how you define castle (and finding someone to count the castles). Scotland has more castles if you think in “residential fortress” terms. The count is somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000. If you include any type of “fortification ruin,” Ireland counts 30,000. We’ll leave it to Scotland and Ireland to figure it out. Blarney Castle is my favorite Irish castle. Read why I love it so much here.
Duneagle Castle -vs- Inveraray Castle, You Decide
If you think you’ve been to Inveraray Castle, but you aren’t sure but are sure it looks familiar, it may be because you enjoyed Downton Abbey’s 2012 Christmas episode, which was filmed at Inveraray with the castle playing the part of “Duneagle Castle.”
I hope you add Inveraray Castle to your travel bucket list. As of this writing, it is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Be sure to check the website before you visit.