Welcome back to another article, during another sporadic burst of creative moments, from yours truly!
I hope you all have been enjoying my photos from Inveraray Castle on My Saturday Drive’s Instagram and Facebook pages. I thought it would also be a good idea to leave some sort of text accompanying these images to give them some context and hopefully provide you with a little bit of information should you decide to visit Inveraray Castle!
First things first, you’re going to need a ticket. The Castle is open between 1st of April and 31st of October each year form 10am to last entry of 5pm. It normally costs £12.5 per adult single ticket and you if are driving there is a car park included in the price. You can get these cheaper by booking online here.
Easily accessible by car, Inveraray Castle is at the heart of the Argyll and Bute council, on the shores of Loch Fyne. If you are driving from Glasgow, expect about 1.5 h of driving or slightly more on a bus from Glasgow City Centre.
As far as driving goes, it’s quite a scenic route, passing Loch Lomond, Loch Long and Loch Fyne on some beautiful long and twisty Scottish Roads. You would be a bit jealous of your passenger though as you will be focusing on the epic drive but not getting to take in the scenery that much ha!
Once you are all parked up you can pretty much explore at your leisure both the Castle and the Gardens. We initially had a stroll through the gardens and then went inside.
Inside there are four 3 levels:
The Ground Floor
The ground floor has a modest entry hall which misleads visitors of the opulence awaiting in rooms like the State Dining Room or the Armoury Hall.
The State Dining Room is decorated in original Beauvais tapestries and it also has a concealed door which leads to a secret display of European and Oriental porcelain.
One of the more interesting aspects of the ground floor is that the Armory Hall is the room with the highest ceiling in Scotland and has on display a vast array or arms in elaborate patterns. These weapons are real and were used in battle between the 16th and 18th century. The treasures in here preserve in time the history of the Campbell Clan and their contribution to British history.
An interesting fact I would like to add, as I heard it from the tour guide: the spears have the decorations on them for a functional purpose which is to stop enemy blood from dripping down the handle, making you lose grip! They thought of everything!
Another room on the ground floor is the Saloon, a room chosen by the 5th Duke for relaxation. At the time, this was a very modern living room where guests could have meals, enjoy a game of billiards or compose music.
Beginning in the 1780s, it has become tradition to hang Campbell family portraits in this room. Looking across from each other, the portraits of Hon Henry Seymour-Conway and the 8th Duke of Hamilton keep a watchful eye over the visitors!
The first floor comprises of a gallery of paintings, the Clan Room, the Victorian Room, The MacArthur Room and the Picture Turret.
Sadly, I was not able to photograph most of these. However, I can give you a brief description of what to expect when touring the first floor.
When you enter, you will be greeted the Gallery, where portraits of the Duchess of Sutherland and the present Duke’s grandfather Ian Douglas Campbell can be found.
Moving on to the Clan Room, you will see a lot of Clan Campbell’s intriguing history, from origins to where it is now. One of the stand out features of the room is the family tree which decorates a whole wall!
A highlight of the Victorian Room is the portrait of Princess Louise, which hangs above the fireplace. Something interesting to note about it is that she deliberately had her right side taken only as she suffered an accident which disfigured half of her face!
In the MacArthur Room there is a bed which belonged to the MacArthurs of Loch Awe. According to legends, a duke in 1644 had a young boy harpist murdered in that bed and some say the boy’s ghost was so attached to that bed that it never left it, and when one of the Campbell’s is dying, harp music can be heard playing from the room! Spooky!
The Picture Turret, as its name suggests, has pictures and newspaper/magazine cut outs of various memorabilia of the Campbells.
There is also a basement to be visited, but unfortunately, when we were there, there was a private tour who had already booked it and we were not allowed access. But for what is worth, from what I read, the basement contains the castle’s kitchen.
After you are done looking around the inside of the castle, feel free to wonder around the gardens. As any self respecting castle in Scotland, Inverary Castle does have an amazing garden, perfect for sitting on the bench, taking the sun in, if you are lucky!
If you are not part of a tour, you can stay as much as you like inside the castle. But, if you get lucky, you can shadow a tour at your discretion. This way, you can listen to the guide and get some interesting info on each room, as well as wait for the room to clear so you have it to yourself!
The castle also has a cafe, so no need to bring your own food, as the food we had there was reasonably priced and very delicious!
If you want a more interesting photo of the castle, and have the gear for it, drive to the other side of Loch Fyne, here, and you can get a different perspective.
Another tip, if you like to try some local food, on the road to the Castle, stop at Loch Fyne Oysters, as they have the best oysters I’ve ever had!
Thank you all for taking your time to read this. I hope it provided enough valuable information and with the photos, I hope I motivated you enough to try and visit this castle for yourself if you want! It can make for a nice day out with your family and you can learn something about Scottish History!