Nestled in the Isle of Arran, the mighty Brodick Castle stands tall and is the quintessential island castle. It boasts 19th-century baronial architecture, fascinating stories, and stunning formal gardens for visitors to explore. A trip to Brodick Castle is the ideal historical attraction to see while on the fantastic Isle of Arran, and it is only a few minutes from Brodick Bay.
Here is a brief history of the Castle, with additional details of how to get there and the top attractions to look forward to during your visit:
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History of Brodick Castle
Brodick Castle was designed by James Gillespie Graham in 1844 and evokes pure Scottish Baronial splendour. However, its history goes back even further than this castle, intertwined with the Norse settlers who controlled Scotland’s northern and western parts.
The Norse Vikings were driven from the Isle of Arran in the 11th century, and the Stewarts built the first stone fortresses in 1240. During significant turning points in Scotland’s history, including the Scottish Wars of Independence, Edward I captured Brodick and then Robert the Bruce in 1307.
By 1503, the Earls of Arran — the Hamilton family at the time — took control of Brodick Castle and began to expand it with defensive measures to bolster its strategic position. However, during the Rough Wooing, an English attack overwhelmed these defensives in 1544. Not deterred, the Earl of Arran repaired the castle once more in preparation for more attacks in the 17th century.
Brodick Castle changed hands between the Hamiltons and the Campbells four times between 1639, 1644, 1646, and 1651. While it eventually returned to the Hamiltons, Cromwell soldiers occupied the castle in the 1650s. Thus, we return to the beginning of our story, when the castle’s final transformation took place as an opulent stately home.
Brodick Castle is not maintained by the National Trust for Scotland,
How to Get There & Details to Know
Brodick Castle can be found on the picturesque Isle of Arran, and so it can only be accessed via a boat trip to the town of Brodick. From the town, Brodick is only a 10-minute drive from the town following the A841 and the signs which lead directly to the Castle.
The Castle is open from 1 November – to 30 March without the need to prebook. Adult tickets for entry into Brodick Castle cost £15.00, Child tickets cost £9.00, and Concession tickets cost £11.00. Family tickets cost between £29.00 – £40.00, but prices may vary.
Attractions at Brodick Castle
Brodick Castle is an ideal attraction for children and adults alike, sporting numerous attractions and stunning views for visitors. The Visitor Centre at Brodick Castle offers a chance to learn about the Castle’s history through interactive activities. Here are a few notable attractions and things to do while at Brodick Castle.
Explore the Britain’s Only Island Country Park
Brodick Castle is Britain’s only island country park, offering bountiful castle grounds for guests to explore. Brodick provides a unique island charm that you can’t quite enjoy anywhere else in Scotland, and its country park at Brodick Castle stretches from the sands of Brodick Bay right up to the rolling hills and mountains.
It’s no wonder they call the Isle of Arran ‘Scotland in Miniature’; you. You can enjoy several fantastic activities throughout Brodick’s country park setting.
Play on the Isle Be Wild Adventure Play Park
If you’re coming with children, there’s no better place to visit than Isle Be Wild Adventure Play Park at Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park. The Isle Be Wild Adventure Play Park has five separate areas of play, all frequently visited by the famous Arran red squirrels. Play with the squirrels at the park’s Squirrel Play Tower, which allows children to crawl through tunnels and scramble up and down climbable structures.
If you want to explore the outdoors and beguile children, the Isle Be Wild Park is the place to be!
Wander the Formal Gardens
Brodick Castle is the ancient seat of the Hamilton family and has beautiful formal gardens to explore their ancient history. The bountiful walled garden holds bathing pools, waterfalls, and woodland trails throughout. The Plant Hunter’s Walk’s bold rhododendrons conjure beautiful magnolias and other rare plants thanks to a green-fingered Duchess.
The new Silver Garden Trail is the latest addition to the Castle gardens. The surrounding magnificent architecture dramatically sets the atmosphere. Other points of note are the Ice House and the Bavarian Summer House.
See Brodick Castle’s Visitor Centre
Guests should start their journey through the castle and its gardens at Brodick Castle’s Visitor Centre. The centre is packed with information about the castle, its opening times, and the surrounding attractions.
Once you pay your entry fee and enter, you’ll be blown away by the interactive visitor experience in Brodick Castle. Period furniture has been placed to evoke a sense of travelling back in time, and the addition of a Victorian arcade, mood lighting, and evocative sounds as you explore the castle are unrivalled.
From the ground floor to the top, you can expect to see an expansive art collection, sporting trophies, silverware, porcelain, and interactive exhibits that tell the tale of the Hamilton family and Brodick Castle.
Look Out For Ghosts
Scottish castles have turbulent histories, from wars to betrayals and beyond. So it’s unsurprising that ghosts are said to wander their halls, with Brodick Castle being no exception. Budding ghost hunters should watch for the ‘Grey Lady’, an apparition said to be a plague sufferer that appears only in the oldest parts of the Castle.
Ghosts of a refined gentleman within the library have also been seen, as well as a White Deer that only brings back luck when seen.