Castle Menzies is hidden in the Highlands of Scotland, a spectacular sixteenth-century Scottish castle. The turbulent history of Castle Menzies and Clan Menzies makes it a fantastic attraction outside Aberfeldy and a splendid Renaissance example. If you want to add an architecturally fascinating place to your to-do list, look no further than Castle Menzies.
We’ll cover a brief history of Castle Menzies, how to get there, and the top attractions to watch during your visit.
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History of Castle Menzies
Before the Menzies Clan Society lovingly restored Castle Menzies, Castle Menzies had endured a turbulent history. In 1502, Neil Stewart burned down one of Clan Menzies’ strongholds. Soon after, that castle was rebuilt in the iconic sixteenth-century Z-shaped building for which Castle Menzies is known today.
The Castle was a residence for Clan Menzies and one of the earlier rugged Highland fortresses. The Castle remained a sturdy and viable residence for Clan Menzies for over two centuries, even surviving the Covenanter religious skirmishes during the mid-seventeenth century.
Castle Menzies played a prominent role during the Jacobite Rising Rebellions during that same century. In 1715, the Castle was occupied by Jacobites and again in 1745. During this later rebellion, the Castle hosted Bonnie Prince Charlie, who was resting on his journey to the Battle of Culloden and the Duke of Cumberland, son of the British Monarch and Commander of Government Forces. These two stayed at Castle Menzies only four days apart from each other!
During the eighteenth century, the castle added more wings to accommodate more lavish furnishings. Entertaining rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms, and a grand wooden staircase were made to give Castle Menzies a more regal design. It was transformed from one of the earliest fortresses to later mansion houses of the Scottish Highlands.
However, Castle Menzies’s strategic location played a less critical role from the nineteenth century onwards. Clan Menzies had moved to a more miniature castle a mile or so west of Menzies and did not live within the castle. Several owners rented out the castle to tenants, but the tenants needed help maintaining it properly, and the castle’s structure declined.
It was only in 1957 that it was decided that the Menzies Clan Society would purchase Castle Menzies and restore it to its former glory. In 1993, ownership of the castle was transferred from the society members to the Menzies Charitable Trust, which would take care of not only the castle but also the original walled garden, Menzies Mausoleum with the Old Kirk of Weem, and the estate around it.
How to Get There & Details to Know
Castle Menzies is a short distance from Perth and the beautiful Loch Tay, making it an accessible attraction to visit while exploring the Scottish Highlands. The castle is open from 1 April to 31 October. From Monday through Saturday, it is available from 10:30 to 16:30; on Sundays, it is open from 14:00 to 16:30. Castle Menzies may be closed for private events such as weddings.
Admission prices for Castle Menzies are £10.00 per adult ticket, £5.00 per child ticket (under 16 years old), and £9.00 per concession ticket. Several family ticket packages are also available. These tickets do not include entry to the castle’s walled garden and the Old Kirk of Weem.
How to Get There by Car
Visitors travelling by car from Perth should drive up the A9 until they reach Little Dunkeld. From this quaint town, drive along the A822 until you reach Milton, after which you should transfer to the A826 until you reach Aberfledy. Aberfeldy has several signs which lead to Castle Menzies.
How to Get There by Transit
Visitors travelling to Castle Menzies via transit from Perth need to walk to the Mill Street bus stop, take the Aberfeldy for 46 visits, and get off at Market Street. From there, Castle Menzies is a half-hour walk away.
Attractions at Castle Menzies
Those visiting Castle Menzies can look forward to several attractions as they explore and learn about the seat of the chiefs of Clan Menzies. The castle is a visitor attraction, museum, clan centre, and venue for weddings, concerts, and more!
Here are the top things you need to do while at Castle Menzies:
Castle Menzies’ Walled Garden
Sitting under Weem Rock and a few minutes northeast of Castle Menzies, the castle’s famous walled garden is just waiting to be explored. The Castle Menzies SCIO manages the garden and has been separated from the castle, requiring its entry ticket. But don’t let that dissuade you from entering, as the castle’s walled garden is one of the most beautiful parts of the experience.
Members of the SCIO are lovingly restoring the walled garden, but visitors can still see remnants of its grandiosity in the 16th century.
Stop by the Castle Menzies Tea Room
For an unrivalled selection of cakes, teas, and sandwiches, make sure to stop by the Castle Menzies Tea Room while at this visitor attraction. The Tea Room is open from May to November, between 11:30 and 16:15 on most days, and offers delicious foods you can enjoy before tackling the rest of the Scottish castles in the area.
You do not need an entry ticket into Castle Menzies to visit and eat at the Tea Room.
Take a Guided Tour of Castle Menzies
Castle Menzies takes applications for a full private tour of the castle, undertaken by the historian castle manager. The tour takes you throughout the history of the recently re-formed Menzies Clan Society and Castle, with period furnishings and historical items evoking the rich history of the Highlands.
As you take your tour, the historian castle manager will regale you with stories of when Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed at the castle, its history during the twentieth century, and multiple series that have been filmed at Castle Menzies (Outlander and Outlaw King, to name a few).
There’s no better way to learn about the Castle, its walled garden, and the Menzies clan than on this exclusive and intimate tour.
Book a Ghost Tour of Castle Menzies
Castle Menzies is an excellent choice for ghost hunters looking for spooky venues to see! These ghost tours take place in the evenings and aren’t run by the Castle itself but by a third party – History and Horror Tours. If you want a thrilling night filled with potential haunted activities, Menzies is a spectacular way.
These tours run from June to October between 19:00 and 21:00. You can also book a private tour.