While exploring the Argyll and Bute region, you may visit a picturesque fantasy castle with towering stone pillars, beautiful Gothic windows, and romantic gardens surrounding it – this is Inveraray Castle, home to Clan Campbell.
Inveraray Castle is a scenic and historic stately home nestled in the rugged Highlands that’s the backdrop to stunning Loch Fyne. There are only so many places as romantic as Inveraray Castle, so we highly recommend it as an attraction during your holiday. Here’s the history of Inveraray Castle, how to get there, and numerous attractions you can enjoy!
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History of Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle’s history started in 1533 when James V stayed in its hospitable halls. While the castle likely stood before this, this is one of the first marks that Inveraray Castle made in history. The castle today was designed and improved upon by Archibald Campbell, Early of Ilay.
The Earl built and designed, along with Roger Morris and William Adam, Inveraray Castle in a Gothic Revival style, with the foundation stone placed in 1746. This is the form the present castle takes, a remarkable structure that instantly catches your eye when you see it. Inveraray Castle was one of the first Gothic Revival-style buildings to appear in Scotland!
In 1975, a devastating fire struck Inveraray Castle and burnt much of the region. So much so that the 12th Duke of Argyll and his family lived in the castle’s basement while the court was repaired.
Today, guests can see the castle without paying a fee and soak in the rich history of Clan Campbell, the Dukes of Argyll that lived here, and many more artefacts that the court holds. The 13th Duke and their family live in private apartments occupying two floors between the crenellated circular towers.
How to Get There
Argyll and Bute is a flourishing region in Scotland, with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park just a stone’s throw away. Getting to Inveraray Castle may take a little longer than other attractions, but it is well worth it.
From Glasgow, the closest major city to Inveraray, drive along the A82 up to the National Park until you reach the Old Military Road. Continue along the A814, Shore Road, and A817 back up to the A83. Travel along the A83 around Loch Fyne until you reach Inveraray.
Inveraray is also accessible by bus, with a trip between Glasgow and Inveraray taking 2 hours to reach.
The west coast of Scotland is a hidden gem of a holiday destination, so make sure to stay a while during your visit and explore some of the region’s other attractions, including the Isle of Arran, Isle of Mull, and Oban.
Attractions at Inveraray Castle
Once you’ve arrived and found a place at the car park, you’ll see the old country house and its castle gardens welcoming visitors worldwide. If you’re planning to explore this family home, then make sure to enjoy these attractions:
Explore Inveraray Castle’s Interior
Inveraray Castle is a beautiful homely state home, one of the most beautiful stately homes in Scotland, in fact. The Gothic Revival design and architecture are some of its best features – here are the highlights that every trip should include.
The Famous Armoury Hall
One of the highlights of Inveraray Castle is undoubtedly the famous armoury hall, which features over 1300 pieces of weaponry and armour. Some of the weapons here were preserved from the famed Battle of Culloden! The collection includes Brown Bess muskets, Scottish broadswords, and Lochaber Axes.
State Dining Room & Tapestry Drawing Room
The State Dining Room and Tapestry Drawing Room genuinely show off the beautiful Gothic architecture and woven tapestries that adorn them. In each room, English, French, and Scottish furniture come together and show off the rich heritage of this home, and it’s easy to immerse yourself and imagine being a Duke of Argyll.
The Clan Room
The Dukes of Argyll can trace their lineage back to the mighty Clan Campbell, which is very apparent once you explore the Clan Room at Inveraray Castle. This collection of expensive china, family heirlooms, and clan colours spans generations.
Those who love Scottish history will find themselves enamoured by the artefacts at Inverary’s Clan room.
Wander the Castle Gardens
We’ve spoken quite a bit about Scotland’s interior, but the outside Castle Gardens are just as impressive as an attraction. Taking an afternoon or morning walk when the weather is more incredible is one of the best ways to see stunning views out to Loch Fyne and the surrounding Highlands.
And for those planning an extended stay at Interarary, stop by the gift shop and tea room to pick up some refreshments.
Spot Film Locations from Movies
Inveraray Castle has spent time as a popular film location for famous movies. Specifically, the castle portraying the fictional Duneagle Castle in the Christmas episode of Downtown Abbey was filmed here and several documentaries and broadcasts.