Glamis Castle

Forfar, United Kingdom

Glamis Castle is one of the most impressive, romantic and reputedly haunted castles in Scotland, home to the Bowes Lyon Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne for hundreds of years and with a splendid interior, and set in beautiful gardens and grounds near Forfar in Angus.

The vicinity of Glamis Castle has prehistoric traces; for example, a noted intricately carved Pictish stone known as the Eassie Stone was found in a creek-bed at the nearby village of Eassie.

In 1034 King Malcolm II was murdered at Glamis, when there was a Royal Hunting Lodge. In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth (1603–1606), the eponymous character resides at Glamis Castle, although the historical King Macbeth (d. 1057) had no connection to the castle.

By 1372 a castle had been built at Glamis, since in that year it was granted by King Robert II to Sir John Lyon, Thane of Glamis, husband of the king's daughter. Glamis has remained in the Lyon (later Bowes-Lyon) family since this time. The castle was rebuilt as an L-plan tower house in the early 15th century.

During the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland, soldiers were garrisoned at Glamis. In 1670 Patrick Lyon, 3rd Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, returned to the castle and found it uninhabitable. Restorations took place until 1689, including the creation of a major Baroque garden. John Lyon, 9th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, succeeded in 1753, and in 1767 he married Mary Eleanor Bowes, heiress to a coal-mining fortune. He set about improving the grounds of the castle in the picturesque style in the 1770s. The south-west wing was rebuilt after a fire in the early 19th century. In the 1920s a huge fireplace from Gibside, the Bowes-Lyon estate near Gateshead, was removed and placed in Glamis' Billiard Room. The fireplace displays the coat of arms of the Blakiston family; Gibside heiress Elizabeth Blakiston had married Sir William Bowes. Several interiors, including the Dining Room, also date from the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 1900, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was born, the youngest daughter of Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and his wife, Cecilia (née Cavendish-Bentinck). She spent much of her childhood at Glamis, which was used during the First World War as a military hospital. She was particularly instrumental in organising the rescue of the castle's contents during a serious fire on 16 September 1916. On 26 April 1923 she married Prince Albert, Duke of York, second son of King George V, at Westminster Abbey. Their second daughter, Princess Margaret, was born at Glamis Castle in 1930.

Since 1987 an illustration of the castle has featured on the reverse side of ten pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland. Glamis is currently the home of Simon Bowes-Lyon, 19th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, who succeeded to the earldom in 2016.

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User Reviews

Neil Liberty (3 months ago)
Queen Mother's ancestral home. Hell of a castle with massive grounds. Wonderful tour of the castle with its very rich history. As an added bonus there was a Xmas Market in the grounds. The only downside was the cold - it was bitter but what do I expect in late November!
Chris Rankin (4 months ago)
We loved this castle! It was a guided tour, was, entertaining, well versed, and made our visit quite enjoyable. The tour was at a great pace, gave us plenty of time to look around, just remember once you go inside, there is no photography. Our guide, I have a great sense of humor, and provided some fun anecdotes. Afterwords, we were told that there was a kitchen that made wonderful scones, some folks in our group made their way back and were able to buy a few As usual, the tour begins in the ends in the gift shop on the second floor of the gift shop they have a few antiques and resell items. The grounds, are picturesque, and exceptionally beautiful. As you enter the facility, coming down the lane, be sure and stop to take a picture
Marta Skorubska (5 months ago)
Stunning place,different types of tickets available just for ground and gardens and aditional for a castel guided tour which i highly recommend. The only option to enter the castle is with the tour . Guide lady was amazing and knows the answer for any question been asked. Beautiful garden and sculpture walk in the forest. And absolutely bonus with the Scottish Cows . Big gift shop on site , restaurant, and ice cream shop
Krzysztof Staniecki (5 months ago)
Fantastic place in a sunny day. Lovely gardens and plenty to walk your dogs. Not sure re interior of the castle as we never went inside. £7.50 to enter the grounds but worth it Has a nice cafe shop and toilets etc. Would recommend and very close to Dundee for easy access.
Andy Taylor (8 months ago)
Absolutely loved this castle and the tour conducted by Euan who was enthusiastic and very knowledgeable. Shame you cannot take photos as its difficult to remember and take in everything you've seen. I actually preferred this castle to Scone Palace. Nice to see recognition of hrh Princess Margaret and the memorial built in her honour. Gardens and grounds are extensive. Lovely shop with beautiful gifts to choose from. The restaurant has some lovely food on offer too. The smoked salmon and prawn salad was delicious. Recommended. Would I like to visit again? Yes and would I recommend a visit? Yes to that too.
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