Blair Castle is the ancestral home of the Clan Murray, and was historically the seat of their chief, the Duke of Atholl.

Blair Castle is said to have been started in 1269 by John I Comyn, Lord of Badenoch. John Murray, son of the second Earl of Tullibardine, was created Earl of Atholl in 1629, and the title has since remained in the Murray family.

During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms of the 17th century, the Murrays supported the Royalist cause, which led to Blair Castle being taken by Oliver Cromwell's army following his invasion of 1650.

The oldest part of the castle is the six-storey Cummings or Comyn's Tower, which may retain some 13th-century fabric, though it was largely built in the 15th century. The extensions which now form the central part of the castle were first added in the 16th century. The apartments to the south were added in the mid-18th century to designs by architects John Douglas and James Winter. The south-east range, incorporating the clock tower, was rebuilt by Archibald Elliot after a fire in 1814. Finally, the castle arrived at its present form in the 1870s, when David Bryce remodelled the whole building in a Scots Baronial style, and added the ballroom. It was further remodelled in 1885 when a new ballroom wing was added by James Campbell Walker.

The castle has been open to the public since 1936. Its many rooms feature important collections of weapons, hunting trophies, souvenirs of the Murray clan, ethnographica, paintings, furniture, and needlework collected by the Murray family over many generations.

The castle also provides the garrison for the Atholl Highlanders, the private army of the Duke of Atholl, noted as the only legal private army in Europe.

Most Dukes of Atholl are buried in the Family Burial Ground (photo) next to the ruins of St Bride's Kirk in the grounds of Blair Castle. St Bride's was the village church of Old Blair but fell into disuse after 1823 when the estate village was relocated to its current location.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tsunami Potato (5 months ago)
We came here as we were on a Scottish holiday and it was breath-taking. There's shorts queues and inexpensive tickets. You are able to revel among the most beautiful artifacts and feel how the owner must. 10/10 would recommend.
Alex Cruickshank (6 months ago)
What a fantastic day. The Castle is imposing and the interior is jam packed with beautiful and interesting things The grounds are beautiful and the Hercules garden is stunning. A great experience all round.
Stephanie Harris (6 months ago)
We thought this castle was charming. I loved the way they added in the clothing worn by the family with family portraits. Each room was so beautiful and it was nice to be able to take as many pictures as you wanted, to remember your visit. I think this is my favorite interior home. It is included in Historic houses pass.
Tracey H (7 months ago)
Was it worth the money for the house and garden? Yes! So much to see. Beautiful place. Piper outside was a great touch. Staff lovely. Food great, although we ran late on our tours, and there was no hot food by 2pm for a late lunch. Easily parked our 6.5m camper van.
Mark C (8 months ago)
We were in Pitlochry and saw this had a very good reputation for a tourist attraction and my partner and I love Scottish history. Reasonably priced and easy to get to on the public bus. The castle and gardens are wonderful. Plenty to photograph.
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