The Castle of Mey (formerly Barrogill Castle) and surrounding lands belonged to the Bishops of Caithness. The castle of Mey was built between 1566 and 1572, possibly on the site of an earlier fortification, by George Sinclair, 4th Earl of Caithness. Originally a Z-plan tower house of three storeys, it had a projecting wing at the south-east, and a square tower at the north-west. The Castle passed to George Sinclair"s younger son William, founder of the Sinclairs of Mey, although it later became the seat of the Earls. The Castle"s name was changed to Barrogill, and it was extended several times, in the 17th and 18th centuries, and again in 1821 when Tudor Gothic style alterations were made, to designs by William Burn. Barrogill passed out of the Sinclair family in 1889, on the death of the 15th Earl, and in 1928 it was purchased by Captain Imbert-Terry. The Castle was used as an officers" rest home during the Second World War, and in 1950 the estate farms were sold off.

The castle was in a semi-derelict state when, in 1952, it and its policies (attached lands) were purchased by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the widow of King George VI who had died earlier in the year. The Queen Mother set about restoring the castle for use as a holiday home, removing some of the 19th-century additions, and reinstating the Castle"s original name. She regularly visited it in August and October from 1955 until her death in March 2002, the last visit being in October 2001.

In July 1996 The Queen Mother made the property, the policies and the farm over to the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust, which has opened the castle and garden to the public regularly since her death. It is now open in summer season.



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Founded: 1566-1572
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Carol Johnson (2 months ago)
Had a dog but we're looking forward to walking round the gardens, very disappointed small wooded area, few daffodils and bluebells, lots of dandelions. Not worth £10 each to get in. Cake and coffee good in cafe sat outside, dogs not allowed inside.
David Hirst (2 months ago)
A modest and homely castle very well presented with guides in the rooms imparting great info about the history and of course, the late Queen Mum's huge influence and life there. The walled garden will be great later in the growing season.
Carol Demetrios (6 months ago)
I always wanted to visit the Queen Mother’s castle in the north, but it was just ok. Not many rooms are open, the entrance ticket was pricey for what was offered. You are not allowed to take photos
Barbara Geisler (9 months ago)
The house guide who greeted us at the door, knew the Queen Mother personally, and she was eager to share all kinds of entertaining stories with us. She was absolutely delightful! No photos are permitted inside. There are guides scattered about to answer any questions that you might have and to give the history of certain items. The coconut, in particular, had an interesting story, having been sent through the mail with the original stamps adhered to the outside. Parking is in a large lot and is at no extra cost. The tea room has many options, and you can enjoy a cuppa outside while over looking the water lapping on the shore in the near distance.
Steven Cross (9 months ago)
Great little castle and history of it. You spend about half an hour in the castle which is full of highly knowledgeable and friendly guides in each room who are happy to ask any questions. Lovely little garden and animal area. My only criticism was I think the animals could have a little more room but there is no doubt they are well looked after. Be warned it can be windy outside in this area so check the forecast and bring waterproofs if needed. There is also a small shop and large canteen on site.
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