Downton Abbey’s Scottish Castle–Worth A Visit!
Do you miss Downton Abbey? There was something about watching this show that gives one a sense of traveling back in time to an era of proper etiquette and decorum. This major hit on PBS provided a glimpse into the life of the Crowley’s during the 1920’s. No detail was too small to include–from the costuming to the location to the interactions of the family and staff.
In the last episode of Season III, we found the Crawley family leaving the familiarity of their own lovely estate to visit Shrimpie—a beloved cousin who resided in a Scottish Castle. Here, the family embraced the outdoors with hunting, fishing, picnicking, and lovely walks.
The setting for this Scottish retreat appears so real because it is indeed a castle in Northern Scotland. Inverarary Castle is located in Argyll, a county in Scotland, about 60 miles northwest of Glasgow. The Clan Campbell settled in Argyll in the 11th century. The original chief of the Clan Campbell was named Colin Mor Campbell and called “Colin The Great.” According to the official web site of Inveraray Castle, (www.inveraray-castle.com) “his name ‘MacCailean Mor’ is still used by the chief of the Clan Campbell, The Duke of Argyll, today.”
The castle’s foundation stone was laid in 1746 and completed in 1789. The family first moved into the castle in 1770. Artifacts and artwork from that time period, grace the castle walls today.
Over the years, the family and castle have received many famous visitors. One such visitor included Queen Victoria who came there in 1847.
A further bond developed with the royal family when Queen Victoria’s 4th daughter, Princess Louise married the Campbell chieftain, the Marquis of Lorne in 1871. The robe pictured above was worn by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902.
Life in Inveraray Castle
Today, Inveraray Castle is still the seat of the Campbell clan and continues to be owned by the 13th Duke of Argyll, Torquhil Ian Campbell. He shares this lovely estate with his wife, Eleanor Cadbury, the Duchess of Argyll and their three children.
Sections of the estate are open to the public for tours and viewing. There is a gift shop in the basement where you will also find the old kitchens used prior to the 1950’s and a restaurant where you can have a light lunch or tea. In addition, the grounds offer trails and gardens, and skeet shooting and fishing opportunities.
The picture above hangs in the tea room along with others taken while filming here.
Inside the house you will discover works of art by famous painters of past Clan Campbell family members. The piano, where Lerner and Loewe composed some of their songs for the musical My Fair Lady, sits in a corner of the Saloon. On two opposing walls, great portraits of family members face each other—one painted by Gainsborough and the other painted by Pompeo Batoni.
The castle also houses an amazing array of weaponry, which is exhibited in The Armoury Hall. Walls are covered with carefully displayed swords, pikes, bayonets and muskets in a room with a ceiling that rises the full height of the castle. Can you imagine your ancestors fighting with these armaments? The Scots were known for being fierce warriors and at one time, better fighters than the French and English.
Clan Campbell Societies
Are you part of the Clan Campbell? You can connect with other clan members through several societies located throughout the world today. In North America, check out these two societies: USA: www.ccsna.org Canada: www.csna.org. And just for your information, Septs means branch of a clan in Scotland! For a complete listing of Clan Campbell Septs, visit http://www.inveraray-castle.com/clan-campbell-societies.html
Whether you are a Campbell family member or not, visiting Inverary Castle should be on your list of “not to miss” things when you visit Scotland. Located in the highlands, about a hour and a half from Glasgow, the castle and estate are very well preserved. While you’re in the area, I suggest you also visit the town of Inverary for a meal, shopping or just to enjoy the day. We are happy to incorporate this lovely little town and castle into your itinerary. You won’t regret it.