Blair Castle, located in Blair Atholl 7 miles from Pitlochry, is one of the most fascinating attractions in Central Scotland. With its gorgeous rooms, stunning grounds and gardens, the estate will charm visitors of all ages. Less than one hour’s drive from most of our properties, it is the perfect destination for a family day trip.
While the oldest part of the castle dates all the way back to 1269, both the architecture and the furniture displayed are the result of centuries of history and transformations. Over 19 generations of Murray’s have left their mark, and this can be observed throughout the vast exhibition.
The Baronial entrance hall is beautifully decorated with a weapon display. Muskets and shields used at the battle of Culloden cover the walls floor to ceiling, all arranged in elegant and symmetric patterns. The first part of the exhibition is dedicated to the history of the estate, after which visitors are led towards the main rooms. Each decorated in the style of different eras, the large bedrooms, dining rooms and studies perfectly portray the stylistic preferences of dukes and duchesses who lived in the castle over the centuries.
The exhibition ends in a long corridor with small rooms filled with numerous clothes, weapons and everyday items that belonged to the owners of the estate. At the end of the corridor, the stunning Ballroom designed by David Bryce for the Atholl Highlanders. The Ballroom is now available for private ceremonies (corporate events, wedding receptions, balls etc.).
There are a number of activities designed to entertain the youngest visitors. Inside the castle, children can take on the Detectives Challenge, a treasure hunt that can be entertaining and educational at the same time. In the Ballroom, a colouring area and a dressing-up box will give them a chance to feel like old time dukes and duchesses. When the weather is nice, the Woodland Adventure Playground is the ideal place to release some energy after the indoor exhibition. A vintage tractor and trailer ride around the castle grounds is also available. Other fun activities include observing the majestic red deer; following the Sculpture Trail through the castle gardens; enjoying the peace and tranquillity in Diana’s Grove and of course, visiting the stunning Hercules Garden. Here the original Georgian design was restored, a beautiful orchard and a variety of colourful flowers surround the landscaped ponds and a Chinese bridge. Also, one episode of the television show Victoria was filmed on the estate, so why not try to spot the locations visible in season 2, episode 7.
Every year Blair Atholl hosts the Atholl Gathering and Highland Games, a traditional celebration that takes place on the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May. If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Atholl Highlanders, you might want to book your tickets for this year’s event. It all starts with a talk on Saturday morning, then the traditional parade marches to the sound of drums and bagpipes, a true celebration of Scotland’s heritage. On Sunday the Highland Games dominate the scene with their traditional activities and heavyweight competitions, highland dancing, wrestling, stalls and much more to keep the family entertained. The Atholl highlanders officially open the games with a ‘March on’ at 1pm which is a true spectacle. Gates open at 9.30am and tickets are bought on the gate, cash only.
Visit the Blair Atholl website for more information.