Blair Castle – The Encapsulation of Scotland’s Medieval Age

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In the beautiful village of Blair Atholl in Perthshire, Scotland, you will find the historical marvel of Blair Castle. Discover Blair as you get to know the interesting details of its past and indulge in its present grandeur. You will be fascinated to discover centuries of history on display, taking you on a trip to the medieval era. 

The castle provides a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. Discover the estate’s 220 acres, where you may wander around the exquisite gardens and engage in a number of activities. A stay in the castle will provide you with a wonderful experience, including the opportunity to visit Red Deer Park and the abandoned kirk at the castle, allowing for a great time to be had exploring the castle.

During World War One, a portion of the castle was turned into a hospital.

The side view of Blair Castle with some visitors.
The side view of Blair Castle. Blair Castle flickr photo by Ivo Jansch shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Frequently Asked Questions

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Early History

The Early Centuries at Blair Castle (13th-17th Centuries)

David I Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl’s northern neighbor John I Comyn, Lord of Badenoch, is credited with beginning construction on Blair Castle in 1269 while the Earl was away on crusade. Little more is known of the castle until Oliver Cromwell‘s forces captured Blair Castle during his invasion in 1650. The then-current owners, the Murrays, were in support of the Royalist cause during the ongoing Wars of the Three Kingdoms.

Change of Possessions Amidst the Historical Battle (18th Century)

Blair Castle was captured by the Jacobites after the Battle of Killiecrankie and remained in Jacobite control for a long time. The Jacobite Highland leaders, for instance, signed a vow there in August to continue the uprising, demonstrating how significant the castle remained to be.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his Jacobite army twice took over Blair Castle during the Forty-Five (Jacobean uprising of 1745): first in early September 1745 for a few days and again in early February 1746 for another few days. The Government soldiers, notably Lowland Clan Agnew, took up occupation when the Jacobites hastily abandoned Blair. The Government army defended Blair Castle against the Jacobites during the latter phases of the uprising. In March 1746, they were besieged to the point of hunger, yet held out until the Jacobite forces fled to engage the troops of the British Government at the Battle of Culloden.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Blair Castle in 1844. Around their visit, the queen granted permission for the Atholl-created Highlanders to be founded.

Entrance avenue of Blair Castle.
Entrance avenue of Blair Castle. August Schwerdfeger, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Transformations of the Castle (19th Century)

The Georgian updates to the castle were refurbished into the fashionable Scottish Baronial style by the 7th Duke in the 1860s, which resulted in another transformation of the castle. Turrets and castellations were rebuilt during the 19th-century renovation, giving the castle a look closer to its medieval beginnings.

The 19th-century entry hall with its armory exhibition is one of the notable interior features today. With shields and muskets used in the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Blair Castle makes the most of the family’s military heritage. Exquisitely arranged weapon displays were a popular statement of Scottish Baronial design.

Blair Castle Under the Hunter Foundation

Iain Murray, the 10th Duke of Atholl, placed Blair Castle and the majority of his lands in a charitable trust called the Hunter Foundation as the 11th Duke, John Murray, had stated intentions to remain in his home in South Africa. 

The weapon display at Blair Castle, including muskets and targes (shields) from the Battle of Culloden.
The weapon display at Blair Castle, including muskets and targes (shields) from the Battle of Culloden. Julien.scavini, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Current Times

The 900-year-old Blair Castle is currently accessible to the general public. You can enjoy a wide variety of activities there. In addition, you are welcome to stroll around the expansive 220-acre estate’s green gardens, where you may unwind and take in the breathtaking views. Get to view historic displays of Scottish history in thirty different castle rooms including the grand display of the entrance hall, the Georgian staircase, the ballroom, and the grand State Dining Room. 

You may also get accommodations at the castle where you experience what it feels like to stay in a medieval castle. Enjoy your day experiencing staying in a castle and treating yourself like a nobility.

The immaculately detailed Dining Room at Blair.

Interesting Blair Castle Facts

Blair Castle holds a trove of fascinating information. Here is a collection you may find interesting:

  • Scotland’s top international Scouting event, the Jamborette, is held at Blair Castle every two years.
  • The Dukes of Atholl have their technical residence at Blair Castle. The present Duke, however, primarily lives in South Africa.
  • Blair Castle is considered a category-A listed building, defined as “buildings of architectural or historical significance on a national or global scale, as well as good, unaltered representations of a historical phase, design, or building form”.
  • The six-story Comyn’s Tower still includes some 13th-century materials and is the oldest portion of the castle.
  • The castle has been open to tourists ever since 1936.
  • During World War One, a portion of the castle was turned into a hospital.

Visiting Blair Castle – Tips and Tricks

There are a variety of activities to enjoy during your visit to Blair Castle. Get to know the rich Scottish history dating back hundreds of years. Explore the castle’s stunning grounds and impressive display of medieval architecture. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the surroundings and the opportunity to create priceless moments there.

If you’re eager to visit this magnificent masterpiece, you can make your journey easy and fun by following the tips provided below:

The gatehouse entrance to Blair Castle.
The gatehouse entrance to Blair Castle. James Allan / Entrance to Blair Castle

How to get to Blair Castle?

If you are traveling from the Scottish capital of Edinburgh, you can take a bus, a train, or a car to the castle. The train takes 2 hours which will cost £42 ($50 USD). The bus takes 2 hours, 22 minutes for £17 ($20 USD). Driving will take 1 hour, 30 minutes, and will cost around £25 ($30 USD).

Ticket Prices, Visiting Hours & Travel Tips

The tickets to Blair Castle (with entry to both house and gardens) for adults cost £16.00 ($19 USD). For senior citizens, 60+, the ticket costs £13.60 ($16.14 USD). If you are a student, you can avail of a discount by showing your student card–the ticket will only cost you £13.60 ($16.14 USD). The ticket price for children between 5-16 years is £9.50 ($11.28 USD).

Blair Castle opens on April 1st and closes on October 28th. The times to visit the castle are 10:00 am – 5:00 pm daily, with the last entry to the castle at 4:00 pm. You can buy an annual pass and return to the castle for free as many times as you like for one year from the date of purchase (excluding paid events). 

The ballroom at Blair Castle.

Things To Do at Blair Castle

  • Enjoy the beautiful grounds and gardens at Blair Castle. 
  • Blair Castle offers suite accommodations. If you’ve imagined your own personal five-star luxury hotel, you’ve already arrived at Blair Castle. The level of service and attention to detail are unmatched.
  • Blair is one of the few castles in Scotland that has a golf course located on the estate. 
  • Enjoy a private whiskey and chocolate tasting in the castle’s Guard Room, which dates back to 1105 and is the oldest room on the estate.
  • You would not want to miss out on the clan warrior-inspired miniature Highland games held on the castle grounds.
  • Gin enthusiasts may go foraging in the castle grounds with a local expert and partake in “wild” gin cocktails.
  • Destress yourself and take part in Mindfulness Classes at the castle.
  • Don’t forget to visit Red Deer Park and the ruined kirk.

How Long Will It Take to Tour Around?

One hour is about right for a tour of Blair Castle. Self-guided tours of the castle are available, and guides are available on each floor to answer any questions you might have. Information is readily available in every area.

Some words of advice and tips: 

  • A photo ID must be presented when using your pass at the ticket office.
  • 200 cars and up to 20 buses can park for free at the castle’s car park.
  • There is also an Electric Vehicle charging point at the car park.
  • The castle does not allow dogs inside, with the exception of guide dogs; however, they are welcomed outside on leashes.
  • Drones and other flying machines are not permitted above Blair Castle, the grounds of the castle, or on the larger estate unless there are exceptional reasons.

Quick Video Tour of The Main Blair Castle Areas

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Kainat Khalid
Kainat Khalid
Kainat is an English literature graduate with a profound interest in historical architecture. She has studied and explored the dusted pages of history for years which has ignited her passion to explore the existing remnants of our past glory and revisit them from a revised perspective. “There is no present without the past” is what she believes in and what drove her to begin cataloging these timeless historical monuments.

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