Blair Castle can be found in Glen Garry, near the village of Blair Atholl in Scotland, and was originally home to the Clan Murray, doubling up as the seat of their chief - the Duke of Atholl. However, todays Duke, Bruce Murray, lives in South Africa, and shows no interest in returning to his ancestral home.
The origins of this castle are actually quite amusing - in 1269, while the Earl of Atholl was away on a crusade, his neighbour, the Lord of Badenoch, cheekily began building a tower on the Earls land! Safe to say, when the Earl returned he was not best pleased, and instantly complained about the intrusion to King Alexander III. The Earl of Atholl was successful in winning back his stolen land, and decided to incorporate this new tower into the other towers and buildings that were already there.
However, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, the Murrays sadly chose the wrong side - they supported the Royalists (also known as Cavaliers), and so the castle was taken over during Oliver Cromwell's invasion in 1650. Charles II was however, quickly restored to power.
A few centuries later, in 1844 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert enjoyed a short stay the Blair Castle, at the end of which she gave permission for the Atholl Highlanders to form - the only legal private army in Europe!
The castle is a category A listed building (buildings of national or international importance), as are the grounds, and has been open the general public for the past 73 years. It displays impressive weapons and trophies, souvenirs and needlework from many generations of the Murray clan, as well as paintings and traditional furniture. A tour of the Castles 30 spectacular rooms is also available.
The Old Manse , Blair Atholl , PH18 5TN
The Old Manse of Blair, Boutique Hotel & Restaurant is 2.93 kilometers from Blair Castle. Room prices starting from £Check availability and book online.