Blair Castle and Gardens
Blair Atholl, Pitlochry PH18 5TL, UK
| +44 1796 481207
Photo by Shutterstock
Blair Castle and GardensYou can just imagine the hunting parties that must have gathered at this magnificent castle, surrounded by the wooded glens of the Perthshire Highlands. In one hall, the walls are lined with 175 pairs of antlers. Situated on the historic estate of the dukes of Atholl, Blair Castle was repeatedly modified over the centuries, though the Cumming Tower reputedly dates back to the 13th century. In 1936, the castle became one of the first stately homes to open its doors to the public, allowing visitors to tour 30 rooms full of furniture, arms, china, lace, and portraits.
Walk through the baronial entrance hall, featuring weapons used in the Battle of Culloden; the ornate dining room, with plasterwork by Thomas Clayton; the plush living room, complete with Louis XVI gilt chairs, Chipchase settees, and Bulloch cabinets; the tapestry room, lined with the Mortlake Tapestries that belonged to King Charles I; and the grand ballroom, which continues to host Highland balls, wedding receptions, and private dinners to this day. Then head outside to the grounds to explore the nine-acre walled garden, extensive wooded grove, ruined kirk, red deer park, and Gothic folly. Keep an eye out for the peacocks, which roam freely and provide a popular photo op for visitors.