Castle and Gardens of Mey

Built between 1566 and 1572, the Castle of Mey was to be abandoned before Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother took possession of it in 1952, renovating the house and its 12 hectares (30 acres) of gardens. Her summer home until 1996, when it was deeded to a trust and opened to the public, the castle sits on the north coast of Caithness, about 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Thurso, overlooking the ocean and the Orkney Islands. A tour of the interior includes the front hall, where portraits of the 12th, 13th and 14th earls of Caithness hang; the formal dining room; Princess Margaret’s bedroom; and the late Queen’s apartment and library. You can also access the turret. The glorious gardens are divided into several different areas—the Queen’s favorite was the Shell Garden, home to many varieties of roses.

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