For February half term we are staying in Angus and no visit here would be without visiting the ancestral home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and birth place of Princess Margaret – Glamis Castle.
From the moment you approach the castle along the long mile long driveway, framed by manicured gardens and great Oak trees and with an abundance of pheasants, you know you are approaching a very special place.
Glamis Castle has been the ancestral seat of the Lyon family since 1372 and has grown and been added to over the centuries.
Pauline, our tour guide, was a wealth of knowledge and filled us in on the history of the castle whilst engaging the kids with tasks of finding the Lions, and the one room without a lion, and a few more interesting stories about the castle.
With 125 rooms, Glamis Castle is huge, but during the tour you see just a handful as Glamis is still a family home. These rooms include:
- The Dining Room
- The Crypt
- The Drawing Room
- The Chapel
- The Billiard Room
- King Malcolm’s Room
- The Royal Apartments
- The King’s Room
Unfortunately photography is not permitted inside the castle but from the moment you enter it is full of “Wow” moments around every corner.
You start in the dining room where the table seats up to 40 guests and is decorated by a stunning silver tall ship (a nef). The carpet is covered in Lions, the walls lined with oak panelling and the history of the family is told throughout; by stained glass on the windows, carved wood on the panelling and painted heraldic shields.
The crypt was probably the kids favourite room. It represents the ancient heart of the castle and was filled with interesting things to look at including suits of armour, weapons, hunting trophies and the Secret Room of Glamis with its very own ghost story!
The Drawing room is considered the most splendid apartment in the castle and has a stunning arched ceiling, the most magnificent fireplace I have ever seen and paintings on display from floor to ceiling.
The Chapel is said to be one of the finest private chapels in Northern Europe and features paintings by the Dutch artist Jacob de Wet. The most celebrated picture is of Christ wearing a hat which is one of only six in the world.
The next room on the tour was the billiard room which is much more informal than some of the other rooms, but beautiful nonetheless, then we headed to King Malcolm’s room which was filled with beautiful hand-painted bone china (I was rather keen to leave this room with 3 bouncy children in tow).
It was the royal apartments that Hubby and I found most fascinating. The Queen Mother used to visit Glamis regularly throughout her life and the sitting room was like that of any other family home, filled with fascinating family photographs, some with handwritten names and dates on them. The kids loved her bedroom and the secret of how to open the armoire which had no handles!
The final room in the Royal Apartments was the King’s Room. It is now dressed like a bedroom as is home to the oldest piece of furniture in the castle – the Kinghorne bed which was made c.1660 but was once King George VI’s study.
Our final room of the tour was the Guard Room, complete with a spy hole and a bear on a skateboard type contraption. He was an old family pet who was sadly killed by a cow protecting her calf but was so well-loved they kept him.
We didn’t get to explore the gardens as the gardeners were hard at work, but we did find a playground for the kids to stretch their legs.
Glamis Castle re-opens to the public on 1st April 2017 with lots of exciting events planned for the coming year.
Disclaimer: We were guests of Glamis Castle for a private tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.