Why We Should Visit
The towers of Glamis Castle rise up from the rich Angus farmland like something out of a fairytale and there is more history wrapped up in this place than almost anywhere else in Scotland. Aside from being one of the most haunted homes in the country, the estate was the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth as well as being the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
Many of the great figures from the past, including Mary Queen of Scots, has crossed its threshold, giving Glamis a unique position in the story of Scotland
The Lyon family was granted these lands by King Robert II in 1372, work on the castle began soon afterwards and the gardens, and the farmland that surround the castle have been cultivated for centuries.
Story of the Garden
A mile-long avenue of oak and lime trees, underplanted with daffodils, leads from the picturesque Glamis village to the castle. From here the gardens are divided into different areas, all of which have been developed at different times in the estate’s history. In keeping with the style of many great homes, the gardens are set at some distance from the castle itself.
The walled garden, which would once have provided fresh produce for the estate, has recently been restored after a long period during which it lay fallow, but now it is productive once again. The centrepiece is a large pond, which is spanned by a Monet-inspired bridge, while the impressive fountain is surrounded by flowerbeds that in autumn are filled with late-flowering blooms.
Outside the the walls, one of the finest features of Glamis is the wide swathe of parkland that surrounds the castle and which is studded with mature broadleaved trees.
The Italian Garden is bounded by yew hedges and includes a raised terrace between two gazebos and fan-shaped parterres. Other features include pleached alleys of beech, a stone fountain and ornamental gates which commemorate the HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s 80th birthday.
The sundial that stands in the garden was commissioned by the 3rd Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the 1670s and is one of the most outstanding of its kind. It has 80 individual sundial faces and is the finest of all the polyhedral sundials that were being erected on Scotland’s great estates at that time.
The pinetum at Glamis, planted in 1870 by the 13th Earl, is home to soaring conifers and beneath their branches is set the Macbeth Trail, a series of sculptures by Neith Art that depict the key figures in the story which has its roots on the estate. All of the figures are made from oak, Douglas fir and Noble fir trees that were grown at Glamis. Visitors can spot the witches, Lady Macbeth and other characters from the play set amongst the trees.
Anything Else To Look Out For
The Nature Trail at Glamis is a network of paths and tracks surrounding the castle, where visitors can explore the landscape and the wildlife that inhabits it. Roe deer and red squirrels thrive here and there are also pheasants that have been raised on the estate.
Best Time To Visit
The castle and gardens are open all year round and there is always something to see. In spring the daffodils, rhododendrons and azaleas are colourful and in autumn the trees turn rich shades of gold and red.
Any Recommendations in the Area?
Loch of Kinnordy is an RSPB nature reserve at Kirriemuir and its shallow waters attract a wide range of wildlife including ospreys and otters.
Glamis Castle is accessed from the A94 between Forfar and Coupar Angus.
Tel: 01307 840393
In association with Discover Scottish Gardens. See www.discoverscottishgardens.org.
This autumn, as part of the Scottish Tree Festival, visitors are invited to take part in ‘A Trail of Tales at Glamis Castle,’ when the estate will be illuminated by a spectacular light show.
Installations set around the grounds will be a Troll Bridge, a Peter Pan-themed performance and illuminated greenhouses, inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk.
The light show route will begin close to the castle and move towards the walled garden, with shimmering lights and local actors enlivening the experience along the way.
While walking the trail, there will a number of refreshment stations for visitors to warm up with a hot drink or a snack. The Hub Café and Castle Kitchen Restaurant will also be open and serving their seasonal menus during the event.
Helen Buchanan, General Manager at Glamis Castle, said: “It has been wonderful welcoming visitors back to Glamis Castle this summer and we are delighted to be able to invite people to step into a fairy tale with A Trail of Tails at Glamis Castle. Our gardens are remarkable in the daylight, so a light show at night combined with whimsical story telling is set to be a truly magical and atmospheric experience for all ages. Working with local businesses is very important to us, so we are thrilled to have been able to partner with AML and Strathmore Event Services to bring this idea to life.”
The show will run from October 29 until November 7 from 4pm-8.15pm and tickets are available from https://www.glamis-castle.co.uk/event/a-trail-of-tales-at-glamis-castle