Discover Blair Castle, the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl and home to Europe's last remaining private army, the Atholl Highlanders
Blair Castle is nestled in the dramatic landscape of Highland Perthshire and has been home to 19 generations of Stewarts and Murrays of Atholl. Unique amongst Scottish castles, the story told here will take you from a visit by Mary Queen of Scots to the Civil War and from the Jacobite cause to the disaster of Culloden following Bonnie Prince Charlie's own stay in the castle. You'll hear how the lucky inheritance of a smuggler-infested island helped turn the castle into a comfortable home and how a stay by Queen Victoria led to the creation of Europe's only surviving private army.
30 rooms are on full display, each alive with characters from the past and full of fascinatng pieces of antique furniture, art and tapestry. Scenes such as a Victorian nursery bring history to life, and exhibitions reveal more about subjects including Europe's only private army, the Atholl Highlanders regiment.
Look out for the impressive ornamental armoury in the Baronial Entrance Hall, featuring muskets used at the Battle of Culloden, the classic Georgian styling of the Picture Staircase and the grandeur of the State Dining Room, Drawing Room and Victorian Ballroom.
Within the grounds of Blair Castle, the Hercules Garden, recently restored to its original Georgian design, is a 9 acre walled garden of fruit trees, vegetables and herbaceous borders. Features such as a chinese bridge, folly and a trail of 18th Century and contemporary sculptures make this garden a must-see on a visit to the castle. Diana's Grove, a peaceful woodland grove, boasts some of the country's finest and tallest trees and a short stroll from the grove leads you to St Bride's ruined kirk, the burial place of Bonnie Dundee. The grounds also feature a Red Deer Park and children's playground.
For a special view of the castle and the historic landscape, take a short stroll to 18th century folly the Whim, for the view from its gothic arches.
Blair Castle has been awarded a Gold Green Tourism Award.