This evening, I am focusing on a sub-set of Scottish castles most of which would have had early origins as military/fortified buildings but which progressively evolved into grand mansions reflecting the increasing wealth and status of their owners.

Firstly, here is Culzean Castle situated on the Ayrshire coast and now owned by Scotland’s National Trust. It is a Robert Adam designed masterpiece of the Scottish Gothic Revival from the late 18th century built by the 10th Earl Cassilis who was bankrupted by the scale of the project. Post WW2 a suit of apartments was gifted to General Dwight Eisenhower for his lifetime in recognition of his contribution to winning the conflict. This castle is open to the public. There are very extensive grounds and gardens which are also open for public use.

Culzean Castle, Ayrshire

Below is Inveraray Castle, the seat of the Chief of Clan Campbell and Duke of Argyll which is close to the shores of Loch Fyne on the west of Scotland. The building was completed in 1789 and incorporates baroque, Palladian and Gothic influences. Interestingly, the Adam brothers ( John and Robert) were also involved in the design of this building. Inveraray Castle remains in private hands but is open to the public and very popular with tourists visiting the west of Scotland. The castle is full of antiques, armour, furniture and paintings.

Inveraray Castle

Balmoral Castle (below) is a private residence of Britain’s Royal Family being originally acquired by Queen Victoria in 1848 and helped to trigger a boom in Scottish tourism. Only the ballroom is open to the public but the extensive grounds and gardens are also open to visitors during the  summer months. Balmoral is situated in the valley of the River Dee in the Scottish Highlands.

Balmoral Castle

Dunrobin is located in the highlands, north of Inverness ands is the seat of the Duke of Sutherland. This is the largest castle in the northern Highlands. The original defensive structure has been masked by later modelling undertaken in the 1840s and in 1915. French chateau influences on the architecture are the work of Gothic Revivalist Sir Charles Barry between 1845 and 1851. This castle is open to the public and also features extensive gardens, a museum and a falconry exhibition.

Dunrobin Castle

Floors Castle is the largest inhabited mansion in Scotland. Once again an Adam (William) was involved in the original design but his work was subject to extensive re-modelling by William Playfair in the 1830s and 1840s. Floors Castle is located close to the banks of the River Tweed near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. It is the seat of the Duke of Roxburghe and is home to a considerable art collection.

Floors Castle