Glamis Castle

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Name: Glamis
Location: Coupar Angus
Country: Scotland
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Glamis  is included in our 16 days "Best Castles of Britain and Ireland" tour. Visit our site.

Click here to learn about the ghost that haunts Glamis Castle

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Glamis is a small and pretty village about five miles from Forfar in the fertile valley of Strathmore, in what used to be the county of Angus. It contains a curious old carved stone said to be a monument to King Malcolm II and some attractive eighteenth-century cottages which have been converted into a fascinating museum of agricultural implements and the cottage technology of old times. Its most notable feature, however, is the magnificent pile of Glamis Castle, childhood home of the Queen Mother and birthplace of Princess Margaret.

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The castle is a splendid example of the style named half humorously `Scottish baronial', a kind of amalgam of the traditions of the Scottish tower house and the French Renaissance chateau, and comes as close as possibly any building in the British Isles to the largely illusionary idea of a Gothic castle represented in French miniatures of the fifteenth century-a filigree of aspiring spires and turrets.

Mockery would be misplaced. This is a splendid building, perhaps the finest private residence in Scotland, and although its seventeenth-century turrets and battlements are of dubious defensive capacity, the core of Glamis is a sturdy, nonsense fourteenth-century tower, and some parts are even earlier. 

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The Lyons came into possession of Glamis (the "i" is silent, the name being derived from the Gaelic glamhus, a strath or vale) in 1424, and it has remained with them virtually ever since. Its history goes back even further, perhaps to Macbeth, who was allegedly Thane of Glamis among other titles, and it was an occasional residence of several early kings of Scots, as well as James Edward, the `Old Pretender', in 1715 and Sir Walter Scott in about 1791. Legends associated with the castle possibly owe something to the latter visitor. Besides ghosts, they include an alleged secret chamber, known only to the thane and his heir. A fourteenth-century iron yett still defends the main entrance. These massive grilles replaced the portcullis and were popular in Scotland and northern England.

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Sascha Kimmel, 25, from Germany, wrote:
This is a fantastic castle you really have to visit if you´re visiting Scotland. the tour takes about 45 minutes and also introduces the hidden room. But I have to correct the previous entry - it is owned by the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Elliott Michaels, 30, from North America, wrote:
As you cross through the medieval gate with the Glamis' sign on it, you cannot help noticing the castle sitting fairy-tale style amidst a field of daffodils, jersey cows and greying sheep.  Glamis' castle, whose history spans 1,000 years and includes the legendary battle between Duncan and MacBeth is a great place to spend an afternoon.  The tour guides will take you through the public rooms (the castle is still a home to the earl of Strathroy and Kinghorn), trat to the lore of the ghost tales and stop in the famous hunting room where the ghosts of MacBeth and Duncan are still said to haunt.  Most disappointing was the basement cafeteria-style restaurant which made us remember that we were 500 past the days when Glamis was a hunting lodge and seat of a legendary family whose famous descendants include the Queen Mother.  I was there in 1995 and would love, one day, to go back.


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