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The Chatelaine's Scottish Castles

Brodick Castle

Isle of Arran

Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran, Scotland
Brodick Castle © Mille19 | Dreamstime.com

This red sandstone castle nestles in dark trees at the foot of Goatfell mountain 1.5 miles out of Brodick, the main port on the Isle of Arran off the west coast of Scotland.

The name Brodick comes from the Norse words, meaning 'broad bay'. Arran means 'peaked island' in Gaelic.

Those without transport can either take the north circular bus from Brodick which runs past the entrance or walk (part road and part footpath).

Brodick Castle, Arran, Scotland
Brodick Castle © David Woods | Fotolia.com
Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran, Scotland
Brodick Castle © John Maltwood | Fotolia.com

The castle is usually open daily from April to October, however renovation works in 2017/18 mean that only external tours are currently available. Click here for opening details. The Country Park is open all year round every day from 9.30am until sunset. Telephone: +44 1770 302202. There's a licensed restaurant and souvenir shop. Available for weddings.
The National Trust for Scotland has more details.

TO CONTACT BRODICK CASTLE - CLICK HERE

The site has been occupied by a stronghold of some kind since the fifth century, when an ancient Irish tribe came over and founded the kingdom of Dalriada. It was probably destroyed and rebuilt many times during its turbulent history. In 1503 the castle and the Earldom of Arran were granted by James IV to his cousin, Lord Hamilton. That structure was demolished in 1544. Parts of the present castle date from the 1588 during the ownership of the 2nd Earl of Arran who was the guardian and regent of Queen Mary.

As the home of the Dukes of Hamilton, the castle was occupied by Cromwellian troops after the first Duke was executed during the Civil War in 1648 and the second died in battle just three years later. Brodick Castle eventually passed into the hands of Mary, Duchess of Montrose (daughter of the 12th Duke of Hamilton) who revitalised the gardens. Since her death in 1957 it has been owned by the National Trust for Scotland.

Inside are paintings, porcelain and furniture from the various owners. It is also home to the art collection of 18th century author William Beckford of Fonthill whose daughter married the 10th Duke of Hamilton. One of the rooms is known as 'Bruce's Room' but since the castle was all but destroyed in 1455 and 1544, it is unlikely that Robert the Bruce actually stayed in it.

formal gardens
Copyright 2009 Joanne Mackenzie-Winters
formal gardens
Copyright 2009 Joanne Mackenzie-Winters

The colourful gardens which feature lots of rhododendrons, include:

  • the walled garden,
  • the "Ice House" where they used to pack ice in the winter in a hole in the ground and then store it ready for the summer,
  • the Bavarian Summer House, a hexagonal wooden structure built in 1845 and decorated with elaborate arrangements of fir cones.

Once you are inside the castle grounds, you can also take advantage of several walking trails, including one leading up Goatfell mountain (874 metres) and another to the intriguingly named "Duchesses' Bathing Pool".

TO CONTACT BRODICK CASTLE - CLICK HERE

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