Inveraray Castle

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Inveraray Castle


Inveraray Castle - south-west facade.jpg
Inveraray Castle
Grid reference: NN095092
Location: 56°14’15"N, 5°4’25"W
Village: Inveraray
Owned by: The Duke of Argyll

Inveraray Castle is a country house in the form of a castle standing just outside near Inveraray in Argyllshire, on the shore of Loch Fyne, the longest sea loch in Great Britain. The castle has been the seat of the Dukes of Argyll, chiefs of Clan Campbell, since the 18th century.

The castle is one of the earliest examples of Gothic Revival architecture, and is today a Category A listed building.[1]

History and architecture

King James V stayed at the old castle of Inveraray in September 1533. It is recorded that a new lute was bought for him in Glasgow and carried to Inveraray by his servant Troilus.[2]

The present castle was built in the Gothic Revival style. Work on it began in 1743. This castle replaced an earlier 15th-century castle.[3] The foundation stone was laid in October 1746.[1] It is one of the earliest Gothic Revival buildings in Britain, together with Strawberry Hill House in Middlesex. Originally, all the roofs were flat and crenellated. Later, a third floor with pitched roof and dormer windows was added on all four wings and steep conical roofs were added to the four round towers.

The village of Inveraray was moved in the 1770s to give the castle a more secluded setting.[4]

Designers who worked on the house include William Adam and Roger Morris. The interior has a number of neoclassical rooms created for the 5th Duke by Robert Mylne. These are among the rooms open to the public. James Lees-Milne was not impressed by the house when he visited it in 1943, noting the "ugly" grey stone and calling it "grim and forbidding".[4]

In 1975 a devastating fire struck Inveraray and for some time the 12th Duke and his family lived in the castle's basement, while restorations requiring a worldwide fundraising drive were carried out.

Modern era

The castle is open to visitors. Its collection includes more than 1,300 pikes, muskets, swords and other weapons.[4]

Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll, and his family live in private apartments occupying two floors and set between two of the four crenellated circular towers. Recent renovations included the installation of the house's first central heating, powered by burning wood-chips from the family's forestry holdings.

Inveraray Castle is It is surrounded by a 16-acre garden and an estate of 60,000 acres. Besides welcoming visitors to the castle, the estate's activities include commercial forestry, tenanted farming, wind and hydro power, and deer hunting.[4]

In popular culture

The 2012 Christmas episode of Downton Abbey was partly filmed here, the castle portraying the fictional "Duneagle Castle". Inveraray Castle also featured in Great Estates Scotland made by American broadcaster PBS in 2014. In 2020, Susan Calman's Secret Scotland filmed at Inveraray Castle.

The "Best of the West" festival, organised by the Duchess, was held at the castle each September until 2018.[4]

The castle was featured on an episode of An American Aristocrat's Guide to Great Estates on the Smithsonian Channel and Amazon Prime Video, first aired in 2020.[5]

The castle was used as an exterior filming location in the television miniseries A Very British Scandal.[6]


("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Inveraray Castle)
Inveraray exteriors
A lithograph of Inveraray Castle, 1880  
Panoramic view from the garden  
View from the garden  
Facade on the garden  
Close view of the façade and green cladding of it  
Inveraray interiors
Inveraray interior great hall  
Inveraray interior  
Inveraray interior detail  
Inveraray interior sitting room  
Inveraray interior dining room  
Inveraray interior kitchen  

Outside links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Inveraray Castle (Category A) - Listing detail (Historic Environment Scotland)
  2. James Balfour Paul, Accounts of the Treasurer, vol. 6 (Edinburgh, 1905), p. 87.
  3. Coventry, Martin. (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans. pp. 76–87. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Dickie, Mure (8 August 2015). "Scottish peer with a clan-do attitude". Financial Times: pp. 2. 
  5. "An American Aristocrat's Guide to Great Estates Season 1". 
  6. "A Very British Scandal".