Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle

Location: Forfar, Angus  Map

Tel. 01307 840393
Mar- Oct: 10:30am- 4:30pm daily
Nov& Dec: 10am- 6pm daily
Last tour at 4pm

Official site


Description of Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle is a castle near the village of Glamis in Angus, Scotland. It is the home of the Earls of Strathmore who opened it to the public. Unlike many other Scottish castles, it is not run by the National Trust for Scotland. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, better known as the 'Queen Mum', grew up here and her daughter Princess Margaret was born here.

Noteworthy are the ceiling paintings of the interiors of Glamis Castle, which are very detailed and well preserved. Along with Muchalls Castle and Craigievar House, they are considered the finest in Scotland.

The castle features in numerous sagas and, if local legends are to be believed, holds more dark secrets than any other castle in the UK. It was also mentioned in the literature. In William Shakespeare's play Macbeth, Macbeth is the thane of Glamis and Cawdor.



Glamis lies between gently rolling hills about 20 kilometers from the North Sea. This region of Scotland is known for its early Pictish culture as well as several medieval events. Nearby is the Stone of Eassie, one of the finest examples of early Pictish stonework. To the south is Scone Palace, the historic coronation site of the Scottish kings. About 30 kilometers north is Dunnottar Castle.

The grounds of the castle cover an area of 5,700 hectares (14,000 acres) and include lush gardens and walking paths as well as agricultural land, including for timber and cattle. Two rivers flow through the estate, one of which is known as the Glamis Burn. An arboretum, located at Glamis Burn, contains many rare species of trees from around the world, many of which are a few hundred years old. Birds and other small wild animals can also be found in the area.

There is a tea room in the castle and parts of the gardens and grounds are open to the public. Glamis Castle can also be used for dinners and weddings.


Legends and fairy tales

The most famous legend about the castle is that of the Monster of Glamis, a hideously deformed child born to the Bowes-Lyon family. According to legend, the monster was imprisoned in the castle all his life and his chamber was walled up after his death.

An old story tells that once guests staying at Glamis Castle hung towels out of the windows of each room to find the monster's walled-up room. When they looked at the castle from the outside, they noticed that there were no towels hanging out of a number of windows.

The monster legend may have been inspired by the true story of the Ogilvie family. Somewhere in the almost five meter thick walls is the Bone Room. The Ogilvies had once sought protection from their enemies, the Lindsays, in this, but were betrayed and walled up alive.

According to the castle's official website, King Malcolm II was mortally wounded in a nearby battle in 1034 and taken to a royal hunting lodge that stood on the site of the present castle, where Malcolm II also died.

There is a small chapel in the castle that seats 46 people. Castle guides tell visitors that a seat in the chapel is always reserved for the "Gray Lady," a spirit that haunts the castle. According to the guide, the chapel is still used regularly by the Bowes-Lyon family. Despite this, no one is allowed to sit in this seat.

The late Sir David Bowes-Lyon is said to have seen a young woman at one of the castle's windows while taking a late-night stroll on the estate's lawn. He reportedly saw the girl clutching the bars of a window while staring absently out into the night. He was about to speak to the girl when she suddenly disappeared, as if someone had snatched her away from the window.

Earl Beardie was a guest at Glamis Castle. One night, when he was drunk, he asked to play dice. Since it was the Sabbath, his hosts refused him this request. Lord Beardie was so upset he screamed that he was playing with the devil himself. A stranger then appeared at the castle and asked if Lord Beardie wanted to play dice and they started playing in one of the rooms. Later, servants heard screams and curses coming from the room. One of the servants peered through the keyhole, and it is reported that a ray of light shining through the keyhole blinded him. The stranger disappeared. Many visitors reported hearing screams and the clatter of dice, and not a few say the earl still gambles with the devil for his soul.