The fairy-tale home of the Duke of Argyll
The West Coast of Scotland's dramatic landscape of peninsulas, sea inlets, and islands set against a backdrop of bleak, savage mountains is the setting for Inveraray Castle.
Nestled between the mountains and Loch Fyne's waters is Inveraray, a charming 'picture postcard' town. Its main street flanked by white-washed terraced houses all with window casements painted black running straight down to the Loch.
The castle was the location for an episode of Downton Abbey. It became mythical Scottish home of Duneagle Castle, the home of the Marquess and Marchioness of Flintshire. The driving tour to Inveraray takes you through spectacular scenery. The castle is a great stop before arriving at your coastal retreat. Our Classic tour of Scotland features a visit to Inveraray.
A brief history of Inveraray Castle
The site has been headquarters of the Campbell clan since the early 15th century.
The town dates back to 1745 when the 3rd Duke of Argyll built on the original village's site, which was destroyed by the Royalist Marquis of Montrose's forces in 1644. His 'new town' included a castle built slightly north of the town. The architects were Roger Morris and William Adam - the father of the renowned architect, John Adam. Today it is a family home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, head of the Clan Campbell and the Campbell clan's headquarters.
A fire badly damaged it in 1877, a common occurrence for such properties in the 19th century; the introduction of gaslighting caused many a country home fire.
The rebuilding saw the introduction of dormer windows and striking conical towers, which gives the castle a faintly French, Loire appearance. The interior is stunning and forms the backdrop to a fantastic collection of Oriental and European porcelain pieces, French tapestries, portraits by Ramsay and Gainsborough, and Regency furniture.
The armoury hall features some 1,300 items, including Muskets, Lochaber axes, Scottish broadswords, and other things all supplied by the British government to put down the Jacobite rising.
Another devastating fire destroyed rooms in 1975. The 12th Duke lived in the basement during the remodelling and meticulous restoration.
Visiting Inveraray Castle
The décor in the State Dining Room is spectacular, which leads into the Tapestry room containing fabulous French tapestries made for the castle and splendid examples of English and French furniture.
On the same level is the Armoury Hall, with a high ceiling (21 metres, the highest in Scotland) and is a repository containing an extensive collection of swords, pikes, and muskets. The display is quite breath-taking and intimidating at the same time.
State Dining Room
The State Dining Room was hand-painted in 1784 by two of France's foremost artists, Girard and Guinand, whose work was much in demand. Their work provides a magnificent backdrop for the French tapestry dining chairs and upholstery commissioned by the 5th Duke. The exquisite dining table, sideboards, and chandelier indicate the wealth enjoyed by the Argyll's. A vast collection of Oriental and European porcelain dating from the early 18th century together with a large Derby dinner service is displayed in the China Turret.
There are many rooms to explore, including The Gallery, The Clan Room, The Victorian Room, and others all with mementoes and artefacts all beautifully displayed.
Of particular note is the kitchen in the basement. It has no fewer than seven fireplaces, all for different cooking methods, two stewing stoves, two baking ovens, a hot plate, a roasting fire, and a working spit. There must have been a veritable legion of kitchen staff to operate all this kit.
The castle is a Category A listed building, has an extensive 16-acre garden and sits within an estate of some 60,000 acres used for forestry and farming.
Touring and accommodation
We have created various itineraries available to book off-the-shelf, or our Tour-Designers can customise a tour based on your interests and accommodation needs. Please use our Touring Guide for inspiration. For your information, our Family Tour of Scotland is ideal for families with young or older children; we can adjust the activities accordingly. Our Whisky, Golf and Culture itinerary is great for a group of adults or older multi-generational families. Please browse our Private Tours of Scotland. Our Tour-Designers can include Inveraray Castle into your bespoke itinerary.
When touring the wild north-west, the accommodation style becomes architecturally local, which makes the stay interesting. Expect restored hunting lodges and Victorian holiday homes transformed into luxury hotels. The Isle of Eriska Hotel is a lovely place to stay; the isle is a truly tranquil place. Airds Hotel and Restaurant occupies a fabulous location overlooking the water. It has cosy rooms and a world-class restaurant.
Traditional Scottish Estate
Tour the Castle and enjoy the property
- Deer Stalking available
- Shooting on the Estate
- Stay on the Estate
- Campbell Clan HQ
View from the banks of Loch Fyne
View from the Gardens