7th May 2015
Two castles in one day, what a treat for me and Betty! Brodie castle is National Trust for Scotland so you can also visit for free if a National Trust member. It is a guided tour so you cannot wander freely. You really learn about the history and past owners this way though. A very enthusiastic guide with lots of knowledge.
The castle and land has been home to Clan Brodie since the 1300s until 2003 when the last Clan Chief left it to the NTS including all of its contents. The tour starts in an impressive library with the highlight under cover in the centre of the room. A letter from Robert the Bruce telling the Brodies to clean their pond. Seems a bit trivial for Robert to be involved but apparently this was causing issues down river therefore affecting many people. Not just that their fish were unhappy or anything like that.
Upstairs we heard about the original Z plan structure of one huge room with turrets on opposing diagonal corners. This room is now a dining room, the table laid with the hand painted Brodie china. As the huge collection was hand painted, it is amazing that there are only two pieces with spelling errors. Instead of the motto Unite, a couple of pieces say untie, oops. One of the turrets is now blocked up, the other still has a spiral staircase running up to the second floor. This was considered the optimum design for safety. No entrance on the ground floor, wooden stairs to the first floor which could be burnt if attackers tried to climb them. Spiral staircases to prevent people being able to use their spears on the ascent but perfect for defence from those above. The house has since been extended in most directions so the tour leads into a large living room, available for weddings. Upstairs, past the stained glass window, are the bedrooms, with a huge guest suite of two bedrooms and a bathroom, which was the bare minimum of hospitality in those days. Today a sofa bed and a duvet work just fine. Downstairs is the coronation robe of Queen Adeliade, King Willian IV’s wife. She gave it to the Brodies as a present even though it should be held by the Royal Collection.
Back on the ground floor out towards the shop and cafe is the old kitchen which the fantastic copper cookware and old iron oven. Being in the baby carrier, Betty got some great views of the elaborately painted ceilings but eventually she dropped off to sleep. There was clearly too much to see in the house, she was fascinated and that stopped her sleeping sooner. No photos allowed in the castle and there wasn’t much time for strolling the gardens so I don’t have much to show you. Just the exterior.
Baby friendly info:
The castle doesn’t allow buggies so a baby carrier is essential. There are chairs in most rooms for you to sit and rest while the guide talks.
There are changing facilities and the cafe has high chairs.