7th May 2015
First castle of the day, much better than scenic drives in my opinion. Cawdor Castle is a fine specimen, you ever enter through the drawbridge over the moat. Also another living castle with the Cawdor’s still living here. One guide told us to expect to see the lady of the house pottering around.
Unfortunately no buggy access at this castle, so we left that outside and Betty visited in the carrier. She prefers that anyway. Lots of rooms to see and lots of stairs. The tapestry bedroom, has walls covered from floor to ceiling with just that, it is also lush with velvet fittings on the four poster bed. Every room has lovely fireplaces, some very ornate, sadly no longer in use. The smoke was causing internal damage so now there are electric heaters in each room which must cost a fortune in winter. It is lovely to see the old with the new throughout the castle, the antique, ornate furniture with modern books on the side table, a telephone and personal knick knacks. Nice to see the castle really lived in.
Another amazing kitchen with the copper cookware, spice drawers and aga. I would love that much space to cook in. An interesting discovery just off of one room is a small dungeon. It was discovered during renovations as a small space between the walls with only one small entrance. You could have kept prisoners in here for days without anyone noticing and I bed they did! While viewing the dining room, I had my best sight of the trip. A red squirrel eating nuts out on the windowsill. No photos allowed inside the house which was quite annoying, he looked so cute.
The cafe is fantastic with high chairs and a great selection of cakes. There are also changing facilities here. Outside there are large grounds to visit. We tried circling the castle to try and find the squirrel but no luck. There are formal gardens, woodland and a maze. The grounds have a large selection of artwork scattered about, much of it modern against the more traditional planting schemes. One spectacular piece looks like leaves spiralling round a sphere, but each bottom leaf is actually a bird feeder so the sculpture is covered with chaffinches. Betty was mesmerised watching the little birds.
Baby friendly info:
There is no buggy access inside the castle, you can leave them just inside the drawbridge. A baby carrier is essential.
The cafe has high chairs and there are changing facilities.
The gardens are mainly buggy friendly. There are a few stairs if you want to cross the bridge.