6th May 2015
A fairytale castle set in spectacular gardens with a sea view, could Dunrobin Castle get any better? Yes, falconry displays and a museum on site too.
On a rainy Scottish day, you cannot appreciate the scenery to its fullest, so better to get indoors and see some other sights instead. Dunrobin castle is only 20 minutes drive from Dornoch, our Northern Scottish base for the next few days so we popped along to see what it could offer.
The castle looks like something out of Harry Potter from the outside. Very grand and magical. Unlike many stately homes and castles which are still lived in, there were many rooms open to visit making it very good value for money. The entrance has stairs and then main rooms are up a large, grand staircase in the main hall. No photos within the house or museum but you can take plenty in the gardens. Inside you can visit the luxuriously decorated dining room, drawing room, music room, breakfast room and library. All accessible to a pushchair, if you managed to get it up the first staircase. The upper rooms are accessed via a small spiral staircase, so a baby carrier is essential. You can leave your pushchair at the bottom of the stairs then retrieve it on your way down as the guided path brings you back round again.
The views to the gardens and the sea are fantastic. Mainly formal settings, the far lawn full of benches for the falconry shows which run twice daily. The rain eased off so we carried the buggy down the many steps to the lawns. To the side is the bird area where all of the fantastic creatures live. Falcons, Hawks and Owls. Up the side of the garden is a huge gate leading to the small, but very full museum. It was originally a summer house. This place gives the Horniman a run for its money, the museum is jam packed with taxidermy. The entrance has heads of all kinds of animals shot by the family on safari, quite sad but people didn’t know any better in those days. I would prefer that the animals had lived but they do look very impressive. Elephant, giraffe, all kids of antelope. A huge crocodile and an elephant’s foot. The next room is double height, the lower level having glass displays of smaller animals and birds and the upper gallery having glass cases of different artefacts from the family and some aquatic specimens and antlers. The walk back up to the house was much tougher, but it had been worth it for that museum.
Baby friendly info:
The cafe has high chairs and the toilets have a baby changing room.
The castle rooms are on the first and second floors. You can carry a pushchair to the first floor and push it around the room but there is a small spiral staircase to the second floor so you need a baby carrier for those rooms.
The gardens have numerous staircases so a baby carrier is advisable. We carried the pushchair up and down all of the stairs because it was raining but it was tough going.
The museum has stairs to the entrance, then stairs to two split levels and a spiral staircase to the gallery. Baby carrier advised again.