Inveraray Castle

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Inveraray Castle
Inveraray, Argyll, Scotland, United Kingdom
Inveraray Castle - south-west facade.jpg
Inveraray Castle in 2014
Shown within Scotland
Inveraray Castle is located in Scotland
Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle
Coordinates56°14′15″N 5°04′25″W / 56.2374808°N 5.0735762°W / 56.2374808; -5.0735762Coordinates: 56°14′15″N 5°04′25″W / 56.2374808°N 5.0735762°W / 56.2374808; -5.0735762
Grid referencegrid reference NN095092
Site information
Open to
the public
Site history
Listed Building – Category A
Designated20 July 1971
Reference no.LB11552

Inveraray Castle (pronounced /ˌɪnvəˈrɛərɪ/ invə-REHRI; Scottish Gaelic Caisteal Inbhir Aora [ˈkʰaʃtʲəl̪ˠ iɲɪɾʲˈɯːɾə]) is a country house near Inveraray in the county of Argyll, in western Scotland, on the shore of Loch Fyne, Scotland’s longest sea loch.[1] It is one of the earliest examples of Gothic Revival architecture.

It has been the seat of the Dukes of Argyll, chiefs of Clan Campbell, since the 18th century.

History and architecture[edit]

The present castle was built in the Gothic Revival style. Work on it began in 1743. This castle replaced an earlier 15th-century castle.[2] The foundation stone was laid in October 1746.[3] These dates makes it one of the earliest Gothic Revival buildings, together with Strawberry Hill House. Originally, all the roofs were flat and crenellated. Later, a third floor with pitched roof and dormer windows was added on all four wings and steep conical roofs were added on top of the four round towers. The village of Inveraray was moved in the 1770s to give the castle a more secluded setting.[4]

Designers who worked on the house include William Adam and Roger Morris; the interior includes a number of neoclassical rooms created for the 5th Duke by Robert Mylne.[1] These are among the rooms open to the public. James Lees-Milne was not impressed by the house when he visited it in 1943, noting the "ugly" grey stone and calling it "grim and forbidding".[4]

In 1975 a devastating fire struck Inveraray and for some time the 12th Duke and his family lived in the castle's basement, while restorations requiring a worldwide fundraising drive were carried out.[5]

Modern era[edit]

The castle is open to visitors. Its collection includes more than 1,300 pikes, muskets, swords and other weapons.[4]

The 13th Duke and his family live in private apartments occupying two floors and set between two of the four crenellated circular towers. Recent renovations included the installation of the house's first central heating, powered by burning wood-chips from the family's forestry holdings.[1]

Inveraray Castle is a Category A listed building. It is surrounded by a 16-acre (6.5-hectare) garden and an estate of 60,000 acres (24,000 hectares).[1] Besides welcoming visitors to the castle, the estate's activities include commercial forestry, tenanted farming, wind and hydro power, and deer hunting.[4]

In popular culture[edit]

The 2012 Christmas episode of Downton Abbey was partly filmed here; the castle portraying the fictional "Duneagle Castle". Inveraray Castle also featured in a series on Scottish castles made by American broadcaster PBS.

The "Best of the West" festival, organised by the Duchess, is held at the castle each September.[4]

The castle was featured on an episode of "An American Aristocrat's Guide to Great Estates" on the Smithsonian Channel and Amazon Prime Video. It first aired in 2020.[6][7]



  1. ^ a b c d Matthew Dennison (14 July 2011). "Inveraray Castle: home to the Duke of Argyll". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  2. ^ Coventry, Martin. (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans. pp. 76–87. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.
  3. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Inveraray Castle (LB11552)". Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Dickie, Mure (8 August 2015). "Scottish peer with a clan-do attitude". Financial Times. p. 2.
  5. ^ "The Duke of Argyll". The Daily Telegraph. 23 April 2001. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  6. ^ An American Aristocrat's Guide to Great Estates
  7. ^ An American Aristocrat's Guide to Great Estates: Inveraray Castle

External links[edit]