Drumlanrig Castle

Drumlanrig Castle
Drumlanrig Castle

Drumlanrig Castle is the Dumfriesshire seat of the Duke of Buccleuch (bəˈklu). I don’t think he was home when we visited: he’s one of the largest landowners in Europe, so has plenty other houses to choose from.

The family is descended from the Duke of Monmouth, eldest son of Charles II. Unfortunately for Monmouth, he was – like all Charles’s children – illegitimate and could never be king, although he lost his head trying. However, this does mean, as our guide pointed out, that the Buccleuchs could be said to have more royal blood than the current royal family which descended from George I. He was approximately 53rd in line when he ascended to the throne, but the other 50+ candidates were Roman Catholics and therefore ineligible. To me, this all highlights the absurdity of the hereditary principle and if I hadn’t gone in a republican, I think I’d have come out as one!

Still, we paid our money (£10/£8) to tour the castle, gardens and grounds, and I admit to a little envy at the thought of waking up each morning and being able to look out on such beauty. Access to the house is by guided tour only, and no photography is allowed – this is the place where a Leonardo da Vinci painting, Madonna of the Yardwinder, was stolen by thieves posing as tourists in 2003 so they’re not taking any chances. Although the painting was eventually recovered, it didn’t return to Drumlanrig and is now on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland.

So let’s stick to the outdoors. When we arrived, a veteran car rally was setting up.

The stable yard gave access to the café and other visitor facilities, and to the gardens. The areas immediately surrounding the castle were laid out formally.

From there, we walked down through woodland gardens and the rock garden to the Victorian Summerhouse from which there was a great view back to the house.

The Marr Burn runs along the edge of the garden and we followed it to the Goldsworthy Arch – designed by artist Andy Goldsworthy, it’s made of local sandstone and is said to represent a leaping salmon.

We then walked back to the castle via the bog garden and pet cemetery.

But we weren’t finished our walk – there are four trails through the estate and we chose the longest, the 5km Castle View. It’s a beautiful woodland walk which climbs to a viewpoint over the castle (see also the post header image) with the rolling Lowther Hills behind it. The descent takes you past the pretty Starn Loch.

Back at the Castle, the last of the old cars were leaving. We also admired the Drumlanrig Sycamore – it’s over 300 years old and the largest in Britain.

By now it was 5.30 and time to head home. I hope you’ve enjoyed your stroll round Drumlanrig which I’m linking to Jo’s Monday Walks.

Toodle pip!

Old car at Drumlanrig

50 thoughts on “Drumlanrig Castle

  1. Birgit July 5, 2016 / 03:38

    Oh wow this looks so lush and beautiful. This would be great to see and walk all the grounds. I’m wondering how these thieves just walked right on out with the painting under their arm??


    • Anabel Marsh July 5, 2016 / 07:39

      To quote Wikipedia – “In 2003 the Buccleuch Madonna was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle by two thieves posing as tourists, who said “Don’t worry love, we’re the police. This is just practice” to two tourists from New Zealand as they exited through a window carrying the Leonardo.” No wonder security has been tightened!


  2. Heyjude July 4, 2016 / 22:06

    Now that’s what I call a stately home. Wonderful walk through the grounds Anabel, and gorgeous clear photographs. I loved my visit to Dumfries and Galloway a couple of years ago, but never made it as far north as this.


  3. Ann Coleman July 4, 2016 / 21:45

    That castle looks magnificent, and your photos are stunning. I’m so sorry some thieves mean access to the inside is more limited and no photos are allowed. I would have loved to see what the interior looks like. But still, thank you for posting this…the outside alone looks more than worth the visit!


    • Anabel Marsh July 4, 2016 / 22:50

      Thanks, Ann. The theft was a very murky business so I don’t blame them for being super-cautious now. Very careless to have almost lost a da Vinci!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. paulaacton July 4, 2016 / 17:24

    I need to work out how to get up and visit a few places in Scotland just in case they rebuild the wall, I am only a few generations down from full blown Irish, probably not close enough for a passport but I could possibly have still played for the football team had I been male lol, the great granddad I talked about in my blog the other day was full Irish, I did finally download the War Diaries for his battalion, I have not read the all but I did read the day he was killed and the day prior, after all he could have been killed just after midnight so it seemed to make more sense to read both and let me tell you I cried, it was just like the Blackadder Goes Forth ending with them going over the top, the main thing you notice is that only the names of fallen officers are listed, the normal rank and file are reduced to a number killed, such tragic losses but even more so the conditions in which the living existed, this is from the war diary the day my great granddad passed and I know the historian side of you will find it interesting because even though we knew the conditions were bad it seems more real seeing it in the had writing of a person from a hundred years ago, though it does mean it will take me longer to read it all

    ‘The condition of the trenches, which in many places were from 3′ to 4′ deep in water and mud, and the lack of any shelter whatever caused much sickness in the nature of trench feet amongst the men.’


    • Anabel Marsh July 4, 2016 / 18:00

      That’s awful, it’s all the more poignant when it’s someone you “know”. Plus the injustice of not being named. We saw a play recently about the First World War (soldiers who were tried for “desertion” for the flimsiest of reasons) and came out shaking.

      Well, I don’t think Scotland will be building a wall, but who knows what the Brexiteers will do if we get to stay in?


  5. mopana July 4, 2016 / 16:29

    Wow! You know how much I love castles. This was another virtual amazing trip, Anabel and I thank you for that ❤


    • Anabel Marsh July 4, 2016 / 15:21

      Thanks – glad you enjoyed it. We had some wonderful days out in May / June and now the rain is back I can catch up with writing about them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Traveling Rockhopper July 4, 2016 / 14:20

    Do you have any idea how many castles are in UK?
    It has to be a huge number, or is it possible to count them?


      • Traveling Rockhopper July 4, 2016 / 19:34

        Thanks a lot for a link!
        Wow, that’s an impressive number! 🙂
        I guess it’s like with many beautiful UK churches. I remember a long time ago I though it was a church, well it used to be along time ago, but that time it was an internet cafe.


        • Anabel Marsh July 4, 2016 / 19:55

          Yes, a lot of old churches are now houses or restaurants. Same with banks – many of those have changed use too.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. restlessjo July 4, 2016 / 13:51

    Splendid in every respect, Anabel. 🙂 The views are gorgeous! I loved that walk down to Andy’s arch, and then up to the heights. Spoilt for choice. 🙂 And I rather like the old cars. Grand tootling around the Scottish countryside in one of those.
    Thanks so much for all your support. Enjoy the rest of Summer! 🙂


  8. rosemaylily2014 July 4, 2016 / 11:08

    Magnificent walk Anabel – rather a nice country pad!! I always wondered how to pronounce the duke’s name so thanks for the pronunciation tips. I believe the Scots branch of my family came from the Dumfries area (there are 2 versions the other is that they came from the Highlands – they were Maxwells). My ancestor came down to London around 1800 so too long ago to qualify for a passport in the event I need one I think! Drumlanrig Castle is in a magnificent setting – thanks for sharing your lovely walk 🙂


    • Anabel Marsh July 4, 2016 / 11:11

      Thanks! Yes it is rather magnificent – he has another house in Scotland so we might try to get there before the end of the summer for comparison’s sake. Yes, 1800 is going back a fair while. I think there’s a rush on Irish passports at the moment….

      Liked by 1 person

      • rosemaylily2014 July 6, 2016 / 11:42

        Unfortunately we don’t qualify for Irish passports – have English, Welsh and Scots blood (from 1800!). We actually have Australian passports now though retain our British nationality but thinking of our daughter in London also dual Australian British (though unlike us Australian born). She currently has a European passport for who knows how much longer – she’s always planned to go and live and work in Europe but wanted to establish herself in London first. Is working out her options!


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