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. jazzfeathers July 22, 2016 / 07:42

    Such a gorgeaus place. Really it’s incredible to think that people actually own and live in there.
    Loved the garden.

    And… hey, Anabel, what are you trying to do, shwoing me all those 1920s/1930s cars?
    Now I’m depressed. And it’s only 9:00 in the morning…


  2. lisadorenfest July 10, 2016 / 10:24

    What a magnificent castle…although I would still rathe keep my head than have property like that :-). I still have a romantic notion about royalty but my partner abhors it.


    • Anabel Marsh July 10, 2016 / 11:21

      Hello! I see you have reached wifi again, hope there were no more troubles with the boat for the Captain to fix and you had a good voyage. I’m not at all romantic about the royals – nothing against them as people, but the institution. In fact I’m sure they would be have happier lives if they didn’t live in such a gilded cage!


  3. Pit July 7, 2016 / 16:17

    I would have loved to see the vintage cars. And, of course, the castle, too. Thanks for sharing,


    • Anabel Marsh July 7, 2016 / 20:51

      The cars were fascinating! But we only got a very quick look as we were ushered into the house for our tour.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) July 6, 2016 / 21:06

    Loved your comments on republicanism; glad I’m not the only one who finds monarchy a ridiculous institution! But I agree that the house and grounds are some compensation for losing out on the throne; I especially love that overgrown pet cemetery.


    • Anabel Marsh July 6, 2016 / 21:24

      Totally anachronistic. And I don’t believe all the guff about how many tourists they bring in. I mean, Versailles still gets the odd visitor I believe.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor July 6, 2016 / 16:33

    You certainly do get out and about! Another wonderful tour from my armchair of yet another lovely and picturesque spot 🙂 I love the idea of pet cemeteries. So sweet to remember one’s furry friends that way.


    • Anabel Marsh July 6, 2016 / 17:28

      We have to grab all our opportunities to use the good weather! Plenty of rainy weekends ahead I’m sure 😦


  6. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy July 5, 2016 / 19:53

    What a wonderful walk. And oh, to have the castle be one of many homes. Then again, I would probably always want the clothing I am keeping at a different home. So perhaps having one house is not all that bad!


  7. Liesbet July 5, 2016 / 16:55

    Those rolling hills sure provide perspective and good vintage points. I love the arch in the garden, the pet cemetery and the reflections in the loch, but my favorite photo is definitely the top one. What a wonderful destination. You did it again, Anabel! You keep making me want to visit your country!


  8. goannasnake July 5, 2016 / 10:20

    Thank you for a lovely tour. For such a small country, the UK has so many places to go and things to see. My 3 trips have barely scratched the surface. I love the history of the Royal Family too, no matter how weird some of them are.


      • goannasnake July 5, 2016 / 10:52

        And lucky for you none of them are too far apart – even though some people in the UK think we’re mad for driving “such a long way” in a day. Everything here is a major expedition. Love my country but sometimes I wish we could just pop over somewhere for the afternoon.


        • Anabel Marsh July 5, 2016 / 11:20

          Very true! Although sometimes places that look quite close on the map can take ages to get to because of the small, winding roads or the geography (driving up one side and down the other of a sea loch, for example, as we did this week). But the bonus of that is scenery all the way.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Becky B July 5, 2016 / 10:11

    Just a little bit of grass then to mow on the back lawn! Thank you so much for introducing us to this fabulous home, I won’t say castle since I agree with you more in name than looks


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