Advantages A very beautiful place to vist
Disadvantages It is a long way from most other places!
|Is it worth visiting?|
MacLeod Estate (Dunvegan Castle)
Isle of Skye IV55 8WF
Tel: 01470 521206
OPENING TIMES AND PRICES
29th March to 15 October
Daily 10am - 5.30pm (last entry 5pm)
CASTLE & GARDENS
We arrived early and it was a bit drizzly and overcast which was a shame as the gardens are lovely and part of the castle's attraction is its setting on the loch. We bought our tickets from a young man in the ticket office wearing a kilt and speaking with an Aussie accent!
We then headed up the drive towards the castle passing parts of the garden as we made our way up. The driveway is not paved but you could push a pram or wheel chair up with very little difficulty. They may even allow disabled access for a vehicle but I don't know.GARDENING
There is a small formal round garden and throughout the entire area you can see many Rhododendrons but sadly they were well past blooming when we visited but I bet they look stunning when they do.
The Castle Gardens were originally created back in the 18th century but since then more has been added and constant re planting keeps the gardens looking as creative and interesting to visitors today.
To me the castle itself is stunning for its position on a rocky crag overlooking the loch but inside the castle are many pieces of historical Macleod heirlooms. I am not alone in finding the castle and its position striking as this was written describing it in 1549; "Ane starke strengthe biggit upon ane craig". Dr Johnson was also impressed when he visited in 1773 " Rising sheer from the almost perpendicular edges of the rock, its massive grey towers and hoary battlements stand forth against an unrivalled background of sky and mountain and islet-spangled sea. "
INTO THE CASTLE WE GOOutside was very impressive but inside was more like a stately home than a castle. As you entered the large front door the first thing that you see is the huge staircase which dominates the entrance hall. You are greeted at the door and welcomed to the castle and items of interest pointed out for you to look out for which I thought was handy.
It was not huge inside compared to some castles and stately homes and I suspect that part of the building is closed to the public as the family still live there. There was a lot of Scottish clan history and particularly the Macleod clan which I don't really know a lot about.It was all very nicely laid out and if you were interested in Scottish clan history then there was plenty to read and things to see but it wasn't really our sort of thing. We were more excited by the views from the windows and the atmosphere and general feeling in the rooms of the castle. Some were large and others had interesting nooks and crannies which had bits hidden there for visitors to find.
Under the castle were more rooms on display including cellars , a dungeon and medieval kitchen . Also display boards telling about the castle and the history and some stories about local customs etc. There was a shop or two down there selling souvenirs but we are not into souvenirs so we passed these by although my husband was slightly tempted by their own single malt whisky .OUT IN THE COLD AGAIN
Parts of the castle and grounds are difficult but if you are planning a visit then take a look at the website as they have a list of all the places with limited access and which areas have hearing loops and some with brail signs. You are asked to identify your needs when buying your ticket and then assistance will be given. As needed.
FOR THOSE WITH DISABILITIES
Dogs are allowed in the garden on leads but assistance dogs are allowed everywhere with their owners.There are changing facilities for babies and storage for prams and pushchairs as they cannot be taken to the first floor of the castle.
A STARRING ROLE
It is not just my husband and I who think this is a stunning location as the castle has been used in a number of films and TV productions. It was used in 'Highlander' in 1986 , it was seen in 'Mountain' a BBC series with Griff Rhys Jones and is also in 'Made of Honour' which is a recent Colombia film.
FANCY SEEING SEALS?
You can take a trip on a boat oiut towards the se and look for seals from the castle boat landing. This is at extra cost of course. Adults are £6 and children £4, OAPs and students £5. These boats operate when weather permits and then only from April 15 to September 30 from 10 am to 5pm So we were too late in the season to try and see them which was a shame as I would have loved to do that.
Yes it is beautiful, especially outside but inside is worth a good look too.. In summer the gardens must be beautiful but even in the late autumn they were lovely to walk around. If you are on Skye then do make an effort to see this castle as it is just what you imagine a Scottish castle to look like; picture perfect.I will add the photos when I find they have hidden themselves!!
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