Blair Castle is a traditional Scottish castle, located in the picturesque landscape of Blair Atholl in Perthshire. The castle is known for its fascinating history that spans over 700 years. It’s the ancestral home of Clan Murray and has been host to numerous significant historical events involving Mary Queen of Scots, Oliver Cromwell, and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens, including the walled Hercules Garden and Diana’s Grove which has an impressive collection of trees. There’s also a deer park and the ruins of St. Bride’s Kirk for visitors to explore.

Blair Castle
Address:Blair Atholl,
PH18 5TH
Opening Hours:Mon-Sun - 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Last entry 4.00 pm)
Admission Price:Adults £16.00
Senior Citizens (60 years+) £13.60
Students (with ID cards) £13.60
Children (5-16 years) £9.50
Family ticket (2 adults, 3 children) £48.00
Parking:Free on-site car park.
Contact:01796 481 207
Facilities:Gift shop, toilets, cafe, partial disabled access, video tour
Photos:YouTube Video


Blair Castle, located close to the village of Blair Atholl, is one of the grandest stately homes open to the public in Scotland. Not only does this historic building have a rich history, but it’s situated in some of the nicest gardens you’re ever likely to come across in Scotland.

The castle has been home to nineteen generations of the Atholl family and there’s a huge amount of history crammed into every nook and cranny inside the main building. There are lots of information boards that explain every detail, and the helpful tour guides will be only too happy to fill you in on anything else you might be curious about.

Throughout the thirty rooms that are open to public viewing, visitors will discover a story that begins over seven hundred years ago with David Strathbogie, Earl of Atholl, who started building the castle in the late 1200s.

You will learn how, for the last seven centuries, Blair Castle has served as home to the Atholl family through wars, feuds, and uprisings, and how it eventually became one of Scotland’s most-visited historic tourist attractions.

In addition, you can wander through the Scottish baronial-style building with its extravagantly decorated 18th-century furnishings and explore the walled garden, coniferous woodland, grove, and sculpture trail, as well as take the kids to a play park and a woodland adventure course, before finishing in the on-site café. There’s also a gift shop, and if you’d like to learn about the castle in more detail, then guided tours are available for groups at no extra cost.

Blair Castle

The Highlights

1: Blair Castle is one of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in Scotland. It has been home to Clan Murray for over 700 years and showcases Scottish history from the 1200s to the present day. Visitors can explore over 30 rooms that are filled with fascinating artefacts, antiques, and art.

2: The castle is set in magnificent landscaped grounds, including the nine-acre Hercules Garden, a walled enclosure filled with colourful fruit and flower displays. There’s also Diana’s Grove, home to some of Britain’s tallest trees, and a charming woodland grove perfect for a peaceful stroll.

3: Besides the castle tour, Blair Castle offers a wide range of outdoor activities. You can go for pony trekking through the estate, enjoy fishing in the rivers and lochs, or try your hand at traditional field sports. For wildlife enthusiasts, there’s the chance to spot red squirrels, roe deer, and a variety of bird species.

Visiting Tips

1: The ticket price is reasonable for a 5-star attraction, but if you intend to return, I recommend purchasing an annual pass that allows unlimited re-entry for 12 months.

2: The Atholl Gathering at the end of May is definitely worth experiencing, as is the Blair Castle International Horse Trials in August.

3: Blair Castle is located on the edge of Tay Forest Park, which offers stunning walks on a spider’s web of well-maintained paths. You’ll find more woodland walks in this article, The Best Forest Walks in Scotland.

Blair Castle

Tourist Information

There’s so much to look at as you wander through the rooms of Blair Castle that you might end up missing sections just so you have enough time to enjoy the gardens, but before leaving, make sure you’ve spent some time in what I believe are the castle’s highlights.

First, head to the Victorian Ballroom, which you can’t miss because it’s decorated around the walls with 175 pairs of deer antlers. If you have children with you, make sure you check out the clothes chest, where you’ll find a huge selection of costumes to dress up in, as the ballroom is big enough that you can chase them up and down while playing whatever crazy games they come up with.

My second highlight is the entrance hall, which most visitors seemed to rush through while I was there, but if you stop to look up you’ll see a remarkable collection of weaponry, some of which were actually used at the Battle of Culloden.

Finally, make sure you have a good look at the state dining room and the incredible silverware that was used during the castle’s grand banquets.

Moving to the garden, you’ll find one of the largest Georgian-era walled gardens in Scotland, which is just over nine acres in size. Inside the garden there are sculptures, a Chinese bridge, a Gothic folly, over 100 fruit trees, and more vegetable plots than you’re likely to see outside of a city allotment.

Outside the walled garden there’s a sculpture trail that winds its way through the grounds and into the castle, near a two-acre grove containing some of the tallest conifers in the country. You might even see one of Scotland’s native but endangered red squirrels jumping between the branches of these enormous trees.

Blair Castle


The story of the castle takes you from its initial construction to visits by Mary Queen of Scots, the Jacobite uprising, and Queen Victoria who had a very special relationship with the place. It’s fascinating stuff.

One of the things I was most surprised to learn was how, in 1839, the 6th Duke of Atholl formed his own private regiment to act as his personal bodyguards. These soldiers, the Atholl Highlanders, are still in operation today thanks to Queen Victoria who gave the regiment their own colours in recognition of their service during her stays at Blair Castle.

Today, the Atholl Highlanders are the only surviving private regiment in Europe and if you’re lucky you might see them parading outside on the castle grounds in full Highland dress.

Blair Castle

Things to Do

Historical Tour: Blair Castle, a fortress in Perthshire dating back to 1269, offers an immersive historical experience. Explore rooms filled with centuries-old artwork, memorabilia of Clan Murray, and furniture used by the Dukes of Atholl. Don’t miss the grandeur of the Victorian Ballroom adorned with 175 pairs of antlers.

Castle Grounds Exploration: Spanning over 145,000 acres, the castle grounds are a paradise for nature lovers. Walk through the Hercules Garden, a walled enclosure filled with vibrant flowers, fruits, and statues, and enjoy the tranquillity of Diana’s Grove with its towering trees.

Land Rover Safaris: For adventure seekers, join the Land Rover Safaris which takes you through the estate’s 145,000 acres of hills, woodlands and open countryside. The safari guide will share fascinating insights about the estate’s wildlife to help you spot animals such as red deer, grouse, and golden eagles.

Annual Events: Check out the annual events hosted at Blair Castle. The Atholl Gathering in May, which features a grand parade of the Atholl Highlanders – the castle’s private army – is a spectacle to behold. In August, the Blair Castle International Horse Trials attract equestrians from around the world for a competitive event set against the backdrop of the castle.

Tullibardine Restaurant: This award-winning restaurant serves a selection of delicious home-cooked lunches from soups and sandwiches to a selection of baked treats. If you’d rather sit outside on a sunny day, ask for the grab-and-go service and take your meal outside to sit on one of the picnic benches on the castle lawn.

Blair Castle

Things to Do Nearby

Atholl Country Life Museum. Old School, Blair Atholl, Pitlochry PH18 5SP. 15-minute walk.
A traditional museum that aims to preserve the heritage of the Blair Atholl community. There are galleries of photos and a reconstructed post office as well as video displays and reconstructions of a stable, a blackhouse and a smiddy.

River Garry. 10-minute walk. A major tributary of the River Tummel.
The river runs between the A9 and the B8079 near Blair Castle. There are partial walkways along the length of the river, some of which pass through forests. The main river footpath is signposted on the B847 heading towards Tummel Bridge.

Hercules Garden. Pitlochry PH18 5TX. 20-minute walk.
Landscaped country gardens that surround a large pond on the grounds of Blair Castle. There is a circular path that takes visitors around the site.

Falls of Bruar. Bruar Water, Pitlochry PH18 5TW. 6-minute drive plus a 30-minute walk.
A natural gorge with spectacular waterfalls. The surrounding woodland was created by the Duke of Atholl after Robert Burns was inspired to write ‘The Humble Petition of Bruar Water’ when he visited in 1787. The waterfall viewing area is at the end of a relatively steep climb.

House of Bruar. Pitagowan, Blair Atholl, Pitlochry PH18 5TW. 6-minute drive.
A large upscale department store located in a scenic setting off the A9. There are a variety of shops that sell clothing, homewares and artisan foods. There is also a café and a gift shop on-site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Blair Castle worth visiting?

Blair Castle is definitely worth visiting. The castle has a 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor and ranks #2 of 10 things to do in Blair Atholl.
Blair Castle is famous for its stunning grounds, ballroom, and collection of antiquities.

Who runs Blair Castle?

The Duke of Atholl owns and operates Blair Castle. The castle is the ancestral home of Clan Murray.

Can you stay at Blair Castle?

It is not possible to stay overnight in Blair Castle, but there is self-catering accommodation on the estate that can be booked.

What was filmed at Blair Castle?

The TV drama series ‘Victoria’ was filmed at Blair Castle. The series portrays the life of Queen Victoria who was known to have a fondness for Highland Perthshire.

Craig Neil

Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.