History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The castle was begun in the 16th century by the Menzies of Menzie. It remained the Chief's seat until 1918 when the last direct descendant died. In the 18th century, the castle was extended with a range of additional apartments, and a new west wing was added in 1840. When the Menzies Clan Society acquired the building it was in a dilapidated state.
The north wing had to be pulled down before it collapsed, but the rest of the castle is essentially as it was built. The original main entrance is to the left as you face the castle, with the marriage escutcheon of James Menzies and Barbara Stewart over the door, dated 1571.
High above the 1840 main entrance is a royal coat of arms to Mary, Queen of Scots. Behind the castle are the original walled gardens, now in the process of being restored.
The castle is centred on a central block with corner towers at diagonally opposite ends. The visitor tour begins with the 16th-century kitchens, with its original cooking hearths, slops sink, and baking oven. Off the kitchen is a larder, but it is the first larder I've ever seen with gunports built into the wall! There are more gunports in the storerooms and passage; a clear indicator that the Menzies were expecting trouble and were determined to be prepared for it.
Prince Charlie's Room
Prince Charles Edward Stuart, better know to history as Bonnie Prince Charlie, stayed at Castle Menzies in February 1746 on his way to the Battle of Culloden where his hopes of seizing the crown finally died. The bedchamber where the prince stayed has been preserved. The bed is not the same but is in the same style that the prince would have known.
On the second floor is the Main Living Room, the private residence of the laird and his family. The walls are decorated with 18th-century panelling and the plasterwork ceiling is a reproduction of the original. On display in the Living Room are clan artefacts and the death mask of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Stairs rise again to the third floor, revealed as a 16th-century long gallery with angled turrets at the corners. Look for pistol shot holes under the eaves.
Castle Menzies is a fascinating place to visit; it is exciting to see a historic house in the process of restoration, seeing the original 16th-century house gradually revealed. The location is wonderful, and the castle is well worth exploring.
About Castle Menzies
Address: Weem, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, Scotland, PH15 2JD
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 1.5 miles west of Aberfeldy, off the B846. Parking outside the castle entrance.
Website: Castle Menzies
Phone: 01887 820 982
OS: NN833 494
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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