Glamis Castle – with Kids

The birthplace of Princess Margaret, the childhood home of the Queen Mother, also (less peacefully) the home of Shakespeare’s character Macbeth, Glamis Castle in the Angus countryside is a grand destination. It’s now a tourist attraction privately owned by the Strathmore family. I wasn’t sure if it was cut out for two preschoolers so we set off to put it to the test.

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Now that’s what I call an approach…

On the approach the first thing that strikes you is … well… the approach. Mr Tot Snr exclaimed, ‘Wow, this is amaaazing’, which is a comment usually reserved for the aisles of Toys R Us. Arriving at the castle we joined a tour, the only way to see the interior. That Saturday it was really busy and it was suggested we join the next tour so that we could ‘enjoy’ it more, to which I looked at my three year old and two year old and laughed – as if any parent of preschoolers gets the opportunity to ‘enjoy’ guided tours. There were about four other kids on the tour, all schoolchildren, so we weren’t alone. A tour is only ever as good as its guide, and our guide Greg was fantastic. He frightened all the kids into silence in the crypt with tales of ghostly card players, he had them counting hundreds of lions in the dining room (cunning) as he explained to the adults how the name Bowes-Lyon came about – when the slightly skint 9th Earl of Strathmore married the wealthy Mary Eleanor Bowes part of the deal was that he took her name. Money talks. Girl power. Meanwhile as we digested this our innocent kids were still counting lions, Greg knew how to trick em!

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Excuse me, can I please come in?

When we entered the Drawing Room my two made a beeline for a pair of tiny chairs by the fireside which weren’t cordoned off. To little ones they simply screamed SIT ON ME. We instinctively dashed after them to remove our darlings from the seats, instinctively feeling they must have some important historical relevance, only to be told that when Her Majesty the Queen and her sister Princess Margaret visited as children they sat on these very seats. Little royal bottoms perched in Glamis!

In some of the rooms, such as the Sitting Room, it did feel quite homely, as if time had stood still. Images of the Queen Mother were dotted around. After an hour of the tour Mr Tot Jnr began to kick off. Overall we felt he’d done well though we didn’t realise we were in the penultimate room so Greg radioed for an assistant (as you can’t wander around the castle unaccompanied) and we were set free without any shame. Overall I rated our experience as Greg entertained kids, informed and engaged adults, and released those with tiny tots who’d hit their limit. The older children seemed to easily handle things.

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Glamis’ rather cool rustic kitchen cafe

The cafe had a children’s menu including Mull cheddar sandwiches, sausage and mash, and penne pasta with tomato sauce. Service was quick and we had a casual lunch before hitting the grounds.

The estate is vast and elegant. Whilst the little ones ran off energy, myself and Mr Husband had a relatively civilised walk in the sun. The Italian gardens were immaculate. Then we passed through mature woodland till we reached one of the largest walled gardens I’ve experienced. The gates to the walled garden alone looked like gates to another castle, it’s huge.

The day ended with an solid forty minutes play at the castle’s wooden playpark. With a flying fox and apparatus for mixed age groups, it’s a great wee outdoor kindergym for mini tourists. To see our YouTube video about the playground click here. Whilst visiting a castle is always a bit of treat we spent most of the day there so I’d consider it a good investment.

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Approaching the Walled Garden

THE LOWDOWN – We drove from Aberdeen for an hour to reach Glamis, just south of Forfar. Ticket prices can be found here.

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Play time…

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28 Comments

  1. Reply

    lisalambert38 - Mumdadplus4.co.uk

    May 29, 2017

    This place looks fab but far for us as a day trip but one to remember if staying over, I love stuff like this and sounds the guides are really good as well.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      May 29, 2017

      I gave the tour guide the credit he deserved, really entertaining and informative chap.

  2. Reply

    beccajtalbot

    May 30, 2017

    This castle looks beautiful, especially the gardens 🙂 sounds like the guide was really good, which always makes a trip a lot better! x

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 1, 2017

      A good guide is like a good teacher at school, they make things genuinely interesting!

  3. Reply

    Cultural Wednesday

    June 2, 2017

    Greg sounds like an excellent guide. I had no idea Princess Margaret was born at Glamis. Your picture of the approach looks amazing, all in all it sounds like an excellent day out #CulturedKids

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 2, 2017

      Yes 21 August 1930. There’s a memorial to her there in the grounds as well.

  4. Reply

    KizimKouture

    June 2, 2017

    That looks lovely, and you’re right, a good tour guide really makes all the difference.

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 2, 2017

      Especially one that can relate to both adults and kids simultaneously.

  5. Reply

    steph_baybee

    June 2, 2017

    I can see why you got a ‘WOW’ on the approach to it, stunning and looks like a great day out

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 2, 2017

      The driveway is so long. It must have been magical approaching by horse and carriage (in my romantic mind anyway).

  6. Reply

    Jenny (The Little Adventurer)

    June 2, 2017

    I am always terrified by the idea of guided tours with young children, it is reassuring to hear that the guides here are well equipped in keeping them entertained. The grounds and the playground sound great too. #culturedkids

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 2, 2017

      Well if it doesn’t quite work out just leave politely. We had to be radioed off in the penultimate room which was no problem at all. I’m not saying it’s 100% ideal but they enjoyed 90% of it and, aged 2, that’s not bad at all!

  7. Reply

    Allison

    June 3, 2017

    It’s so nice when tour guides are good with kids. Not all of them are. #CulturedKids

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 4, 2017

      An investment in the future really.

  8. Reply

    laurasidestreet

    June 4, 2017

    Oh wow what a fantastic castle to explore and the perfect place for a fun day out with the kids. I really want to visit this place

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 5, 2017

      Time to plan a trip to Scotland:-)

  9. Reply

    The Hoopers

    June 5, 2017

    A tour makes all the difference I think. it’s so hard to soak in the information from a sheet or poster! Looks like a fantastic day out #culturedkids

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 5, 2017

      I definitely take in more info from a human guide than a film or info board.

  10. Reply

    pigeonpairandme

    June 5, 2017

    Sharing a bottom-perch with the queen – there’s not many youngsters that can make that claim! Thanks for linking up with #CulturedKids

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 7, 2017

      I was a bit mortified when I discovered. Clearly not little seats to be sat upon!

  11. Reply

    Wherejogoes

    June 7, 2017

    Check out those turrets! This castle has fairytale written all over it, I’d definitely do the tour, great tip. It looks a great place to take children too, so much history. #CulturedKids

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 9, 2017

      A good mix of everything for a varied day out. A little bit of something for everyone.

  12. Reply

    Sarah Ebner (@sarahjebner)

    June 11, 2017

    I love castles, so this really appeals to me, especially with such a recent famous inhabitant. our kids are older, so I think it would work really well for us (though I think they’d get more from the playground if they were younger!). Right up our street….#culturedkids

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 13, 2017

      The older kids would last the tour no bother, our three old was grand, only our tot threw in the towel after an hour! 🙂

  13. Reply

    daisythebus

    June 27, 2017

    Wow – that is one bombastic castle! I do like the look of the kitchen / café – I wonder how those lampshades would look in my kitchen? 😉 Great that there is a decent playground there too. #CulturedKids

    • Reply

      tots2travel

      June 29, 2017

      They’d probably look pretty impressive!

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