Cawdor Castle

It has been six months since I took the rather daunting decision to relocate from a chaotic city life in London to the simplicity of country living in the Scottish Highlands. Making sure I take pause to connect with and discover my surroundings, I have been on an expedition to explore as many Scottish castles as I can, one of which is not too far from home – Cawdor Castle.IMG_1073

Scotland hosts some of the most magnificent and impressive historical buildings and Cawdor Castle, in the heart of the Cairngorms, is no exception. Originally belonging to Clan Cawdor and interestingly built around an ancient Hawthron tree in the 15thcentury, this place has a history and story steeped in fascination and intrigue. Memorably showcased in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, there is enchantment and charm to the castle and surrounding grounds. I recently took a visit and was mesmerised with the warmth yet theatrical atmosphere that is ever present thought-out this grand fortress.

As you enter and cross the metal drawbridge, you can observe the original 1638 stone frame for the Campbell coat of arms and (very modern) motto “Be Mindful’. Inside, many of the rooms are filled with photographs, memorabilia and souvenirs accumulated by many generations that have lived within the castle throughout the years.

The four posted bed features the original gilded and silvered Venetian headboard and belonged to Sir Hugh Campbell and Lady Henrietta Stuart.
The Woodcock Room features the Sheraton four poster bed belonging to Lady Caroline Campbell of 1789, and her portrait by Cotes hangs over the mantlepiece.

Furniture pieces such a George III period desk made of pearlwood and satinwood, and a French Louis XV writing table by Pelleter are just some of the exhilarating and captivating antiques that are dotted around the castle. There is a personal warmth and homely feel, yet against the backdrop of a medieval space you can sense the liveliness of the castle’s soul.Rich and decadent tapestries from the early 17thcentury hang against the interior walls and neo-gothic furniture adds a touch of antiquity and incredulity to the space. There is  grace and sophistication as well as an eclectic charm to the décor that transports you to another time and place.

The ‘Be Mindful’ embossed chimney piece that commemorates the marriage of Murial Cawdor to Sir John Campbell of Argyll in 1510 and was installed in 1671, required 24 men to carry it over the metal drawbridge and was so heavy that it caused the bridge to collapse.

The expectational grounds surrounding the castle are superb with three separate gardens that host an array of intoxicating florals, botanicals and contemporary  installations to delight and captivate.