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Exploring Scotland | A flying visit to Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland

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I’

ve wanted to visit Dunrobin Castle for as long as I’ve known it existed. From the first moment I saw a photo of those perfect white turrets reaching up into the sky, I’ve been imagining myself standing in front of them, on the sweeping staircase that leads down to the sea. A bit like this, actually:

Well, OK, maybe not quite like that. I mean, every time I’ve imagined myself on the steps of Dunrobin Castle in the past, I’ve been wearing something a little bit more elegant than a pink puffer jacket and a pair of trainers – and, let’s face it, pretty much ANYTHING would be more elegant than that, right?

While I’m on the subject, I’ve also mostly imagined this scenario minus the rain that you can’t actually see in the photo above, but which had just started to fall as we arrived at the castle. Or the biting cold that made even the puffer jacket seem inadequate. I’ve always imagined it in summer, with blue skies, and surrounded by flowers – but none of that actually matters, because any time I think of Dunrobin Castle from now on, I’m going to think of cold winds and drizzling rain – and I’m going to think that, actually, it was pretty much perfect. Because, you know how sometimes you imagine something for years, and then, when you finally get to see it, it can never quite live up to your expectations? This wasn’t like that. Nope, Dunrobin Castle was every bit as beautiful in real life as it was in my imagination, and it was even beautiful in the off-season, in the rain: I mean, just look at it!

(As you can see, we did eventually get those blue skies I was after, too. But I’m getting ahead of myself…)

I had, as I mentioned, wanted to visit Dunrobin for years, but I’d pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I probably wouldn’t ever have the opportunity to see it, because this is Scotland’s most northerly stately home, which makes it not particularly accessible from our home in the central belt – or not without factoring in an overnight stay, at least. When we realised it was just over an hour’s drive from  Eagle Brae, however, I knew this could be my best chance of seeing the castle of my dreams: so I Googled it, and naturally it was closed for the season.

GAH.

All was not lost, though. The castle itself is only open for tours from April – September (As are many of Scotland’s tourist attractions), but the grounds are open to the public all year round. As much as I’d have liked to have had a look inside (The castle has 189 rooms, so that could take a while…), it was the exterior that had really captured my imagination, so we decided not to let the fact that we couldn’t do the full tour put us off, and, on our second day in the Highlands, we got into the car, and once again headed north. Er, even FURTHER north, I mean.

The forecast showed a high chance of rain that day, and the storm clouds chased us all the way to Golspie, where Dunrobin is located. They finally caught up with us just as we turned into the castle’s impressive driveway, but we were determined not to be beaten, so we had time for only the briefest look at the front of the castle (And a particularly bad phone picture of it…) before heading around to the back, which is where the magic happens, basically:

arriving at Dunrobin Castle

 

Dunrobin castle in the rain

From the front, Dunrobin is impressive, sure, but not hugely different from most of the other Scottish castles and stately homes we’ve seen. Head around the back, though, to where the castle grounds sweep down to the Dornoch Firth, then turn and look back, and it’s basically a French-style chateau, complete with white turrets and a total “fairytale” feel to it:

 

Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland, Scotland

 

Naturally, it was at this point that the rain started, and I’m not going to lie – I was just a little bit (OK, just a BIG bit…) disappointed to think we’d travelled so far, for what would quite possibly be my one and only chance to see this place I’d read so much about, and were probably now going to leave without a single photo in front of it. So I got Terry to quickly snap a few with my phone, then, as the drizzle turned into a downpour, we ran for cover, ending up in a little stone shelter built into the front of the cliff the castle stands on.

 

sheltering from the rain at Dunrobin Castle

 

I kind of figured that was us done at that point, and that we really had just driven to the top of the country just for a quick glimpse of the castle in the rain, but, well, you know what they say about Scotland’s weather: if you don’t like it, just wait 15 minutes, and it’ll probably change! Sure enough, about 10 minutes in, the rain started to lessen, and tiny glimmers of blue sky started appear. Five minutes after that, meanwhile, we stepped outside to this:

 

Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

 

Walking in the grounds of Dunrobin Castle, Scotland

 

Max at Dunrobin Castle

 

 

We may have finally got that blue sky I was after, though, but it was still bitterly cold, and the forecast was for yet more rain, so we didn’t get to spend nearly as much time there as we’d liked – or to take nearly as many photos. (This was to be a recurring theme for this particular trip, unfortunately…) The ones we did take, meanwhile, don’t really do the place justice, because both the castle and its grounds are truly stunning – and every bit as beautiful as I’d imagined.

What I would say here, though, is that if you’re thinking of visiting, March probably isn’t the best time to do it: not necessarily because of the weather (It was really, really cold when we were there, but, to be honest, that can be the case at ANY time of year in Scotland…), but because the grounds are basically still coming out of hibernation at this time of year. There were gardeners working on them the whole time we were there (Yes, even in the pouring rain…), but they’re not going to really come into their own until spring: as we walked back up the stairs on our way back to the car, we noticed dozens and dozens of daffodils getting ready to open, and I’d loved to have seen them in all their glory.

Dunrobin castle gardens

We might not have seen Dunrobin Castle in ALL its glory, then, but it was still pretty glorious all the same – even in the rain – so I’m really glad we decided to drive that extra hour to go and see it: and I really hope that one day we’ll get to go back…

A fairytale castle in the north of Scotland: visiting Dunrobin Castle in the Scottish Highlands

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3 Comments
  • Myra
    March 22, 2019

    I’ve never been to Dunrobin but it looks amazing. Thank for sharing your photos.

  • Kirsty
    March 22, 2019

    Wow! How did I not realise just how beautiful Dunrobin is? I need to go this summer for sure. Great shots!

    Kirsty | http://kirstyjarvie.com

  • Suz Tam
    March 25, 2019

    I haven’t been to Dunrobin for about 30 years. It looks even better than I recall, and I’m not sure that’s something that can be said for many castles. We used to go on holiday to Golspie and Dornoch when we were little and I don’t think I’ve been back since., which is such as shame, given how beautiful it is.

AD | We’re spending a few days at @highlandheatherlodges in beautiful Perthshire, for what Terry is optimistically referring to as his ‘birthday week’. (I say ‘optimistically’ - we’re only here for three days, and his birthday was yesterday, but don’t stop believing, Terry!)⁣
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There’s a hot tub for us and a playpark for Max, so needless to say, we’re having a fantastic time, and I’m already dreading having to leave. Today’s big question: can I pass as an under-12, so I qualify for a pony ride at the nearby wildlife centre? 🤔 (On second thoughts, don’t answer that one...)⁣
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#thetraveltag #scotland_ig #visitscotland #scotland_insta #scotlandlife #scottishblogger  #stayandwander #travelbloggerlife #travelblogging #tblogger #thattravelblog #travellifestyle #travelpreneur #perthshire #scotlandinsta #reallifeandstyle #wearingtoday #igstyleblogger #fashiongrammerv

AD | We’re spending a...

AD | Time for a quick game of “Where’s Amber?”⁣
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It’s another rainy Monday, so I’m throwing it back to our trip to @universalorlando ‘s amazing Volcano Bay water park last month. I’m a bit of a scaredy when it comes to water flumes, but this park had tons of stuff for pretty much everyone: plenty of rides for me, and an amazing splash pad for Max 👶In fact, I’d still be on The Fearless River right now if I possibly could be. Still, doing the laundry and turning the heating on will be just as good, right? Right?! 🌋 🏊‍♀️ .
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#universalorlando #volcanobay #waterpark #lazyriver #vacay #floridavacay

AD | Time for a...

Good news! We took Max to hospital this morning, and saw two different surgeons, who agreed there was no need to go ahead with the surgery as his lip is healing really well on its own 😅  He’ll definitely have a scar, unfortunately, but that would’ve been the case whether he’d had the surgery or not, and if it turns out to be worse than anticipated, we’ll have the option to have it corrected under local anaesthetic when he’s older. ⁣
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I’m still really upset that this happened in the first place, obviously, but so relieved that we don’t have to put him through a general anaesthetic, and just incredibly grateful that it wasn’t anything worse. I know some parents have to deal with much more serious stuff than this, and my heart goes out to you all: it’s been a rough couple of days, and I’m really grateful to everyone who took the time to comment on yesterday’s post - your stories were so comforting when I was panicking yesterday ❤️ ⁣
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(Old photo, obviously: every time Max sees the selfie camera, he thinks it’s going to be one of those filters where you open your mouth and something happens 😂)⁣
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#pbloggers #mummybloggers #mummybloggersuk #ukmumblog #mumblogsuk #mumblogs #mamablog #ukparentbloggers #parentbloggersuk #ukparentingblog #parentingbloggers #motherhoodblogger #motherhoodblog #ukblogger #ukofficialblogger #happyblogger #mummyblog #bloggerclubuk #instamum

Good news! We took Max...

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve just spent the morning in Accident & Emergency with Max, who fell on the path outside the house and split his lip open 😥 ⁣
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They tried to stitch it up at A&E, but it was totally impossible with him awake, so they’ve booked him in to have it done under general anaesthetic tomorrow ... Max is absolutely fine: the bleeding stopped quickly, he doesn’t seem to be in pain, and is just his normal, happy little self. I, on the other hand, am a complete wreck: the plastic surgeon he saw today reckons if we don’t have it fixed, his lip will be crooked when it heals, but I’m absolutely *terrified* of the thought of my baby having to have a GA. ⁣
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If you’re a long-time follower, you might know that I have a full-blown phobia of general anaesthetic (I literally had an elective c-section in order to eliminate the possibility of an emergency one, which might have had to be done under GA), so I just can’t get my head to accept that it’s safe and he’ll be fine 😥 ⁣
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Positive stories and advice very welcome: I’m just so terrified, I can’t even imagine how to get through the next 24 hours 😥😥😥

Totally unrelated photo, but we’ve...

#throwbackthursday to last week, when I needed a sunhat and SPF 50 to leave the house, rather than the current raincoat and wellies situation. Can you tell the post-holiday blues are still in full swing over here? 🌧 .
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#whatiwear #30plusblogs #everydaystyle #realoutfitgram  #scottishbloggers #fashionblogger  #fashionblog #fashionstyle #whatimwearing #stylegram  #outfitoftheday #personalstyle #todayiamwearing #styleinspiration 
#stylediaries #styleblogger #over30style

#throwbackthursday to last week, when...

I posted this on Stories over the weekend, but he looked so cute in it I figured it deserved a spot on the grid, too! This is Max all ready for his friend Eleah’s 1st birthday party on Saturday: despite the jetlag and his continuing obsession with doors of all kinds (He had an entire soft play at his disposal, but he mostly just wanted to open and close the gate into it...) he had an absolute ball, and spent the whole drive home shouting, “HAPPY! HAPPY!” Thanks to @thestirlingstyle for a great party 🥳 🎈 🎉 . (Oh, and that’s his hairbrush in his hand - boy likes to look his best 😉)
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#littlepiecesofchildhood #cameramama #chikdhoodeveryday #childofig #celebrate_childhood #babieswithstyle #ootdkids #fashionbaby #trendykids

I posted this on Stories...

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Exploring Scotland | A flying visit to Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland