Wed. May 29th, 2024

The area on which Glamis Castle stands is estimated to have been occupied since the 11th century. The castle which traces its origin back to the 14th century became the Lyon family home. The Lyon family went on to become the Earls of Strathmore. The castle was greatly renovated in the 17th and 18th centuries making it the French chateau that is still visible today.

The castle is said to be full of legends, myths, and stories that date back centuries. The setting of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is said to be Glamis Castle. It is also believed that in 1034, Scottish King Malcolm II, died at Glamis Castle. There are a number of legends associated with Glamis Castle. Some say the castle is haunted.

Glamis Castle is open to the public several times a year and provides a captivating look into the past. Its blend of 14th century and 17th-century design and furnishings add up to the charm of 700 years worth of history. Your visit to the castle will provide you with an opportunity to visit King Malcolm’s room, the Crypt, the Royal Apartments, and Duncan’s Hall among others. You can also enjoy the magnificence of the Scottish countryside. This you can do by visiting the gardens and the nature trail outside the castle.

Below are ten remarkable facts about Glamis Castle.

1. Glamis Castle is home to the Earls of Strathmore even today

Dinner dance at Glamis Castle on 30th May 2009. Photo by Ian Robinson/Wikimedia Commons


Glamis Castle is renowned for its association with royalty. Even today, it’s still home of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

The castle was the childhood home of Elizabeth the Queen Mother. On 21 August 1930, Princess Margaret was indeed born in Glamis Castle.

2. Every room in Glamis Castle is decorated with lions, except the chapel

King Robert II granted John Lyon, Lord Glamis, the Glamis estate in 1376. Lord Glamis rebuilt the castle in an L-shaped design.

This castle, built in the 14th century, is what forms the current castle’s core. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the tower house was strengthened several times.

The castle is similar to a lavish French chateau decorated with lions in every room except the chapel. The lion is the Lyon Family symbol.

3. Over the years, a number of famous visitors stayed at Glamis Castle

Image of Glamis Castle in the snow. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Among the famous people who have stayed at Glamis Castle are James V and his daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1034, King Malcolm II is said to have been murdered at Glamis

4. Princess Margaret was born at Glamis Castle in 1930

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon – younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Photo Taken on 17 May 1965. Photo by Eric Koch/Wikimedia Commons

Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother may not have been born at Glamis Castle but she spent a considerable amount of time there.

The Queen Mother married Prince Albert, later known as George V when he became king. Queen Elizabeth II’s sister Princess Margaret was born at the castle in 1930.

5. King James executed Lady Janet and her son because he wanted Glamis Castle for himself

In 1540, James V accused Janet Douglas and her sons of associating with the devil. Wanting the castle for himself, James imprisoned Lady Janet and her sons despite the public outcry.

After imprisonment in deplorable conditions in Edinburgh, King James executed Lady Janet and her eldest son. Once he reached sixteen, the youngest son was also to be executed. His life was spared as King James died a few days before the execution date.

6. Mary Queen of Scots apologized to the Lyon family


Mary, Queen of Scots 1542 to 1587. Photo by Google Cultural Institute/Wikimedia Commons

When Mary, Queen of Scots visited Glamis Castle years later, she apologized to the Lyon family. The apology was for the actions of her father, James V.

7. Glamis Castle is haunted by several ghosts

Depiction of Glamis Castle. In his Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1830), Scott recalls experiencing ‘that degree of superstitious awe that my countrymen call eerie’. Photo by T. Picken/Wikimedia Commons

There are a number of ghosts said to haunt Glamis Castle. There is the ghost of Lady Janet who seems to leave people uplifted and joyful. There is the ghost of a small boy who was forgotten on the staircase till he died.

The young serving boy was to wait on the stairs till he was assigned a task. He is now said to trip unsuspecting people as they take the stairs. The other ghosts are that of two gamblers.

The gamblers were engrossed in their game on a Saturday night. They laughed off the servants who asked them to stop since it was almost the Sabbath. As they said they would be happy to play for all eternity they were joined by one more player at the table.

It is said that the devil joined their game and took them at their word. The gamblers now play for all eternity. Legend is, on a Saturday night when you put your ear to the door, you can hear them sobbing mournfully.

8. Glamis Castle is a popular tourist attraction site

The sitting room at Glamis Castle, Queen’s mum’s childhood family room. Photo by Julien Scavini/Wikimedia Commons

During the summer, Glamis castle is a popular tourist destination. The castle can only be visited by guided tour which takes approximately one hour.

To avoid the crowds, you can arrange a visit early in the morning. During your tour, you will go from the old to the more modern staterooms with ample time to explore each area.

There is also a restaurant, shop and an exhibition area in which you can walk around by yourself.

9. One of the largest sundials in Scotland is outside Glamis castle

Lion sculpture of the sundial. Photo by Julien Scavini/Wikimedia Commons

During your tour of the Glamis Castle grounds, you will visit the grand Great Sundial. Built-in 1671, this is one of the largest sundials in Scotland.

It stands at 7 meters high and is one of the last surviving aspects of the Glamis gardens of the 17th Century. In total, there are 84 dials arranged around the magnificent structure.

10. Glamis Castle grounds have trees dating back centuries

In addition to the statues of Charles I as well as James VI and I, another remarkable sight is the Dutch Garden. Designed in 1893, for the 13th Earl, the gardens are for the family.

You can visit the Italian Gardens. These were prepared in 1910 by the Queen Mother’s parents. Surrounding the castle, in the parkland are trees that were planted in 1746 after the Battle of Culloden.

The trees include the Culloden Chestnut, which is said to have been the impending Queen Mother’s play area. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon played there in the early 20th century.

Glamis is not pronounced phonetically and will only cause the locals great amusement if pronounced that way. Despite its spelling, the letter ‘I’ in Glamis is silent. The accurate enunciation would be similar to ‘Glahms’.



By Lala