A Knight for a Day: Exploring Edzell Castle

Well, not quite a knight for a day but a couple of hours at least.  Edzell Castle is fast becoming my favourite place to go with the kids in the area.  Tucked behind the pretty Angus town of Edzell, and in the care of Historic Scotland, the castle ruins are a wonderful playground for children – and a lovely place for imaginations to run wild.

With my husband on call on Easter Monday I wanted to take the kids somewhere they could run about (and perhaps I could take a few snaps, playing around with my new camera lens).  Edzell Castle was the perfect choice – and our trip was made even more fun by the lovely knight’s costume that Isaac was allowed to wear as he explored the grounds.  (We did let Flora also try on one of the outfits but it was very long on her and made her look a bit like a playing card from Alice in Wonderland).  She was happy to carry around the ‘arrows’ (with plastic suckers) from the bow and arrow set we bought in the Visitor Centre, whilst Isaac brandished a sword at anything and everything.  (We bought the sword and bow and arrow set, and you can also buy knights’ helmets).

 

Edzell Castle was built in the 1500s but the estate was owned by the Lindsay family since 1358.  Its most famous visitors were Mary Queen of Scots in 1562 and her son, James VI, in 1580 and 1589.  It is a lovely red sandstone ruin, with the tower house the most intact.  The beautiful walled garden was added in 1604 (and today’s garden layout was recreated in the 1930s).  The four walls have carved panels depicting the Seven Cardinal Virtues, Seven Liberal Arts and Seven Planetary Deities – making the garden quite unique in Scotland.  I adore the garden, and wander around the grounds (ok, run after little people) trying to imagine life here in 17th century Scotland.

When we visited the rapeseed had set the fields a-glow, lighting some of the castle windows.

I think its peaceful countryside setting makes it one of my favourite attractions in the area.  There were a couple of other visitors when we were there (who smiled at the sight of my little knight and his trusty companion) but the kids had a huge area to themselves just to explore and play in.  The last time we visited Isaac had been entranced by one of the resident peacocks but we only caught sight of one sitting over a stone wall as we were leaving this time.  We did watch some very adorable lambs in the neighbouring field though.

(I love the photo above – Isaac was trying to be all knightly and Flora walked over and took his hand).

I was very tempted to try to squeeze myself into one of the beautiful costumes (I did see one young girl waltzing around the grounds in a gorgeous skirt and top – I would have loved this as a teenager!).  What a lovely idea and, as the very friendly and helpful lady in the Visitor Centre said, it just helps to bring history to life.

And this is what you can look forward to if you visit in summer – the garden in full bloom.  I am looking forward to many more visits over the coming months.

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