Cawdor Castle isn't just gorgeous... it's steeped in history and surrounded by legends - it even has Shakespearean connections!
This Scottish castle is absolutely stunning, and although as a 'Cawdor Campbell' myself I'm a little bit biased, it is definitely a castle of the 'fairytale' variety!
Stonework in part of the castle has been estimated, by architectural historians, to date back to the mid 1300's and historical documents also show that as early as 1310, William, Thane of Calder (as Cawdor was then written), paid rental for the land on which the castle stands.
However, the first documented date for this Scotland castle is 1454 - when the same William, Thane of Calder (roughly translates to the 'Baron of Calder'), obtained a licence to 'build and fortify' his castle.
Cawdor Castle is surrounded by stories, myths and legends, beginning with the one which describes how the Thane of Cawdor allowed a gold-bearing donkey to choose where to build it!
This legend might explain why the castle is built around a thorn bush - originally thought to be Hawthorne, but recently identified as a Holly bush - under which the donkey is said to have slept. In keeping with this theme, the Cawdor Toast is 'Flourish the Thorn'.
If you know any Shakespeare, you may have picked up on the relationship between Cawdor Castle and Shakespeares' 'Macbeth'.
Although it's the stuff of legends, unfortunately the connection is a work of fiction, as the castle didn't exist in the 11th century (the time of the real Macbeth). It grew out of repeated embellishment, myth and 'poetic license', but it's still a great story and adds even more 'romance' to this particular castle of Scotland.
The castle saw several additions and renovations during the 17th and 18th centuries, including to the gateway and drawbridge, turrets, courtyard and more. The famous gardens have also changed over time, with the larger Flower Garden and Wild garden being added during the 18th and 19th centuries respectively.
Interesting facts about to Cawdor Castle.....
This beautiful castle and its' gardens are open to the public from early May to early October.