Before I (Debbie) came to work in the wonder that is Culloden Battlefield I actually worked at another NTS site, Brodie Castle which just so happens to be our neighbour but I thought it only fair to give you the highlights of the place.
As a 16th century tower house with additions pretty much every century since, Brodie Castle may not be your typical ‘princess-towering-turrets-moat and a drawbridge’ castle but its unusual style and charm is what makes it somewhere truly special. I couldn’t take you through the whole place as it would take forever, but here’s what not to miss.
Firstly, George. In the entrance hall is a lovely bronze statue of an orang-utan sat just by the window and he is called George. First reason to like him is he’s cute; second he’s probably not what you expect to see in a 16th century home but the best reason is his story. The last laird who lived at Brodie, Ninian, was an actor and thus prone to superstitious tendencies. Whenever he had a group dining with him he refused to have thirteen at the table. So, if this ever happened George would be carried upstairs and become the fourteenth guest. So next time you’re passing be sure to spot George on your way in.
If you go on a tour of the castle, and without being biased you should it’s really good, then there is plenty to see whether you like paintings, furniture or porcelain. For me though I love the family stories that make the place come alive. For instance, Ninian and his brothers used to play a delightful game where they would lean over the banister at the top of the stairs and try to spit into the bowl at the front entrance. Always a good story for kids though you do have to watch they don’t try it themselves, the Trust definitely frowns upon that.
My favourite room though is probably the dining room because of its gorgeous ceiling. It’s made of plaster but actually looks like wood and it’s a bit of a mystery as the paperwork on its history was lost in a fire. It depicts the four basic elements of earth, air, wind and fire and is believed to have been made by Italian craftsmen. To add to the fun there’s also a great trick in the room to let you see the ceiling without craning your neck too much. At the end of the table is a huge mirror and if you look closely it’s actually positioned on a slight tilt so that when guests are sat around the table they can simply look over at the mirror and see the ceiling reflected back at them. A great way for the lairds to show off their extravagant ceiling.
If however, you choose not to go on tour then do not fear for there is still plenty to do. The gardens at Brodie are world famous for their daffodils, of which they hold the National Collection. Once over 400 varieties of daffodil grew on the estate and the Trust is slowing building the collection back up. When you come to work along a glowing driveway filled with daffodil blooms you can’t help but smile. And not everything is old at Brodie, oh no. Behind the castle if a great play area for the little ones, and the not so little ones. Everything is fun, trust me I speak from experience (someone had to test everything) and I definitely recommend the zip line! Oh, and be sure to check out the tearoom after the exertion because the cakes are lovely, millionaires shortbread was my nemesis and licking out the bowls was heaven!
Hopefully you’ll be inspired to walk the grounds or take a look inside and be sure to say hi to everyone from me. As always share, like, tweet, discuss, criticise and applaud. D
P.S. Brodie is hosting just one of this year Cadbury Easter Egg hunts. Be sure to check them out, with over 50 properties participating hopefully there will be one near you!