10 December 2012
A history of Inveraray Castle in the Scottish Highlands, where the Downton Abbey Christmas special was filmed. ...
A history of Inveraray Castle in the Scottish Highlands, where the Downton Abbey Christmas special was filmed.
The 2012 Downton Abbey Christmas special, attracted around 10 million viewers, saw the aristocratic family head to the Scottish Highlands to stay at fictional Duneagle Castle - which is actually Inveraray Castle.
In the special two-hour episode, the family, who were accompanied by servants John and Anna Bates and Miss O'Brien, enjoyed country pursuits such as hunting, fishing and shooting, while the rest of the servants remained back at Downton Abbey.
The show's producer Gareth Neame told the Daily Mail: ' While the cat's away, the mice will play. The Granthams do not live at Downton Abbey twelve months of the year. They would go to London for the summer season and also go away on holidays like this. And when that happens the domestic staff of Downton would remain. What will they get up to while the family is away?'
A history of Inveraray Castle
The castle in which Downton Abbey at Christmas was filmed is Inveraray Castle which stands on the shores of Loch Fyne in the west of Scotland. Although a castle has existed on the site since the 1400s, the present-day building was designed in the eighteenth century by some of the finest architects of the day, including William Adam and Roger Morris.
The castle is the family seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell and is said to be haunted by a harpist who was hanged in 1644 for spying on the lady of the house. A fire in the nineteenth century resulted in the addition of a third floor and the distinctive conical towers. In more recent times, the castle was devastated by a fire in 1975, which led to a worldwide fundraising drive to help restore the castle.
The Armoury Hall
One of the castle's finest rooms is the Armoury Hall, which at 21 metres tall, boasts Scotland's highest ceiling. The spectacular room is packed with displays of sixteenth-century pole arms, the crests of the Campbell clan, Brown Bess muskets and a dirk and sporran belonging to Rob Roy MacGregor.
Inveraray Castle stands in 50,000 acres of countryside which has attracted aristocrats and royalty for centuries - in 1562 Mary Queen of Scots visited the castle and the estate is named in the Guiness Book of Records for the highest number of snipe shot with one barrel.