The Castle & Gardens of Mey
The Castle and Gardens of Mey Located on the North Coast 500 route near Thurso the Castle and Gardens of Mey has held Visit Scotland’s highest award of a 5 Star quality assurance grading every year since their first unannounced visit in 2007. The visitor centre, tearoom, shop, grounds and animal centre are open every day during the season from 10am until 5pm.
Make your visit to Caithness memorable by visiting the unique Castle and Gardens of Mey which offers a magnificent view across the Pentland Firth to Hoy, the nearest of the Orkney Islands.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother first saw what was then Barrogill Castle in 1952 while mourning the death of her husband, King George VI. Falling for its isolated charm and hearing it was to be abandoned, she decided to save it and today it is a lasting tribute to her commitment to the local community. Having acquired the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland, The Queen Mother renovated and restored it and created the beautiful gardens you see today. For almost half a century she spent many happy summers here and shorter visits at other times of the year.
The Castle offers guided tours for visitors to see for their own eyes how Her Majesty The Queen Mother spent her time at the castle. Its homely, welcoming interior holds many enchanting stories of its predecessors which will be sure to capture everyone’s imagination.
The grounds and gardens consist of a Walled Garden and the East Garden with a woodland area, the overall design remains much as it was in The Queen Mother’s time. In the East Woods lies our newly built Animal Centre which can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. The relaxed and welcoming atmosphere gives them the opportunity to see animals well cared for in a happy environment. Visitors can have hands-on, supervised contact with some of the animals, providing an enjoyable and educational visit.
The Walled Garden is separated into sections by mixed hedges both to work as windbreaks and to create surprises around each corner. HRH the Duke of Rothesay takes a great interest in the development of His Grandmother’s garden and in the effects of the Caithness climate. The produce is also used by the tearoom and any surplus is sold at the plant-stall together with an assortment of home-grown plants.
The ‘Taste Our Best’ award winning Tearoom offers a selection of soup & sandwiches and salads with fresh scones and tray bakes. Catering for the needs of children and gluten free options available also, it is a delicious way to fill up before and after your time at the castle.
Whether you are going for a treat in the tearoom, browse in the Gift Shop, trip to the Animal Centre or just a wander in the Gardens and Grounds – a trip to the Castle allows for a great family day out for all. We hope that you will enjoy your visit.
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