Doune Castle

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Our big trip with Anna, Shoshana and Ilan was to go out to see Doune Castle, where most of the castle scenes in Monty Python and the Holy Grail were filmed. We got out there via train from Glasgow at Queen Street Station.

Trains are a great way to travel.

It's a pretty cool castle, and, unlike many we saw, not in inhabitable shape. It dates back to the 13th century. The audio tour was narrated by Terry Jones, a Python and one of the co-directors of the movie, so his recording would talk about the origins and use of a given room, then talk about how it was used in various Holy Grail scenes. Those uses included: interior of Camelot, Guy de Loimbard's castle ("your mother was a hamster"), to which the giant wooden rabbit is wheel and from which it is launched, Castle Anthrax's interior, and interiors for Swamp Castle. Also the castle from which Arthur is quizzed about the origins of Patsy's coconut shells.

If you look up, you can see a man standing on the tower's ramparts. He was in the middle of yelling lines from Holy Grail when we arrived ("... and your father smelt of elderberries!").

Cielo and Eero saw the movie just before our trip, and Ilan was already a big fan, so when they found out they could borrow coconut shells from the gift shop (true), they wasted no time reenacting various scenes.


This is the great hall and kitchen area - that big semicircle on the back wall is the fireplace. Those two openings behind Alison (you may have to scroll right) lead to the dining area, where the lord and guests would eat dinner.

kitchen and great hall

It really is a good audio tour.

Selfie from inside the courtyard!

You can climb up to the ramparts, through the Duke's and Duchess's bedrooms (and past their private toilets). This is where you yell quotes from the movie down at other tourists.

A view into the courtyard from the wall.

There were actually quite a few swallows hanging around the castle. If you were listening carefully you could hear that the one on the left was saying "I told him we've already got one." Also, these may not actually be swallows.

The curtain wall of the castle, at which the argument about swallows and coconuts happens in the movie.

What.... is your quest?! (Check out Ilan falling into the pit in the background, too).

It was then time for the Rabbit of Caerbannong reenactment, with the part of the Rabbit played by Eero and a toy dragon.

Doune Castle is in Stirling,

a medium sized town that is nevertheless the largest city in Central Scotland. Note: (almost) everything was closed early, despite the late sunsets in these northern climes.

A quaint street in Doune, with the hanging plant watering guys doing their rounds. This seemed so cool and Scottish, and then a week after we were back in Mountain View, Vernon saw two people with almost the same equipment watering the hanging plants downtown.

After finally scrouging some food, we went to a nearby school and had a picnic lunch, after which the younger kids tried to make themselves sick.

It was great (but exhausting) day out.

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