The National Bard lived locally at Ellisland Farm in Dumfries and Galloway from 1788 to 1791. He was a great friend of John McMurdo, chamberlain to the Duke of Queensberry around that time and is thought to have visited him regularly. It seems that the Estate and local Dumfries and Galloway scenery inspired Burns to write however it’s also well documented that his relationship with the then Duke, the 4th Duke of Queensberry William Douglas, was rather frosty.
The famous Astronaut and first man on the moon is another famous face with links to Drumlanrig Castle. He stayed at Drumlanrig, as a guest of the Duke and Duchess, during his visit to Scotland in 1971. Armstrong was in Scotland to be awarded “Freeman of Langholm”, the ancestral home of the Armstrong’s. To commemorate his visit to Drumlanrig he planted a Red Oak tree. See the tree for yourself when you visit the gardens.
Sam Heughan and Catriona Balfe
Or you may know them better as Jamie and Claire Fraser from hit show Outlander. These two famous faces were at Drumlanrig Castle to film episode 11 in the second series of the much loved show. Drumlanrig was transformed to ‘Bellhurst Manor’, home of the Duke of Sandringham. Several locations outside and inside the Castle were used for filming. For more details of Outlander filming locations see Visit Scotland.
Robert the Bruce
The legacy of Robert the Bruce and the Douglas’s of Drumlanrig are evident everywhere at Drumlanrig in the ‘winged heart’ emblem. When Robert the Bruce died, his good friend Sir James Douglas promised to take the heart on crusade to the Holy Land. Unfortunately, Douglas was fatally injured in battle on the way but is believed to have thrown the casket with the heart shouting “Forward Brave Heart”. And this, it is believed, is how the winged heart became the Douglas family emblem. You will discover the winged heart all over Drumlanrig, from carvings within the sandstone architecture, to interior features like wallpaper and carpets, and even within the gardens.
From historical figures to Hollywood actors! Scarlett Johansson filmed on the wider estate in 2013. The film, ‘Under the Skin’, was filmed in Glasgow, the Scottish Highlands and at a single-storey, traditional 19th century, pink sandstone cottage on the wider Queensberry Estate, three miles north-east of Thornhill.
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bonnie Prince Charlie is another famous face with links to Drumlanrig Castle. He stayed in Drumlanrig Castle on 22nd December 1745 during his retreat north. The bedroom he stayed in is now named after him and you can visit it on a public guided tour.
Perhaps one of the most surprising famous faces related to Drumlanrig Castle! However, Noel Gallagher performed at local music festival Electric Fields in 2018 with his High Flying Birds.