Many people who have seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, may wonder where to visit the castles where it was filmed. It was mostly shot on location in Scotland and mostly in one castle (Doune Castle), although a number of other castles are shown throughout the iconic movie.
Originally more castles in Scotland were planned to be used in the filming but Monty Python was denied permission by the Scottish Department of the Environment out of fear that the structures could be damaged. For those who would like to see the filming location for The Life of Brian - it was filmed in the historic Monastir in Tunisia.
Doune Castle In Scotland
The main castle where the movie was filmed is Doune Castle. Many of the scenes shown are of Doune Castle from different angles. Both Doune Castle's interior and exterior are shown.
The "Castle Anthrax" in the "Tale of Sir Galahad" was filmed in a part of Doune castle.
Doune Castle is was a medieval stronghold located in the Stirling district in central Scotland. It is 8 miles northwest of the town of Stirling and is on the fringe of the Scottish Highlands.
It was originally built during the Scottish Wars of Independence during the 13th century. But its present form likely dates from the late 14th century. Later on, it was used as a royal hunting lodge and a dower house (a dower house is normally a large house for the use of a window of a former British estate owner).
The castle saw military use in the mid-17th century and again during the Jacobite uprisings in the late 17th and 18th centuries. It was ruined by 1800 but was later restored towards the end of the century.
Today it is managed by Historic Environment Scotland.
Adult: £9.00 ($11) (Aged 16 to 64 Years)
Children: £5.40 ($7) (Aged 5 to 15 Years)
As of the time of writing (Feburary 2022), Doune Castle is temporarily closed as it is undergoing masonry work. Also due to the pandemic, some areas of the castle are closed for social distancing.
One can expect to see all external areas, the kitchen tower (upper level closed), the solar, the lord's hall, and the Gatehouse Tower (but no access to the bedchambers).
It is expected to reopen in April and the opening hours are planned to be:
- 1 April to 31 March: Daily, 10 am to 4 pm
Castle Stalker - Scottish Keep
At the end of the movie, one sees an impressive but small castle out on a lake. That is Castle Stalker, which is a privately owned castle on a tidal islet on Loch Laich in Scotland. It is a four-story tower house or keep.
At low tide, it is possible (but difficult) to access the castle. It is one of the best-preserved medieval tower houses in this part of Scotland
- Name: From the Gaelic Word "Stalcaire" Meaning "Hunter" or "Falconer"
The castle is open seasonally and as of the time of writing (Feburary 2022), the opening dates for 2022 have yet to be announced.
In 2021 tours were limited to one tour per day for social distancing and included a trip over to the castle with a guided tour of the keep. The guided tour is provided by a member of the Stewart Allward family (the owners of the Castle).
- Duration: Allow For 2 Hours Including the Boat Trips
- Price: £20 for Adults ($27), £10 ($13) For Children Under 16 (2021 Prices)
One can learn more about the next opening and the tour on the Castle Stalker Website.
Other Castles Seen in The Holy Grail
At least two other castles are seen in the movie. The scene of the "Bridge of Death" was filmed in a gorge in the stunning Glen Coe area of the Scottish Highlands (that everyone should visit). The glen is noted for its scenic beauty and was filmed where the mountain waterfalls become the River Coe in Glen Coe.
- ‘Bridge of Death’: Located At a Gorge at The Meeting of Three Waters In Glen Coe in the Scottish Highlands
Kidwelly Castle is a Norman (or early English) castle overlooking the River Gwendraeth in southern Wales. The present castle dates from the early 12th century and was built to defend against the Welsh that the English were trying to subdue. It was razed by Llywelyn the Great in 1231 and later rebuilt.
- Location: South Wales
- Scenes: The First Exterior Scene With a Castle
A large and impressive castle surrounded by a moat was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge. It was ostensibly built to defend against a possible French invasion during the Hundred Year's War.
- Location: East Sussex, England
- Scenes: The Single Exterior Shot of the Swamp Castle (in the "Tale of Sir Lancelot:)