Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975

Director

Cast

visit the film locations

Doune Castle, FK16 6EA (10 miles northwest of Stirling, off the A84) (tel: 01786.841742) Admission charge.

Castle Stalker, on the A828 between Ballachulish and Connel, 20 miles north of Oban. There are occasional tours – subject to tides and weather conditions. (tel: 07789.597442) Admission charge

Bodiam Castle, near Robertsbridge in East Sussex (tel: 1580.830436, admission charge)

Trivia

You can see the castle from the Castle Stalker View Cafe, Appin, Portnacroish.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: Doune Castle, Scotland

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: multiple castles: Doune Castle, Stirling, Scotland

King Arthur and his men, accompanied by their trusty coconut shells, undertake a quest to find the Holy Grail – and the result is a triumph over limited budgeting. One look at the Pythonesque script and the authorities looking after the nation’s heritage got an attack of cold feet.

Fortunately, the privately-owned Doune Castle, a 14th century fortification on the A84, about ten miles northwest of Stirling, was up for the challenge.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: Doune Castle, Scotland

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: Knights of the Round Table at Camelot: the Great Hall, Doune Castle, Stirling, Scotland

The use of, basically, a single location necessitated a bit of imagination, with Doune standing in for almost every castle seen in the film.

“It’s only a model" mumbles Patsy as the knights first set eyes on Camelot. The interior, though, with the Knights of the Round Table musical number, is Doune’s Great Hall, utilising every door, window and nook. “No, on second thoughts, let’s not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: Doune Castle, Scotland

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: taunting by the French at Guy de Loimbard’s castle: Doune Castle, Stirling, Scotland

The exterior supplies the walls of Guy de Loimbard’s castle, from which the knights are taunted by the French guard (“Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries”).

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: Doune Castle, Scotland

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: the Wooden Rabbit: Doune Castle, Stirling, Scotland

And the ingenious, but sadly empty, giant Wooden Rabbit is wheeled up to the Castle’s entrance.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: Doune Castle, Scotland

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: the blondes and brunettes of ‘Castle Anthrax’: Doune Castle, Stirling, Scotland

Inside, you’ll recognise ‘Castle Anthrax’, where Sir Galahad (Michael Palin) is rescued from Zoot, Midget, Crapper and the rest of the young blondes and brunettes all between 16 and 19-and-a-half.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: Bodiam Castle, Sussex

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: the exterior of ‘Swamp Castle’: Bodiam Castle, East Sussex

Photograph: iStockphoto / David Garry

Away from Scotland for a brief moment – there’s the tiniest glimpse of Bodiam Castle, a medieval fortress near Robertsbridge in East Sussex., standing in as the exterior of ‘Swamp Castle’. A little bit more of Bodiam was seen in the 1955 costume romp The Adventures of Quentin Durward.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: Doune Castle, Scotland

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: mayhem at the ‘Swamp Castle’ wedding: courtyard of Doune Castle, Stirling, Scotland

 

The rest of ‘Swamp Castle’ is, of course, back to Doune, where Sir Launcelot (John Cleese) causes bloody mayhem at the wedding party in the main Courtyard.

Unlike many heritage locations, which are coy about their connection with popular culture, Doune Castle is happily proud of its association. It needs to be, considering the number of people who turn up with their own coconut shells for that once-in-a-lifetime video opportunity. The gift shop stocks not only Python books and DVDs, but it’s the place to pick up that bottle bottle of Monty Python’s Holy Ale you’ve always wanted (“Tempered over burning witches”).

The ‘Bridge of Death’ crosses a gorge at the Meeting of Three Waters, where the mountain waterfalls become the River Coe in Glen Coe.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: Castle Stalker, north of Oban, Scotland

Monty Python and the Holy Grail location: resting place of the Grail: Castle Stalker, Appin, north of Oban, Scotland

The ‘Castle of Aaargh’, the island castle where the Grail supposedly resides, turns out to be Castle Stalker, at Appin, Argyll and Bute, about 20 miles north of Oban. The 15th century stronghold is a quarter of a mile from the shore of Loch Linhe and occasionally open to the public subject to tides and weather.




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