The precise quantity of castles in Scotland is unknown – the final consensus being round 3,000. There are extra Scottish castles than anyplace else within the British Isles. Which, contemplating what number of historic UK cities there are with castles, is a formidable title. Visiting castles is one of the simplest ways to immerse your self in historic Scotland, whether or not you decide a medieval fortress, tower home, or royal residence.
Most Lovely Castles in Scotland
This information is jam-packed with the most effective castles in Scotland. These are probably the most thrilling castles, and all have distinctive claims to fame or tales to their title. Buckle up since you are in for some critical citadel inspiration.
1. Edinburgh Fortress
Edinburgh Fortress wants a bit introduction. As in all probability probably the most well-known citadel in Scotland, the medieval citadel sits on Fortress Rock in proud show within the middle of Edinburgh Previous City. Edinburgh Fortress is the second most visited attraction within the UK, so that you finest consider that tickets ebook out shortly and crowds flock in peak seasons. We recommend booking your tickets here for skip-the-line entry earlier than you go.
Due to this, Edinburgh Fortress is best-visited low season. With fewer individuals round, you’ll be able to actually absorb Scotland’s historical past. Edinburgh Fortress has lots of of displays, together with The Honours of Scotland, aka the Scottish crown jewels.
Admittedly, it might be prison for Edinburgh Fortress to not make our checklist. Not solely is it the medieval citadel that has survived for hundreds of years in Scotland’s capital metropolis. Edinburgh Fortress can also be one of many best-preserved castles in Scotland. For a full time out with loads of academic and informative particulars, you’ll be able to’t go improper with Edinburgh Fortress. And bonus factors for anybody who finds somewhere to stay in Edinburgh with views of the citadel on Fortress Rock.
- Hours: 9:30 am to five pm
- Entry Charges: $22
2. Stirling Fortress
Stirling Fortress is one other central constructing in Scottish historical past. The citadel dates again to the twelfth century and was as soon as a Renaissance royal palace – stuffed with luxuries like an amazing corridor for balls and feasting and a royal searching lodge. Located in Stirling, Stirling Fortress was additionally tactically used as a stronghold throughout the Scottish Wars of Independence. Stirling Fortress sits on a volcanic rock on an elevated vantage level. Due to this advantageous place, many battles had been fought round Stirling Fortress, together with Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn. Stirling Fortress was a hub of battle.
At this time, Stirling Fortress is fascinating for guests intrigued by Scottish historical past – particularly associated to the Wars of Independence. It’s surrounded by battlefields. Whereas in Stirling Castle, guests can tour the totally different rooms and get entangled with the extra entertaining points like attempting on interval costumes and chatting with the costumed character actors.
Stirling Fortress is enjoyable and family-friendly, regardless of its somber historical past. It earned a spot on our checklist for its hyperlinks to the Wars of Independence. Just a few castles in Scotland provide such very important perception into this era of Scottish historical past. So don’t overlook Stirling Fortress.
- Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm
- Entry Charges: $18
3. Dunnottar Fortress
Dunnottar Fortress is among the most dramatic castles in Scotland. The citadel stays sit on a 160-foot rock overlooking the North Sea, which is believed to have been the primary fortified citadel. The oldest components of the citadel date again to the Early Center Ages, whereas the surviving components that guests see in the present day are dated to the sixteenth century. Regardless of its ruined state, Dunnottar Fortress is among the most well-known castles in Scotland. It speaks to a misplaced period of Scotland and is an totally romantic addition to our high Scottish Castles.
Dunnottar Fortress has seen the likes of Mary Queen of Scots and William Wallace cross its threshold. And with over 1000 years of historical past, it is among the finest locations to expertise historic Scotland. The citadel is positioned within the coastal city of Stonehaven, alongside Scotland’s east coast. It’s a two-hour drive from Edinburgh, however we advise spending just a few nights there. Particularly since it’s close to the Cairngorms Nationwide Park.
- Hours: 10 am to six pm
- Entry Charges: $11
4. Glamis Fortress
Glamis Fortress is among the most lovely medieval castles in Scotland. The citadel has over 650 years of historical past and is alleged to have impressed Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. The ancestral house owners of Glamis Fortress are the Strathmore household, who’ve resided there since 1372. It’s even mentioned to have hosted Mary Queen of Scots and was the childhood dwelling of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mom. At Glamis Fortress, the Queen Mom additionally gave beginning to Princess Margaret.
The lengthy hyperlinks to royals bagged Glamis Fortress a spot in our information. It’s partaking to go to, with an amazing perception into historic Scotland. It is among the solely castles in Scotland to embrace its literary hyperlinks, too, that includes a Macbeth Path, which brings the play to life. The citadel is located exterior the village of Glamis, a 20-minute drive north of Dundee.
- Hours: March-October: 10 am to five pm
- Entry Charges: $9
5. Balmoral Fortress
Balmoral Fortress is a royal residence – aka a part of the gathering of royal castles belonging to the British royal household. Prince Albert purchased the citadel for Queen Victoria in 1852, and Balmoral Fortress was famously a favourite spot for Queen Elizabeth II. What most individuals don’t know, although, is that the unique Balmoral Fortress was deemed ‘too small’ for the royal household. Prince Albert truly commissioned a brand new citadel to be inbuilt 1856. Balmoral Fortress is a fantastic place to study extra in regards to the British royals. Its shut hyperlinks to the British monarchy earned it a spot on our checklist.
Balmoral Fortress is positioned within the Cairngorms Nationwide Park close to the village of Balmoral. It’s a lovely place to go to alongside the River Dee, and it’s simple to see why a royal searching lodge was added. Balmoral Fortress is surrounded by nature.
- Hours: April-July: 10 am to five pm
- Entry Charges: $20
6. Eilean Donan Fortress
Likelihood is you’ve seen an image of Eilean Donan Fortress already. The citadel sits on a tidal island amidst a confluence of three lochs. The loch setting is magical (who is aware of, possibly the Loch Ness monster has a cousin?), and Eilean Donan Fortress is definitely top-of-the-line castles in Scotland for a scenic location. The Thirteenth-century citadel was as soon as the stronghold of the MacRae household. Nonetheless, it was sadly destroyed within the warfare throughout the Jacobite Rebellion. Solely in 1932 was the Scottish citadel restored to its former glory and opened to the general public.
Eilean Donan Fortress is gorgeous to go to. Should you do, you could cease on the a number of scenic viewpoints across the loch shoreline. Inside, you’ll be able to take excursions of the rooms and displays. However the primary draw is the aesthetic and the truth that such an vital citadel was resurrected from despair with renovations.
- Hours: February-December: 9 am to six pm (varies by month)
- Entry Charges: $13
7. Braemar Fortress
The Seventeenth-century Braemar Fortress is an iconic fortified citadel in the course of the Cairngorms Nationwide Park. It has had some well-known guests, together with the present British royal household. Clan Farquharson can also be one of the crucial famed clans in Scotland, so visiting their ancestral household house is a should.
The citadel has seen many ‘background’ figures of Scotland, from the usual bearer for Mary Queen of Scots to warriors of the Battle of Culloden. Braemar Fortress is thrilling to go to and listen to in regards to the different aspect of historical past. The aspect of historical past that concerned on a regular basis individuals, not simply influential figures and the rich.
Braemar Fortress is only a stone’s throw from the Scottish Highland Video games. Should you go to on the proper time of yr, take into account combining the 2. It’s value noting that for a interval of 2023, Braemar Fortress will probably be closed inside for renovation. Check the website for updates.
- Hours: TBC
- Entry Charges: TBC
8. Cawdor Fortress
Cawdor Fortress is one other ancestral dwelling central to Scottish historical past. Shakespeare followers might acknowledge the citadel from Macbeth’s ‘Thane of Cawdor’. And actually, Cawdor Fortress isn’t removed from legends or tales. That’s the reason we added it to our checklist. The medieval citadel truly includes a tower constructed round a legendary holly tree. In line with legend, the unique Thane of Cawdor dreamed a couple of donkey carrying a coffer of gold. In his dream, the donkey laid down at the most effective place for a brand new citadel, the place it might ceaselessly prosper. The thane did the one logical factor – reenacting his dream and constructing the brand new citadel on the holly tree the place the donkey stopped.
Cawdor Fortress is fascinating to go to and has a very partaking historical past. You possibly can go to on a self-guided or guided tour, exploring the grounds and inside. Within the tiny village of Cawdor, Cawdor Fortress is round a 20-minute drive from Inverness.
- Hours: April-October: 10 am to five pm
- Entry Charges: $17
9. Culzean Fortress
Culzean Fortress is lavish and opulent – what extra do it’s essential know? The citadel dates again to the sixteenth century, and its grounds characteristic a deer park. Households will love getting up near the pleasant deer. Culzean Fortress is the proper place to go to with youngsters for that ‘basic citadel’ expertise. Inside, the primary options of Culzean Fortress are the gorgeous drawing room and oval staircase. As soon as owned by Clan Kennedy, Culzean Fortress is now the property of the Nationwide Belief of Scotland. Because of this whereas the citadel stays adorned as a non-public residence, it stays open year-round for public entry.
Other than the citadel having deer you’ll be able to meet, our favourite factor about Culzean Fortress is its clifftop location. The citadel sits overlooking the Firth of Clyde and the Isle of Arran. Simply south of Ayr, Culzean Fortress is a straightforward day trip from Glasgow, simply an hour’s drive away.
- Hours: 10 am to 4 pm
- Entry Charges: $12
10. Dunrobin Fortress
Dunrobin Fortress is the most important within the Northern Highlands. It’s a personal residence of many titles – from one of many oldest inhabited castles in Scotland to probably the most northern of Scotland’s nice homes. Dunrobin Fortress has housed the identical household for over 700 years. We love what number of ties it has to Scotland’s historical past and the historical past of the UK. Dunrobin Fortress was a naval hospital in WWI. It has hyperlinks to the Homes of Parliament by its shared architect, Sir Charles Barry.
Its historical past goes again even additional, although, for the reason that oldest components of the citadel date again to round 1275. A go to to the citadel’s on-site museum is a should. It is among the most informative and traditionally advanced castles to go to in Scotland. Relating to visiting, Dunrobin Fortress is simple to squeeze right into a North Coast 500 road trip. Dunrobin Fortress sits on the coast overlooking the Moray Firth. It’s simply exterior the east Scottish village of Golspie. Try our Dunrobin Castle guide here for more inspiration and essential details.
- Hours: April-September:
- Entry Charges: $16
11. Craigievar Fortress
Craigievar Fortress is fairly eye-catching. No, significantly, the Scots baronial-style citadel is vivid pink. The pink Scottish citadel is rumored to be the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Cinderella Fortress – each baby’s dream addition to our high Scottish castles. Craigievar Fortress is gorgeous to go to.
The citadel’s magnificence is what bagged it a spot on our checklist; it is among the finest castles in Scotland if you would like a novel aesthetic. And positioned in Alford, a village between Cairngorms Nationwide Park and Aberdeen, it has a scenic location within the Scottish Highlands.
Craigievar Fortress dates again to 1626 and has Jacobean touches all through. Having lived by the battle for Scottish independence, Craigievar Fortress is filled with thrilling displays about Scotland’s historical past. Guests can tour the numerous rooms and displays. And when you’ve explored inside, you’ll be able to head out to identify wildlife like pine martens and deer exterior on its grounds.
- Hours: Daybreak to nightfall
- Entry Charges: $17
12. Dunvegan Fortress
Dunvegan Fortress is a surprising Scottish citadel on the Isle of Skye. The citadel is the property of Clan MacLeod and, like many castles in Scotland, is shrouded in custom and tales of magic. Probably the most valued possession in Dunvegan Fortress is the Fairy Flag of Dunvegan, which is alleged to carry magical powers of assured victory in battle.
The silk flag is believed up to now again to the 4th century and comes from Syria or Rhodes. Dunvegan Fortress is among the most fascinating castles in Scotland. Occupied by the identical household for over 800 years, it is filled with tales and legends handed by generations. It’s also believed to be the oldest constantly inhabited citadel in Scotland.
You possibly can take a self-guided or guided tour by Dunvegan Fortress. It’s a fantastic spot to get a extra intimate style of Scottish historical past. We love the factor of magic and superstition.
- Hours: April-October: 10 am to five:30 pm
- Entry Charges: $19
13. Flooring Fortress
Flooring Fortress is among the finest castles in Scotland on the Scottish borders – simply an hour from Edinburgh. Set on a fantastic property, the 52 acres characteristic a Victorian Walled Backyard and Millennium Backyard. Loads of woodland and riverside trails zigzag the property’s grounds. Flooring Fortress is as a lot a day open air as an indoor attraction. This says so much contemplating Flooring Fortress is the most important inhabited home in Scotland. We love how a lot there may be to do at Flooring Fortress, and its myriad of pop-up occasions and actions is one more reason we added it to our information.
Ground Fortress dates again to the 18th-century. It was initially handled by the primary Duke as a ‘nation home’ or bolt gap when escaping the calls for of Parliament in London. 9 Dukes later, the citadel was lastly opened to the general public in 1977. It’s an thrilling citadel, all the time internet hosting a brand new exercise or occasion.
- Hours: Could-October: 10:30 am to five pm
- Entry Charges: $21
14. Blair Fortress and Gardens
Blair Fortress is among the most historic of Scotland’s castles. Residence to the Atholl household for over seven centuries, it has lived by a few of Scotland’s darkest hours. The citadel’s 30 rooms have seen a few of the most influential politicians and troopers. Relationship again to 1269, Blair Fortress has a formidable show of armory all through – a becoming nod to Scotland’s turbulent previous. Its historic significance is exactly why it made our checklist.
Blair Fortress and Gardens is positioned close to the tiny village of Previous Blair, simply beneath the Cairngorms Nationwide Park. It’s massively scenic to go to. The nationwide park backdrop is one thing else. You probably have just a few days to spend within the space, Cairngorms Nationwide Park is well-combined with Blair Fortress. Inside, the citadel’s design spans a number of eras. Some options whisk you again to medieval Scotland, whereas others converse to newer Victorian types.
Touring Blair Fortress is fascinating as a result of it has such a protracted historical past. You possibly can clearly see the totally different influences of every period. It’s a improbable Scottish citadel with exhibitions all through for a museum-like experience.
- Hours: April-October: Monday-Sunday 10 am to five pm
- Entry Charges: $20
15. Inveraray Fortress
Inveraray Fortress is among the finest castles in Scotland. Why? It has been dwelling to the Clan Campbells for generations. The present Clan Campbells maintain the title of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. It’s also so lovely that it was chosen because the set for the 2012 Downtown Abbey Christmas particular. We had so as to add it to our checklist.
Reasonably than being all the time obtainable, like Edinburgh Fortress, visiting Inveraray Fortress is way more intimate. You’ll tour all of the personal rooms and flooring, studying extra about its previous house owners and designers. The citadel itself has lovely Scottish baronial structure.
The citadel is close to the village of Inveraray, on the outskirts of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Nationwide Park. It’s potential to go to as a day trip from Glasgow, Oban, and even to include it right into a Scottish highway journey.
- Hours: March-September: Thursday-Monday 10 am to five pm, October: Thursday-Monday 10 am to 4 pm
- Entry Charges: $19
- Mauchline Fortress: An oblong tower home in East Ayrshire.
- Caerkaverock Fortress: A moated triangular citadel close to Dumfries.
- Duart Fortress: A citadel by the Sound of Mull owned by Clan Maclean.
From the Scottish Highlands to the middle of action-packed Edinburgh, the castles in Scotland are one thing else. Visiting a Scottish citadel is a ceremony of passage. Castles are so intertwined in Scottish historical past that it’s close to unimaginable – or needs to be thought of as such – to depart them out of a Scotland itinerary.
On the lookout for extra inspiration forward of your go to to Scotland? Try our North Coast 500 guide and our final information to the best cities in Scotland. In any other case, take pleasure in visiting as many of those finest castles in Scotland as potential. You gained’t remorse it.
Leave a Reply