things to do
Scotland is famous for its castles. Wars with various nations have meant you are spoilt for choice when wanting to visit castles. Please select your area from below to see castles close to where you are visiting.
Edinburgh Castle is an ancient fortress on a volcanic rock in the center of the city of Edinburgh. It has been used for military purposes for almost 300 years and has only recently been transferred to civilian use. It stands at the top of High Street, also known as the Royal Mile. Holyrood Palace lies at the bottom.
Linlithgow Palace is located in West Lothian, Scotland, only 15 miles west of Edinburgh. Linlithgow Palace is the birthplace of the Mary Queen of Scots. The magnificent ruins of Linlithgow Palace are a greatly recommended visitor attraction.
Located in the town of Stirling in Scotland, Stirling Castle is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, and indeed in Western Europe, both historically and architecturally. Built on 'the castle hill,' a volcanic crag, it is surrounded on three sides by sheer cliffs, making it easy to defend. Together with its strategic position, this feature made it an essential stronghold from the outset, the object of struggle between the Scots and English. Numerous kings and queens of Scotland were born, died, or were crowned here. The castle is a national monument and is now governed by Historic Scotland, the Scottish Historic Buildings Agency.
Kildrummy Castle Gardens
Kildrummy Castle is a ruined castle near the town of Kildrummy in Aberdeenshire, a region in northern Scotland. Although in ruins, is it the complete XIIIᵉ century castle to survive in eastern Scotland. It served as a seat for the Earls of Mar.
Braemar Castle is near the village of Braemar in Aberdeenshire, a region in the north of Scotland.
Bothwell Castle is a medieval Scottish castle, now in ruins, situated on a hill near the River Clyde. It is located in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, between Uddingston and Bothwell, about 10 miles southeast of Glasgow.
Balvenie Castle is a ruined castle located 1 kilometer north of Dufftown in the Moray region of Scotland.
Open to the public, this castle has been maintained and kept dating back to the 13th century. Once a strong bulwark against invasions towards Edinburgh, it belonged to the famous Maitland family for much of its history.
Aberdour Castle and Garden
Aberdour Castle is a partially ruined castle in Aberdour, Fife, Scotland. Parts of the castle date back to around 1200, making it one of the two oldest castles in Scotland that can be dated and still standing; the other was Sween Castle in Argyll and Bute, built around the same time.
Fort George is a tourist attraction located in Inverness. Fort George is a large 18th-century fortress capable of housing 400 troops beside the River Ness, near Ardersier.
Caerlaverock Castle is a 13th-century castle with a triangular plan and moat. It is located in the National Nature Reserve of the same name, south of Dumfries, in the Dumfries and Galloway area of south-west Scotland.
Rothesay Castle is a ruined castle located in Rothesay, the main town on the island of Bute, in the Scottish administrative division of Argyll and Bute. This castle has been called "one of the most remarkable in Scotland" for its long history dating back to the 13th century and its unusual circular plan.
Threave Castle is a mid-4th century keep situated on an island in the River Dee, two and a half miles west of Castle Douglas, in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. It served as a fortress for the Black Douglas until their fall in 1455.
Doune Castle is a medieval stronghold close to the village of Doune, in the Stirling district of central Scotland. The castle is located on a wooded bend where the Ardoch Burn flows into the River Teith.
Dumbarton Castle is located in the former capital of Scotland. It stands spectacularly on the volcanic rock overlooking the River Clyde.
The Duart Castle dates back to the 13th century, located on the Isle of Mull, west coast of Scotland. For over 700 years, Duart Castle, the seat of Clan Macldan, has dominated the view to the Sound of Mull.
Dirleton Castle and Garden
Dirleton Castle is a medieval castle dating back to the 13th century, located in the village of Dirleton in the East Lothian region of Scotland. It sits on rocky earth in the center of the rich farmland of the former Barony of Dirleton.
Situated above Dolar Glen, Castle Campbell is a 15th-century fortress overlooking the Ochil Hills.
Dunstaffnage Castle was built before 1275 on a huge rock overlooking the Firth of Lorn
Spynie Palace, located in Moray, Scotland, was founded in the late 12th Century. The Palace was for 500 years the seat of the bishops of Moray. The Palace sat on the edge of Spynie Loch.
Falkland Palace and Garden
Falkland Palace is an ancient palace of the kings of Scotland located in Falkland, Fife. It is now run by the National Trust for Scotland and is a tourist attraction. Falkland is a splendid Renaissance country palace, built with a French touch by James IV and James V in the 1500s. The Royal Palace at Falkland was a favored hunting retreat for the Stuart monarchs, including Mary Queen of Scots.
Cardoness Castle is a well-preserved 15th-century tower house located southwest of Gatehouse of Fleet in the historic county of Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. The MacCullochs of Myreton initially owned it. They abandoned the castle in the late 17th century after Sir Godfrey McCulloch was executed for the murder of a Clan Gordon neighbor. It is now under the care of Historic Environment Scotland and is a listed monument.
Lochleven Castle is a ruined castle that stands on an island in Loch Leven, in the Perth and Kinross region of Scotland. It was probably built around 1300; it was besieged during the Scottish Wars of Independence (1296-1357). At the end of the 14th century, the castle was granted to William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas, and remained in Douglas's hands for three centuries. Today, the castle remains are protected as a Grade A listed monument and are owned by Historic Scotland. It is open to the public in the summer and is accessible by ferry.
Culzean Castle & Country Park
Culzean Castle is located near Maybole, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. The famous British architect Robert Adam participated in the reconstruction of part of the castle in the 1770s.
Tantallon Castle overlooks the Bass Rock outside North Berwick, and there are still staircases inside the curtain wall that can reach the battlements.
The Castle & Gardens of Mey
Mey Castle (formerly Barrogill Castle) is situated in Caithness, on the north coast of Scotland, about ten kilometers west of John o' Groats, the village that marks the north-eastern tip of the island Britain. On a clear day, the castle overlooks the Orkney Islands.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan is an island in the United Kingdom located in Scotland, managed by the Highland Council Area. It is accessible to the island of Great Britain by a stone bridge that leads to a castle that covers a large part of the island.
Mount Stuart House, is a country house on the east coast on Scotland, designed in the Gothic Revival style and the former home of the Marquesses of Bute. It was built by Sir Robert Rowand Anderson for the third Marquess in the late 1870s, replacing an earlier house by Alexander McGill, which burned down in 1877. The house is a building listed Grade A.
Blackness Castle is a fortress built in the 15th century in Scotland, in West Lothian, on the south shore of the Firth of Forth. It is located on a peninsula near the Forth Bridge, not far from Edinburgh. After serving as a stronghold, prison and garrison, the castle is now managed by the Historic Scotland association.
Craigmillar Castle is a ruined castle in Edinburgh, Scotland. It is located 4.8 km southeast of the city center, on a small hill south of the modern suburb of Craigmillar.
With one of the oldest tower houses in Scotland, Chancellor Crichton's great hall, and a diamond-faceted facade added by Francis Stewart, this vision of the past is well worth the incredible visit.
Hailes Castle is a free castle maintained by historic Scotland and is located in a charming attraction near the A1 road 20 miles from Edinburgh.
This beautifully stunning historic architecture is hundreds of years old, surviving attacks and fires, and is an incredible look into history.
Auchindoun Castle enjoys a superb defensive location at an elevation of nearly 1,000 feet, just over two miles southeast of Dufftown. Immediately to the south and east, the land falls steeply into the valley of the River Fiddich, and the location offers a check on one of the main routes south from Speyside to Aberdeenshire, now followed by the A941.
Corgarff's mid-16th century tower houses are located in the barren wilderness of Strathdon.
The Craigievar Castle iconic tower houses offer extensive views of the Benachie countryside. Explore the beautiful pink castle, which is the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle.
Dundonald Castle is one of Scotland's hidden gems, one of the most undiscovered and fascinating heritage treasures.
Floors Castle is the largest inhabited castle of Scotland and the family home of the 11th Duke of Roxburghe. Built in 1721 for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe, what you see is the evolving story of a house and gardens that successive generations have left their mark.
Hermitage Castle is in a beautiful rural location in Liddesdale and its turbulent history has led to it being described as "the guardhouse of Britain's bloodiest valley". Partially restored in the 19th century, Lord de Soules built the castle in the 1240s.
Culross Palace is a late 16th -17th-century merchant house in Culross, Fife, Scotland.
Admire the towering defensive walls of solid fortifications that were built initially as royal residences. Ravenscraig Castle is a ruined castle in Kirkcaldy that dates back to 1460. The court was an early example of Scottish artillery defense.
Brodie Castle is a well-preserved Z-plan castle located approximately 3+1⁄2 miles west of Forres in Moray, Scotland. The court is a Grade A listed building, and the grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.
Cawdor Castle was built in 1454. The 5-star tourist attraction is located in the parish of Cawdor in Nairnshire. The Cawdor Castle is well known for its literary connection to William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth.
Brodick Castle was once the ancestral home of the Dukes of Hamilton. Now owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland, the Castle and Gardens are well worth a visit. Brodick Castle is situated just north of Brodick and overlooks Brodick Bay and the Firth of Clyde.
Craignethan Castle is an ancient ruined castle in South Lanarkshire, Scotland. It is situated above the River Nethan, a tributary of the River Clyde. The court is 2 miles west of the village of Crossford and 4.5 miles northwest of Lanark.
The MacDonalds' former seat of Clan Ranald, Castle Tioram, was torched during the Jacobite Rising of 1715 to keep it out of the Hanoverian forces' hands.
Jedburgh Castle Jail
The Jedburgh Castle Jail offers visitors a glimpse of what life looked like in an 1820s prison. You can wander through the original cell blocks, see some of the inmates and their living conditions and follow their stories. Find out why it was considered "the most comfortable prison in Scotland". The building has also earned a reputation as a ghost-sighting location!
Located about 2 kilometers north of Kilmartin, in Argyll and Bute, Carnasserie Castle is a ruined tower house from the 16th century, the home of the first Protestant Bishop of the Isles, Master John Carswell. Famous for its Renaissance details, with its five-story tower house and delicate carvings. From the parapets, you can enjoy the stunning view down Kilmartin Glen towards marked rocks, cairns, and standing stones, some of which you can see from the tower.
Abbot House Heritage Centre
The Abbot House is the oldest building in Dunfermline. This building is located in the shadow of the great monastery church in Dunfermline, and its core is dated back to the 16th century. This was a heritage center until August 2015, when it was closed due to the Abbot House Heritage Center Trust's attempt to fail to find other funds.
The remains of Burleigh Castle are located outside the village of Milnathort, 1.5 miles north of Kinross in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. The castle dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries and is now located on the A911 road, opposite the 19th-century castle, which has recently been converted into a house.
Castle of St John
St John's Castle is a medieval tower house in the center of Stranraer. It was built around 1500 by the Adairs of Kilhilt, one of the most powerful families in Wigtownshire.
Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly house in Scotland and the largest castle in the North Highlands, with 189 rooms. With it's history tracing back to the early 1300s, its one of the oldest inhabited castles in the UK.
Menstrie Castle is a beautiful three-story Manor house in Menstrie, Clackmannanshire. It is a fantastic example of 17th-century architecture, a rich history, and a collection of stunning portraits.
Castle Sinclair Girnigoe
Sinclair and Girnigoe Castle is located about five kilometers north of Wick's town, on the east coast of the Caithness district in the Scottish Highland Administrative Area. It is considered to be one of the earliest manor houses of the Sinclair Clan.
Castle Stalker is a four-story tower house located on a tidal islet on Loch Laich 25 miles north of Oban on the west coast of Scotland. Castle Stalker was built around the 1540s.
Lennox Castle is a ruined castle not far from the Scottish town of Lennoxtown in East Dunbartonshire. The structure is situated on an extensive land plot with numerous outbuildings to the west of the village. In 1973, Lennox Castle was inscribed on the Scottish Heritage Lists in the highest category A.
Drumin Castle is a ruined tower near Glenlivet, Moray, Scotland. The castle is located on the ridge at the junction of the Livet and Avon rivers. It is a designated regular monument.
Midhope Castle is a tower house dating from the 16th century. It is located in Scotland, in the village of Abercorn about 4 kilometers west of South Queensferry, on Edinburgh's outskirts, and belongs to the estate of Hopetoun House. The house is a Grade A listed building.
The new Slains Castle, formerly known as Bowness, is a ruined castle in the United Kingdom, located in Scotland, facing the North Sea in Aberdeenshire. Built and modified from the late 16th century onwards after the destruction of the old Slains Castle, it was abandoned and left to decay in the early 20th century.
Inveraray Castle is a castle located northeast of the small town of Inveraray, Scotland. It is the stronghold of the head of the southern branch of the Campbell clan, the Duke of Argyll.
On the Shores of Loch Assynt lies the ruins of Ardvreck Castle, built in the 15th century Ardvreck Castle was once the home of the Macleods of Assynt. The castle today is a ruin but is amongst some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery, with the dazzling blue Loch Assynt on one side and some of Sutherland's Beautiful Mountains on the other.