Scottish Castles and Palaces

Scottish Castles and Palaces

Eileen-Donan Castle is located on the largest Scottish island of Skye. Yes, it’s not a short drive, but trust me, it’s worth it. Despite the proximity of megacities the island is still untouched by globalization and that is exactly what attracts tourists tired of noisy resorts.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of Scotland’s most popular sights. From the outside, it looks as if the castle, standing on a rock, hovers above the city. It was created as a fortress and was used by various military forces. The castle is at the top of the famous Royal Mile.

Blackness Castle

In the appearance of the medieval Blackness Castle on the banks of the River Fort, its purpose is easy to guess. Built in the 15th century as a fortress, it was used almost throughout its existence as a prison, with brief interruptions: in the early 18th century, the main tower was converted into a barracks for soldiers.

Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle has a direct link to the royal family. It was where Queen Elizabeth, mother of the present-day Queen, spent her childhood, and where she gave birth to her first daughter, Margaret.

Dunvegan Castle

The name of Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye is familiar to many people from the Highlander movie, as Duncan McLeod’s ancestral castle. The breathtakingly beautiful island off the west coast of Scotland is worthy of a visit in itself, but it’s no less interesting to see a 14th century castle.

Dunnothar Castle

On a high bank of the North Sea, not far from Aberdeen, stands the most romantic of Scottish castles, the dilapidated Dunnothar Castle. This castle has been associated with every period of the country’s history. Surprisingly, the castle ruins look different depending on the weather.

Castle Drum

Drum Castle claims to be the oldest castle in Scotland. Its tower, built in the 13th century, is said to have remained virtually intact. The Jacobean house and mansion next to it date from the early 17th century, and all the other structures from the 19th.

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Dun Castle

Grim Dun Castle is witness to the endless struggle of Scottish lords for power. Its founder, Robert Stuart, Duke of Albany, ruled from behind an incapacitated brother and then nephew, abducting and starving the rightful heir to the throne, while condemning the other, still a child, to a long English captivity.

Castle of Inverary

nverary Castle on the shore of Loch Fyne is the ancestral home of the Campbell clan, whose members for 7 centuries played a prominent role in the history of Scotland and Great Britain. It was built in the 18th century by order of the head of the family, who was granted the title of Duke.

Stalker Castle

The small Scottish castle Stalker stands on a tiny island, only slightly bigger than it. It rises sternly above the waters of Loch Lay – in the 14th century, when it was built, decoration was not in vogue, what mattered was sturdy defence.

Sterling Castle

First mentioned in the 12th century, Sterling Castle rises majestically on top of an extinct volcano in the region of Sterling. Architecturally and historically, the castle was one of the most significant in Scotland. The steep bluffs surrounding the castle reinforce its position.


Scotland is full of antiquities, such as medieval castles, but Jarlshof is the record-breaker. There are ruins of Bronze Age and Iron Age buildings and the long house built by the Vikings is the largest surviving northerly building in the whole of Britain.

In total there are about three thousand castles in Scotland. Unfortunately not all of them are in good condition, many of their present owners simply do not have enough money to restore and keep in order such grandiose constructions. But even in their near ruined condition they leave a lasting impression.

Each of the castles of Scotland has its own history with a lot of legends. Each castle is haunted by a variety of ghosts: walled-up boys, ladies who died untimely of undivided (and sometimes divided) love, innocently murdered knights. Ghosts in castles are treated respectfully, as full-fledged inhabitants.

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For example, at Gladys Castle, the guide will show you which chair you must never sit on, lest you upset the ghost of Lady Jeannette Douglas, burnt alive for witchcraft. Why not respect an old woman who paid for her love of herbs and powders with her life?

In the town of Crieff, in Pershire, is the very small – in comparison to others – castle Nok. The castle’s modern lease of life stands in stark contrast to its former history: it’s now a luxury hotel with designer rooms and a spa. Wishing to live for a few days in a real Scottish castle is always a lot, despite the price. This castle is owned by “HG Group”.

However, it is worth noting that this is not the only castle-hotel. In recent years, very popular among tourists is the desire to live in a castle, and many expressed the intention to live in an authentic environment, not among the modern styling. Also a popular service is the rental of premises for holidays and weddings.

Another interesting castle is located in the vicinity of Aberdeen – Crates Castle. It is open to visitors all year round, the interiors of the castle give a wonderful idea of castle life and life, and in the garden around this castle you can see the traditional Scottish landscape design.

Scotland’s Mysterious Castles

One of the best places in the world to experience the beauty of medieval castles is to go to Scotland. Here you can find a perfect combination of the harsh northern nature, rugged cliffs, dense and impassable woods and intimidating stone giants, which were protecting the local clans for centuries.

Many castles with the development of technology were no longer needed, and have fallen into disrepair. For many years they were abandoned and no one needed them. But today stately stone palaces become decorations for movies and TV series, in them hotels are opened and solemn events are held. And only a few of them are privately owned by descendants of the proud mountaineers.

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Some of Scotland’s castles are well known far and wide, while others are less popular. Check out our picks of the 10 most beautiful and best castles that will make you fall in love with Scotland with all your heart!

Eileen Donan Castle

This is probably the most famous castle not only in Scotland, but also in Great Britain. Its popularity was brought by the movies: “Highlander”, “James Bond”, “And the whole world is not enough”. And it’s no accident! It is not only the most famous, but also one of the most picturesque castles in the country. It was built in the thirteenth century on a tidal island. The island was connected to the great land by a narrow strip of land that appeared only at low tide. Surrounding the stone citadel are three lakes: Loch Alsh, Loch Duich, and Loch Long. The picturesque stone palace of Eileen Donan was long a stronghold of the Mackenzie clan. In the eighteenth century the fortress was destroyed; restoration did not begin until two centuries later. Today it belongs to the McRae clan, whose representatives still live in it.

Edinburgh Castle

This ancient and impregnable fortress in Edinburgh has withstood some twenty sieges. On top of Castle Rock, which is actually an extinct volcano, a fortress was erected in the twelfth century. It was protected by sheer cliffs, a deep lake at the foot, and a steep road, which was completely controlled and shot through by the defenders. Edinburgh Castle is several hundred years old and has been the residence of the rulers all that time. Within the castle complex stands the oldest building in Edinburgh, St. Margaret’s Chapel.

Glamis Castle

Most castles around the world are shrouded in a halo of mystery. Many of them have their legends and their ghosts. Glamis Castle is no exception, it could hold the record for the bloodcurdling stories that took place within its walls. All visitors are bound to be told about the burning of Janet Douglas, who was accused of witchcraft, the murder of King Malcolm the Destroyer of Scotland, and the ghosts that walk freely through the corridors and dungeons. But all these stories only add to the castle’s admirers. It is often rented for celebrations and festivities, especially the basements of Castle Glamis are often used for this purpose.

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Stirling Castle

An impressive fortress perched atop a sheer cliff. Before the unification of Scotland and England, it was the royal residence. It was here that Mary Stuart and other kings and queens were crowned. Construction of the castle dates back to the twelfth century, but most of the surviving structures date from the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries. Over time, the significance of the fortress began to diminish, and from a royal residence, Stirling Castle became a prison.

Balmoral Castle.

Despite its name, it is more of a country house or palace. The castle that stood on this site was demolished, and in the mid-nineteenth century there was a modern building. Today it belongs to the British royal family. The building was designed by William Smith, but Prince Albert made significant changes to the design. Queen Victoria often used Balmoral Castle as a summer residence. Queen Elizabeth II spent some time here after the tragic death of Princess Diana.

Cullin Castle

Luxurious, ancient, pompous – all these epithets perfectly fit Castle Cullin. If you associate medieval castles with damp, lack of facilities and harsh interiors, which are ideal for life of knights, but not for beautiful ladies, then this castle dispels all these misconceptions. It is loved to be rented for lavish celebrations and private parties. In addition to the palace itself, you can visit the sea caves, which are only open in the summer. And the park laid out around it will please everyone without exception.

Duarte Castle

Located on the Isle of Mull, Castle Duarte is the seat of the clan Maclean. Its advantageous strategic location allowed it to control the sea trade routes passing directly near the island. The ancient fortress dates back to the thirteenth century. In the eighteenth century the castle fell into disrepair and almost turned into ruins. Several rooms are open to visitors, the most interesting being the Banqueting Hall. It’s easy to imagine how family gatherings of the McLean clan were held here in the Middle Ages.

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Castle Stalker.

What could be more beautiful than a medieval fortress on an island in the middle of a lake? Protected by deep water, Castle Stalker on Loch Leitch is an impregnable fortress. Even today its visit involves the vagaries of nature, let alone the fourteenth century, when construction of the first fortifications began. For a long time the stone citadel was in the hands of the Stuart family, but the rights to it were also contested by the Campbell family. All this led to endless feuds and infighting among the clans for several hundred years.

Dunnottar Castle

This is one of Scotland’s most impregnable fortresses by the North Sea. And the best defense here is not the thick walls and courage of its defenders, but the impregnable cliff, on which in ancient times there was a fortified settlement of Picts. To get to the citadel, one had to either know the secret passage through the sea caves inside, or walk the narrow, steep path that wound its way over the cliffs. All these natural factors made Dunnottar Castle an impregnable stronghold in the path of enemy troops. Not for nothing Cromwell could not take the fortress by storm for eight months.

Castle Blackness

Built in the fifteenth century, the castle was a prison for most of its long history. When it was built, though, it was equipped to house the Earl of Caithness. Thick walls, fireplaces in every room, cozy rooms and bedrooms – all of which were no longer used for their intended purpose since the sixteenth century. Cardinals, covenanters and even French prisoners of war during the Napoleonic wars were held here in captivity.

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