Culture and Experience Travel 6 MINS READ

A Short Guide To The 12 Best Scotland Castles

A Short Guide To The 12 Best Scotland Castles

Culture and Experience Travel 6 MINS READ
edinburgh castle

When it comes to castles, Scotland is a treasure trove of history and architectural beauty. From grand and opulent to rugged and imposing, Scotland castles are a must-see for any traveler visiting the country. Scottish Castles have an air of being from right out of a fairytale. An actual exhibition of classic British architecture from centuries ago, there are so many castles that were constructed during different eras of Scotland’s history, with some of them even belonging to the British royal family, that are sprinkled throughout Scotland.

The Scottish highlands have so many rich stories and heritage to share through its castles. The Dunvegan Castle, Inverness Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, Floors Castle, Duart Castle, Cawdor Castle, and the Urquhart Castle are some of Scotland’s castles that you should not miss out on.

Let’s look at some of the other main castles in Scotland that you must visit.

The 12 Best Castles In Scotland

Balmoral Castle

balmoral castle scotland castles

The Balmoral Castle is one of the most popular Scottish Castles and is known to be a British Royal Residence which the Queen used to frequent every summer as a retreat. The original Balmoral Castle dates back to the 15th century but was considered to be too small by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who then decided to reconstruct it. The new castle grounds of Balmoral Castle were completed in 1856. The Queen still used to frequent the castle for a retreat from Buckingham Palace in recent times. We highly recommend taking a tour of this castle.

Edinburgh Castle

edinburgh castle

The most popular castle in Scotland has to be the gorgeous Edinburgh Castle which was constructed in the 11th century and still sits proudly atop Castle Rock with stunning views of the entire city of Edinburgh. This fortress has seen every good and bad period of Scottish history, from the wars to the union of the crowns. It is also home to the Scottish crown jewels. You absolutely must take a tour of this stunning castle when you visit Scotland and also pay a visit to St. Margaret’s Chapel which is the oldest building that is still standing today in Edinburgh.

Dunrobin Castle

dunrobin castle

Dunrobin Castle, located in the Highland town of Golspie, is the largest in the Northern Highlands and is home to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. The castle’s origins date back to the 13th century, but it has undergone many renovations and additions over the centuries, resulting in a fascinating mix of architectural styles. The castle’s French-inspired gardens are a particular highlight, featuring a variety of exotic plants and a beautiful Victorian greenhouse.

Caerlaverock Castle

caerlaverock castle

Caerlaverock Castle is located in the southwest of Scotland. This stunning castle is one of the best-preserved examples of a medieval fortress in Scotland and is famous for its distinctive triangular shape. The castle was built in the 13th century by the Maxwell family and has been the site of many battles over the centuries. You can explore the castle’s impressive defensive walls and towers, as well as the castle’s Great Hall, where the Maxwells would have held grand banquets and ceremonies.

Craigievar Castle

craigievar castle

Craigievar Castle is a classic example of Scottish Baronial architecture and one of the most picturesque castles in Scotland. The castle was built in the 17th century by the Forbes family and is famous for its pink harled walls and towers. The castle’s interiors are equally impressive, with beautifully decorated staterooms, including the drawing room and the great hall. Take time to admire the castle’s impressive collection of art and artifacts, including paintings, tapestries, and furniture. The castle’s gardens are also a must-see, featuring a variety of plants and a beautiful pond.

Stirling Castle

stirling castle

Stirling Castle is one of the most important castles in Scottish history. This imposing fortress sits high on a volcanic rock, overlooking the city of Stirling. The castle has been a royal residence since the Middle Ages and has been the site of many important historical events, including the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297. The castle’s grand state rooms, including the Great Hall and the Royal Palace, as well as the castle’s impressive collection of art and artifacts, are all breathtaking. The castle’s esplanade offers panoramic views over the city, and its gardens are a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle
Image Credit: A&K Villas

Inveraray Castle is situated in the picturesque village of Inveraray, Argyll. This magnificent fortress, which originates from the 18th century, is the ancestral residence of the Duke of Argyll, leader of the Clan Campbell. With its turrets, towers, and corbelled battlements, the castle’s construction is a superb example of the Scottish Baronial style.

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle is a dramatic and imposing fortress located in the town of Stonehaven. This castle is an architectural masterpiece and dates back to the 14th century, making it a very significant building representative of Medieval Scotland. The castle’s location, perched on a rocky outcropping overlooking the sea, is truly breathtaking. At a pivotal juncture in the 17th century, Dunnottar was utilized to secure the crown jewels from Cromwell’s troops.

Culzean Castle

culzean castle

Culzean Castle is situated on the stunning Ayrshire shore. This magnificent castle, which dates back to the 18th century, was the previous residence of the Kennedy family. If you visit during the summer, be sure to explore the sea caves beneath the castle.

Castle Fraser

castle fraser

Castle Fraser is a magnificent castle in Scotland’s Aberdeenshire area. The Fraser family, who were important in the area at the time, erected this Scottish castle in the 16th century. The architecture of the castle is a blend of Scottish Baronial and Renaissance styles, with turrets, a fortified tower house, and crenelated battlements. The exquisite plasterwork ceiling of the drawing-room, which is a magnificent example of 18th-century workmanship, is one of the castle’s highlights. Castle Fraser is noted for its paranormal phenomena in addition to its historical and architectural value. Ghostly apparitions have been recorded by visitors, including the “Green Lady,” who is claimed to haunt the castle.

Blair Castle

blair castle

Blair Castle is a medieval castle in Perthshire, Scotland, located in the tiny community of Blair Atholl. The castle originates from the 13th century and has served as the residence of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl for almost 700 years. It is one of Scotland’s oldest continually occupied buildings and has played a significant part in the country’s history.

Glamis Castle

glamis castle

Glamis Castle is a magnificent castle located in the little community of Glamis in the Scottish county of Angus. The castle was built in the 14th century and has served as the residence of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne for almost 600 years. It boasts a majestic entryway that includes a drawbridge and a portcullis. It is also thought that the castle influenced Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, which is set in Scotland, and that the castle’s setting may have inspired the “Dungeon of Macbeth.”


Are the royal castles in Scotland open to the public?

Yes, most of the royal castles in Scotland are open for public tours and viewings, however, some of them are only open at certain points in the year when they are not in use.

What is the biggest castle in Scotland?

The largest inhabited castle in Scotland is the Floors Castle. Edinburgh Castle is also very large.

How many castles are there in Scotland?

Scotland is home to more than 1000 castles.

What is Scotland’s most famous castle?

Edinburgh Castle is the most famous castle in Scotland.

What’s the oldest castle in Scotland?

Castle Sween is thought to be the oldest castle in Scotland.

Why is Scotland full of castles?

Castles and forts were built as houses for leaders of clans and were made large and strong for defense purposes. They were also built to be homes to royalty.

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