15 Greatest Castles in Scotland to Go to in 2023

The precise quantity of castles in Scotland is unknown – the overall consensus being round 3,000. There are extra Scottish castles than wherever else within the British Isles. Which, contemplating what number of historic UK cities there are with castles, is a powerful title. Visiting castles is one of the best ways to immerse your self in historic Scotland, whether or not you choose a medieval fortress, tower home, or royal residence.

Most Stunning Castles in Scotland

Beautiful Castles in Scotland

This information is jam-packed with the perfect castles in Scotland. These are essentially the most thrilling castles, and all have distinctive claims to fame or tales to their title. Buckle up since you are in for some severe citadel inspiration.

1. Edinburgh Citadel

Best castles in Scotland Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Citadel wants a bit introduction. As in all probability essentially the most well-known citadel in Scotland, the medieval citadel sits on Citadel Rock in proud show within the heart of Edinburgh Outdated City. Edinburgh Citadel is the second most visited attraction within the UK, so that you finest imagine that tickets e book out shortly and crowds flock in peak seasons. We advise reserving your tickets right here for skip-the-line entry earlier than you go.

Due to this, Edinburgh Citadel is best-visited low season. With fewer individuals round, you may actually soak up Scotland’s historical past. Edinburgh Citadel has a whole lot of reveals, together with The Honours of Scotland, aka the Scottish crown jewels.

Castles in Scotland Edinburgh Castle Fountain

Admittedly, it might be legal for Edinburgh Citadel 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 Citadel can also be one of many best-preserved castles in Scotland. For a full time out with loads of academic and informative particulars, you may’t go mistaken with Edinburgh Citadel. And bonus factors for anybody who finds someplace to remain in Edinburgh with views of the citadel on Citadel Rock.

  • Hours: 9:30 am to five pm
  • Entry Charges: $22

2. Stirling Citadel

Best Castles in Scotland Stirling Castle

Stirling Citadel 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 – filled with luxuries like a fantastic corridor for balls and feasting and a royal looking lodge. Located in Stirling, Stirling Citadel was additionally tactically used as a stronghold through the Scottish Wars of Independence. Stirling Citadel sits on a volcanic rock on an elevated vantage level. Due to this advantageous place, many battles have been fought round Stirling Citadel, together with Stirling Bridge and Bannockburn. Stirling Citadel was a hub of battle.

Right this moment, Stirling Citadel is fascinating for guests intrigued by Scottish historical past – particularly associated to the Wars of Independence. It’s surrounded by battlefields. Whereas in Stirling Citadel, guests can tour the totally different rooms and become involved with the extra entertaining elements like attempting on interval costumes and chatting with the costumed character actors.

Top Castles in Scotland Stirling Castle fortified tower house

Stirling Citadel 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. Only some castles in Scotland supply such important perception into this era of Scottish historical past. So don’t overlook Stirling Citadel.

  • Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm
  • Entry Charges: $18

3. Dunnottar Citadel

Best Castles in Scotland Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Citadel is likely one of 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 elements of the citadel date again to the Early Center Ages, whereas the surviving elements that guests see immediately are dated to the sixteenth century. Regardless of its ruined state, Dunnottar Citadel is likely one of 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.

Castles in Scotland Bagpiper at Dunnottar Castle Aberdeen

Dunnottar Citadel 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 likely one of 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 recommend 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 Citadel

Beautiful castles in Scotland Glamis Castle

Glamis Citadel is likely one of the most stunning medieval castles in Scotland. The citadel has over 650 years of historical past and is claimed to have impressed Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. The ancestral homeowners of Glamis Citadel are the Strathmore household, who’ve resided there since 1372. It’s even stated to have hosted Mary Queen of Scots and was the childhood house of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mom. At Glamis Citadel, the Queen Mom additionally gave beginning to Princess Margaret.

The lengthy hyperlinks to royals bagged Glamis Citadel a spot in our information. It’s participating to go to, with a fantastic perception into historic Scotland. It is likely one of 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 outdoors the village of Glamis, a 20-minute drive north of Dundee.

  • Hours: March-October: 10 am to five pm
  • Entry Charges: $9

5. Balmoral Citadel

Best Castles in Scotland Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Citadel 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 Citadel was famously a favourite spot for Queen Elizabeth II. What most individuals don’t know, although, is that the unique Balmoral Citadel was deemed ‘too small’ for the royal household. Prince Albert really commissioned a brand new citadel to be in-built 1856. Balmoral Citadel is a gorgeous 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 Citadel is positioned within the Cairngorms Nationwide Park close to the village of Balmoral. It’s a stunning place to go to alongside the River Dee, and it’s straightforward to see why a royal looking lodge was added. Balmoral Citadel is surrounded by nature.

  • Hours: April-July: 10 am to five pm
  • Entry Charges: $20

6. Eilean Donan Citadel

Castles in Scotland Eilean Donan Castle

Likelihood is you’ve seen an image of Eilean Donan Citadel already. The citadel sits on a tidal island amidst a confluence of three lochs. The loch setting is magical (who is aware of, perhaps the Loch Ness monster has a cousin?), and Eilean Donan Citadel is well 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 through the Jacobite Rebellion. Solely in 1932 was the Scottish citadel restored to its former glory and opened to the general public.

Castles in Scotland Eilean Castle Isle of Sky

Eilean Donan Citadel is gorgeous to go to. In case you do, you will need to cease on the a number of scenic viewpoints across the loch shoreline. Inside, you may take excursions of the rooms and reveals. However the principle draw is the aesthetic and the truth that such an essential citadel was resurrected from despair with renovations.

  • Hours: February-December: 9 am to six pm (varies by month)
  • Entry Charges: $13

7. Braemar Citadel

Best Castles in Scotland Braemar Castle

The Seventeenth-century Braemar Citadel is an iconic fortified citadel in the midst of the Cairngorms Nationwide Park. It has had some well-known guests, together with the present British royal household. Clan Farquharson can also be probably the most 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 Citadel 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 Citadel is only a stone’s throw from the Scottish Highland Video games. In case you go to on the proper time of yr, take into account combining the 2. It’s price noting that for a interval of 2023, Braemar Citadel will probably be closed inside for renovation. Check the website for updates.

  • Hours: TBC
  • Entry Charges: TBC

8. Cawdor Citadel

Best Castles in Scotland Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Citadel is one other ancestral house central to Scottish historical past. Shakespeare followers might acknowledge the citadel from Macbeth’s ‘Thane of Cawdor’. And actually, Cawdor Citadel is rarely removed from legends or tales. That’s the reason we added it to our checklist. The medieval citadel really encompasses a tower constructed round a legendary holly tree. Based on legend, the unique Thane of Cawdor dreamed a few donkey carrying a coffer of gold. In his dream, the donkey laid down at the perfect place for a brand new citadel, the place it might without end 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 Citadel is fascinating to go to and has a very participating historical past. You may go to on a self-guided or guided tour, exploring the grounds and inside. Within the tiny village of Cawdor, Cawdor Citadel is round a 20-minute drive from Inverness.

  • Hours: April-October: 10 am to five pm
  • Entry Charges: $17

9. Culzean Citadel

Best Scottish. Castles Culzean Castle

Culzean Citadel is lavish and opulent – what extra do it’s worthwhile to 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 Citadel is the right place to go to with youngsters for that ‘traditional citadel’ expertise. Inside, the principle options of Culzean Citadel are the attractive drawing room and oval staircase. As soon as owned by Clan Kennedy, Culzean Citadel is now the property of the Nationwide Belief of Scotland. Because of this whereas the citadel stays embellished as a personal residence, it stays open year-round for public entry.

Other than the citadel having deer you may meet, our favourite factor about Culzean Citadel is its clifftop location. The citadel sits overlooking the Firth of Clyde and the Isle of Arran. Simply south of Ayr, Culzean Citadel is a straightforward day journey from Glasgow, simply an hour’s drive away.

  • Hours: 10 am to 4 pm
  • Entry Charges: $12

10. Dunrobin Citadel

Best Scotland castles Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Citadel is the most important within the Northern Highlands. It’s a non-public residence of many titles – from one of many oldest inhabited castles in Scotland to essentially the most northern of Scotland’s nice homes. Dunrobin Citadel 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 Citadel was a naval hospital in WWI. It has hyperlinks to the Homes of Parliament via its shared architect, Sir Charles Barry.

Scottish Castles Dunrobin Castle Gardens

Its historical past goes again even additional, although, for the reason that oldest elements of the citadel date again to round 1275. A go to to the citadel’s on-site museum is a should. It is likely one of the most informative and traditionally advanced castles to go to in Scotland. Concerning visiting, Dunrobin Citadel is simple to squeeze right into a North Coast 500 highway journey. Dunrobin Citadel sits on the coast overlooking the Moray Firth. It’s simply outdoors the east Scottish village of Golspie. Try our Dunrobin Citadel information right here for extra inspiration and important particulars.

  • Hours: April-September:
  • Entry Charges: $16

11. Craigievar Citadel

Best Castles in Scotland Craigievar Castle

Craigievar Citadel is fairly eye-catching. No, significantly, the Scots baronial-style citadel is brilliant pink. The pink Scottish citadel is rumored to be the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Cinderella Citadel – each baby’s dream addition to our high Scottish castles. Craigievar Citadel is gorgeous to go to.

The citadel’s magnificence is what bagged it a spot on our checklist; it is likely one of the finest castles in Scotland if you’d 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 Citadel dates again to 1626 and has Jacobean touches all through. Having lived via the combat for Scottish independence, Craigievar Citadel is stuffed with thrilling reveals about Scotland’s historical past. Guests can tour the numerous rooms and reveals. And when you’ve explored inside, you may head out to identify wildlife like pine martens and deer outdoors on its grounds.

  • Hours: Daybreak to nightfall
  • Entry Charges: $17

12. Dunvegan Citadel

Best Scotland Castles Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Citadel is a shocking 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. Essentially the most valued possession in Dunvegan Citadel is the Fairy Flag of Dunvegan, which is claimed to carry magical powers of assured victory in battle.

The silk flag is believed thus far again to the 4th century and comes from Syria or Rhodes. Dunvegan Citadel is likely one of the most fascinating castles in Scotland. Occupied by the identical household for over 800 years, it is stuffed with tales and legends handed via generations. It is usually believed to be the oldest repeatedly inhabited citadel in Scotland.

Best Castles in Scotland Scottish Highlands

You may take a self-guided or guided tour via Dunvegan Citadel. It’s a fantastic spot to get a extra intimate style of Scottish historical past. We love the aspect of magic and superstition.

  • Hours: April-October: 10 am to five:30 pm
  • Entry Charges: $19

13. Flooring Citadel

Best Castles in Scotland Floors Castle

Flooring Citadel is likely one of the finest castles in Scotland on the Scottish borders – simply an hour from Edinburgh. Set on a gorgeous property, the 52 acres characteristic a Victorian Walled Backyard and Millennium Backyard. Loads of woodland and riverside trails zigzag the property’s grounds. Flooring Citadel is as a lot a day outdoor as an indoor attraction. This says loads contemplating Flooring Citadel is the most important inhabited home in Scotland. We love how a lot there may be to do at Flooring Citadel, and its myriad of pop-up occasions and actions is one more reason we added it to our information.

Flooring Citadel 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, at all times internet hosting a brand new exercise or occasion.

  • Hours: Might-October: 10:30 am to five pm
  • Entry Charges: $21

14. Blair Citadel and Gardens

Best Scottish castles Blair Castle and Gardens

Blair Citadel is likely one of the most historic of Scotland’s castles. Residence to the Atholl household for over seven centuries, it has lived via a few of Scotland’s darkest hours. The citadel’s 30 rooms have seen among the most influential politicians and troopers. Courting again to 1269, Blair Citadel has a powerful show of armory all through – a becoming nod to Scotland’s turbulent previous. Its historic significance is exactly why it made our checklist.

Blair Citadel and Gardens is positioned close to the tiny village of Outdated Blair, simply beneath the Cairngorms Nationwide Park. It’s vastly 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 Citadel. Inside, the citadel’s design spans a number of eras. Some options whisk you again to medieval Scotland, whereas others converse to more moderen Victorian types.

Touring Blair Citadel is fascinating as a result of it has such an extended historical past. You may clearly see the totally different influences of every period. It’s a unbelievable 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 Citadel

Best Scottish castles Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Citadel is likely one of the finest castles in Scotland. Why? It has been house to the Clan Campbells for generations. The present Clan Campbells maintain the title of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll. It is usually so stunning that it was chosen because the set for the 2012 Downtown Abbey Christmas particular. We had so as to add it to our checklist.

Fairly than being at all times out there, like Edinburgh Citadel, visiting Inveraray Citadel is rather more intimate. You’ll tour all of the non-public rooms and flooring, studying extra about its previous homeowners and designers. The citadel itself has stunning Scottish baronial structure.

The citadel is close to the village of Inveraray, on the outskirts of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Nationwide Park. It’s attainable to go to as a day journey 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 Citadel: An oblong tower home in East Ayrshire.
  • Caerkaverock Citadel: A moated triangular citadel close to Dumfries.
  • Duart Citadel: A citadel by the Sound of Mull owned by Clan Maclean.

To Conclude

Top Scottish castles

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 unattainable – or needs to be thought of as such – to go away them out of a Scotland itinerary.

Searching for extra inspiration forward of your go to to Scotland? Try our North Coast 500 information and our final information to the finest cities in Scotland. In any other case, take pleasure in visiting as many of those finest castles in Scotland as attainable. You gained’t remorse it.

Plan Your Subsequent Journey to Scotland With These Assets