15 Famous Scottish Castles to Visit

Step back in time as you explore the legend & majesty of Scotland's iconic fortresses

Posted on 14-05-24, updated on 05-07-24By: Sarah R. | 12 minute read

Dunrobin Castle, Golspie, Sutherland, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK

Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland

Delve into Scotland's Storied Past

Scotland is a land of rugged beauty and rich history – and nothing encapsulates this more than the country's fairytale castles and royal residences. From the iconic Eilean Donan Castle to the majestic Stirling Castle, the medieval wonders of Scotland are truly enchanting. These ancient structures stand as a testament to the country's past, offering visitors a glimpse into a world of knights and royalty. Join us on a journey through 15 famous Scottish castles to visit on your next UK break, and discover the history and majesty that awaits you in this magical land.

Combine your historic adventure with a stay in one of our holiday parks and lodges in Scotland.

Stirling Castle, Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK

Stirling Castle, Stirlingshire

1. Stirling Castle, Stirlingshire

Perched proudly atop Castle Hill, Stirling Castle stands as a symbol of courage and resilience in the heart of Scotland. With its towering walls and panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscape, this historic fortress is a testament to the nation's rich heritage. The castle has played a significant role in Scottish history, serving as a royal residence and military stronghold over the centuries - it was the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. As you step through its gates to explore places like the Chapel Royal, the Great Hall and the Palace Vaults, you'll be transported back in time to a world of opulence and grandeur. Stirling Castle is not just a monument; it's a living, breathing piece of history that invites you to immerse yourself in its timeless splendour.

Postcode: FK8 1EJ
Opening hours: Daily 9.30am-6pm, April-September; 9.30am-5pm, October-March (last entry is 1 hour before closing)
Tickets: Free for Historic Scotland Members. Advance online tickets start from £10.50 for children (7-15 years) and £17.50 for adults

Discover our holiday parks and lodges in Stirling, and find the perfect place to stay close to this iconic castle.

Dunnottar Castle, near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK

Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire

2. Dunnottar Castle, Aberdeenshire

Nestled along Scotland's rugged north-eastern coast, just south of Stonehaven, Dunnottar Castle awaits with an enchanting history that dates back to the 15th century. The castle's location on a rocky headland makes for a dramatic setting, with crashing waves below and sweeping views of the North Sea. It has been the home of several prominent Scottish families, and has witnessed numerous battles and sieges over the centuries, serving as a strategic stronghold during conflicts with England. Today, you can explore the ruins of the fortress and marvel at its impressive architecture, including the imposing curtain wall, gatehouse and tower. This is undoubtedly one of the most scenic castles in Scotland.

Postcode: AB39 2TL
Opening hours: Daily 9am-6pm, April-September. The castle is open from 10am, October to March, but closing times vary (last entry is 1 hour before closing). The castle may be closed in the event of bad weather
Tickets: Advance online tickets start from £5 for children (5-15 years) and £11.50 for adults

Find your home away from home with our choice of holiday parks and lodges in Aberdeenshire.

Eilean Donan Castle, near Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK

Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands

3. Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands

Mounted majestically on a small tidal island in the Highlands, Eilean Donan Castle stands proudly amid the shimmering waters, inviting you to delve deeper into Scotland's rich heritage. It is one of the most recognised and famous castles in the country, having featured in several films including "Entrapment", "Highlander" and James Bond's "The World is not Enough". Thanks to this exposure, it's also one of the most photographed castles in Scotland. As you cross the arched stone bridge to enter its hallowed halls, prepare for breathtaking vistas of Loch Duich and the surrounding mountains.

Postcode: IV40 8DX
Opening hours: 9am-6pm, July-August; 9.30am-6pm, September-October and June; 10am-4pm, November-December and February-March; 10am-6pm April-May (last entry is 1 hour before closing)
Tickets: Tickets to the castle can only be purchased on site, on the day of your visit. Tickets are £6.50 for children (5-15 years) and £12 for adults. Children under 5 years are free

Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit, Inverness, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK

Urquhart Castle, Inverness

4. Urquhart Castle, Inverness

Venture further into the mystical realm of Scottish castles and immerse yourself in the ancient walls of Urquhart Castle, which dates back to the 13th century. Situated on the shores of the legendary Loch Ness in the Highlands, this medieval fortress unveils tales of battle and mystery against the incredible backdrop of Scotland's natural beauty. As you wander through its picturesque ruins and envision the past glory of this once-mighty stronghold, let your imagination run wild with the stories of bravery and intrigue that echo through its ancient stones.

Tip: Urquhart Castle lies on the Loch Ness 360° Trail, which features on our list of the 20 best walks in Scotland.

Postcode: IV63 6XJ
Opening hours: Daily 9.30am-8pm, April-August; 9.30am-6pm September; 9.30am-5pm, October; 9.30am-4.30pm, November-March (last entry is 1 hour before closing)
Tickets: Free for Historic Scotland Members. Advance online tickets start from £7.80 for children (7-15 years) and £13 for adults

Explore our Loch Ness holiday parks for accommodation close to the castle!

Glamis Castle, near Dundee, Angus, Scotland, UK

Glamis Castle, Angus

5. Glamis Castle, Angus

Situated in the picturesque countryside of Angus, just outside Dundee, the iconic Glamis Castle is renowned for its impressive beauty and rich history. The medieval castle is also known for its connections to the British royal family and for being the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Step into its regal halls and marvel at the intricate architecture that has stood the test of time. From secret passages to ghostly legends, Glamis Castle is a treasure trove of fascinating stories waiting to be discovered.

Postcode: DD8 1RJ
Opening hours: Daily 10am-5pm, mid-March to October
Tickets: Castle Tour tickets, which include a guided tour of the castle plus entry to the grounds and gardens, start from £11 for children (5-16 years) and £17.50 for adults. Discounted tickets are available if you just want to visit the gardens

Browse our holiday parks and lodges in Angus to find your dream accommodation!

Dunrobin Castle & Gardens, Golspie, Sutherland, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK

Dunrobin Castle & Gardens, Sutherland

6. Dunrobin Castle & Gardens, Sutherland

As we continue our journey through the enchanting world of Scottish castles, our next stop brings us to the breathtaking Dunrobin Castle and its spectacular gardens. Prepare to be captivated by the charm and elegance of this majestic Highland castle, nestled amid beautifully manicured gardens that are a true floral paradise. Step into the regal halls of Dunrobin Castle and be transported back in time as you explore its fascinating history and striking architecture. From its towering turrets to its opulent interiors, this castle is a testament to centuries of grandeur and royal connections.

Tip: Your ticket includes a falconry display, which usually takes place twice a day, so check the times in advance if you don't want to miss it!

Postcode: KW10 6SF
Opening hours: Daily 10am-5pm, May-September; 10.30am-4.30pm, March-April and October
Tickets: Tickets include entry to the falconry display, museum and gardens. Prices start from £9 for children and £14.50 for adults

Doune Castle, near Doune, Perthshire, Scotland, UK

Doune Castle, Perthshire

7. Doune Castle, Perthshire

Venture further into the captivating world of Scottish castles with our next destination: Doune Castle. A true gem nestled in the heart of Scotland, this historic fortress offers a glimpse into the past with its well-preserved architecture and fascinating stories. It is well-known for its striking 100-foot-high gatehouse, impressive great hall and enchanting courtyard, and was used as a filming location for scenes in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and "Game of Thrones".

Postcode: FK16 6EA
Opening hours: Daily 10am-4pm, October-March; 9.30am-5.30pm, April-September
Tickets: Free for Historic Scotland Members. Advance online tickets start from £6 for children (7-15 years) and £10 for adults

Looking for accommodation nearby? Explore our Perthshire lodges and holiday parks.

Culzean Castle & Country Park, near Maybole, South Ayrshire, Scotland, UK

Culzean Castle & Country Park, South Ayrshire

8. Culzean Castle & Country Park, South Ayrshire

Welcome to Culzean Castle & Country Park, an architectural marvel perched atop a cliff, offering breathtaking views of the Ayrshire coast and the Firth of Clyde. Wander through opulent rooms adorned with exquisite tapestries and furniture; admire the dramatic centrepiece of Robert Adam's Oval Staircase; and explore the enchanting gardens and expansive parkland. Feel history come alive as you learn tales of the Kennedy family who resided here for generations. Culzean Castle is a true testament to Scotland's rich heritage and the enduring legacy of its noble families.

Postcode: KA19 8LE
Opening hours: Daily 10.30am-4.30pm, late March to early November
Tickets: Free for National Trust Members. Tickets for the castle and country park start from £12 for children and £20 for adults. Discounted tickets are available if you just want to visit the country park

Find accommodation close to the castle with our holiday parks and lodges in Ayrshire.

Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, UK

Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries and Galloway

9. Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries and Galloway

Prepare to be entranced by the enchanting Caerlaverock Castle, a medieval masterpiece nestled in the picturesque Scottish countryside in Dumfries and Galloway. It is known for its unique triangular shape, which was designed to make it easier to defend during sieges. The castle dates back to the 13th century, originally built by the Maxwell family, and has been the site of several sieges and battles throughout its history. Today, you can marvel at the stunning views of the surrounding moat and explore the lush gardens, transporting yourself to a bygone era of romance and valour.

Postcode: DG1 4RU
Opening hours: Daily 9.30am-5pm, April-September; 10am-4pm, October-March
Tickets: Free for Historic Scotland Members. Advance online tickets start from £3.50 for children (7-15 years) and £6 for adults

Our holiday parks and lodges in Dumfries and Galloway are ready to welcome you for a memorable stay!

 Cawdor Castle & Gardens, Cawdor, Nairn, Scotland, UK

Cawdor Castle & Gardens, Nairn

10. Cawdor Castle & Gardens, Nairn

Welcome to Cawdor Castle, an impressive Scottish fortification close to Inverness. The castle is still owned and inhabited by the Cawdor family, making it one of the few remaining privately owned castles in Scotland. As you step foot into its ancient walls, be prepared to be transported through time to an era of myths and legends. Admire the timeless beauty of its rugged stone exterior and picturesque gardens that exude an air of tranquillity. Wander through the well-preserved rooms adorned with antique furnishings and intricate tapestries that whisper stories of bygone days. Revel in the romantic allure of Cawdor Castle as you discover the rich history and charm that make it a true Scottish treasure. Get ready to embrace the magic of this historical marvel that continues to stand proud amid the Highland landscape.

Postcode: IV12 5RD
Opening hours: Daily 10am-5pm, late-April until early October
Tickets: Advance online tickets for the castle, gardens, grounds and nature trails start from £8.50 for children (6-15 years) and £15.50 for adults. Children aged 5 and under are free. Discounted tickets are available if you just want to visit the gardens, grounds and nature trails

Balmoral Castle, Ballater, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK

Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

11. Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

Undoubtedly Scotland's most famous castle, the majestic estate of Balmoral is not just the Scottish home of the British royal family (Prince Albert purchased it for Queen Victoria in 1852), but a testament to the beauty and charm of the Scottish countryside. From its stunning gardens and picturesque surroundings to its Scottish baronial architecture, Balmoral Castle offers a glimpse into a world of luxury and grandeur.

Tip: Balmoral is only open to the public for a short period in the summer, so plan your Scottish holiday accordingly if you want to step inside this iconic royal residence. Tickets can sell out quickly, so be sure to book in advance

Postcode: AB35 5TB
Opening hours: The grounds, gardens and exhibitions are open from early-May until mid-August
Tickets: Free for Historic House Members. Advance online General Admission Tickets start from £9 for children (5-16 years) and £17.50 for adults. Children aged 4 and under are free

Blair Castle, near Blair Atholl, Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland, UK

Blair Castle, Perthshire

12. Blair Castle, Perthshire

Located in the beautiful Perthshire countryside, Blair Castle is a majestic and historic fortress that will transport you back in time! With its stunning turrets and impressive architecture, this 13th-century castle is a true gem in the Scottish Highlands, and has been the home of the Atholl family for over seven centuries. From exploring the lush gardens and grounds to marveling at the opulent State Dining Room, Blair Castle offers a glimpse into a bygone era of grandeur and luxury. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover or simply looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, a visit to Blair Castle is sure to leave you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for Scotland's rich heritage.

Postcode: PH18 5TL
Opening hours: Daily 10am-5pm, late-March to late-October (last entry is 4pm)
Tickets: Advance online tickets for the house and gardens start from £11.50 for children (5-16 years) and £17.50 for adults. Discounted tickets are available if you just want to visit the gardens

Fyvie Castle, Fyvie, near Turriff, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK

Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire

13. Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire

Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire stands as a magnificent testament to Scotland's rich history and heritage. Steeped in legends and folklore, this enchanting castle captivates both adults and children with its stunning architecture, lush gardens, and fascinating collections of art and artefacts. Explore the grand halls and opulent rooms, each telling a story of the castle's illustrious past and the noble families who once called it home. Wander through the beautifully landscaped grounds, complete with a tranquil lake and charming woodland walks. Whether you are drawn to the castle's ghostly tales, its impressive architecture or simply the peaceful beauty of its surroundings, a visit to Fyvie Castle promises a truly unforgettable experience that will leave you awestruck and eager to discover more about Scotland's captivating history.

Postcode: AB53 8JS
Opening hours: Daily 10.30am-4.30pm early July to early September; Wednesday-Sunday 10.30am-4.30pm, early September to late October and late March to early July. Guided tours usually run every 45 minutes from 10.45am-3.15pm. The grounds and gardens are open daily 9am-dusk all year
Tickets: Free for National Trust Members. Tickets start from £12.50 for concessions and £16 for adults

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

14. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Perched high atop an extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle looms majestically over the historic city of Edinburgh, beckoning visitors from near and far to discover its rich history and captivating charm. As you step through the ancient gates and wander through the cobbled courtyards, you can almost feel the echoes of the castle's past, from fierce battles and royal celebrations to haunting ghost stories. The sweeping views from the castle walls offer a breathtaking panorama of the city below, while inside, you can explore the royal apartments, dungeons and Scottish crown jewels that tell the tales of the country's turbulent past.

Postcode: EH1 2NG
Opening hours: The castle is usually open daily 9.30am-5pm, with a later closing time of 6pm April-September
Tickets: Free for Historic Scotland Members. Advance online tickets start from £11.40 for children (7-15 years) and £19.50 for adults. Children aged 6 years and under are free

Experience the best of Scotland's capital with our Edinburgh lodges and holiday parks.

Brodie Castle, Forres, Moray, Scotland, UK

Brodie Castle, Moray

15. Brodie Castle, Moray

Located amidst the enchanting countryside of Moray, Brodie Castle is a stunning example of a traditional Scottish castle. Steeped in history and surrounded by picturesque gardens and woodland, this 16th-century fortified tower house is a must-visit destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike. Visitors can explore the grand rooms filled with exquisite furniture, paintings and artefacts that offer a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Brodie family. The expansive grounds are perfect for a leisurely stroll, with hidden treasures waiting to be discovered around every corner.

Postcode: IV36 2TE
Opening hours: The castle is open for guided tours only, Wednesday-Sunday, March to late-October. Guided tours take place at 10am, 11.30am, 2pm and 3.30pm
Tickets: Free for National Trust Members. Tickets start from £8.50 for children and £14 for adults

Explore Historic Scotland on a UK Getaway

The enchanting blend of history and majesty found in these castles in Scotland is a true testament to the country's rich heritage, with each fortress holding centuries of stories waiting to be uncovered. From the towering turrets to the intricate tapestries, every detail speaks of a bygone era filled with intrigue and romance. So, let your imagination roam free as you wander through these ancient halls, and allow the splendour of Scottish castles to ignite a sense of wonder and appreciation for the past. Embrace the magic that awaits in every stone and echo of these magnificent landmarks.

Visiting Scotland on a break with your partner? Soak up the magic and charm of these historic castles on one of our romantic getaways in Scotland.

Travelling as a family? Check out our caravan holidays in Scotland for a great budget-friendly option that suits all ages!

Eilean Donan Castle, near Dornie, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scottish Highlands, Scotland, UK

Eilean Donan Castle, Scottish Highlands

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