Scotland is a wonderful place to stay, no matter where you visit there is often a castle nearby. There are so many castles in Scotland to visit and not all charge an entrance fee. The castles are as much a part of the Scottish scenery as the lochs and magnificent mountains.
There is a vast history of famous castles in Scotland and wherever you travel, one is near. There are some extraordinary castles with interesting stories to tell. The history is as interesting as the building. Clans began building castles in the 1100s to live in and defend households. Despite many battles, there are some that still stand today.
Scotland was home to 3,000 castles at one time. Below are my 10 favourite famous Scottish castles that You’ve to visit.
- Blair Castle – Castle Blair Atholl, Scotland
- Edinburgh Castle
- Glamis Castle
- Stirling Castle
- Duart Castle – Isle of Mull
- Uquhart Castle
- Borthwick Castle
- Fraser Castle Aberdeenshire
- Linlithgow Palace
Top 10 castles in Scotland to visit
Blair Castle – Castle Blair Atholl, Scotland
The Antholl family has owned Blair Castle for over seven centuries. Builders have renovated the castle, enlarged and adapted to fit the demands of the family and keep up to date. Politicians, veterans, entrepreneurs and agriculturalists lived in the rooms over the centuries.
Guests may roam the grounds, looking at the Hercules Garden and Diana’s Grove, known for its conifers. A visit to the castle would not be complete without seeing the ruins of St Bride’s Kirk, with lavish landscape. For those who like to explore more they can take a farm tour, Land Rover safari and see the 40 miles of track.
A tour of castles in Scotland would not be the same without visiting the iconic Edinburgh Castle. One of the oldest fortresses in Scotland today, it sits high on top of Castle Rock. The castle is in great condition considering builders constructed it in the 12th century. You can sense the age of the building as you explore the rooms. Walk under the spikes of a raised doorway where 3 huge wooden gates warned off intruders. The military stil control some parts of the castle. The six cannons stand centuries later as you peer out over the immense castle. You can imagine the battle beginning. The castle has witnessed many ancient feuds.
The heart of Angus is home to glamorous Glamis Castle. First you stroll around the Italian gardens, taking in the astounding scenery. What greets your eyes are the most vivid, colourful flowers leading on to the walled garden. As you follow the nature trail, you take the path round the front of the castle. You wander across the bridge and visit the stone Church with the historic cemetery. Shakespeare wrote about this castle in Macbeth. The castle owners saw the popularity of this play and built a Macbeth scripture trail. As you stroll towards the castle, amazed by the sights, the smells of pine still linger in your airways. Tired from all the walking, you sit down in the coffee shop, examining the pots and pans decorated on the walls. You enjoy a quick snack before continuing the tour of 9 rooms in the castle.
You take a step back, admiring your surroundings. Taking a deep breath, you can’t quite believe the magnificent castle in front of your eyes. Wander around the famous Scottish castle as you admire the unicorn and Stirling Heads tapestry. Each room makes you marvel at the skilled architecture. James V’s Palace decorated with spectacular sculptures, each with its own tale. You want to observe them in greater detail so you follow the Prince’s walk. Enjoy watching re-enactments of the historic past in the Queen Anne Garden. You complete your day by relaxing in the Unicorn café.
Surrounded by dense forests and peaks reaching into the skies, you stop for a moment. Your gaze meets the castle set in the delightful landscape. You stroll through the new stables and explore balmoral castle, in outstanding condition. Some parts of the building were rebuilt to strengthen the exterior of the famous castle. Marvelling at the architecture in the style of Scottish baronial. A brief walk from the front of the castle is garden cottage. The formal gardens contain conservatory Victorian glasshouses, these tend to the plants. Nearer to the castle is the rose garden on the west side. There are some amazing statues on the site, including Queen Victoria. Many visitors are eager to view the John Brown statue who was the queen’s devoted serviceman.
Duart Castle – Isle of Mull
A quick boat trip to the Isle of Mull takes you past the Lighthouse and from there the first peek of Duart castle. You step off the boat and climb onto the bus for a brief drive to the castle. Entering the famous castle, there is a small exhibit about herbs and how the McLean family used them in the household. You’ll walk through to the dungeons. The castle is rather narrow in places, so mind your step. Enjoy the varied pictures covering the walls and peer out from the windows onto the garden. Sign posts lead the way. Be careful of the very thin stairs. Wander past the pantry which is not stocked and keep on through the castle to the sea room. Here you can imagine glancing out of the window to intruders who may have tried to seize the castle. Cast your eyes on all the medals and look at the model scale of Duart castle. The splendid costumes and four-poster bed are all in superb condition.
Stand back and view the castle ruins next to Loch Ness. The remains of the upper story are still visible on the grass next to the castle. Robert the Bruce seized the castle in 1307. The great wall gave way during a tremendous storm in 1715, but you can still view the ruins. Wander through the hall where a fireplace still stands in the reception area. The third floor was where the lady and lord relaxed and dined. The fourth floor was likely to be the lord and lady’s bedchamber and the upper floor for other clan members. Take the stairs down to the basement as you glance out over the tower on to the grand hall. A brief walk from the castle are the remains of the dovecote where they kept pigeons and doves. Exploring castles in Scotland is such a fascinating way of spending your day.
You enter through a massive black gate faced by a huge castle. If you were an intruder you would have had to climb to the top of the roof. Here you had to jump from one side of the roof to the other without falling. If you fell then that would have been the end for you.
The famous Scottish castle is amazing inside. You walk through the door of the castle and head towards another door. The fire is lit ready for you to take a seat by the hearth. The castle was erected in the 1430s and is now exclusively hired out. Guests stay in the castle and have sole use of it during their stay. It is in remarkable condition inside and out. Mary Queen of Scots, Earl of Borthwell and Oliver Cromwell have visited the castle in the past.
Fraser Castle Aberdeenshire
The garden is gorgeous. The earliest date for the famous Scottish castle is 1575 and despite age it is in remarkable condition. Walking towards the castle you find a sun dial though it is out of order. You reach the court yard and are aware of the impressive building looming upwards. You enter the castle and notice a cosy fireplace. Above the fireplace is a painting of General Alexander Mckenzie Fraser . You look at the parlour area and enter Major Smileys room. Major Smiley enjoyed taking photographs as his old camera is still there. He even had the luxury of using one of the first flush toilets which is on display.
Halfway between Edinburgh and Stirling this beautiful well contained stands. Linlithgow palace is a massive size and could fit an entire village in it. It’s possible to walk right to the top and look out on Loch Tay. The view is spectacular, on a clear day. The stairs are wide which is not usual for castles in Scotland and when you reach the balcony you can see the cellar. In 1746 there was an enormous fire at the castle, but you wouldn’t be able to tell because it is all well restored. There is no roof which is lovely on a sunny day. Walking around the famous Scottish castle will take a couple of hours as there is so much to see.
If you love history then you will adore Scotland in Uk . Scotland holidays offer a lot for people of all ages and you will never run out of things to do. Which one of these castles would you like to visit most? What secrets would you like to discover? Scottish castles have an important story to tell, they are educational and interesting. Enjoy exploring and please let me know if you have any unusual castle stories to share.