Scotland is the home to a vast array of castles dating from as early as the 11th century. Over the nine hundred years that castles have been built over the country they have taken many forms and styles creating a large diversity over the country.
Scottish castles evoke strong defensive structures and were used in the protection of the proud country. Many are situated on cliff tops, overlooking beautiful locks creating the most beautiful scenery.
1 Eilean Donan
Eilean Donan, which means ‘Island of Donnan’, is a small tidal island located in the western Highlands of Scotland.
The castle was first founded in the 13the century and in 1719 the castle was partially destroyed and fell into ruin. However, after being fully restored the castle is now joined to the mainland by a bridge build in the 20th century.
2 Glamis Castle
Considered one of the most beautiful castles Scotland has to offer, the castle contains towers at the front with modern parapets, along with a small chapel. The castle is situated in Angus, Scotland and the majority of the buildings date back to the 17th century.
Glamis Castle is a stunning castle that boasts royal connections, as it was the childhood home of The Queen Mother and the birthplace of Princess Margaret.
3 Culzean Castle
Culzean Castle is a clifftop castle that is the former home of Clan Kennedy but is now owned by the National Trust. The castle is situated on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.
The castle was constructed in stages during the late 18th century and is rumored to be the home of seven ghosts. Incorporated in the castle is a large drum tower.
4 Edinburgh Castle
The castle dominates the Edinburgh skyline as it resides atop a formant volcano called Castle Rock.
This ancient castle has been in occupation since the Iron Age and has been considered a royal residency from the 12th century to the 17th century where it was then used as a military barracks. It is now one of Scotland’s most visited tourist attractions with a colourful history and domineering structure.
5 Stirling Castle
This defensive castle is surrounded by three steep cliffs and was used to guard the River Forth in the late 1900s.
Containing a mixed history the castle has some buildings that date as far back as the 14th century but the majority of the castle consists of buildings constructed in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Stirling Castle has been the site in which several Scottish Kings and Queens have been crowned such as Mary, Queen of Scots. The castle is also famous for being the location Robert Burns chose to write a large amount of his poetry.
6 Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle is situated on the shore of Loche Fyne in western Scotland. The castle dates to the 18th century and is an example of neo-Gothic architecture.
The castle took 43 years to be constructed and then fell victim to a fire in 1877, thankfully the fire did not destroy the entire building.
7 Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle is possibly the most famous castle Scotland has to offer, being the preferred holiday residence of Queen Elizabeth II.
Located in Aberdeenshire the castle dates back to the 14th century where is began as a hunting lodge. The castle is now home to a variety of landscapes and the grounds and some rooms are open to the public.
8 Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle resides along the famous Loch Ness and has extensive links to the Wars of Scottish Independence.
As a functioning castle Urquhart Castle was considered to be one of Scotland’s largest but unfortunately only a small fragment now remains surrounded by stunning views of the mysterious Lock Ness.
9 Duart Castle
Duart Castle sits on the Isle of Mull, off the coast of West Scotland and dates back to the 13th century.
The ruined castle overlooks the Sound of Mull and has been used as a film location multiple times for productions such as Entrapment. The castle is said to be the ancestral home of the Maclean family who have been working hard to restore the castle for the last 20 years.
10 Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress that can be found in the north-east of the country, approximately two miles from Stonehaven. It is a largely ruined castle but the buildings that remain date back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The castle boasts a beautiful location, facing out onto the North Sea surrounded by cliffs with a 50 meter drop.
Dunnottar Castle is one of Scotland’s most famous due to its decorated history, involving famous historical figures including Charles II and Mary, Queen of Scots.
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