Scotland’s best castles

by BrendaHart

There are some 3,000 castles in Scotland, each one different from the next. Here is a guide to some of the best.

Many are surprised to find bonny Scotland is home to around 3,000 castles. Built at various times and for various purposes, Scotland’s castles range from large to small. Perhaps just as stunning as the castles themselves is the scenery in which they can be found. Here is a by-no-means-exhaustive guide to some of Scotland’s best castles:

Eilean Donan Castle

Scotland castles

Perched on its own wee island, Eilean Donan is best known for its looks. The picturesque castle is a mecca for the snap-happy and is one of Scotland’s most photographed castles. The castle was a victim of the 18th-century Jacobite up

risings, but was thankfully restored two centuries later. It’s now home to the clan McRae and lies just 8km from Skye.


Stirling Castle

One of Scotland’s larger castles, Stirling Castle is nestled high on volcanic rock and overlooks the infamous Bannockburn battlefield. As per usual, the castle has been added to over the centuries, but much of it dates from the 15th to 18th centuries. Most of Stirling has been extensively restored and the castle is well set up for tourists.

Castle Tioram

If you’re a real castle enthusiast, then Tioram is for you. Situated on a small island in Loch Moidart on Scotland’s west coast, the castle is well off the tourist track. Tioram means ‘dry’ in Gaelic - a nod to the fact the castle can only be reached at low tide.

Scotland castle

Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle can be found on a rocky outcrop in the Isle of Skye. A tourist-friendly castle, Dunvegan has well-established gardens, and tourists can even stay in one of the castle’s cottages. In a time when many of Scotland’s castles are now only museums, it’s worth noting Dunvegan is Scotland’s oldest continuously inhabited castle. The chiefs of Clan MacLeod have been calling Dunvegan home for 800 years.

Edinburgh Castle

No account of Scottish castles could be deemed complete without mention of Edinburgh Castle. Home of the famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most famous attraction. First built in the 11th century, the castle has evolved over time and currently operates as military barracks, a fortress, a war memorial and palace, making it quite the hybrid.

Unlike Dunvegan Castle, tourists aren’t able to stay in Edinburgh Castle, but there are of course many holiday lodgings in Edinburgh. If you don’t fancy staying in a hotel, then websites such as Wimdu allow you to rent out an apartment for your holiday. No matter what your tastes, with 3,000 castles to choose from, you’re sure to find at least one that enchants.

Useful links

Dunvegan Castle gardens
Information on the gardens at Dunvegan Castle

Visit Scotland
A tourist site for Scotland

Search for trains from London to Edinburgh

What makes you want to visit Scotland?

Updated: 03/10/2012, BrendaHart
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Lucy on 03/12/2012

Cool! I really want to go to Scotland and the castle near Skye will definitely be getting a visit.

Mladen on 03/10/2012

OMG, I love castles! Eilean Donan Castle is my favorite one in your article! You have chosen some great castles to write about, and you did it excellent!

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