A complete guide on castles and castle ruins in Scotland

10 of Scotand's best castles to visit

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Wherever you find yourself in Scotland, a castle is never far away. An integral part of Scottish landscape, castles in Scotland rank amongst the most beautiful in the world. With so many castles to choose from it can be difficult to pick one, so we’ve listed our favourite castles to visit in Scotland, all within easy reach of our lochside cabins at Ardgartan Argyll and Strathyre.

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Top 10 castles to visit in Scotland

1. Inveraray Castle, Argyll and Bute

Inveraray Castle is first on our list and with its turreted Gothic revival and fairy-tale setting on the shores of Loch Fyne it’s no wonder why it’s rated as one of the best castles in Scotland. Inveraray Castle is the seat of one of Scotland’s oldest clans, the clan Campbell and is still home to the Campbell family to this very day. Open from April to October, entrance starts at £8, and is open to the public between 10:00 – 16:00 (please note Inveraray Castle is closed on Tuesdays & Wednesdays). Inveraray Castle is 20-miles from our location at Ardgartan Argyll.

Inveraray Castle in Scotland

Inveraray Castle near Inveraray in Argyll, Scotland.

2. Dumbarton Castle, Dunbartonshire

Dumbarton Castle sits on a volcanic bed of Dumbarton Rock in the ancient capital of Scotland. It is an 18th Century Georgian military fortress, however its now renowned for the scenic views over the Clyde, Loch Lomond, and Argyll. Open all year round, entrance starts at £3.60, and is open to the public between 10:00 – 16:00 (please note Dumbarton Castle is closed on Thursdays & Fridays, October through to March). Dumbarton Castle is 26-miles away from Ardgartan Argyll.

Dumbarton Castle in Scotland

Dumbarton Castle in Scotland.

3. Innis Chonnell, Argyll and Bute

Innis Chonnell sits in an isolated position on a small island in Loch Awe and is another castle under the stewardship of the clan Campbell. If you’re looking for adventure, hire a boat and explore the ruins from all angles. Innis Chonnell is just 40-miles away from Ardgartan Argyll.

Innis Chonnell in Scotland

Innis Chonnell Castle in Scotland.

4. Doune Castle, Perthshire

A medieval stronghold near Stirling dating back to the 14th Century, Doune Castle is famous for its appearance on shows: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Game of Thrones, Outlander, and Outlaw King. Open all year round, entrance starts at £5.40, and is open to the public between 10:00 – 16:00. Doune Castle is 12-miles from our cabins at Strathyre.

Doune Castle in Scotland

Doune Castle in Stirling, Scotland.

5. Stirling Castle, Stirling

For historic Scotland castles Stirling Castle is the one for you and is situated above a bed of volcanic rock and overlooking a vast plain. It plays an integral part in the story of Scotland with links to some of the most famous people in Scottish history including: William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scotts and Bonnie Prince Charlie. Open all year round, entrance starts at £8.40, and is open to the public between 9:30 – 18:00 in the summer months, and 10:00 – 16:00 in the winter. Stirling Castle is just 20-miles away from Strathyre.

Stirling Castle in Scotland

Stirling Castle in Scotland.

6. Drummond Castle, Perthshire

Drummond Castle is most famous for the fabulous gardens that surround it. Dating back to the 17th Century, the grounds offer beautiful views of the buildings and even boast a beech tree planted by Queen Victoria herself. Although the castle is not open to the public, the gardens are open 7-days a week throughout June, July, & August, entrance starts at £4, and is open from 11:00 – 17:00 (last admission is at 16:00). Drummond Castle is a 28-mile drive from our cabins at Strathyre.

Drummond Castle in Scotland

Drummond Castle and gargens in Scotland.

7. Huntingtower Castle, Perthshire

Huntingtower Castle features two towers, built in the 15th and 16th Century, and was joined by a range in the 17th Century. This quirky castle is situated just outside of Perth and boasts a wealth of history as well as spectacular scenic views. Open all year round, entrance starts at £3.60, and is open from 10:00 – 16:00 (please note Huntingtower Castle is closed on Thursday & Friday between October and March. Huntingtower Castle is 40-miles from Strathyre.

Huntingtower Castle in Scotland

Huntingtower Castle in Perthshire, Scotland.

8. Lochleven Castle, Perthshire

Lochlevan Castle is situated between the strongholds of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Perth. Built in the 14th Century, the tower house is still largely complete and overlooks the castle ruins. Lochleven Castle is featured in the story of Mary Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned here for a year before she eventually escaped. Open from April to October, entrance starts at £5.40, which includes the boat ride to the island. It is open from 10:00 – 16:15 in the summer, and 10:00 – 15:15 in the autumn. Lochleven Castle is a 43-mile drive from Strathyre.

Lochleven Castle in Scotland

Loch Leven Castle in Scotland.

9. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle is situated above a craggy extinct volcano and sits proudly over the capital city. It is arguably Scotland’s most important castle, home to the crown jewels of Scotland. Since the castle was built in 12th Century, it has been under siege a total of 26 times, making it one of the most attacked castles in the world. Open all year round, entrance starts at £9.30, and is open from 9:30 – 18:00 in the summer, and 10:00 – 14:00 in the autumn. Edinburgh Castle is a 58-mile drive from Strathyre.

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

10. Kilchurn Castle, Argyll and Bute

The partial castle ruins of Kilchurn Castle sit at the head of Loch Awe, in a breath-taking setting that is the very essence of Scotland. Not just a renowned for its scenic views, it also houses the oldest surviving barracks in mainland Britain. Open from April to September, entrance is free and open to the public between 9:30 – 17:30. Kilchurn Castle is 34 miles from Ardgartan Argyll and 46 miles from Strathyre.

Kilchurn Castle in Scotland

Kilchurn Castle in Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

FAQs about castles in Scotland

How many castles does Scotland have?

It’s thought that there were up to 3,000 castles in Scotland, 1,500 of which still exist today. With so many castles to choose from discover the best castles in Scotland to explore, simply follow the link to view a castles in Scotland map.

What is the oldest castle in Scotland?

Situated in a beautiful lochside setting on the Isle of Skye, Dunvegan Castle is the ancestral home of the clan MacLeod and is the one of the oldest occupied castles in Scotland. Castle Sween is the oldest stone castle in Scotland still standing and was built in the 12th Century. It can be found along the eastern shore of Loch Sween in Argyll.

List of castles in England and Scotland

List of castles in England
List of castles in Scotland

Dunvegan Castle in Scotland

Dunvegan Castle in Scotland.

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