Wherever you are in Scotland, you are never far away from one of our magnificent Scottish castles or ruins. The Scots began building castles around 1200 AD, and they constructed some of the greats over the next 200 years. There are far too many to mention, but here is our pick of the best castles in Scotland. Great to visit during a stay at Loch Lomond Waterfront.
25 miles away
Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most historically important sites and was once a favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens who held grand celebrations at the castle.
Knights, nobles and foreign ambassadors once flocked to Stirling Castle to revel in its grandeur with its superb sculptures and beautiful gardens. The Stewart kings and queens favoured it as a residence and held grand celebrations there, from christenings to coronations.
62 miles away
Edinburgh Castle is perhaps the most famous of all the Scottish castles. An icon of Scotland and part of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site.
It was recently voted top UK Heritage Attraction in the British Travel Awards and is Scotland’s number one paid-for tourist attraction.
The Palace of Holyrood House
62 miles away
From one ancient seat of power to another, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is just as significant as its medieval counterpart. You can visit the palace, see the royal chambers of Mary Queen of Scots, tour the gardens and search for the naked ghost said to roam its walls. But please note, the palace closes to the public each year from the end of June until the beginning of July, when the Queen is in residence.
11 miles away
Loch Lomond’s only country park commands impressive views over its waters, spanning 200 acres which include walled gardens, nature trails and guided walks.
First recognised as a country park in 1980, it was originally developed in the early 19th century. John Buchanan, a partner in the Glasgow Ship Bank, built both the park and Balloch Castle.
18 miles away
Dumbarton Castle is located in the ancient capital of Scotland. It sits spectacularly on a volcanic rock overlooking the River Clyde.
Conquer more than 500 steps to stand atop one of Scotland’s greatest strongholds. The iconic Rock of the Clyde has heritage as breathtaking as its views over the Clyde, Loch Lomond and Argyll.
64 miles away
This 14th century structure on the outskirts of Edinburgh now lies in ruins, but it is still one of the best preserved Scottish castles. Craigmillar Castle took over 300 years to build, as its owners continued to extend and change it. So, it has a very interesting layout, with lots of unusual spaces to explore. Mary Queen of Scots stayed there in 1566 and you can visit Queen Mary’s Room on the first floor. However, she may not have actually slept in there. It is more likely that she had a multi-room apartment in another part of the castle.
There is much to see on a visit to Craigmillar Castle and grounds, and you can climb the Tower for great views over Edinburgh.
37 miles away
Lintlithgow Palace was the holiday home of choice for the royals of yesteryear. Once a royal residence for the Stewarts (not to mention the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots), Linlithgow Palace’s elegant design and stunning surrounds made it the ideal royal stopover for kings and queens travelling between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle. Today, the palace lies in ruins. But despite its charred and battered exterior, Linlithgow Palace’s beautiful décor and extravagant courtyard continues to inspire visitors every year. It is home to wonderful events and was another filming location in the Outlander television series.
Eilean Donan Castle
161 miles away
Built on land that was inhabited as early as the 6th century, Eilean Donan Castle marks the joining of three salt water lochs. The castle dates from the 13th century and since then at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded.
Visitors can explore virtually every part of the Castle and is one of Scotland’s most visited attractions.
126 miles away
Dunnottar Castle probably offers the best ‘wow factor’ of all our Scottish castles. The ruined cliff top castle sits high above the North Sea on a rocky outcrop that is almost detached from the mainland.
It can be easily accessed by a short hike along the footpath from the castle car park on the mainland. However, the more adventurous can approach the castle from Stonehaven Harbour and enjoy a 1.5-2 hour walk through the fields and along the coastal paths taking in some breathtaking seascapes along the way.
52 miles away
A favourite among kids, Inveraray Castle is a must do family trip. Sitting on the shores of Loch Fyne, the castle we see today was inspired by Blenheim Palace, Oxford, which one day became the childhood home of Winston Churchill. The extensive weaponry collection will fascinate children whilst adults can enjoy a bight to eat at the castle tearoom or the famous and original Loch Fyne Oyster Bar.Book Accommodation
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Outstanding location'The location is outstanding - right on the edge of Loch Lomond with private water frontage and beaches. As a location for exploring, again this rates very highly. We easily accessed central Glasgow by train from nearby Balloch and also explored Stirling (particularly the castle and Wallace memorial), the Falkirk Wheel and even Perth and Pitlochry by car. It is a very peaceful place, which can only be disturbed on occasion by your neighbours but with the Slumber Charter in place, we had absolutely no problems overnight.'