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1. Stirling Castle, Stirling
The childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots, Stirling Castle is an iconic landmark that towers over the city. Within its walls lies one of Britain’s finest surviving renaissance palaces, which has recently undergone a lavish refurbishment restoring it to its mid-16th century glory. It’s also home to one of the grandest medieval banqueting halls in Europe, which boasts spectacular views from its ramparts.
2. Eilean Donan Castle, Highlands
As one of Scotland’s most postcard-perfect castles, Eilean Donan is recognised all around the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great lochs meet, and surrounded by majestic scenery, its one of the most visited attractions in the Scottish highlands. Stroll along the iconic humpback bridge and settle on a grassy mound for a waterfront picnic.
3. Duart Castle, Argyll & Bute
Spectacularly situated on a clifftop overlooking the Sound of Mull, Duart Castle dates from the 13th century and has been the base of Clan MacLean for over 400 years. Pop into the traditional Tea Room for a hearty lunch made form home grown ingredients or explore the landscaped grounds on one of the many marked nature walks.
4. Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries & Galloway
Like something out of a Walt Disney film, Caerlaverock Castle is one of Scotland’s great medieval fortresses. To the south, across the Solway Firth, lay England and for most of its history, Caerlaverock played an important role in the defence of the realm. Learn about famous battles at the siege warfare exhibition and enjoy a family nature trail alongside thr impressive moat or simply have a cuppa whilst the kids run around the play area.
5. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle dominates Scotland’s capital city from its great rock. Its story has helped shape the nation’s story. Battles and sieges were fought over it, royalty lived and died within it, and countless generations have been and inspired by it. This most famous of Scottish castles has a complex building history. The oldest part, St Margaret’s Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War Memorial after the First World War. The castle houses the Honours (Crown Jewels) of Scotland, the Stone of Destiny, the famous 15th century gun Mons Meg, the One O’ Clock Gun and the National War Museum of Scotland.
6. Urquhart Castle, Highlands
Situated by Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle is one of Scotland’s largest forts. Over the centuries it has passed through the hands of many Scottish nobles, as well as having been captured by the forces of Edward I of England and Robert the Bruce. In the visitor centre you can see a display of medieval artefacts discovered at the site and if you keep an eye out, you might just see Nessie as well!
7. Culzean Castle, Ayrshire
Culzean was Scotland’s first country park, and remains hugely popular with visitors today. With views over the Firth of Clyde, dense woodland and walled gardens, the castle looks out on to jaw-dropping Scottish scenery. The castle’s many rooms are full of architectural marvels and fascinating history. One unique feature of Culzean is the Eisenhower exhibition – President Eisenhower stayed in the castle four times, and the display provides insight into his life and personality.
8. Blair Castle, Perthshire
Dating back 750 years, Blair Castle is the ancient seat of the Dukes and Earls of Atholl. Once you’ve explored the vast collections inside its 30 rooms, stroll outside and roam the landscaped gardens filled with orchards and ponds. Offering tractor tours, a Land Rover safari, cycling trails, fishing and home to the highland games, you’ll never be short of things to do.
9. Glamis Castle, Angus
Few places in Scotland can compete with Glamis Castle’s connections to Scottish heritage. The castle is best known as the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth and for being the home of the young Queen Mother. Located just 12 miles from Dundee, Glamis boasts over 600 years of history and intrigue round every corner. Whether you choose to take afternoon tea in the traditional Victorian kitchen or partake in the annual eater egg hunt, Glamis Castle will fascinate young and old.
10. Inveraray Castle, Argyll & Bute
Inveraray Castle lies in an area of magnificent natural beauty, nestled in Highland scenery beside Loch Fyne. The castle is the ancestral home of the Chief of the Clan Campbell and contains a wealth of information on the ancient Clan. Visitors can see swords from the Battle of Culloden, tapestries, china and other breathtaking works of art, as well as the beautiful castle grounds.
The seven-seat BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer includes satellite navigation as standard, with real time traffic information. So you can plan your route to Scotland’s most secluded castles without straying from the itinerary.
We’ve mapped out the locations for you here: