Witness heroic battle re-enactments or roam the halls of Glasgow’s biggest, and most striking, medieval defence building.
Get a glimpse of the United Kingdom’s medieval past in the biggest 13th-century stone castle in Scotland. Watch as performers dressed as knights and peasants reenact medieval battles, or just browse the castle’s chambers and halls. Photographers will love the striking image of the castle ruins with the River Clyde in the background. On a stormy day, this is an eerie sight that suits its history.
Originally built by the aristocratic Walter of Moray, Bothwell Castle was conquered and damaged during the War of Independence with England. It lay abandoned until the 1360s, when the Earl of Douglas rebuilt it.
Start by checking out the remains of the cylindrical Donjon. When first constructed, this residential tower was 98 feet (30 meters) tall and had a diameter of 66 feet (20 meters). Look for the open west side of the tower, which was taken down to block sieges from the English.
Don’t miss the great hall and chapel built by Archibald the Grim, the third Earl of Douglas. Climb the 21 steps to the great hall to get an impression of remarkable 14th-century architectural achievements.
To make it a day trip, bring a picnic and relax in the surrounding gardens while the children run round the ruins or play knights on horses. They will love visiting the castle during the days of special events, which include re-enactments of historical battles. Join in and try your hand at archery and watch colorful fashion parades from a bygone era. Check the Historic Scotland website for the events calendar.
Situated in the town of Bothwell, the castle is a 20-minute drive from Glasgow’s city center. Free parking is available. You can also take the bus or train to Uddingston, a 15-minute walk from the castle gates.
Bothwell Castle is open daily from April to October. From November to March it is open from Saturday to Wednesday only. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing, so don’t come too late in the afternoon.