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Dunnottar Castle
Holiday Travel Guide

Dunnottar Castle which includes farmland and a gorge or canyon

Enjoy the stunning scenery surrounding this fine medieval fortress and learn about the dramatic historical events that took place here over the centuries.

Dunnottar Castle is set in a striking cliff-top location, on a rocky promontory 160 feet (49 meters) above the turbulent sea. Legendary figures ranging from royalty to modern celebrities have visited the castle, a once impenetrable fortress the oldest part of which dates back to the 13th century. Wander around the evocative ruins of this historically significant site and admire the magnificent views of the sea on three sides.

The site of the castle is believed to have been inhabited from as early 5,000 B.C. William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, the Marquis of Montrose and the future King Charles II are all known to have visited the castle. Perhaps the most famous historic event associated with the site, however, took place in the 17th century when a small garrison held out against Oliver Cromwell’s army for 8 months to save the Scottish Crown Jewels. Look for information boards detailing the castle’s history as you explore the site.

Follow the steep steps leading up to the castle, stopping to admire the lovely sea viewpoints found along the way. Almost all of the castle buildings are roofless ruins today. More recently, the castle was visited by Mel Gibson during the filming of Hamlet, as well as James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe for the filming of Victor Frankenstein.

The castle’s most well-preserved remnant is its 14th-century keep. The oldest surviving section is the chapel, which dates back to 1276. Save time to explore the drawing room, which was wonderfully restored in 1926.

After visiting the castle, continue along the well-marked coastal path leading down to the fishing village of Stonehaven. Look for puffins along the way, which are known to nest on the cliffs. Don’t miss the Black Hill War Memorial, which commemorates the soldiers who died in World War I. The memorial looks like a ruin, but it was purposefully designed this way to symbolize incomplete lives.

Dunnottar Castle is a 15-minute walk away from the closest bus stop. To get to Stonehaven, take a bus or train from Aberdeen. Parking is available at the castle, which has an admission fee. The castle is open daily with regular holiday closures. Discover the rich history of this scenic castle.

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Top Trending Hotels Near Dunnottar Castle

The Ship Inn
The Ship Inn
3 out of 5
The price is £100 per night from 26 Apr to 27 Apr
Situated in Stonehaven, this beach inn is within 1 mile (2 km) of Stonehaven Tolbooth and Dunnottar Castle. Stonehaven Outdoor Pool is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away. ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (129 reviews)
Excellent place to stay
"Great location. Excellent room, very clean and comfortable. Staff were really helpful and food and service very good"

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2020

The Ship Inn
Dunnottar Woods House
Dunnottar Woods House
3.5 out of 5
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Situated in Stonehaven, this cottage is within 2 miles (3 km) of Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven Tolbooth and Stonehaven Outdoor Pool. RSPB Fowlsheugh is 3 mi (4.8 ...
Dunnottar Woods House
The Haven 12 Shorehead
The Haven 12 Shorehead
3.5 out of 5
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Situated in Stonehaven, this holiday home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Stonehaven Tolbooth and Dunnottar Castle. Stonehaven Outdoor Pool is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) away. ...
The Haven 12 Shorehead
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle

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The Ship Inn
The Ship Inn
3 out of 5
The price is £100 per night from 26 Apr to 27 Apr
The Ship Inn
Dunnottar Woods House
Dunnottar Woods House
3.5 out of 5
Dunnottar Woods House
The Haven 12 Shorehead
The Haven 12 Shorehead
3.5 out of 5
The Haven 12 Shorehead
Shorehead Guest House
Shorehead Guest House
4 out of 5
Shorehead Guest House
The Harbour Tower D
The Harbour Tower D
Stonehaven, SCT
The Harbour Tower D
The Harbour Tower
The Harbour Tower
4 out of 5
82 High Street, Stonehaven, Scotland
The Harbour Tower
Bayview Bed and Breakfast
Bayview Bed and Breakfast
4.5 out of 5
3 Bayview Apartments, Stonehaven, Stonehaven, Scotland
The price is £65 per night from 20 Apr to 21 Apr
Bayview Bed and Breakfast
The Mill Inn Apartments
The Mill Inn Apartments
4 out of 5
12 Bridgefield Terrace, Stonehaven, Scotland
The Mill Inn Apartments
Stonehaven Home With a Spectacular Harbor View
Stonehaven Home With a Spectacular Harbor View
92 High St, Stonehaven, SCT
Stonehaven Home With a Spectacular Harbor View
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.