Castles in Scotland

Inspiring generations of artists, writers and travellers, Scotland is an iconic country with no shortage of intrigue. Legends abound in Scotland’s lochs, glens and castles, of which it has plenty!

Castles in Scotland are by turns dramatic, extravagant and magical. Step inside one and be transported to the world of Macbeth, but visit another, and you’ll find yourself lost in a real-life fairy-tale. Surrounded by everything from wide-open countryside to bustling cities, Scottish castle holidays offer the experience of a lifetime.

Whether you’re looking to explore the verdant fields of Aberdeenshire, the inlets of Argyll and Bute or the spectacular landscape of the highlands, there’s no shortage of castles in Scotland. Use the castle map, below, to start exploring.

Explore all the castles Scotland has to offer

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Scotland’s stunning scenery and breath-taking architecture is famous the world over. Visitors are met with glistening lochs, imposing mountains and wildlife-rich woodlands, all peppered with exciting cities and busy towns. Add a dash of mythological mystique and a generous helping of culture, and you have the perfect spot for castle breaks and road trips.

If you need some inspiration, iconic Edinburgh castle is the perfect place to start. The building dominates the city skyline, keeping watch over those below from Castle Rock. Dating back to at least the 12th century, the building itself is just as impressive as the artefacts inside. The crown jewels of Scotland, stone of destiny and prisoner of war vaults bring Scotland’s rich history to life.

A stroll into the heart of Edinburgh is the perfect way to round off your trip to the castle. Drop into The Elephant House (where J. K. Rowling penned two Harry Potter novels) for a bite to eat, or lose yourself in the Royal Botanic Garden.

Edinburgh isn’t the only notable area of Scotland. Castle breaks in this country should also include the west coast, if only for Eilean Donan castle.

This stunning castle is one of the most iconic sights in Scotland. Nestled atop an island at the point where three lochs meet, the castle is surrounded by glistening water and majestic mountains. The castle itself might be small, but the trip is worth it for the scenery and tearoom alone! Plus, with quaint villages, seal boat trips and ferries to the Isle of Skye close by, you won’t be short of things to do.

One of the best things about castle holidays in Scotland is the opportunity to actually stay in a castle, turning your break into a once-in-a-lifetime road trip. Scotland is home to countless luxury abodes, including Ackergill Tower in the highlands.

Perched on a cliff above the sea, Ackergill Tower is romance personified. Stroll along seven miles of private, unspoilt beach as the waves crash ashore, or take to the castle’s 3,000 acre estate for a spot of clay pigeon shooting or fishing. With walled gardens and sea-view rooms at your disposal, and the Scottish highlands on your doorstep, you’ll never forget your stay.

If you’re road tripping further south, drive through the Angus area and stay in a castle like Kinnettles. Dating back to the 15th century, this grand building is set among beautifully landscaped grounds with sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. With golfing, walking, skiing and wildlife-watching opportunities ripe in the local area, Kinnettles is the perfect place to rest your feet during busy castle holidays.

Scottish castles are truly spectacular, so why not start planning a castle road trip? Take a look at the itineraries below for inspiration.

Explore castle road trips in Scotland

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The imposing fortifications of Scotland’s capital wrap around the city and dominate the skyline. Built on the plug of an extinct volcano, the impenetrable walls and towers have witnessed hundreds of years of royal history: from blood-soaked coups to political hostility. Edinburgh’s castle hotels - clustered at the foot of the walls - offer visitors the very best in accommodation. If you love comedy and the arts, why not combine your castle road trip with a visit to the world-famous Fringe Festival? Or, book a stay in an Edinburgh castle hotel during Hogmanay and see in the New Year in style? A three-day road trip is the perfect length of time for exploring the castles in and around Edinburgh.

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Aberdeenshire’s wild moors and dramatic coastline have attracted visitors for centuries. As a result, its coastline is bursting with castles for you to explore. Head inland towards the Cairngorms National Park and discover fabulous trout and salmon rivers, romantic ruins, and towering mountains. Scottish castle hotels provide a warm welcome and five-star luxury all year round. Whether your road trip is a fishing expedition to catch a prize salmon, or a romantic break for two, a five-day road trip around Aberdeenshire offers endless opportunities for exploration.

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The Scottish Highlands are wild, rugged and dramatic. From wildlife-rich moorlands to deep, dark lochs, Scotland offers an enchanting backdrop at every turn. A seven-day trip to the Highlands gives you a real flavour of life in the glens. And talking of flavour: a week-long castle road trip puts you right in the heart of whisky country. Tantalise your taste buds with peaty, smoky whiskies, while taking in panoramic views across this magical landscape. There are also opportunities to turn your road trip into a luxury holiday experience. Why not take a guided walking tour and see the Monarch of the Glen, or peer into Loch Ness’ inky waters and see if you can spot ‘the Wee Beastie’?