Scotland isn’t Scotland without castles. Wherever you stand, there is a castle close to you. The country ranks highest amongst the most iconic castles in the world. Scotland itself has over 3000 castles in the world. Not all castles in Scotland are decked up like a bride; most of them are simply stone structures with an exquisite story attached to them. Mostly, these castles were either used for defence or for personal use which were later attacked or burnt down.
From fortresses to fairytales, Scotland has it all. You just have to look in the right direction with the right eye, and Scotland will offer you a world of beauty, peace, and mystery. Although it is impossible to pick the best of these beauts, here’s our pick of the 10 most beautiful castles in Scotland, amongst the others.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Set in the heart of Scotland’s dynamic capital city, the greatest castle of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle is the most visited castle in the country. What makes the castle different from the others is not that it stands tall on a mundane rock but the fact that it stands tall on a dormant volcano. The castle was built as a part of defence strategy, mainly to handle all the military forces and strategies. One of Scotland’s top attractions, the castle is a symbol of perseverance and the fight for independence.
Did you know: Edinburgh Castle was once a royal treasury where the nation’s records and riches were kept. Jewels and treasures from around the world, including relics of Robert the Bruce, fine tapestries, and magical amulets, all were stored here in the castle.
2. Braemar Castle
Seated in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, Braemar Castle is a beautiful bottlenecked dungeon. The castle is weirdly different from other castles with its bizarrely shaped turrets, spiral staircases, and dark mysterious dungeons. The castle is a feast for any history plus fantasy fanatic. The castle was constructed for the main purpose of a hunting lodge and to fight the rising powers of Farquharsons. Braemar is a perfect example of what a Scottish fortified tower looks like.
Did you know: All Scottish castles reserve the right to a sizzling ghost story, and Braemar Castle is no different. The castle supposedly has the ghost of a new bride lingering in the premises who committed suicide by throwing herself from the towers. The castle is very famous for this incident.
3. Balmoral Castle
A large royal estate house in Royal Deeside, Balmoral Castle is Queen Elizabeth’s dear paradise in Highlands, as once described by her. The castle is not just a rock but a fairytale. When not in residence by the Royal Family, the castle allows visitors to come and have a taste of royalty through their royal ballrooms, charming gardens, and grounds, etc. The castle has a lot of beauty and antiquity attached to it. The castle is not the property of the Crown but a private property purchased for the royal family by Queen Victoria’s husband.
Did you know: Even when the castle’s estates are open to the public, there are a few rooms that are still restricted for the public visit.
4. Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle is an architectural masterpiece as it is an example of Gothic Revival architecture. It is considered a must-see on the west coast of Scotland. The castle rooms are marvellous and literally portray the story of the Campbell Clan, once the most powerful clan in Scotland. There is also a tea room in the castle that offers its visitors a traditional Scottish fare.
Did you know: Inveraray Castle has extensive gardens and a formal collection of weaponry which is greatly admired by the visitors and is a must-see.
5. Dunnottar Castle
Set atop a cliff overlooking the northeast coast of Scotland, Dunnottar Castle is breathtaking. Though the castle does not reflect its beauty now and has withered with age, it has a rich history connected to famous Scottish persons such as William Wallace, Mary Queen of Scots, and Charles II. The castle isn’t an easy one to get to; it includes long trekking on steep slopes and cannot be approached by many.
Did you know: The sight of it silhouetted against the setting sun is spellbinding when looked at, and one of the reasons why people visit Dunnottar Castle.
6. Glamis Castle
Glamis is famous for its red sandstone walls and baronial grandeur. Situated in the village of Glamis, Glamis Castle is the home of the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and is open to the public. Glamis has a lot of history and glamour attached to it and has been Queen Elizabeth’s childhood home. It is also the place where Queen Elizabeth’s sister Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdown was born.
Did you know: Glamis Castle has famously featured in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
7. Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle was the favoured residence of the Stewart kings and queens and is a reflection of the original Renaissance glory. Stirling Castle is so unique that it was considered the arts centre of Scotland in the 16th century. It gives its visitors lots of opportunities to see how the Scottish Royal families lived and experience the same.
Did you know: Stirling Castle is famous as the site where Robert Burns wrote many of his poems.
8. Duart Castle
Duart Castle is located on the isle of mull, sited on a high crag at the end of a peninsula jutting into the Sound of Mull. The castle has wonderful rooms, halls, courtyards, gardens, and a lot more. Duart Castle is the symbol of Scottish glory. The castle also has a clan exhibit where the History of the Chiefs of the Clan and Scouting is described.
Did you know: The castle’s interiors have a spiral staircase so that when attacked, it would be difficult for the enemy forces to advance to the upper floors.
9. Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is named for a Celtic saint who was martyred here in 617. The castle sits on an island connected to the mainland by a stone footbridge. Wedding events in this castle are very famous as they totally reflect the Scottish royalty. The 13th-century castle is marvellous in Scotland takes you through time and history.
Did you know: Eilean Donan Castle is considered one of the country’s most romantic castles. It has appeared in several films, including Highlander and The World Is Not Enough.
10. Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle was in its time considered one of the largest castles in Scotland though what remains now is a tower of a medieval fortress. The castle’s history is a very interesting one since it changed hands between England and Scotland. The castle has a stunning overview overlooking Loch Ness.
Did you know: Urquhart Castle is funnily famous for the fact that more people claim to have seen the Loch Ness Monster from this location than any other on the loch.
Scotland is such a beautiful country that one vacation to the marvellous country is never enough, especially for history and fantasy fanatics. All these fortresses and royal castles in Scotland together make up for the history and relevance of Scotland in today’s times. The wonders it holds are never enough, and the history it carries is ever interesting.