Featured image of Dunnottar Castle

The Daunting Tale of Dunnottar Castle

LocationStonehaven AB39 2TL, Scotland
(Google Map Location)
Open for visitorsYes
Owned byDunecht Estate
Official WebsiteDunnottar Castle
Room’s availableYes (Wedding, events, filming)

Perched high atop a rocky headland overlooking the North Sea, It is a haunting reminder of Scotland’s tumultuous past. This ancient fortress has captured visitors’ imaginations for centuries with its crumbling ruins and dramatic seaside setting. But beneath its rugged beauty lies a darker history, including tales of murder, treachery, and even ghosts.

Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar Castle, By  Hossein Mansouri, is licensed under CC BY 3.0

Dunnottar Castle History

Dunnottar Castle exudes a captivating aura of Scotland’s medieval past. Built by the Keith family in the 14th century, the fortress played a pivotal role in the Scottish Wars of Independence, where William Wallace’s troops emerged victorious against the English in a decisive battle. 

But that’s not all – the castle also housed the fabled Honours of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels, during a siege by Oliver Cromwell’s army in 1651. However, the castle’s buildings were destroyed by cannon fire during the siege, leaving only the iconic main tower, the Keep, standing tall amidst the ruins. Despite being sold to the York Buildings Company in 1717 and stripped of its floors, ceilings, and furniture, the castle’s rugged beauty continues to captivate visitors worldwide. Today, the castle is a haunting yet mesmerizing reminder of Scotland’s history, perched dramatically on the edge of a rugged cliff overlooking the sea.

Dunnottar Castle Architecture

When approaching the castle from the landward side, you would have first to cross a narrow stone bridge that spans a deep ravine. This was once the only way to access the castle, and a formidable gatehouse and several layers of defensive walls guarded it.

Visitors can explore the ruins of several buildings inside the castle walls, including the Great Hall, the Chapel, and the Kitchen. These buildings were constructed using a combination of stone and timber. 

The Great Hall, for instance, was the centerpiece of the castle and would have been used for feasts, meetings, and other important events. It is a large, rectangular room with high, vaulted ceilings and a fireplace at one end.

One of the most striking features of the Castle’s architecture is the series of sheer cliffs that drop down to the sea on three sides of the castle. These cliffs would have made it virtually impossible for attackers to scale the walls or breach the castle’s defenses.

Dunnottar Castle Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about Dunnottar Castle:

  • Dunnottar Castle has been used as a filming location for several movies, including “Hamlet” (1990), starring Mel Gibson and Glen Close, and “Victor Frankenstein” (2015), starring James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe.
  • Dunnottar Castle is one of the most haunted castles in Scotland. The castle is said to be haunted by several ghosts, including a headless ghost that roams the halls and the infamous ghost of the Green Lady, who appears in the castle’s chapel.
  • Dunnottar Castle is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. throughout the year. However, the castle is closed in case of poor weather conditions, so it is recommended to plan accordingly.

Places to Stay Nearby Dunnottar Castle

There are several places to stay near Dunnottar Castle, ranging from cozy bed and breakfasts to luxurious hotels. Here are some options:

  • The Ship Inn: This traditional Scottish inn is located in Stonehaven, just a short drive from Dunnottar Castle. It offers comfortable rooms and a cozy bar with a fireplace.
  • The Bay Hotel: This stylish hotel is located on Stonehaven’s beautiful beachfront and offers stunning sea views. It has spacious rooms and a popular restaurant.
  • The Craw’s Nest Hotel: This charming hotel is housed in a historic building in the heart of Anstruther, a picturesque fishing village about 30 minutes’ drive from the Castle. It has comfortable rooms and a restaurant that specializes in fresh seafood.


Where is Dunnottar Castle located?

Dunnottar Castle is located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK.  It sits atop a rocky headland overlooking the stunning northeast coast of Scotland, about 3 miles south of the charming town of Stonehaven.

Who owns Dunnottar Castle?

Dunecht Estate owns Dunnottar Castle. The estate acquired the castle in the 1920s and leased it to the Dunnottar Castle Preservation Trust, which has been responsible for its upkeep and management since then. 

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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