The Finest Fairytale Castles of Scotland
Dunrobin in the northern Highlands.
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Scotland is bursting with spellbinding castles, settings where travellers have the chance to uncover the stories behind the marvellous monuments, some of which are found off the beaten track.
This is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland and home to the Duke and Duchess of Roxburgh. Floors is situated in the heart of the Scottish Borders, overlooking the River Tweed and Cheviot Hills, and is filled with a range of fine works of art, including timeless tapestries and priceless antiques. Travellers can wander its imposing grounds and see the holly tree that is said to mark the spot where King James II was killed in a siege at the castle in 1460.
The largest castle in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms, Dunrobin is the most northerly of Scotland's great houses, lying on the coast near Dornoch. The castle dates back to the early 1300s and was originally home to the families of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland, with its interiors designed by Sir Robert Lorimer. Its French-inspired architecture and fairytale spires were added by Sir Charles Barry, who also designed the Houses of Parliament.
Fyvie Castle is located near Turrif in Aberdeenshire, and this once royal stronghold passed through the hands of five powerful families, each of whom contributed significantly to its splendour by adding their own tower to this magnificent fortress. Inside, visitors can admire many period furnishings and rich interiors, but the superb sweeping staircase is probably the most dramatic architectural feature.
With its dramatic clifftop setting, captivating history, and striking surroundings, Culzean is one of Scotland's most popular visitor attractions. Situated near Maybole on the Ayrshire coast, and surrounded by over 600 acres of lush woodland, landscaped gardens and rugged coastline, this 18th century Scottish castle is a perfect place for a great day out.
The gardens of Drummond Castle are amongst the largest and most impressive in Scotland, appearing in the film Rob Roy (1995) and the TV series Outlander. Located near Crieff in Perthshire, this 15th century castle is not open to the public, but its formal terraced gardens can be explored. The dominant feature is the horticultural design in the form of a St Andrew's Cross, complete with a multi-faceted sundial at its centre, carved in 1630 by Master Mason John Mylne.
The charming and romantic 12th century Dirleton is set on a natural rocky outcrop near North Berwick in East Lothian. It is best known for its splendid grounds which include a Victorian garden and the Arts and Crafts herbaceous border, the Guinness Book of Records authenticating it as the world's longest.
This castle near Largs in Ayrshire is quite unusual as its exterior walls feature a mural depicting interwoven cartoons – named as one of the world's best examples of urban art. The inside of Kelburn Castle is in stark contrast to its exterior and in its grounds, visitors will find a secret forest with a Chinese garden, waterfalls and a gingerbread house.
Movie buffs might recognise this castle in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, from The Queen (2006), starring Helen Mirren. Its baronial five-storey tower house make it one of the country’s grandest, most romantic-looking castles, with claims that a princess was murdered in the Green Room; legend has it that she still walks the castle at night, and unexplained ghostly piano music has been heard. Who dares to visit?
Blackness Castle near Linlithgow in West Lothian was built in the 15th century by one of Scotland's most powerful families, the Crichtons. Its unusual nautical shape has earned it the nickname “the ship that never sailed”. From the castle, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Firth of Forth and Fife.
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