If you are looking for the best fairytale castles to visit in Scotland, look no further. Whatever it is that you picture when you imagine a castle, you are bound to find it in Scotland. Whilst Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle are perhaps the most famous castles in Scotland, there are many underrated castles waiting to be explored. Therefore we wanted to share our top 9 castles which you may not have heard of yet. It should be noted that most of the castles charge to explore inside, however you can still enjoy them from the outside for free.
1. CRAIGIEVAR CASTLE
This 17th century castle looks straight out of a storybook surrounded by the rolling hills of Aberdeenshire. The fairytale castle really is this pink and is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle.
In one word: Whimsical
2. DUNNOTTAR CASTLE
Dunnottar Castle is a ruined fortress located on a dramatic cliff top. The setting of the medieval fortress is mesmerising with the sound of the seabirds and the waves crashing off the rocks. We’d recommend visiting early to beat the crowds.
In one word: Breathtaking
3. CASTLE FRASER
Castle Fraser is a very striking 15th century castle located in Inverurie. This castle has some quirky features including secret staircases, trapdoors and even a spy hole. Check out more Aberdeenshire castles to visit here.
In one word: Enchanting
4. DUNROBIN CASTLE
GOLSPIE, SUTHERLAND (NC500 ROUTE)
If you only have time to visit one Scottish castle, make sure it’s this one. The magical Dunrobin Castle resembles a French château with it’s many turrets. It’s interior is so grand and fascinating that we would definitely recommend paying in. If you are visiting this castle on a NC500 road trip, check out our recommendations for the route.
In one word: Grand
5. KILCHURN CASTLE
LOCHAWE, ARGYLL AND BUTE
Kilchurn castle is a ruined fortress from the 15th century which sits proudly at Loch Awe. The ruins can be visited for free and be sure to look out for the many highland cows which roam the fields surrounding it. We definitely think spotting these furry friends is the best part.
In one word: Interesting
6. DRUMMOND CASTLE
We would recommend visiting Drummond Castle in Perthshire purely for the incredible gardens. The symmetry and colours of the gardens in Spring is wonderful. Outlander fans may recognise this as a filming spot from season 2 where the castle gardens doubled as the Parisian Gardens of Versailles. Read more about the Scotland Outlander filming spots here.
In one word: Stunning
7. EILEAN DONAN CASTLE
KYLE OF LOCHALSH
The hauntingly beautiful Eilean Donan Castle sits proudly on a tidal island where three lochs meet. It’s one of Scotland’s most famous castles and rightly so. The castle is located next to the bridge to the Isle of Skye and therefore many people visit on route to the island. For our Skye recommendations, click here. The 13th century castle also featured in the US film Made of Honour.
In one word: Iconic
8. INVERARAY CASTLE
INVERARAY, ARGYLL AND BUTE
Inveraray Castle was built in the 1700s and is home to the Clan Campbell. It’s another of Scotland’s magical castles that you can picture in a Disney film. We highly recommend visiting the charming town of Inveraray too.
In one word: Romantic
9. ROWALLAN OLD CASTLE
ROWALLAN ESTATE, AYRSHIRE
If you have visited some Scottish castles and are looking to take things to the next level, perhaps it’s time to stay in a castle. There’s no better place to live out that dream than at Rowallan Old Castle. The incredible 12th century castle can be hired out on Airbnb which sleeps 10 people. Read all about staying here on our review blog.
In one word: Magical