Once a bulwark against invading Viking forces, the magnificent ruins of Rothesay Castle boast a long and close connection to the Stewart dynasty.
Situated on the Isle of Bute, Rothesay Castles dates back to the early 13th century and is remarkably well preserved in spite of its age. Built by the Stewart family to defend against invading Norwegian fleets, Rothesay’s immense circular curtain wall makes it unique in Scotland. In 1230 it survived a three-day siege by King Haakon IV of Norway which precipitated the castle’s fortification with four round towers. It became a royal residence soon after and was later occupied by Robert the Bruce during the Wars of Scottish Independence and served as a base for Cromwell’s troops in the late 17th century. The grandiose great hall in the gatehouse was restored by a Marquess of Bute in 1900 which now contains informative interpretive display which illuminate the history of the castle and its inhabitants. The 15th century St Michael’s Chapel in the courtyard is another of the castle’s impressive surviving features.