12 Fairytale Castles in Scotland

They may not be as well-known as some of Scotland's famous fortresses, but these fairytale castles are nothing short of enchanting. From wonderfully preserved medieval strongholds and romantic clifftop ruins, to turreted fairy-tale châteaus and haunted tower houses steeped in legend, Scotland is bursting with spellbinding castles to visit.

 

  1. Fyvie Castle Turriff

    Outside Fyvie Castle

    Once a royal stronghold, Fyvie Castle near Turrif in Aberdeenshire began as a simple castle in the 13th century. It passed through the hands of five powerful families, each of whom added significantly to its splendour by adding a tower to this magnificent Scottish Baronial fortress. Inside, admire period furnishings and rich interiors that still look as glorious as when they were installed; the magnificent sweeping staircase is probably the most dramatic architectural feature, while many treasures are also on display.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  2. Brodie Castle Forres

    Brodie Castle

    © National Trust for Scotland

    Brodie Castle dates from the 16th century and is set in Morayshire parkland, near Forres. The castle has unusual plaster ceilings, a major art collection and tells the fascinating story of the Brodie family. In springtime, the grounds are carpeted with many varieties of daffodils, for which Brodie Castle is rightly famous.

  3. Castle Fraser Inverurie

    Castle Fraser, Garden & Estate

    Movie buffs might recognise Castle Fraser from The Queen (2006) starring Helen Mirren (it appeared as a backdrop). This baronial five-storey tower house in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, is one of the grandest and most romantic-looking castles in the country. Venture through the castle and up to the round tower and admire panoramic views of the gardens and estate beyond. Legend has it that a princess was murdered in the Green Room and that she still walks the castle at night. Unexplained ghostly piano music has even been heard...

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  4. Dunrobin Castle Golspie

    Dunrobin Castle

    On the northern coast near Dornoch, architecture lovers can marvel at the stunning French design of Dunrobin Castle. The most northerly of Scotland's great houses, Dunrobin is the largest castle in the northern Highlands with 189 rooms. It dates back to the early 1300s and is home to the Earls, later known as the Dukes, of Sutherland. Its interiors were designed by Scotland's own Sir Robert Lorimer, while its distinctive architecture and fairy-tale spires were added by Sir Charles Barry, who also designed London's Houses of Parliament.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  5. Floors Castle Kelso

    Floors Castle & the River Tweed

    Situated in Kelso in the heart of the Scottish Borders and overlooking the River Tweed and Cheviot Hills, Floors Castle is the largest inhabited castle in Scotland. It's home to the Duke and Duchess of Roxburgh and their family and is filled to the brim with fine works of art, including timeless tapestries and priceless antiques. In its imposing grounds you can see the holly tree that is said to mark the spot where King James II was killed in a seige in 1460.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Level Access
    • Accessible toilets
    • WiFi
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  6. Culzean Castle and Country Park South Ayrshire

    Culzean Castle and Country Park

    © Barry Dawson / Ayrshire & Arran Tourism Group

    With its dramatic clifftop setting, captivating history and striking surroundings, it's easy to see why Culzean Castle is one of Scotland's most popular visitor attractions. Designed by Robert Adam in his trademark neo-classical Georgian style, it's situated near Maybole on the Ayrshire coast. The castle is surrounded by over 600 acres of Culzean Country Park, which encompasses lush woodland, landscaped gardens and rugged coastline - perfect for a great day out for all the family.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Hearing Loop
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  7. Drummond Castle Gardens Crieff

    Drummond Gardens and Castle

    There's no doubt that Drummond Castle boasts one of Europe's finest gardens. The gardens have made appearances in the film Rob Roy (1995) and TV series Outlander. Located near Crieff in Perthshire, the 15th century castle is not open to the public, but its formal terraced gardens can be explored, and are one of the largest in Scotland. The dominant feature of the horticultural design is a St Andrew's Cross with the multiplex 17th century sundial at its centre, and the gardens offer marvellous views of the castle and surrounding countryside.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
  8. Kilchurn Castle Dalmally

    Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe, Argyll

    © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

    There are few more scenic castles in Scotland than Kilchurn near Dalmally in Argyll. Built on a small, rocky isthmus joined to the shore at the tip of Loch Awe, it's one of numerous castles erected by the powerful Campbell clan, who exercised control of much of western Scotland in the late medieval period. Make sure not to miss the view from the top - stand on the tower house's battlements and gaze out over Loch Awe, with the peak of Ben Cruachan in the backdrop. It's easily one of the most photographed castles in Scotland!

    Please note you can currently view the exterior only. 

  9. Kelburn Castle and Estate Largs

    Kelburn Castle. This castle is graffiti painted with a bright and colourful mural.

    Next on the list is Kelburn Castle, near Largs in Ayrshire. Loved by all those who see it, the castle's exterior walls feature a mural depicting interwoven cartoons. It's been named as one of the best examples of urban art in the world. The inside of Kelburn Castle is in stark contrast to its exterior - lush and sophisticated - and in its grounds you'll find a secret forest with a Chinese garden, waterfalls and a gingerbread house to explore.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  10. Caerlaverock Castle Dumfries

    Caerlaverock Castle

    © VisitScotland / Damian Shields

    Caerlaverock Castle near Glencaple in Dumfries & Galloway is spellbinding, with it's sandstone walls and towers, atmospheric green moat and distinctive triangle shape. There's simply no other castle in the world like it! Set within a nature reserve, the castle and grounds have a story-book quality. It's also been the site of many border conflicts in history, with its roots as a medieval stronghold. 

    Please note there is currently no visitor access to the West range, outer stair and North West and East towers.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  11. Duart Castle Isle of Mull

    Duart Castle

    Perched upon a hill overlooking the Sound of Mull, Duart Castle passed to a Scottish chief as part of the dowry his bride brought to the marriage back in the mid 14th century. For the last 400 years, it has been considered the ancestral home of the Maclean clan. Ruined in the late 18th century, it was restored in 1911. Walk through the dungeons and admire the castle's strategic position at the end of a peninsula of the Isle of Mull.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • Cafe or Restaurant
  12. Dunvegan Castle & Gardens Isle of Skye

    Dunvegan Castle

    Built on a beautiful loch-side setting on the Isle of Skye, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland. It's been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. Admire the many fine oil paintings on display, delight in the beauty of its formal garden, or take a boat trip to Loch Dunvegan.

    Key facilities
    • Parking
    • On Public Transport Route
    • Pets Welcome
    • Accessible Parking Or Drop-off Point
    • Accessible toilets
    • Cafe or Restaurant

More ways to explore Scotland's castles

Why not join a castle tour to go behind-the-scenes at some of our most interesting castles? 

Browse castle tours in Scotland

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