Castles & Gardens
Castles and Gardens in Scotland
Scotland is internationally renowned for its beautiful castles and here in the Highlands our landscape is brimming with ruins and inhabited castles with magnificent gardens, steeped in history and romance. They include:
Dunrobin Castle, Sutherland
Located 10 miles north of Dornoch and just a 15 minute drive on the east coast of the Scottish Highlands, you will find Dunrobin Castle. The Castle is a stately home in Sutherland, and the family seat of the Earl of Sutherland and the Clan Sutherland. Perched on a high terrace above walled gardens, Dunrobin Castle, with fairytale spires and turrets, rises above the North Sea like an illustration from a storybook. Towering over both the Castle and Golspie is the Sutherland Monument atop Ben Bhraggie.
Castle and Gardens of Mey, Caithness
The Castle of Mey is located in Caithness, on the north coast of Scotland, about 6 miles west of John o' Groats. In fine weather there are views from the castle north to the Orkney Islands. Having acquired the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland, The Queen Mother renovated and restored it and created the beautiful gardens you see today. For almost half a century she spent many happy summers here and shorter visits at other times of the year. The Castle and Gardens of Mey have held Visit Scotland's highest award of a 5 Star quality assurance grading every year since their first unannounced visit in 2007. The gardens consist of the Walled Garden and the East Garden with a woodland area, the overall design remains much as it was in The Queen Mothers time.
Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness
Urquhart Castle is one of the most picturesque landmarks in Scotland, and an iconic sight to all those who have travelled between Fort William and Inverness. Perched on the banks of Loch Ness beside the village of Drumnadrochit, it commands great views up the length of the loch, and is one of the main sites for reported sightings of the legendary Loch Ness Monster.
Cawdor Castle, Inverness
Located in Cawdor village on the B9090 just off the A96 between Inverness and Nairn, Cawdor Castle dates from the late 14th century, having been built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor, with the ancient medieval tower built around the legendary holly tree – wherever you look, Cawdor Castle is steeped in intrigue and history. The ancient castle, which is home to the Cawdor family to this day, has evolved over 600 years and has been lovingly filled with beautiful furniture, fine portraits, intriguing objects and amazing tapestries.
Inverewe Gardens, polewe
Magnificent 54 acre Highland garden, surrounded by mountains, moorland and sea loch situated six miles northeast of Gairloch on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Created by Osgood Mackenzie in the late 19th century, it now includes a wealth of exotic plants from Australian tree ferns to Chinese rhododendrons to South African bulbs. Recent plantings include a grove of Wollemi pines and other 'fossil' trees.
Eilean Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh
At the meeting point of three sea lochs on the west coast of Scotland, Eilean Donan is situated by the picturesque village of Dornie on the main tourist route to the Isle of Skye. Eilean Donan is recognised as one of the most iconic images of Scotland all over the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some majestic scenery, it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish Highlands. Although first inhabited around the 6th century, the first fortified castle was built in the mid 13th century and stood guard over the lands of Kintail. Since then, at least four different versions of the castle have been built and re-built as the feudal history of Scotland unfolded through the centuries.
Armadale Castle, Isle of Skye
Armadale Castle is a ruined country house in Armadale, Skye, former home of the MacDonalds. A mansion house was first built here around 1790. Armadale Castle Gardens is very much a story of the care and attention given by the gardens’ staff to restore them to glory and continue development and planting, creating a haven of scent and colour. The result is 40 acres of fascinating gardens and woodland area for all the family to enjoy. Magnificent trees, some almost 200 years old, tower above stunning carpets of bluebells, orchids and wildflowers in spring and summer.
Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye
One mile from Dunvegan Village, 23 miles west of Portree on the magical Isle of Skye, follow the signs for the Castle. Any visit to the Isle of Skye is incomplete without savouring the wealth of history at Dunvegan Castle & Gardens. Built on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Loch Dunvegan once entirely encircled by the sea, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years.
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