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The Out About Scotland complete guide to Doune Castle
Suitable for ages: 5 to 10 years, 11 to 18 years, 18+ years, 65+ years
Ideal for: Couples, Families, Groups, Solo travellers
I rate it: 8 out of 10
About Doune Castle
The medieval Doune Castle has been a formidable presence near the village of Doune in Perthshire since its construction in the 14th-century. Still remarkably well-preserved, this castle was once home to the Duke of Albany and the Earl of Moray, although today it’s owned and managed by the Historic Environment Scotland Trust.
Its woodland location near the River Teith has lead to the castle becoming increasingly popular with tourists thanks to its peaceful setting, with youngsters kept occupied by the maze of rooms and corridors inside its walls and adults kept interested by the reconstructed grand tower house and the cathedral-like great hall.
Doune Castle is remarkably well preserved which goes a long way to explaining why it featured in so many TV shows in recent years, especially Outlander which has proven incredibly popular on both sides of the Atlantic and has brought in a new generation keen to explore the ruins of this old fortification.
But there’s more to see at Doune Castle than television references because this 650-year-old building features a striking gatehouse that’s well over 100 feet high, one of the best-preserved great halls in Scotland, and offers gorgeous views of Ben Lomond from its battlements. It’s certainly easy to see why the Regent Albany chose the place as his seat of power all those years ago.
I think a visit here is well worth making the time for because as well as being a genuinely interesting castle it’s also a great place to let the kids run around, and if you’ve got your four-legged friend with you you’ll find the walks along the River Teith are really enjoyable too.
Things to do at Doune Castle
The castle is not only famed for its royal connections but also for its use as a film location, and fans of Monty Python will no doubt recognise it as the set for many of the scenes in the movie Monty Python and The Holy Grail, while more recent shows to be shot there include the fantasy saga Game of Thrones and the popular time-travelling TV series Outlander.
The ties with Monty Python live on today with an audio narration tour voiced by Terry Jones that not only educates visitors about the castle’s long history but also entertains with hilarious tales from the Holy Grail film set, so if you’re a Python fan a visit to Doune should definitely be on your must-visit list.
Outlander fans meanwhile will be happy to learn that Sam Heughan who plays Jamie in the series narrates a new portion of the tour where he explains how sections of the castle were converted into Castle Leoch. It’s pretty interesting stuff and I’m glad that when I visited some of the TV sets were still in place because it really was like stepping back in time.
Because Doune lies only 5 miles from Stirling Castle it’s possible to combine the two fortresses over the duration of a single day, although history buffs might find themselves immersed in the story of the castle for much longer than expected as Historic Environment Scotland provide visitors with plenty of interesting information panels to read.
Visitors should note that although Doune Castle isn’t as big as either Stirling or Edinburgh castles it’s popularity with film means that it’s often quite busy. However, walking around the castle while listening to the audio tour is well worth the price of admission (which is free if you have a Historic Scotland membership).
At the end of your explorations, you can head outside the castle walls to explore the quiet banks of the River Teith and the surrounding woodland which are great for walks at all times of the year.
Only slightly further away is the historic burgh of Doune which has some good-quality cafes, while the city of Stirling has plenty of restaurants and bars if you fancy staying in the area a little while longer.
What I liked about this attraction
- Great for TV and film fans
- The castle is very well-preserved
- It’s also close to Doune and Stirling
My top tips
- If you’re after food the Deanston distillery is nearby which has a really good cafe
Address and directions map
The Castle is clearly signposted from the historic village of Doune, near Stirling in Perthshire.
Prices and opening times
Special offer! Click this affiliate link to purchase a Historic Environment Scotland Explorer Pass from Viator. Your 5-day or 14-day pass allows free entry to more than 77 castles, cathedrals, distilleries and more throughout Scotland. With passes starting at just £35 (as of 2019) it’s an absolute bargain!
- Historic Scotland members: Free
- Adult: £6.00
- Child aged 5–15: £3.60
- Child under 5: Free
- Concession: £4.80
- 1 April to 30 September: Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5.30pm
- 1 October to 31 March: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm
- Telephone: 01786 842768
- Website: Historic Scotland
Getting there: Car park on-site
Getting around: Easy-access paths, Pushchair access, Stairs
On-site conveniences: Snacks, Toilets