The medieval Doune Castle is one of the best-preserved curtain wall fortresses in Scotland. It has been made famous for its use in films including Outlander, Game of Thrones and Monty Python.
Discover what it’s like to visit this famous historic attraction with this guide which includes an overview and handy visiting tips.
|Opening Hours:||1st April - 31st October|
Thursday - Monday: 10:00 - 17:00
|Admission Price:||1 Apr to 30 Sept: Daily, 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, last entry is 4.30 pm|
1 Oct to 31 Mar: Daily, 10 am to 4 pm, last entry is 3 pm
|Parking:||Free car park on-site|
|Contact:||01786 841 742|
|Facilities:||Toilets, gift shop, picnic area, partial disabled access, drinks machine|
|BUY TICKETS||Click here to purchase|
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 but it sadly fell into disrepair in the 18th century, although today it’s owned and managed by the Historic Environment Scotland Trust who have done an amazing job of restoring it.
Its woodland location near the River Teith has led to the castle becoming increasingly popular with tourists thanks to its peaceful setting, and children are guaranteed to be kept occupied by the sprawling maze of rooms and corridors.
Meanwhile, adults will enjoy exploring the reconstructed tower house and the cathedral-like great hall.
Suffice to say, there’s a lot to see and do at this historic attraction.
The castle walls are almost completely intact which goes a long way to explaining why it made so many screen appearances over the years.
Most recently, the Outlander TV series has proven incredibly popular on both sides of the Atlantic and has brought in a new generation who are 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 stunning 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 to Doune Castle 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 enjoyable as well.
1: This historic attraction is a treat for TV and film fans. Make sure you listen to the audio tour by Monty Python’s Terry Jones – it’s hilarious.
2: The castle is very well-preserved and many of the rooms are almost totally restored to their original condition.
3: Doune Castle is situated close to Stirling so there are lots of other attractions to visit in the area, including the superb Stirling Castle.
1: If you need food after a visit to Doune Castle I recommend heading to Deanston distillery which has a very good café.
2: Got bored kids? Head to Blair Drummond Safari Park which is just 10-minutes away on the A84.
3: I recommend getting a Historic Environment Scotland membership as it allows free entry to this and hundreds of other historic attractions.
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 setting for many of the scenes in the movie Monty Python and The Holy Grail, while more recent shows include the incredibly popular fantasy saga Game of Thrones.
The ties with Monty Python live on today with an audio narration 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 Castle 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.
Doune village is just 5 miles from Stirling Castle so it’s possible to combine the two fortresses over the course of a single day.
History buffs, in particular, might find themselves immersed in the story of the castle for longer than expected as Historic Environment Scotland provides visitors with lots of information panels to read.
Visitors should be aware that although Doune Castle isn’t as big as either of those in Stirling or Edinburgh, its popularity with film means that it’s often quite busy and you’ll no doubt end up getting jostled by crowds of over-excited coach parties in the peak tourist season (i.e. the whole of summer).
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 Environment Scotland membership) and if you visit out of season you can be assured of a relatively quiet tour.
At the end of your visit 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 cafés, while the city of Stirling has plenty of restaurants and bars if you fancy staying in the area a little while longer to visit the mighty Stirling Castle and nearby Wallace Monument.
My top recommendation though is to drive the 15-minute journey on the A820 to Dunblane and its magnificent 12th-century cathedral.
Admission is free but it’s managed by Historic Environment Scotland – which is another reason I suggest you purchase a HES membership as you’ll be helping to ensure Scotland’s beautiful old buildings are maintained for future generations to enjoy.
Discover more castles to visit in Scotland with: The Best Castles in Scotland – Ultimate Visitor Guide.
Things to do
Audio Tour: Immerse yourself in Scotland’s history with a self-guided tour of Doune Castle. Each room has a tale to tell, with the grand Great Hall, Duke’s Hall, and the formidable castle walls providing captivating insights into medieval life. The audio guide, narrated by Outlander actor Sam Heughan and Terry Jones of Monty Python fame, is worth the admission price alone.
Outlander Themed Visit: As the shooting location of the popular TV series ‘Outlander’, Doune Castle offers fans a chance to step into the world of their favourite characters. You can explore the castle’s many rooms used in the series, including the huge courtyard and the Great Hall.
Wildlife Spotting: Doune Castle is an ideal place to visit for wildlife enthusiasts. The surrounding woodland is teeming with birds and small animals and there’s a good chance you’ll catch sight of roe deer, red squirrels, or even an otter on the nearby River Teith.
Photography Session: With its imposing stone walls, lush surrounding landscape, and the River Teith flowing nearby, Doune Castle offers plenty of angles for photographers. Capture the castle’s dramatic exterior and its atmospheric interiors, or snap a few photos from the footpath that runs alongside it.
Picnic by the River Teith: After a day of sightseeing, unwind with a picnic by the River Teith. The serene riverside setting offers good views of the castle, making it a perfect spot to relax and reflect on the day’s adventures. Just remember to respect the environment and leave no trace behind.
Historical Significance: Doune Castle, located in the district of Stirling, has a rich history dating back to the 13th century. It was built around 1400 by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, who effectively ruled Scotland during the reign of King James I.
Famous Residents: Doune Castle was once the royal hunting lodge of Mary Queen of Scots. She used it as a resting place during her travels.
Film and TV Stardom: Doune Castle is a popular filming location. It was prominently featured in the 1975 film ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ and more recently in the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Outlander’.
Impressive Lord’s Hall: The Lord’s Hall in Doune Castle is a two-story structure, rare for its time. It features a carved oak screen, a musicians’ gallery, and a double fireplace.
Restoration Efforts: The castle was abandoned and fell into disrepair in the 18th century. In the late 19th century, it underwent extensive restoration under the care of the Earl of Moray.
Things to do nearby
Blair Drummond Safari Park. Blair Drummond, Stirling FK9 4UR. 9-minute drive.
Wildlife safari park that includes animal enclosures, a boating lake, a children’s play park and bird of prey displays. Briarlands Farm petting zoo is located behind the safari park.
Deanston Distillery. Teith Rd, Deanston, Doune FK16 6AG. 5-minute drive.
A late 18th-century whisky distillery sited on the banks of the River Teith near Doune village. The distillery offers visitors guided tours around the distillery complex as well as tasting experiences, a well-stocked shop and a café.
Callander. Stirling FK17 8BA. 15-minute drive.
Highland village that offers a selection of traditional shops and pubs as well as a selection of cafés and restaurants. There are several walking trails that start and finish at Callander, mostly centred around the River Teith.
Bracklinn Falls. 17-minute drive.
The forest surrounding Callander offers superb walks on rough paths that extend throughout the wooded area. The Bracklinn Falls are a series of natural waterfalls that can be seen both from the banks of the Allt a Choire Bhric river and there is a purpose-built wooden bridge in the heart of the forest.
Dunblane Museum Trust. The Cross, Dunblane FK15 0AQ. 11-minute drive.
A free-to-visit volunteer-run museum that was founded in 1943. The museum houses a fascinating collection of artefacts and displays that portray the history and heritage of Dunblane and the surrounding area.
Frequently asked questions
Is Doune Castle worth visiting?
Doune Castle is definitely worth visiting. The castle features one of the best-preserved curtain walls in Scotland and offers beautiful views from the battlements across the Menteith Hills.
In addition, the audio guide is one of the best available for a Scottish castle as it features commentary from Terry Jones (Monty Python) and Sam Heughan (Outlander).
Who owns Doune Castle Scotland?
Doune Castle is owned and managed by Historic Environment Scotland.
What has been filmed at Doune Castle?
Game of Thrones (TV series), Outlander (TV series), Outlaw King (film), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (film), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (film), Ivanhoe (film), The Bruce (film), The Wizard of Oz (2015 film).
What was Doune Castle in Outlander?
Doune Castle portrayed Castle Leoch (seat of Clan MacKenzie) in Outlander.