There’s so much more to Scotland’s historic buildings than Edinburgh Castle. This country has one of the greatest collections of fortifications in the world with over two thousand restored and ruined castles to explore from the Scottish Borders in the south to the Shetland Isles in the far north.
Discover the very best of Scotland’s fascinating castles when you book a ticket or a guided tour from the list below.
The tour begins by the statue of Adam Smith on the Royal Mile. Walk towards Edinburgh Castle as your guide sets the scene, explaining the significance of the castle and mentioning some of the key characters who have helped shape it. As you reach the castle complex your guide will share skip-the-line passes, giving you direct access to Scotland’s most visited paid attraction.
From Inverness travel south and take a short break at Loch Ness which is 24 miles long, over 700ft deep and is most famous for its sightings of the Loch Ness monster. After Loch Ness, travel on to the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle which is situated on its own island at the head of Loch Duic and is one of Scotland’s most photographed castles.
See the remains of Urquhart Castle, situated on the banks of Loch Ness. At one time this was one of the largest castles in Scotland. The cruise departs from the Clansman Harbour on Loch Ness and sails for 30 minutes to Urquhart Castle. Enjoy an hour of exploring Urquhart Castle before returning to the Clansman Harbour.
Situated on the crest of a hill between the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, Stirling Castle is one of the most impressive castles in Scotland, a source of national pride and intimately linked to the country’s fight for independence. With this full-day entrance ticket you can avoid the lines at the ticket office to explore its treasures at your leisure.
From Edinburgh take the scenic coastal route south into the Medieval Kingdom of Northumbria in North-East England. Visit the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and explore the medieval market town of Alnwick and its stunning castle – where scenes from ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ were filmed.
Travel in style in a Mercedes luxury 16-seat mini-coach from Aberdeen to one of Scotland’s most beautiful ruins, Dunnottar Castle. Witness the stunning fortress set on a cliff by the sea. It’s seen more battles than you’ve had cups of tea and is an essential Scottish destination.
After leaving Glasgow, stop at the ‘bonnie banks’ of Loch Lomond, one of the prettiest and largest lochs in the whole of Scotland. Take a one-hour cruise, enjoying spectacular views of the loch’s many islands and the surrounding mountains. The final stop is the magnificent Stirling Castle, which sits high on volcanic rock and offers wonderful views of the surrounding landscape.
Departing from Edinburgh you will be taken on a journey to some of the most famous locations from the hit TV series such as Doune Castle, the seat of Clan MacKenzie and the historic Linlithgow Palace. Your guide will give you an insight into the history and stories of each location, making this the perfect trip for those looking for a quick Outlander fix.
Follow the sweeping coastline of the North Sea on a scenic drive towards the historic border town of Berwick-on-Tweed. Cross the ancient Scotland/England border into Northumberland and visit Lindisfarne, or Holy Island, a tidal island settled by Irish monks from Scotland circa AD 635.
Visit Culzean Castle and Country Park, perched on the Ayrshire cliffs. This glorious 260 hectare estate was once the playground of David Kennedy, the tenth Earl of Cassillis. Explore the beautiful castle interiors and its collection of antique weapons, as well as the terraced gardens.
Explore the northeastern coast of Scotland on a day trip from Aberdeen. Travel through Aberdeenshire countryside towards the historic town of Banff, known for its silverwork and beautiful architecture. Stop to explore Duff House and learn about the building’s turbulent history. Afterwards, enjoy a delicious lunch of freshly-prepared local food at Duff House Café.
Wander the opulent state rooms and lavish gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Her Majesty The Queen’s official Scottish residence, located at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Marvel at fine plasterwork ceilings and Brussels tapestries, along with paintings and other artworks in rooms still used by the Queen and Royal Family for official ceremonies.
Enjoy a small group tour of Scotland’s Western Highlands, and explore some of its most atmospheric lochs and castles. The first stop will be Doune Castle, built for the Duke of Albany over 600 years ago. Continue to Callander, where you will pause for a coffee, before leaving the rolling farms for the wild mountains and forests of the Highlands.
A stately home in Sutherland, Dunrobin Castle is the family seat of Clan Sutherland. It resembles a French chateau with it’s towering spires, and overlooks the Moray Firth. You will spend time here exploring the beautiful stately home whilst enjoying some refreshments.
From Edinburgh travel west past the historic and imposing Stirling Castle, high on its volcanic rock, and on to a visit at the magnificent Doune Castle. From there head into the Highlands, past the lovely Loch Lubnaig and up through impressive Glen Ogle, stopping nearby for lunch and beautiful views of the surrounding scenery.