Scotland is such a beautiful country to explore, and with so much to see and do, you’ll be wanting to stay for a longer trip. This is especially true when seeing all the best castles in Scotland that are dotted around the country.
You see, it’s not only, Scottish culture, music, or Scottish food that makes this country amazing. It’s the history and stunning buildings, with the castles being no exception.
Now, personally, whenever I visit Scotland I always try to visit one local castle. Even if it takes a little drive or train journey, there are always a few gorgeous gems that are close by.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of my favourite and best castles in Scotland you should think of visiting.
Best Castles In Scotland
Take a look, below, at the best castles in Scotland to explore. Have the best trip.
1.) Edinburgh Castle
Okay, let’s start with one of the most famous and best castles in Scotland, Edinburgh Castle.
Perched right in the heart of Edinburgh, the castle sits on top of the plug of an extinct volcano with the Royal Mile close by. Once here, make sure to spend some time exploring all the things to do in Edinburgh, see the Old and New Town and explore the castle grounds themselves.
It really is a special place.
2.) Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar Castle (in Stonehaven) was a total surprise to me and easily one of the best castles in Scotland to explore if you’re on the east coast.
Once here, take a ramble down to the rugged shoreline, explore the old castle grounds and buildings and learn more about a lion that once lived inside the castle walls. Yup, it’s true… this once used to be home to a lion.
Come rain or shine, this medieval castle is stunning to see and always looks so dramatic on the east coast.
3.) Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle is situated in Royal Deeside and probably one of the most famous castles for royalty in Scotland. Not only that, It’s one of the largest (in use) and best castles in Scotland to see when you’re in the east of the country.
A favourite of the Royal Family, Balmoral Castle is a regular retreat for the Queen to escape the hustle and bustle of Buckingham Palace. Nowadays, you can head in on tours of the castle (at certain times) and learn much more about the history of this stunning spot.
4.) Glamis Castle
Glamis Castle has been open to the public since Earl and Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne (who live there) opened their doors. And, what a sight to see!
For me, it’s easily one of the best castles in Scotland to explore, especially if you want to learn more about medieval Scotland.
…Just beware of the ghostly ghouls, this castle is apparently haunted. After all, the Shakespeare play, Macbeth is set around Glamis Castle and it’s turbulent past.
5.) Drummond Castle & Gardens
Drummond Castle and Gardens is probably one of the best examples of formal terraced gardens in the whole of the UK. This alone makes it one of the best castles in Scotland to explore on a lovely summer day.
Take some time to wander around the grounds, see the gorgeous terraces and enjoy the beauty of this place.
6.) Stirling Castle
One of the largest and historically important castles, Stirling Castle is one of the best castles in Scotland that’s easy to visit.
After heading to Stirling, head into the castle grounds and explore more of the medieval rooms, the families that lived here and learn more about the region itself.
7.) Craigievar Castle
Once home to the Clan Sempill and Forbes family, Craigievar Castle is now a beautiful example of a harled castle in Scotland. Now, before visiting Scotland, I had no idea what ‘harled’ actually meant.
Thankfully, you need to look no further than Craigievar as it’s easily one of the most iconic. Now, if you’re already around the Aberdeen area, it’s really easy to drive and visit this castle for a day trip. You won’t be disappointed.
8.) Castle Tioram
Perched in the Highlands of Scotland, Castle Tioram is one of the best castles in Scotland to visit that’s actually abanded now.
Now, you can’t actually go to the castle itself, but you can head around the loch and admire its beauty. This is especially gorgeous around sunset.
It’s just so beautiful.
9.) Caerlaverock Castle
Caerlaverock Castle is a moated triangular castle in Dumfries and easily one of the best castles in Scotland to visit when in the south of the country.
It’s a great and pretty incredible find, especially as the moat is still filled with water. Maybe that’s why it’s still standing?
10.) Cawdor Castle
Based in Naim, Cawdor is a castle that has grown throughout the centuries. Starting off relatively small (compared to now), the castle has grown through time to what it is today.
Head around the grounds of the castle, see the beautiful buildings and learn how this castle was used hundreds of years ago.
11.) Culzean Castle
Perched overlooking the Firth of Clyde, Culzean is easily one of the best castles in Scotland to visit if you’re exploring the region around Glasgow.
Plus, if you visit in the summer months, you can actually head to the sea caves that go beneath the castle. It really is so special to see.
12.) Eilean Donan Castle
This castle seems to be on every Scottish postcard.
The picturesque charm is reason enough and is probably the most famous and one of the best castles in Scotland to visit. Perched on the site where three lochs meet, it’s an iconic piece of Scottish history that you can’t miss.
13.) Inverness Castle
Based in the centre of Inverness, this castle is great to explore one of the more “modern” Scottish castles… and by modern I mean 200-300 years old! 🙂
Take a wander around the grounds and head inside to see some of the gorgeous rooms. The towers and turrets make this feel like a fairytale castle for sure.
14.) Dunrobin Castle
Dunrobin Castle is the home of the Earl of Sutherland and a totally beautiful place to see. Similar to a French chateau with its spires, it’s easily one of the best castles in Scotland to visit when in the northern Highlands.
Typically, the castle is only open to the public in summer months, so plan ahead if you want to pop inside.