Scottish Castles

Stirling Castle

StirlingThe castle sits on top of Castle Hill, giving it a strong strategic defensive position defending a crossing of the river Forth. The first record of Stirling Castle dates from around 1110. The castle played an important part in the Wars of Scottish Independence being fought by Edward I and Robert the Bruce. On 23–24 June 1314, King Robert's forces met the English army attempting to relieve the siege at the castle, at the Battle of Bannockburn, which is within sight of the castle walls.

Later it became a principle royal centre with several Scottish Kings and Queens being crowned at Stirling, including Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1542. The last of the castle’s many sieges occurred when the Jacobite army returned to Stirling in January 1746. In its later life, the castle became a barracks for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and remains their headquarters today.

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Nearest Club Site: Milarrochy Bay

Balmoral Castle

BalmoralSince being purchased by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria in 1852, Balmoral has been one of the Royal Family’s residences. The new castle was built in 1856 and the old castle demolished. Today, the estate covers some 49,000 acres. Following Albert’s death in 1861, Victoria spent up to four months a year during early summer and autumn building several monuments to her husband on the estate.

Balmoral is privately owned property and is not part of the Crown estate. A distillery located in the grounds produces the Royal Lochnagar Single Malt whisky. The grounds, gardens and exhibitions are closed to the public during August, September and October, as the Royal Family are here on their summer holiday.

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Nearest Club Site: Tarland

Culzean Castle

CulzeanCulzean Castle is the former home of the Kennedy family, one of Scotland’s oldest families, who can trace their ancestry to Robert the Bruce. The castle was built in stages between 1777 and 1792. The foremost architect of the time, Robert Adam, converted the existing traditional Scottish house to the great castle it is now. Adam used the positioning of the house on the rocky bluff overlooking the sea to compose a 'medieval' castle with battlemented towers and turrets.

The castle was given to the National Trust for Scotland in 1945, with the stipulation that the apartment at the top of the castle should be given to General Dwight D Eisenhower in recognition of his role during the Second World War. The General stayed four times, including once while President of the United States.

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Nearest Club Site: Culzean Castle

Edinburgh Castle

EdinburghHigh on Castle Rock overlooking the city is Scotland’s most-visited attraction, Edinburgh Castle. A Royal residence from the 12th century until 1603, it is where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son James VI, who would later be King of both Scotland and England.

After his Restoration in 1660, Charles II opted to maintain a full-time standing army at Edinburgh Castle, based on Cromwell's New Model Army. From this time until 1923, a garrison was continuously maintained at the castle. The last military action at the castle took place during the second Jacobite rising of 1745. The Jacobite army, under Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie"), captured Edinburgh without a fight in September 1745, but the castle remained in Government hands.

The castle also houses the Scottish regalia, known as the Honours of Scotland and is the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and museum. In 1996, the Stone of Destiny, on which Kings were enthroned for centuries, was returned to Scotland and is now displayed in the Crown Room.

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Nearest Club Site: Lauder

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean DonanEilean Donan Castle is one of the most iconic images of Scotland and recognised around the world. Situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet and surrounded by majestic scenery, it is little wonder that the castle is now one of the most visited and important attractions in the Scottish Highlands.

Home of the Clan MacKenzie, the island has been fortified from the mid-13th century, while the castle has been re-built many times. Partially destroyed in a Jacobite uprising in 1719 by gunfire from three Government warships, Eilean Donan lay in ruins for the best part of 200 years until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the island in 1911. He then proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory. After 20 years of toil and labour, the castle was re-opened in 1932.

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Nearest Club Site: Skye

Inveraray Castle

InveraryInveraray Castle has been standing on the shores of Loch Fyne since the 1400s. The impressive country house seen today was inspired by a sketch by Vanbrugh, the architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard in the 1700s. It has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of the Clan Campbell, since the 17th century.

The famous Armoury Hall contains some 1300 pieces, including Brown Bess muskets, Lochaber axes and 18th century Scottish broadswords. There are also some preserved swords from the Battle of Culloden. The fine State Dining Room and Tapestry Drawing Room contain magnificent French tapestries, examples of Scottish, French and English furniture and countless other precious artworks. The castle’s collection of china, silver and family heirlooms are illustrated by the genealogical display in the Clan Room.

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Nearest Club Site: Luss