Exploring the History of the Scottish Highlands Through Its Castles and Ruins

Scotland boasts some of the most magnificent castles in the UK and with around 1,500 castles you will be spoilt for choice. In short, wherever you happen to be, the chances are there’s a majestic castle or castle ruins not very far away when you visit the Highlands.

We’ve created a list of just some of them here which are definitely worth exploring to find out more about the history and heritage of the Scottish Highlands during your stay at our 5-star luxury hotel in Kinloch Rannoch and it’s many treasures.

Doune Castle – Perthshire

This medieval stronghold dates back to the 14th Century. It’s located near Stirling and has been made famous as the backdrop to many popular television shows and renowned films. The castle boasts a 100 ft high gatehouse and its great halls are some of the best preserved in the world.

Opening times

This year the castle is closed from January 8th through to February 22nd when it reopens to the public. You can explore this magnificent castle from 10am to 4pm with the last entry being at 3.15pm.

It’s well worth booking a visit online to guarantee a chance to visit this amazing Scottish Castle. 

Urquhart Castle – Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle

Loch Ness is a superb area to visit at any time of the year and as an extra bonus, the magnificent Urquhart Castle is situated on the banks of the loch. You’ll get to soak in thousands of years of Scottish history while exploring the castle, which includes some of its most dramatic 15th and 16th Century clan rivalries that took place here.

Opening times

The castle is open from November through to March and then again on specific dates throughout the year. You can explore the castle from 9.30am to 4.30pm with the last entry being 3.30pm.

Huntingtower Castle, Perthshire

Huntingtower Castles was built during the 15th, 16th  and 17th Centuries and boasts two magnificent towers. Located just outside Perth, there’s a wealth of Scottish history to discover here. Plus, as an added bonus, the scenic views from the castle are spectacular.

Opening times

You can explore the castle all year round from 10am to 4pm with the last entry being at 3.30pm. However, it’s worth noting that the castle is closed to the public on Thursdays and Fridays between October and March. 

Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Castle

East of Inverness, Cawdor Castle has an amazing history, full of legends and mystery. This 14th Century castle is the home of the Thanes of Cawdor and boasts being featured in Macbeth! You’ll discover original features and lots more which includes an original butter churn and ice box.

Opening times

The castle is closed until the spring when it reopens to the public, but organised tours can be arranged.

Brodie Castle

Brodie Castle is the ancient seat of the Brodie Clan another of Shakespeare’s favoured sites to feature in his work. The castle is full of antiques and superb furnishings. The castle boasts magnificent turrets and a superb Playful Garden that’s well worth a visit during the springtime.

Opening times

Brodie Castle reopens in March for guided tours but the estate is open daily as is the Castle Café on Wednesdays to Sundays throughout the wintertime. 

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle is simply magnificent and well worth a visit when you explore the Highlands of Scotland. You’ll discover fairytale towers and turrets that resemble a French Chateau but the castle is actually a baronial stronghold of extraordinary repute. With 189 rooms, it’s the country’s biggest home! The views over the ocean are simply put ‘spectacular’.

Opening times

You can visit the castle in March through to October from 10.30am to 4.30pm with the last entry being at 4.00pm.

Lochleven Castle – Perthshire

Lochleven Castle was built in the 14th Century and its tower house which overlooks the castle ruins remains well preserved. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in the castle before escaping so there’s lots of history associated with the castle!

Opening times

You can visit the castle from April to September but may change so it is always worth checking first. Visits start at 10am to 4.15pm. 

Fort George

Fort George

Fort George is well worth a visit if you want to discover more about Scotland’s history. The fort is renowned for being the strongest artillery fortification in the UK and it’s where hundreds of soldiers were stationed as the ultimate defence when fighting the Jacobite rising.

Opening times

You can visit Fort George from April 1st through to September 30th from 9.30am to 5.30pm with the last entry being at 4.30pm.

Edinburgh Castle – Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle is home to Scotland’s Crown Jewels and therefore the most important of all castles. It was built during the 12th Century and sits proudly on an extinct volcano overlooking the capital. Steeped in history, the castle was held under siege 26 times!

Opening times

The castle is open all through the year and you can visit it from 9.30am to 6pm with the last entry being at 5pm. 

Organising a visit to the Highlands

Dunalastair Hotel Suites

Naturally, finding the perfect base to explore the Scottish Highlands is a must. At Dunalastair Hotel Suites, we make it our mission to make your stay with us an enjoyable and memorable experience. And there’s nothing we enjoy more than sharing our Dunalastair Hotel story with our guests.

There is no better way to start a Highland adventure than from the comfort of a luxury 5-star hotel that’s ideally located to so many wondrous Highland castles. From fairytale castles like Dunrobin to Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness, all on our doorstep ready for you to discover.

Plus there’s no nicer way to end your day than sitting in front of a roaring open fire and to contemplate the day’s exploits with a wee tipple (or two) before sitting down to a sumptuous meal in our Monadh restaurant.

You can find out more about our superb offers and how to spend a lazy Sunday in the comfort and luxury of our boutique hotel in Pitlochry.

To make a reservation please call one of our friendly team on +44(0)1882 580444 or you can reach out to us via email at reservations@dunalastairhotel.com.