Castles, castles, everywhere.

Scotland is thought to be home to around 2,000 castles. For a country that’s just over 80,000 square kilometres and has a population of just over 5 million people, that’s a LOT of castles.

Although sadly now many castles are in states of ruin or disrepair, there are still some stunning examples to be found across the country. If you’re visiting Scotland and want to take in some of its historic castles, read on to find out which ones are best to visit and which have been transformed into beautiful hotels you can rest your head in…

Castles to visit in Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

castles in scotland, edinburgh castle

Scotland is home to one of the most famous castles in the world, Edinburgh Castle. It sits high, imposing, looking out over the entire city and is an iconic landmark. The castle dates all the way back to the 12th century and has witnessed much turbulence and scandal since then.

Edinburgh Castle attracts more than 2 million tourists a year (only 1 other attraction in Scotland attracts as many visitors) and is well worth a visit. 

Stirling Castle

castles in scotland, stirling castle

Stirling Castle is another of the most well-known castles in Scotland. In my opinion it’s actually a far better castle to visit too. It sits high atop Castle Hill, meaning it offers views from the castle over all of the surrounding landscape. Perfect back in the days when they would be looking out for intruders!

The castle dates back to the 15th century and is wonderfully well preserved to this day. This makes it easy to walk around and imagine how it would have been several hundred years ago in its heyday.

Eileen Donan Castle

eileen donan castle, castles in scotland

Isn’t Eileen Donan Castle beautiful?

Eileen Donan Castle is one of my favourites, and sits within the most picturesque landscape in the Highlands of Scotland. The castle is on a small island where 3 lochs (lochs are the Scottish version of lakes) meet and is accessed via a stone bridge.

This castle dates back to the 13th century and has undergone significant restorations in recent years. It’s one of the biggest attractions in the Highlands and is worth visiting just for the scenery alone!

Castle hotels in Scotland 

Glenapp Castle

I’ve been lucky enough to have stayed in some fantastic castles in Scotland that have been transformed into beautiful hotels. What could be more fun than staying in a gorgeous castle and pretending to be a princess (or prince!) for the night? Not much, if you ask me.

castles in scotland, glenapp castle scotland

A perfect break at Glenapp Castle

My absolute favourite castle hotel in Scotland is Glenapp Castle. Glenapp Castle is located in Ayrshire, in the southwest of the country. It’s an area that’s beautiful, natural and wonderfully peaceful. The rooms are all individually decorated, the staff are so attentive and friendly, the food is delectable and the grounds of the hotel are stunning.

Stonefield Castle

Stonefield Castle is another stunning Scottish castle hotel and can be found on the banks of Loch Fyne. It is a much newer castle, relative to the others, having been built in 1837. The rooms are beautifully decorated and it has a cosy and comfortable feel in the bar and lounge areas. The best thing about Stonefield Castle though is definitely the views from the restaurant. From your table you’re able to look out over the water and the landscape around it. Such a treat.

Melville Castle

castles in scotland, melville castle
Melville Castle is another beautiful hotel that I’ve been fortunate enough to have stayed in. It dates back to the late 18th century and is surrounded by more than 50 acres of gorgeous grounds. The food here is delicous, the rooms are spacious and elegant and I can personally recommend the afternoon tea! Yum!

One of the great things about Melville Castle is that it’s just 6 miles from the city of Edinburgh. Perfect if you want to stay somewhere peaceful and fancy outside the city, but want to visit Edinburgh to explore.

Have you visited any castles in Scotland?