XII: My favourite Scottish castles

I love Scotland SO MUCH. I’ve only been twice, but I’m hopefully going back this summer. I find there is so much history there that often gets overlooked and bunched in with ‘British history’. I love touring castles and monuments when I visit, so I thought I’d share my favourites with you!

Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle Courtyard (my photo)

Probably the most famous castle on my list, this large and luxurious castle was the childhood home of Mary Queen of Scots. This is still a very significant part of Scottish history – according to HES, ‘until the Union of the Crowns in 1603, almost every Scottish monarch had either lived in the castle, or been crowned or died here’. How interesting is that? My favourite thing about visiting here was it’s size – it’s extremely vast, and as soon as you think you’ve looked in every room, another one pops up! It has two gift shops as well, so that’s always a bonus!

Lochleven Castle

Aerial view of Lochleven Castle

Built in the 1300s, this is one of Scotland’s oldest Castles. Located on a small island, due to its isolation the tower was perfect for holding prisoners. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here in 1567 – after she escaped she would never see Scotland again. You can take a boat trip from the dock to the castle and have a walk round – it’s stunning!

Blackness Castle

View of Blackness Castle from a distance (my photo)

Described as ‘the ship that never sailed’ due to its shaped, Blackness Castle is situated in the royal burgh of Linlithgow. It has served as a castle, a fortress, a prison and an ammunition depot. I highly recommend visiting this – there are so many small nooks to explore as well as a dark, imposing tower where prisoners were kept. There is a lot of information as you go through the castle, and the gift shop is great too!

Castle Campbell

Dating from around the 1400s, it became the home to a powerful Highland chief in 1465. When I visited last year, the highlight of it was the journey there. You can either choose to park close to the castle or park at the bottom of the Glen and make your way up (we chose the latter). Throughout the 1.5 hour walk, you encounter waterfalls, burns, ravines and everything in between – it was truly stunning, and I would definitely recommend it!

Drummond Castle

View of the Castle and gardens (my photo)

Now, this one is a little different. You are not permitted in the actual castle – the highlight here is the beautiful gardens. There are various topiaries, sculptures and streams across this landscape. If you think you may recognise it, it’s used often in film and television, it has been used in Rob Roy and doubled as the Versailles gardens in Outlander. Even the long drive up the tree lined avenue is stunning – we saw multiple deer grazing on our way up!

That’s it for today’s post, but I will hopefully be going back to Scotland this summer, so I’ll have a fresh list for you all! Let me know if you’ve been / planning to go to any of these castles, or if you have any favourites that aren’t on my list!

Bye for now,
Lucinda

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