The Seven Most Beautiful Castles in Scotland
Featuring over 3,000 castles, Scotland is one of the most fascinating tourist destinations in the world. Whether built by the original Scottish clans, or the ever power-hungry English, every castle retains that medieval charm that sends your mind flying centuries back in time. It wasnâ€™t the easiest of tasks, but weâ€™ve managed to put together a list of the seven most impressive castles in Scotland:
Located in western Scotland, on the original site of Inveraray village, Inveraray Castle is the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell. It was commissioned in 1746, by Archibald Campbell, who had the village of Inveraray demolished and rebuilt, so it would not spoil the castleâ€™s view.
Inveraray Castle incorporates multiple styles, including Gothic, Baroque and Palladian, featuring a square layout with four round towers at its corners, topped by conical spires. Itâ€™s surrounded by a 2-acre garden and a huge, 14-acre park. Inveraray is now the home of Torquhil Campbell, 13th Duke of Argyll and opened for visitors during the summer season (April-October).
Built almost 4 centuries ago, by the first Earls of Moray, Castle Stuart was a derelict ruin for 300 years. After being inhabited only by ghosts, Charles Stuart invested 15 years of his life and a substantial amount of money, turning Castle Stuart into one of the most beautiful castles in Europe.
Castle Stuart is a true work of art both on the outside and on the inside. Most of the original furniture was restored, each room has its own fireplace and the surrounding gardens have kept their original structure. Those willing to experience castle life can rent a room, for 150 British Pounds.
Known also as â€œThe Pearl of the Northâ€, Ballindalloch is a â€œZ planâ€ castle, built in 1546, in the Moray region. It expanded several times, and its current state dates back to 1965. Ballindalloch Castle has been the residence of the Russell and Macpherson-Grant Families ever since its inauguration.
The Pearl of the North is known as one of the most popular haunted castles in the world, with the ghost of General James Grant as its most famous inhabitant. The dining room of Ballindalloch is also said to be haunted by â€œThe Green Ladyâ€.
Perched on the 120 meters tall plug of an extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle is the national symbol of Scotland. Around one million people visit this place, making it the second most popular tourist attraction in Britain, after the Tower of London. Thereâ€™s more to Edinburgh Castle than its historical significance, itâ€™s also the best vantage point to admire Edinburghâ€™s unique topography.
Edinburgh Castle is made up of dozens of buildings dating back from the 12th to the 20th century. It was frequently used as a safe haven by Scottish kings, until the Union of the Crowns, in 1603.
Eilean Donan is the most photographed castle in all of Scotland, mostly because of its fairytale setting, on an island at the meeting point of three great lochs. The original castle was built during the 13th century, as defense against the Vikings and later became a stronghold of Clan Mackenzie.
During a Jacobite uprising, in 1719, Eilean Donan castle was occupied by Spanish Forces and ultimately destroyed. It lay in ruins for more than 200 years, until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap restored it to its former glory, in 1932.
Located near the village of Glamis, in Angus, Glamis castle is one of the finest castles in Europe and appears on the back of ten pound notes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland. It is mentioned as the castle of Macbeth in William Shakespeareâ€™s play, although King Macbeth (who died in 1057) had no connection with a castle built in 1372.
With a history of over 600 years, Glamis Castle has some of the creepiest most intriguing tales, involving monsters and even the devil himself. The Ogilvie family, who were hiding out in the castle, were walled up and left to starve to death, in a room somewhere.
Located in the magnificent valley of the River Dee, Balmoral Castle is one of the most visited and photographed sites in Scotland. Its history begins in 1390, when Sir William Drummond built it as a home, but it became a part of history in 1848, when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert chose it as a private royal residence.
The original Balmoral Castle was considered too small for a royal retreat, so the breathtaking estate we see today is the result of extensive redesign. Balmoral has been passed on to each of the royal successors and remains a favorite holiday destination of the Queenâ€™s. The castle is open to the public, from April 1st to July 31st.