Beautiful Scottish castles to visit
Scotland is known for its history; part of that is the many castles dotted around the scenic Scottish countryside. If you’re visiting any part of Scotland, you really ought to make sure you head over to at least one! No matter which region you’re in, you’re guaranteed to be able to find a minimum of two castles nearby that are suitable for a visit. So head along and learn something about Scottish history (and get some awesome photos!).
For those visiting the Inverness area, here are just some of the wonderful castle options available to you.
This absolutely stunning castle is surrounded by stunning gardens and is just north of Inverness. The beautifully built castle’s architecture resembles that of a French chateau. It has 189 rooms, and is actually one of Britain’s oldest consistently inhabited houses! It dates all the way back to the 13th century. And has always been home to the Earls and Duke of Sutherlands.
Over time, the castle has had many extensions added to the original structure. Making it the gigantic building that it is today. The oldest section of the building is part of a fortified square. It is visible from the courtyard, which is believed to date back to 1275. Unfortunately, much of the interior of the building is no longer what it once was. Having been styled in 1845 by Charles Barry, a fire destroyed much of the interior. And so the current design is the work of Sir Robert Lorimer.
Since being built, the castle has been used for various different things. It was a naval hospital during the First World War, a boy’s boarding school after that, and then, in 1973, the building opened its doors to the public. However, it is still owned by the Sutherland family, and parts of the building are maintained for private use.
Ticket prices include entry to falconry display, museum and gardens and the Museum is open from 11.00 until 16.00 daily. Check the times of the falconry display before you head out to make sure they are on or you don’t miss out.
Off to the west, Brodie Castle is a 16th-century castle with something to occupy and entertain everyone. There’s plenty of history, beautiful gardens, and play areas for excitable youngsters.
The castle was originally built in 1567 by the Clan Brodie in its iconic Z-shape. Unfortunately, it was destroyed in an inferno in 1645. Once rebuilt, the castle gained its incredible battlements and bartizans. Despite the fire, The building is well-preserved, and has a 16th-century guard tower, a 17th-century wing, a great Victorian extension.
The land that the castle resides upon was gifted to the Brodies by one Robert Bruce in 1311 and descendants have lived there right up until the last Brodie died in 2003.
There are various events on throughout the year as well as guided castle tours. See their website for more information.
In the village of Strathpeffer, just a short drive north-west from Inverness, Castle Leod dates back to around the 17th century – for the most part. The castle is open to the public on certain days during the year, but is also available for private tours with small parties and weddings.
Originally, a fort stood on the land that is now home to Castle Leod. Then, the castle replaced it. There were alterations made to the castle throughout its years, namely in the 16th and 17th centuries.
For fans of Outlander, Castle Leod is an absolute must-visit, as it was the inspiration behind the Castle Leoch, the seat of Clan Mackenzie in the books and TV show. In fact, it was indeed home to the real Seat of Clan Mackenzie, and has been involved in a number of historic events since its construction.
You’ll need to check their website for their open days to make sure your visit to Eagle Brae coincides with the days they are open to the public.
Inverness Castle is hard to miss, sitting atop its hilltop in the heart of Inverness. It has incredible views over the River Ness and is a popular tourist location for a reason. The building dates back to the 1800s, and is actually home to the Inverness Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court. There’s been a castle on the site, however, since 1057. Since then, castles have come and gone, destroyed and rebuilt again and again until we ended up with the beautiful redstone building that sits there today.
Much of the castle is not open to the public, and has not been for a long while. As of 2025, though, this all changes with the Grand Reopening of the castle. Work has been taking place within the building since 2021, and the council assure everyone that the new interior will be somewhere worth taking a trip to.
On the banks of Scotland’s most famous loch, Urquhart Castle has more than 1,000 years of history. It is one of the largest castles in the country. Moreover, this castle has been home to some truly incredible parts of Scottish history over the years.
The castle has been passed between Scottish and English control throughout its history. And it was the site of many battles during the Wars of Independence. It has also been the site of many clan wars, and has seen it’s fair share of conflict. In fact, to stop the Jacobites rising, the castle was purposefully blown up!
Check the website for opening times and ticket prices.
One of Scotland’s lesser-known beauties, Foulis Castle is the home of Clan Munro. It looks out of the stunning Scottish landscape, and is just north of Inverness. Although the original building is no longer there, there is an 18th-century castle in its place.
Unfortunately, the castle is not open to the public in the same way as other Scottish castles. In order to visit Foulis Castle, you have to make an appointment three weeks before you intend to attend the site. So make sure you plan in advance if you want to visit.
The castle is still a functioning residence to this day, and Clan Chief Hector Munro lives there with his family, working hard to keep it in excellent condition.
The Cawdor Castle was built by the Thanes of Cawdor as a private fortress. It is a unique Scottish Castle that is just 30 minutes away from Inverness. The building was constructed around a 15th-century tower house that belonged to Clan Cawdor (which, according to legend, was built around a legendary holly tree).
The castle has links with Shakespeare’s Macbeth; in the play, the protagonist Macbeth becomes the ‘Thane of Cawdor’. There are some issues with the historical accuracy of this, but it has still made visiting Cawdor Castle all the more popular with fans of the playwright.
If you want to visit this beautiful castle, it is by appointment only. View the website for more details.
So, as you can see, there is plenty to please those of you who love a Scottish castle within reach when you stay at Eagle Brae. And when you’re finished exploring, your luxury log cabin will be waiting for you. Sit back, relax and relive the adventures of the day.