Scotland’s landscape is a tapestry of green hills and valleys, rugged and wild highlands, lochs and dramatic rocky shores. the gently rolling hills of the Borders, and the windswept coastline all share a common theme, some of the most amazing castles in Europe. Scotland is full of castles, and these are the best castles in Scotland for photography.
Aberdour was build in the 12th century as a fortified residence, which makes it one of the oldest standing masonry castles in Scotland. Boasting beautiful walled gardens and a beehive-shaped dovecot with room for 600 pigeons, the castle is ripe with opportunity for the curios photographer to bring history to life.
Ardverikie castle is a privately owned, luxury estate that may look familiar due to it's use as a popular filming location in the highlands. Traditionally used as a shooting lodge for deer stalking, the house is now used as a wedding venue.
Photo by Dallas Eperson
Located on the Ardvreck estate near Loch Assynt, Ardvreck Castle is an ancient castle was originally constructed by the MacLeods of Assynt in the 15h century and was conquered by Clan Mackenzie in the 17th century. The castle on loch Assynt was replaced by the Mackenzie's by Calda House which subsequently burned down under mysterious circumstances.
Brodie Castle was built in 1567 by Clan Brodie. After a fire destroyed the original castle, architect William Burn was commissioned to redesign the castle in the Scots Baronial style. Since the last resident member of the Brodie family passed on in 2003, the castle has been open to the public and is available as a wedding venue today. The venue includes the brodie castle playful garden, which features sculptures related to the castles history.
Brodick Castle is located on the coast of the Isle of Arran. It was built in the 16th century by the Earl of Arran on a location which has been fortified by Irish Gaels or Norse Vikings since the 5th century. The Brodick castle garden and country park is now open to visitors all year round.
Broughty Ferry Castle
The castle was built in 1495 by the 4th Earl of Angus and is located in Dundee. The castle changed function many times until it became a popular tourist attraction from the late 19th century onwards thanks to its picturesque setting on the banks of the river Tay. The Broughty castle museum is now free and open to the public.
Caerlaverock Castle was built in 1296 by the Maxwell family at Dumfries and Galloway. Despite being the target of an English siege during the war of independence, it still stands today as a chapter in Scotland's rich history.
Castle Campbell is located near the town of Dollar, in cenral Scotland. It was built in 1553 and was the lowland seat of the earls and dukes of Argyll, as well as Clan Campbell. The castle was left unscathed while it's surrounds were attacked during the Civil War, and is now home to a garden of national artistic and historical significance.
Coeffin Castle was built in the 13th century and thought to be named after a Danish prince Caifen. Now ruins, the castle was built on the site of a Viking fort and is said to have been haunted by the sister of prince Caifen until her remains were returned to Norway, and her lover.
Designed in the Baronial style around 1576, the pink tower of Craigievar Castle is a gem in Scotlands crown, and the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. You can visit craigievar castle interior via guided tours, a must see on any tour of Scotland.
The clifftop castle has been used as a filming location for films such as "The Wicker Man" and has featured on BBC's 'Most Haunted' due to it's supposed ghostly hauntings. In 1994, Culzean Castle was designated as a Category A listed building by Historic Scotland, which means it is of national importance and is protected against alteration or demolition without authorisation from the government agency. It remains a popular tourist destination today and features the culzean castle play park for some family fun.
Situated on a hilltop overlooking the north sea near Stonehaven, Dunnotar Castle is one of the most well-known castles in Scotland. Built in the 15th century, the castle has was sieged by Oliver Cromwell’s troops only to fall into disrepair when the resident Earl Marischal lost his title for his participation in the 1715 rebellion. Despite this, it still remains an impressive sight to see today.
Dunvegan castle & gardens is one of the oldest continuously inhabited castles in Scotland. The castle has been occupied by MacLeod clan chiefs, who were known as "the Lords of the Isles" for centuries. After a long day of exploring you can cool off with a dip in loch dunvegan.
Dunrobin Castle is located in the village of Dunrobin in Sutherland. It was built by a branch of the Clan Sutherland around 1275 and rebuilt between 1835 and 1850 in a Scottish Baronial/French Renaissance style. The castle features nearly 200 rooms, and is the largest in the northern highlands. Currently operating as a wedding venue, you can tour Dunrobin castle interior, or live like a laird and indulge in a falconry experience.
Dunskey Castle is a ruined, 12th century tower house. It was a location for the 1951 film "Kidnapped" of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, as well as for the 1952 film Hunted.
Rumour has it the Dunskey castle ghost haunts the ruins. The Dunskey Castle ghost is a popular legend that has been passed down through the centuries in the small village of Portpatrick. According to local legend, the ghost is that of Lady Janet Dalrymple, who was the wife of Sir David Dunskey, the original owner of the castle.
It is said that Lady Janet died in the castle under mysterious circumstances, and that her ghost now haunts the halls and corridors of the castle. Many people who have visited the castle have reported strange noises and unexplained phenomena, including the sound of footsteps, the appearance of ghostly apparitions, and the feeling of being watched by an unseen presence.
Despite the spooky legend surrounding the Dunskey Castle ghost, the castle itself is a beautiful and historic landmark that is well worth a visit.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is a stunning castle located in the Highlands of Scotland, on a small island where three sea lochs meet. With its picturesque setting and rich history, it is no wonder that Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland.
Built in the 13th century, Eilean Donan Castle has played a key role in the history of Scotland. It has served as a defensive stronghold, a royal residence, and a place of refuge for clansmen.
In addition to its rich history, Eilean Donan Castle is also a popular destination for photography enthusiasts. The castle's stunning architecture, beautiful setting, and panoramic views make it a perfect location for capturing breathtaking images.
If you're planning a trip to Scotland and are looking for a unique and memorable experience, a visit to Eilean Donan Castle is a must.
Edinburgh Castle is a iconic and historic castle located in the heart of Scotland's capital city. With a history dating back to the 12th century, Castle Edinburgh has played a central role in the history of Scotland and is now a major tourist attraction.
The castle sits atop an ancient volcano and offers breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Visitors can explore the castle's historic buildings and learn about its rich history on a guided tour. Highlights of the castle include the Royal Palace, the Great Hall, and the Crown Jewels.
In addition to its historical significance, Edinburgh Castle is also a popular location for photography. The castle's impressive architecture and stunning setting make it a perfect backdrop for a variety of shots.
Findlater Castle is a ruined castle located on the coast of Scotland in the Moray Firth area. With a history dating back to the 13th century, Findlater Castle has a rich and fascinating history.
More ruin than castle, the cliffs here contain quartz which create the name "Findlater" as it derived from the Scots Gaelic words for white and cliff. Despite its ruined state, Findlater Castle remains a popular tourist attraction and is a popular location for photography, with it's stunning setting at the edge of the sea.
The Glenapp estate was once the family home of the Earl of Inchcape and is now a luxury hotel and restaurant. Why not treat yourself to some royal luxuries while touring around Scotland.
The castle has a reputation, both from its history and its appearance, as one of the most sinister and atmospheric castles in Scotland. The castle is said to be haunted by Mary, Queen of Scots.
Castle Inveraray is a country house on the shore of Loch Fyne, Scotland's longest sea loch. It is one of the earliest examples of Gothic Revival architecture.
Kilchurn castle is a ruined castle on the shore of Loch Awe in Argyll and Bute. The castle was built by Clan Campbell in 1250s for defensive purposes. It was abandoned after 1650s when the Campbells moved to Taymouth castl. The ruins are now open to the public.
The oldest part of the castle, the tower house, was built on the site of a Pictish fort during the 12th century; however, most of what remains dates from its rebuilding during the 17th century. The grounds surrounding the castle contain some ancient trees of note.
Also known as queen Mary castle, Mary Queen of Scots was born in Linlithgow Palace on December 8, 1542. As a royal residence the castle is referred to as a palace. The castle has been the seat of the monarchs of Scotland since the 14th century and is now a popular tourist attraction. There have been many changes over the years and it has also been used as a military base as well as a prison.
Castle Menzies was built in the early 1400s. It is said that it was built by Sir Walter Scott, who was a famous novelist and poet. The castle has gone through many changes over the years, but it still retains its original design and is now open to the public for tours and events.
It is said to be haunted by the ghost of Jean Douglas, referred to by Walter Scott in his poem as "the Maid of Neidpath". Forbidden from marrying the man she loved who was sent away, she died of a broken heart when she finally did reunite with him and he did not recognize her.
One of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, Stirling Castle was the primary residence of many Scottish royals, operating both as a palace and fortress. Mary, Queen of Scots, along with other royals were crowned at Stirling. Now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the castle is huge tourist attraction.
Castle Stalker was a stronghold in the Scottish Highlands, on an islet on Loch Laich. The castle is said to have been founded by Clan MacDougall, though the castle passed to Clan Campbell through a drunken bet. This location is another example of an iconic shot of Scotland that's not to be missed.
Tantallon Castle is a large medieval fortress near North Berwick, in East Lothian The castle was built by the Earls of Douglas between 1369 and 1388 and was once described as "the most perfect example of an aristocratic residence in Scotland".
Castle Tioram is a ruined castle that sits on a small island in Loch Moidart. It was built by the Clann Ruaidhriand served as the seat of Clann Raghnaill for centuries. The castle was burned down in the Jacobite uprising against King Charles I. The castle was then rebuilt, but it was abandoned again after the Jacobite defeat at Culloden in 1746.
Located in the city of Stirling, the monument was built in 1869 to commemorate William Wallace, who died in 1305 fighting for Scottish Independence. While not a castle by definition, the monument is a tower built on the summit of Abbey Craig, and can be seen from miles around. It is a popular tourist destination.
Scottish castles are some of the most beautiful and photogenic places in the world. They offer a unique mixture of history, mystery, and grandeur that is unmatched anywhere else. When photographing Scottish castles, you will want to make sure to capture the intricate details of the architecture as well as the sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. No matter what your level of photography experience, a Scottish castle is sure to provide you with an incredible subject to practice your craft. If you'd like to explore more of Britain while on your Scottish adventure, check out our guide to Britain.