The most northerly of Scotland's Great Houses
Dunrobin Castle’s windows and French chateau-style spires overlook the North Sea from its place atop a prominent bluff. The castle’s architecture, gleaming white bricks, and stunning Highlands backdrop make it easily one of the most beautiful castles in Scotland.
The castle looks like it is straight from the pages of a fairytale. There should be a princess in one of the towers, awaiting her Prince Charming! Situated just one mile north of Golspie and five miles south of Brora, the castle’s beautiful scenery provides an experience like no other.
History runs through the veins of this castle. And much of it is still visible to this day as guests explore the castle on tours, or take a stroll through the beautiful gardens. There is something for everybody at Dunrobin Castle with exciting falconry displays, the fascinating museum, and the delightful tearoom and gift shop.
About Dunrobin Castle
This stunning castle is one of the oldest continuously inhabited houses in Scotland. The Scottish Great House has 189 rooms and 120,000 of land, making it the largest house in the Highlands. However, the castle was not built as a domestic haven.
Originally built as a military fortress, the castle has evolved and changed over the years. It was home to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland and Clan Sutherland. Then, during the First World War, it was used as a naval hospital. After the war, from 1965 to 1972, it was a boys’ boarding school. But, these days, it is once again home to the Earl of Sutherland. The 25th Earl and his family live in the castle.
Really enjoyed my stay at Mackays Hotel, all the staff are very friendly and welcoming. Quality of food and service great with a good selection to choose from Room was a decent size and modern. Will be back again during my next visit
The castle, as well as its stunning gardens, now welcome the public on a daily basis. Guests are invited to experience and soak up the history of the castle, whether that be through the wonderful museum, or simply by enjoying the architecture. Much of the castle’s design acts as a window into the past, with elements of its history as a military fortress visible, as well as towers that are still vaulted.
Tour Dunrobin Castle
Visitors can explore the castle on a self-guided tour with the help of detailed information boards and knowledgeable staff. Those working at the castle are always happy to answer any questions as visitors wander through the 18 incredible rooms. The tours begin in the grand public rooms and continue to the dining room, drawing room, and the spectacular library that is currently home to 10,000 books.
Dunrobin’s current design was created by Sir Charles Barry, who created the fairytale appearance that the castle is now known for. He was tasked with remodelling the castle in 1845 by the owners, who wanted the castle to sit as an example of French elegance. His work did wonders, creating what is now an incredible, elegant and unforgettable castle.
As you explore the castle, the extravagant hunting trophies and family portraits will make you feel as if you’ve truly been transported to a bygone time. Each of the rooms is filled with wonderful furniture and art that is equally as beautiful as the castle itself. And, of course, no self-respecting castle would be without some kind of ghost. On your journey around the castle, you can learn about Dunrobin’s very own ghost. The seamstress’ room is said to be haunted by the ghost of an imprisoned maiden. Trying to escape, she fell from the window to her death!
Dunrobin Castle Gardens
Once you have finished exploring the castle, there are wonderful gardens to wander around. The gardens are stunning, and just like the castle, were inspired by the French. Filled with fascinating topiary that you can view from formal walkways between beautiful flowerbeds, the gardens of Dunrobin were actually inspired and modelled on the Garden of Versaille.
Photography is not permitted inside the castle, but feel free to take plenty of pictures in the gardens. There is definitely plenty for you to take photos of!
The gardens haven’t changed much since they were created 150 years ago. But, there have been a few recent refurbishments to the planting and ornaments. There are new avenues of Tuscan laurel and Whitebeam, and wooden pyramids have been constructed as an ornamental feature.
The gardens are well sheltered, so they can support a surprising range of plants. There is a huge clump of giant rhubarb whose leaves measure eight feet. Mexican orange blossom, Californian lilies, a rare climbing hybrid tea rose, and fuchsias all thrive, despite being in the harsh climate of the Scottish Highlands. A variety of fuchsia, created by a previous gardener, can be seen in the garden, and many of the flowers in the garden can also be seen within the castle, as all of the cut flowers within the castle are from the grounds.
Falconry displays and museum
There are regular falconry displays on the Castle lawn from April to October, typically, these displays occur twice a day. During the display, the falconer will share all sorts of incredible information about the birds of prey, and each day, a few lucky spectators get to take part and hold some of the birds.
Inside, the museum will provide you with lots more fascinating history. There are some very interesting collections housed there. Ethnographic items, archaeological relics, and even information on the coal mine at Brora. The museum is host to a collection of Pictish stones, a section on geology, and gold panning at Kildonan, as well as a display of animal heads that the family hunted on safari years ago.
The castle tour, gardens, museum, and falconry display are all included in the entry price.
Tea room, shop and directions
You can refuel in the delightful tea room. They serve a variety of drinks, sandwiches, hot meals, homemade soups, and cakes. Once you’ve had your fill to eat and drink, check out the gift shop. The shop has a great choice of gifts to take home as a reminder of your day, with quality Scottish crafts, hats, scarves, handbags, toiletries, postcards, and other souvenirs.
Sat nav: Golspie, Highland Council, Scotland, KW10 6SF
Google Maps has full directions that you can send to your mobile