Castles Near St. Andrews: Historical Gems of Scotland

Scotland is renowned for its rich history, breathtaking landscapes and timeless architecture. The castles near St. Andrews are a testament to Scotland’s remarkable past and offer a glimpse into the country’s grandeur. These historical gems showcase the architectural splendor of bygone eras and offer a unique glimpse into Scottish heritage.

If you’re a history buff, an architectural enthusiast or simply looking for a picturesque location to explore, the castles near St. Andrews are a must-visit destination. From the dramatic cliff-top location of Dunnottar Castle to the haunting fortress ruins of Tantallon Castle, each of these castles has a unique story to tell.

Key Takeaways:

  • Castles near St. Andrews offer a glimpse into Scotland’s rich history.
  • Each castle has a unique story to tell and showcases timeless architecture.
  • Exploring these castles is a must-do for history buffs and architectural enthusiasts.
  • The castles offer a picturesque location to explore and admire.
  • From Dunnottar Castle to Tantallon Castle, each castle is a gem of Scottish heritage.

Exploring St. Andrews Castle

When visiting St. Andrews, exploring the town’s castle is a must. The historical significance of St. Andrews Castle cannot be overstated. Located on the coast, the castle offers stunning views of the North Sea. This coastal location played a crucial role in the castle’s history, serving as a stronghold for many Scottish rulers throughout the centuries.

Walking through the castle, you’ll be transported through time as you learn about the historical events that took place within the walls of this iconic Scottish landmark. From the Wars of Scottish Independence to the Reformation, St. Andrews Castle has seen it all.

One of the most fascinating features of the castle is the underground mine and counter-mine, which was constructed during the Siege of St. Andrews in 1546-1547. This intricate system was designed to defend the castle during battle and can still be explored by visitors today.

If you’re interested in history or simply seeking breathtaking views, St. Andrews Castle is a must-visit attraction during your Scottish holiday. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the historical significance and coastal beauty of this iconic castle.

Discovering Dunnottar Castle

As you explore the castles near St. Andrews, Dunnottar Castle is a must-visit attraction that you cannot afford to miss. Built on a cliff-top location, this historic gem offers breathtaking and dramatic views of the North Sea.

Dunnottar Castle boasts an intriguing history dating back to the 3rd century, making it one of Scotland’s most historic castles. It is believed that William Wallace saved Scotland’s Crown Jewels from this castle during a siege by the English army.

The castle’s unique setting adds to its allure, and visitors can explore a variety of historical buildings, including a 14th-century chapel, a tower house, and barracks.

The ruins of Dunnottar Castle are open to the public, and visitors can immerse themselves in the fascinating history and take in the stunning panoramic views from the cliffs. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking views of this castle perched high on a cliff-top. Dunnottar Castle is a historical treasure that you will never forget!

Unveiling Glamis Castle

As you explore the castles near St. Andrews, make sure to visit Glamis Castle, a magnificent royal residence with architectural splendor that will leave you in awe. Located in the heart of Angus, Glamis Castle has been home to the Lyon family since the 14th century and has a rich history that spans over 600 years.

The castle’s stunning architecture, which features turrets, towers, and battlements, is a testament to the skill of its master craftsmen. The earliest part of the castle dates back to the 14th century, with subsequent additions and renovations made over the centuries to create the grand structure that stands today.

Aside from its architectural beauty, Glamis Castle is also known for its captivating stories. It was the childhood home of the late Queen Mother and is rumored to have hidden chambers and secret passageways. It is even said to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the castle’s many rooms, including the Great Hall, the Drawing Room, and the Queen Mother’s Sitting Room, which features a small exhibition about her life and connections to the castle. You’ll also want to take a stroll through the castle’s beautiful gardens, which feature ornate fountains and impressive topiary.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Glamis Castle, a true gem among Scotland’s historical landmarks. With its royal heritage and stunning architecture, it’s not hard to see why this castle is one of the most popular attractions in the area.

Roaming Through Falkland Palace

Falkland Palace is a true masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, boasting a rich historical significance and some of the most beautiful historic gardens in Scotland. Located in the picturesque town of Falkland, this palace was once a hunting lodge for the Scottish royals, and it still exudes an air of regal elegance to this day.

The highlight of Falkland Palace is undoubtedly its exquisite Renaissance architecture, which showcases an intriguing blend of Scottish and French influences. As you explore the palace, you’ll be struck by the intricate details and the stunning craftsmanship that have gone into every nook and cranny of this magnificent structure.

But the beauty of Falkland Palace doesn’t stop at its architecture alone. The historic gardens that surround the palace are equally awe-inspiring, with carefully manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and tranquil water features that transport you to a different time and place. Whether you’re a keen gardener or just someone who appreciates natural beauty, the gardens of Falkland Palace are sure to leave you spellbound.

Getting There

Falkland Palace is easily accessible by car, bus, or train from St. Andrews. If you’re driving, you can take the A91 to Falkland and follow the signs to the palace. Alternatively, you can take a bus from St. Andrews to Falkland, or hop on the train to Ladybank and then catch a bus or taxi to Falkland.

Once you arrive at Falkland Palace, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff who will guide you through the palace and its gardens, providing you with insights into the history and significance of this extraordinary site.

In conclusion, Falkland Palace is a must-visit destination for anyone who’s interested in Renaissance architecture, historic gardens, and the rich history of Scotland. So why not make a day trip to Falkland and discover the wonders of this timeless gem?

Exploring Castle Campbell

If you’re looking for a castle with a breathtaking mountainous backdrop, Castle Campbell is the perfect destination for you. Also known as the Castle of Gloom, this historic gem is a perfect example of Scottish architecture.

Located in the heart of Scotland, Castle Campbell offers an unforgettable experience. The castle is situated on the slopes of the Ochil Hills, which provide a stunning background to the castle.

Castle Campbell was built in the 15th century by the Campbell family, one of the most prominent clans in Scotland. It was also once a stronghold of Mary, Queen of Scots. The castle has a remarkable history, and its unique features are sure to leave you in awe.

Explore the castle’s dark history, climb the winding staircases and look out over the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The castle provides an incredible glimpse of life in medieval Scotland.

Castle Campbell is not just a historic castle but also a must-visit destination for those wanting to explore the Scottish highlands. Its unique location against the mountains and the beautiful scenic views makes it an exceptional attraction.

So, pack your bags for a journey to the Scottish highlands and discover the mysterious beauty of Castle Campbell, one of Scotland’s most iconic castles.

Marveling at Tantallon Castle

Perched atop the edge of a cliff, Tantallon Castle boasts some of the most dramatic coastal views in all of Scotland. The fortress ruins offer a glimpse into the castle’s storied past, and it’s easy to imagine what life was like within its walls.

Walking around Tantallon Castle, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe as you take in the stunning scenery that surrounds you. From the top of the castle walls, you’ll be able to see for miles along the coastline, and the views are simply breathtaking.

As you explore the castle ruins, you’ll discover more about its fascinating history. The castle was once a stronghold of the powerful Douglas family and played a significant role in Scotland’s conflicts with England.

Despite its ruined state, Tantallon Castle remains a popular tourist destination, and for good reason. The fortress ruins are a testament to Scotland’s enduring history and the indomitable spirit of its people.

If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable experience, make sure to visit Tantallon Castle. The dramatic coastal views and fortress ruins are sure to leave a lasting impression on you.

Discovering Dirleton Castle

You cannot miss the stunning beauty of Dirleton Castle in East Lothian, just a short drive from St. Andrews. The castle is known for its magnificent gardens and medieval fortress, dating back to the 13th century.

The castle’s beautiful gardens are a highlight of any visit, and it’s easy to see why. With its carefully tended lawns, richly scented flower beds, and tranquil ponds, the gardens are a testament to the skill of the castle’s gardeners. You can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, admiring the view of the castle from different angles.

The castle itself is a fine example of medieval fortress architecture. You can explore the remains of the castle’s Great Hall, Kitchen, and Chapel, and marvel at the intricate stonework that has withstood the test of time. The castle’s Keep, with its imposing tower, offers sweeping views over the surrounding countryside.

Dirleton Castle has a storied past, having been owned by several powerful Scottish families over the centuries. It was even used as a prison during the Scottish Reformation, a testament to its strategic significance. Today, the castle is a magnificent example of medieval architecture and a must-visit destination for history buffs and garden enthusiasts alike.

Unveiling Castle Huntly

If you’re looking for a unique castle experience, Castle Huntly should be on your list. This impressive castle is known for its Baronial architecture and intriguing history as a former prison.

Originally built in the 15th century, the castle has undergone several renovations and restorations over the years. Today, it stands as a testament to its rich history and architectural significance.

One of the most interesting aspects of Castle Huntly is its history as a prison. Between 1963 and 2011, it served as an open prison, where prisoners were allowed to work outside the walls during the day and return at night.

The castle’s impressive structure and historic prison cells offer a unique glimpse into Scotland’s past. And if you’re looking for a bit of adventure, you can even spend a night in one of the castle’s former prison cells.

Whether you’re interested in Baronial architecture, historic prisons, or simply looking for a unique experience, Castle Huntly is a must-visit attraction.

Roaming Through Castle Fraser

Castle Fraser, located in Aberdeenshire, is a stunning example of a tower house that has remained largely unchanged since its construction in the 15th century. It is an architectural gem that has stood the test of time, offering visitors an opportunity to explore its historic interiors and immerse themselves in Scotland’s rich history.

The tower house was built for the Fraser family and was later expanded upon in the 17th century when a grand mansion was added. The castle has been in the hands of the Fraser family for over 400 years and is now open to visitors who can explore its numerous rooms, each with its own unique story to tell.

Castle Fraser’s historic interiors have been well-preserved, allowing visitors to step back in time and imagine what life was like for the aristocracy in medieval Scotland. The castle’s furnishings and artwork offer a glimpse into the past, with each item providing a unique insight into the castle’s history.

One of the standout features of Castle Fraser is its impressive collection of portraits. The Fraser family was known for its patronage of the arts and many of the portraits on display are of notable figures from Scottish history, including Mary, Queen of Scots, and James VI.

As you roam through the castle, you’ll notice that many of the rooms have their original fireplaces, adding to the castle’s historic charm. The castle also has a beautiful walled garden where visitors can take a stroll and admire the picturesque surroundings.

Castle Fraser is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in Scotland’s rich history. Its well-preserved historic interiors, impressive collection of portraits, and beautiful surroundings make it a truly unforgettable experience.

Marveling at Crichton Castle

Located in a picturesque setting, Crichton Castle is an architectural masterpiece that showcases the influence of Italian Renaissance design. The castle’s unique features and historic surroundings make it a must-visit attraction in Scotland.

As you explore the castle, you’ll be drawn to the impressive façade, which is adorned with intricate carvings and elegant arches. The castle’s interior is equally stunning, featuring ornate ceilings, grand fireplaces, and impressive spiral staircases.

During your visit, be sure to stroll through the castle’s lush gardens, which offer picturesque views of the surrounding countryside. You can also immerse yourself in the castle’s rich history by listening to the audio guides that provide fascinating insights into the castle’s past and the people that called it home.

Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast or a history buff, Crichton Castle is a true gem that you won’t want to miss. So, pack your bags and head to Scotland to experience the beauty and charm of this Italian Renaissance masterpiece.


You have now explored the fascinating castles near St. Andrews that offer a glimpse into Scotland’s rich history and timeless architecture. From the coastal location of St. Andrews Castle to the dramatic views of Dunnottar Castle, each castle has its unique features waiting to be discovered.

You have roamed through Falkland Palace’s Renaissance architecture and historic gardens, and climbed the mountainous backdrop of Castle Campbell, also known as the Castle of Gloom. You have marveled at Tantallon Castle’s dramatic coastal views and haunting fortress ruins and discovered the beauty of Dirleton Castle’s stunning gardens and medieval fortress.

You have unveiled the impressive Baronial architecture of Castle Huntly and the striking tower house of Castle Fraser with its well-preserved historic interiors. You also marvelled at Crichton Castle, influenced by Italian Renaissance architecture, and situated in a picturesque setting.

In conclusion, these castles are not just historical gems, but also offer a glimpse into the vibrant culture and rich heritage of Scotland. Embark on an adventure to explore these timeless gems, and immerse yourself in the captivating stories, unique features, and architectural splendor that awaits you.


Are these castles open to the public?

Yes, all of the castles near St. Andrews are open to the public. Visitors can explore their grounds, tour the interior, and learn about their history.

Can I take photographs inside the castles?

Photography is generally allowed inside the castles, but it’s always best to check with the staff on any specific restrictions or guidelines.

Are there guided tours available?

Yes, guided tours are available at most of the castles. These tours provide in-depth information about the history, architecture, and interesting stories associated with each castle.

Can I bring my pet to the castles?

Pets are usually not allowed inside the castles due to preservation and safety reasons. However, they may be allowed in designated outdoor areas. It’s best to check with the staff beforehand.

Are there facilities such as cafes or toilets available at the castles?

Many of the castles have facilities such as cafes, gift shops, and toilets for visitors. However, the availability may vary, so it’s advisable to check the specific castle’s website or contact them directly for accurate information.

Can I host events or weddings at these castles?

Some of the castles near St. Andrews offer event and wedding hosting services. It’s recommended to reach out to the castle’s management for more details, including availability, requirements, and any associated costs.

Are there any special events or activities held at the castles?

The castles often host special events, festivals, or reenactments to engage visitors with Scotland’s history and culture. Check their websites or local tourism boards for information about upcoming events and activities.

Can I access the castles by public transportation?

Some castles may be accessible by public transportation, such as buses or trains. However, others may require private transportation or a combination of public transport and walking. It’s recommended to plan your journey in advance or consider renting a car for convenience.

Are there any accessibility provisions for people with disabilities?

Many castles strive to provide accessible facilities and services for visitors with disabilities. It’s advisable to contact the castle directly to inquire about specific accessibility provisions and any assistance that may be available.

Can I purchase souvenirs at the castles?

Gift shops are often available at the castles, offering a range of souvenirs, books, and traditional Scottish products. It’s a great way to take home a lasting memory of your visit.