Top Historic Sights in Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Explore the historic highlights of Argyll and Bute

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle is a country house which has been the seat of the Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, since the 17th century. Work on the castle began in the 1750s, in Gothic revival style. Later additions included a third floor with dormer windows and steep conical roofs. The village of Inveraray was moved in the 1770s to give the castle a more secluded setting. Designers who worked on the house include William Ada ...
Founded: 1750s | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Kilchurn Castle

Kilchurn Castle is a ruined 15th and 17th century structure on a rocky peninsula at the northeastern end of Loch Awe. It was the ancestral home of the Campbells of Glen Orchy, who later became the Earls of Breadalbane also known as the Breadalbane family branch, of the Clan Campbell. The earliest construction on the castle was the towerhouse and Laich Hall. Kilchurn Castle was built in about 1450 by Sir Colin Campbell, f ...
Founded: c. 1450 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Dunstaffnage Castle

Dunstaffnage Castle is one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland. It guards the seaward approach from the Firth of Lorn to the Pass of Brander – and thereby the heart of Scotland. The castle was built around 1220, probably by Duncan MacDougall, son of Dubhgall, Lord of Lorn, and grandson of the great Somerled ‘King of the Isles’. These were stirring times in Argyll, because of the remarkable struggle b ...
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Skipness Castle Ruins

Skipness Castle was built in the early 13th century by the Clan MacSween with later fortifications and other additions made to the castle through the 13th, 14th and 16th centuries. The castle was garrisoned with royal troops in 1494 during King James IV of Scotland"s suppression of the Isles. Archibald Campbell, 2nd Earl of Argyll granted Skipness to his younger son Archibald Campbell in 1511. During the Wars of the ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Dunollie Castle Ruins

Dunollie Castle is a small ruined castle located on a hill north of the town of Oban. The castle is open to the public as part of the Dunollie Museum, Castle and Grounds. There was a fortification on this high promontory in the Early Middle Ages, when Dunollie was the royal centre of the Cenél Loairn within the kingdom of Dál Riata. The Irish annals record that 'Dun Ollaigh' was attacked or burned ...
Founded: c. 1200 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Castle Stalker

Castle Stalker is a four-storey tower house or keep set on a tidal islet on Loch Laich. The island castle"s picturesque appearance, with its bewitching island setting against a dramatic backdrop of mountains, has made it a favourite subject for postcards and calendars, and something of a cliché image of Scottish Highland scenery. Castle Stalker is entirely authentic; it is one of the best-preserved medieval to ...
Founded: 1440s | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Gylen Castle

Gylen Castle was built in 1582 by the Clan MacDougall. Gylen was only occupied for a relatively short period of time. The castle was besieged then burned by the Covenanters under General Leslie in 1647 during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. In May 2006 a restoration of the castle was completed with a £300,000 grant by Historic Scotland and £200,000 raised by worldwide members of Clan MacDougall.
Founded: 1582 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Kilmartin Glen

Kilmartin Glen is an area in Argyll, which has one of the most important concentrations of Neolithic and Bronze Age remains in Scotland. There are more than 350 ancient monuments within a six mile radius of the village, with 150 of them being prehistoric. Monuments include standing stones, a henge monument, numerous cists, and a 'linear cemetery' comprising five burial cairns. Several of these, as well as many n ...
Founded: 3000 BC | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Tarbert Castle Ruins

Tarbert Castle was a strategic royal stronghold during the Middle Ages and one of three castles at Tarbert. The castle overlooks the harbour and although pre-14th century in construction, the tower dates back to 1494 and the visit of James IV to the Western Highlands. In 712, Tarbert was burned by King Selbach mac Ferchair of Cenél Loairn and of Dál Riata and in 731 by his son, Dúngal mac Selbaig. K ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Carnasserie Castle

Carnasserie Castle is a ruined 16th-century tower house built by reforming churchman John Carswell, who was Rector of Kilmartin, Chancellor of the Chapel Royal at Stirling, and later titular Bishop of the Isles. Construction began in 1565 using masons brought from Stirling. Although the castle was notionally built for Carswell's patron, the Earl of Argyll, he intended it as a personal residence for himself. On Carswell's ...
Founded: 1565 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

St Brendan's Chapel

St Brendan"s Chapel was built in the late 13th or early 14th century date by Clann Somhairle and was dedicated to St. Brendan. The chapel replaced an earlier chapel dedicated to St. Columba, which had been incorporated into nearby Skipness Castle.
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Saddell Castle

Saddell Castle was built by David Hamilton, Bishop of Argyll, between 1508 and 1512 from the stones of the ruined Saddell Abbey. The castle was gifted to James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Arran by Bishop James Hamilton, as payment of debts and taxes in 1556. The Earl of Arran exchanged it with the Chief of Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg, James MacDonald in exchange for James"s lands on the Isle of Arran. The castle was ransack ...
Founded: 1508-1512 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Bonawe Iron Furnace

The most complete charcoal-fuelled ironworks in Britain, Bonawe was founded in 1753 by Cumbrian iron masters who were attracted by the industrial potential of Argyll’s woodlands. Bonawe Iron Furnace is situated in a spectacular setting at the head of Loch Etive which extends up towards the dramatic Glen Coe. At its height the furnace produced up to 700 tons of pig iron from Cumbrian ore annually which was cast into ...
Founded: 1753 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Dunadd Hill Fort

Dunadd is an Iron Age and later hillfort near Kilmartin in Argyll and Bute. Originally occupied in the Iron Age, the site later became a seat of the kings of Dál Riata. It is known for its unique stone carvings below the upper enclosure, including a footprint and basin thought to have formed part of Dál Riata's coronation ritual. On the same flat outcrop of rock is an incised boar in Pictish style, and an inscription in ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Temple Wood

Temple Wood is an ancient site located in Kilmartin Glen. The site includes two circles (north and south). The southern circle contains a ring of 13 standing stones about 12 metres in diameter. In the past it may have had 22 stones. In the centre is a burial cist surrounded by a circle of stones about 3 metres in diameter. Other later burials are associated with the circle. According to the Historic Scotland information m ...
Founded: 3000 BC | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Ardchattan Priory

Ardchattan Priory was established in 1230 or 1231 by an obscure order of monks from France, the Valliscaulians. They followed a strict form of monastic rule, with emphasis more on the ascetic religious life than on manual work. Houses were limited to no more than 20 brothers, and the monks’ livelihood depended on rents and teinds (tithes) from endowments. Their church, in common with all Valliscaulian houses, was de ...
Founded: 1230-1231 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Old Castle Lachlan

Castle Lachlan lies on the eastern shore of Loch Fyne, near Newton. According to the Clan Maclachlan Society website, the original castle dates back to the 13th century. The original castle was later replaced in the 15th century with the keep or tower that today is in ruins.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Oronsay Priory Ruins

Oronsay Priory was a monastery of canons regular on the island of Oronsay. It was in existence by 1353, perhaps founded by John of Islay, Lord of the Isles. It was dedicated to St. Columba, and perhaps was a continuation or a re-activation of an older foundation. Very little is known about it because of the absence of records and its remoteness from the Scottish Lowlands, but on occasions some of the Priors of Oronsay com ...
Founded: 1353 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Saddell Abbey Ruins

Saddell Abbey was a Cistercian monastery founded in 1207 by Ragnall, son of Somairle mac Gille Brigte. It was established by monks from Mellifont Abbey in Ireland. Very little is known about the abbey and its history. It probably enjoyed several centuries of good monastic life, but by the reign of James IV of Scotland monastic life had apparently disappeared. It was proposed to the Pope that the bishopric of Argyll should ...
Founded: 1207 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Carrick Castle

The present Carrick Castle is possibly the third on this location. The first may have been a Viking fort. The second structure, and first castle, is believed to have been built in the 12th century. Allegedly a hunting seat of the Scots kings, Carrick was originally a Lamont stronghold. In the spring of 1307, Robert the Bruce drove Henry Percy from the Castle before conducting a guerrilla war against Edward I of England. E ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Barcaldine Castle

Barcaldine Castle is a 17th-century tower house castle built by Sir Duncan Campbell, of Glenorchy, between 1601 and 1609. The castle fell into disrepair in the later 19th century, when Barcaldine House became the principal residence of the family. It was restored between 1897-1911 and now operates as the Barcaldine Castle bed & breakfast hotel.
Founded: 1601-1609 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Kilmartin Castle

Kilmartin Castle, a small tower house, dating from about 1580, stands above the village. Kilmartin was a property of the Campbells, many of whom are buried in the churchyard. John Carswell, Rector of Kilmartin and later titular Bishop of the Isles, lived here before moving to his new residence at Carnasserie Castle. The castle comprises an oblong, three-storey main block, with round towers to the north-east and south-west ...
Founded: c. 1580 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Fincharn Castle

Fincharn Castle was built in 1240 by the Lord of Glassary, but the present ruin must represent a later castle. It is said to have belonged to the MacMartins or to the MacIains.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Dunderave Castle

Dunderave Castle is an L-plan castle built in the 16th century as the Scottish seat of the MacNaughton clan. The castle lies on a small promontory on the northern shores of Loch Fyne. The castle is in use as a residence. The present castle was built after their previous castle was destroyed following a Plague infection. The old castle, and remnants of McNaughton crannógs, can still be seen on the lochan known as th ...
Founded: c. 1500 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Innes Chonnel Castle Ruins

Innes Chonnel Castle is a ruined 13th-century castle on an island on Loch Awe near Dalavich, Scotland. It was once a stronghold of Clan Campbell. The existing buildings belong to several different periods, the earliest surviving building being the inner bailey which was erected in the first half of the 13th century as a small, rectangular castle of enceinte. Within this, a number of buildings were grouped round a small, c ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Castle Lachlan

Castle Lachlan, or New Castle Lachlan, is an 18th-century baronial mansion or country house located at Strathlachlan. It was built in 1790 by Donald Maclachlan, 19th laird, to replace the 15th century Old Castle Lachlan, which stands nearby on the shores of Loch Fyne.
Founded: 1790 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Coeffin Castle Ruins

Coeffin Castle was built on the site of a Viking fortress. The name Coeffin is thought to come from Caifen who was a Viking prince, and whose sister supposedly haunted the castle until her remains were taken back to be buried beside her lover in Norway. Coeffin Castle was built in the 13th century, probably by the MacDougalls of Lorn. Lismore was an important site within their lordship, being the location of St. Moluag's ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Kilmahew Castle Ruins

Kilmahew Castle was built upon the lands granted to the Napiers by Malcolm, the Earl of Lennox around the year 1290. The castle itself was built sometime in the 16th century by the Napier family, who owned it for 18 generations. The Napiers who owned Kilmahew are notable for being the progenitors of most of the Napiers in North America, as well as some of their members who had notable contributions in the field of enginee ...
Founded: c. 1290 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Duntrune Castle

Duntrune Castle is thought to be the oldest continuously occupied castle on mainland Scotland. It was originally built by the MacDougall clan in the 12th century, along with several other castles in the area, including the MacDougall stronghold of Dunollie Castle near Oban. Duntrune Castle was eventually taken by the Clan Campbell. In 1644, the castle was besieged by the rival MacDonalds, under Alasdair Mac Colla. The Cam ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Castle Sween

Castle Sween is thought to be one of the earliest stone castles built in Scotland, having been built sometime in the late twelfth century. The castle's towers were later additions to wooden structures which have now since vanished. Castle Sween takes its name from Suibhne, whose name was Anglicised as 'Sween'. He was thought to have built the castle. Suibhne was thought to have been a grandson of Hugh the Splendid O'Neil ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Castle Toward

Castle Toward was built in 1820 to replace a late medieval castle, which was home of the Clan Lamont. In the Second World War it served as HMS Brontosaurus, and after the war it was sold to Glasgow Corporation. It was used as an outdoor education facility until closure in 2009. The original Toward Castle dates from the 15th century, and was owned by the Clan Lamont until 1809. The castle was extended in the 17th century, ...
Founded: 1820 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Inchkenneth Chapel Ruins

Inchkenneth, ‘Kenneth’s Island’, is dedicated to Kenneth of Aghaboe, a contemporary of St Columba. However, no evidence survives for an early Christian monastery on the island. The present ruin is a rectangular chapel dating from the 1200s. In form it is like many medieval churches in the Highlands – small, sparsely lit and simply arranged. The entrance was through a door at the west end of the no ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Eilean Mor

Eilean Mor, ‘the big isle’ at the south end of Loch Sween, has three ancient monuments – a cave, a chapel and a cross. Together, they tell the story of Christianity in this corner of Scotland. The cave is known as St Cormac’s Cave, after the Irish saint Cormaig, legendary founder of nearby Keills Chapel, who is reputed to have used the cave as his hermitage, or retreat. It is now entered through a fissure in the ...
Founded: 700-1300 AD | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Achallader Castle Ruins

Achallader Castle is a ruined 16th-century tower house. Sir Duncan Campbell of Glen Orchy acquired the castle and surrounding lands through his treachery and betrayal of the Chief of the Mcinleisters in 1587. It is said that when the Fletchers owned Achallader, Sir Duncan Campbell - known as Black Duncan - ordered an English servant (or soldier) to pasture his horse in the Fletchers’ corn. When warned off by the Fle ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Ballochroy

Ballochroy is a megalithic site in Kintyre on the Argyll peninsula. It consists of three vertical stones, side by side, aligned with various land features 11–31 km away. Alexander Thom, known for his work on Stonehenge, maintained that the great length between the stones and the features of distant landscape lent precision to pinpointing the midsummer and winter solstices for ancient observers. These three stones ...
Founded: 1800 BC | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.