Top Historic Sights in Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Explore the historic highlights of Isle of Skye

Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle was the seat of Clan MacLeod chiefs. Dunvegan Castle is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the stronghold of the chiefs of the clan for 800 years. A curtain wall was built round the hill in the 13th century around a former Norse fort which was only accessible through a sea gate. A castle was constructed within the curtain wall by Malcolm MacLeod around 1350. Today Dunvegan c ...
Founded: c. 1350 | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Talisker Distillery

Talisker distillery is an Island single malt Scotch whisky distillery based in Carbost — the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. The distillery is operated by United Distillers and Vintners for Diageo, and is marketed as part of their Classic Malts series. The distillery was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, and built in 1831 at Carbost after a number of false starts on other sites when they acquired the ...
Founded: 1830 | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Christ's Church Ruins

Cill Chriosd (Christ's Church or 'Kilchrist') is a ruined former parish church. The location is thought to have a heritage of Christian worship dating back to the 7th century, when St. Mael Ruba preached from nearby. The original Parish church for Strath was located at Ashiag, and was founded by St Mael Ruba in the 7th Century AD; the new parish church was relocated to this location in the later Middle Ages. The present r ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Armadale Castle

Armadale Castle is a ruined country house and the former home of the MacDonalds clan. A mansion house was first built here around 1790. In 1815 a Scottish baronial style mock-castle, intended for show rather than defense, designed by James Gillespie Graham, was built next to the house. After 1855 the part of the house destroyed by fire was replaced by a central wing, designed by David Bryce. Since 1925 the castle, abando ...
Founded: 1790 | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dun Beag

Dun Beag is an iron-age broch situated at the north end of a small rocky knoll. The broch consists of a drystone tower with a diameter of around 18.6 metres with walls about 4 metres thick at the base. The broch currently stands to a maximum height of 2 metres. The interior has a diameter of about 11 metres, and the entrance is on the east side. Internally three openings are visible in the broch wall. One leads to a smal ...
Founded: 200-300 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dunscaith Castle Ruins

Dunscaith Castle is named after and was the home of the warrior maiden Scáthach. The castle itself sits on an off-shore rock. There is a gap between the rock and the mainland which was once spanned by a walled bridge. This stone walled bridge then led onto a drawbridge, the pivot holes for which are still visible on the far side. Once on the other side of the drawbridge a door opened to a flight of stairs which was also ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Caisteal Maol

Caisteal Maol (Castle Moil) was an ancient seat of the Mackinnon clan. It was a fortress commanding the strait of Kyle Akin between Skye and the mainland, through which all ships had to pass or else attempt the stormy passage of The Minch. The present building dates back to the 15th century, but is traditionally reputed to be of much earlier origin. According to that tradition, Alpín mac Echdach"s great-grandson F ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dun Ardtreck

Dun Ardtreck is a D-shaped dun, or 'semi-broch', situated on a rocky knoll on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. It encloses an area of about 13 by 10 metres. It was constructed with a ruidmentary hollow-wall. The entrance is particularly well-preserved with door-checks characteristic of brochs. The entrance to a guard cell led off to the right behind the door-checks. Dun Ardtreck was excavated by Euan W. ...
Founded: 115 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Knock Castle Ruins

Knock Castle, also known as Caisteal Chamuis is a former stronghold of the MacDonalds. Currently the castle is in ruins; it consists of an old 15th century keep of which one part, a window, remains to some height with traces of later buildings. The castle was constructed by the Clan MacLeod and later captured by the Clan MacDonald in the late 15th century. Ownership of the castle passed between the two clans several time ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dun Ringill

Dun Ringill is an Iron Age hill fort on the Strathaird peninsula. Further fortified in the Middle Ages, tradition holds that it was for several centuries the seat of Clan MacKinnon. The original structure is consistent with an Iron Age Broch dating to approximately the first years of the common era. The main and subordinate structures have been occupied and modified throughout its history until the 19th century. Tradition ...
Founded: 0-100 AD | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Snizort Cathedral Ruins

Snizort Cathedral was founded under the authority of the Archbishop of Nidaros (Trondheim) in Norway. Amongst its more famous bishops was Wimund, who according to William of Newburgh became a seafaring warlord adventurer in the years after 1147. According to tradition, the cathedral was founded near a site where Columba had preached from a rock, which later became known as St. Columba"s rock. The site may originally ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dun Borrafiach

Dun Borrafiach is an Iron Age broch located on the Waternish peninsula of Skye. It occupies a rocky outcrop overlooking the Borrafiach Burn. Dun Borrafiach has an external diameter of 16.5 metres, and the walls still stand to a height of 2.7 metres on the south side. The entrance is on the northwest side of the broch. The northeast side of the entrance-way appears to have been narrowed in antiquity by the insertion of add ...
Founded: 300-200 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dun Fiadhairt

Dun Fiadhairt is an Iron Age broch standing on a low, rocky knoll in the midst of moorland, on a peninsula which juts into the east side of Loch Dunvegan. The broch has an external diameter of 16.8 metres and an internal diameter of 9.6 metres. The main entrance is on the west side of the broch and the entrance passage is 3.7 metres long. The passage contains two opposing guard cells. The interior of the broch contains a ...
Founded: 300-0 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Dun Hallin

Dun Hallin is an Iron Age broch located on the Waternish peninsula of Skye. Dun Hallin has an external diameter of around 17.4 metres and an internal diameter of around 10.5 metres. The broch walls currently stand to a maximum height of 3.8 metres on the north and west sides. The entrance is on the southeast side but is in a ruined state. On each side of the entrance passage are oval guard cells, although only the norther ...
Founded: 300-100 BC | Location: Isle of Skye, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Craigmillar Castle

Craigmillar is one of Scotland’s most perfectly preserved castles. It began as a simple tower-house residence. Gradually, over time, it developed into a complex of structures and spaces, as subsequent owners attempted to improve its comfort and amenity. As a result, there are many nooks and crannies to explore.

The surrounding gardens and parkland were also important. The present-day Craigmillar Castle Park has fascinating reminders of the castle’s days as a rural retreat on the edge of Scotland’s capital city.

At the core lies the original, late-14th-century tower house, among the first of this form of castle built in Scotland. It stands 17m high to the battlements, has walls almost 3m thick, and holds a warren of rooms, including a fine great hall on the first floor.

‘Queen Mary’s Room’, also on the first floor, is where Mary is said to have slept when staying at Craigmillar. However, it is more likely she occupied a multi-roomed apartment elsewhere in the courtyard, probably in the east range.

Sir Simon Preston was a loyal supporter of Queen Mary, whom she appointed as Provost of Edinburgh. In this capacity, he was her host for her first night as a prisoner, at his townhouse in the High Street, on 15 June 1567. She was taken to Lochleven Castle the following day.

The west range was rebuilt after 1660 as a family residence for the Gilmour family.

The 15th-century courtyard wall is well preserved, complete with gunholes shaped like inverted keyholes. Ancillary buildings lie within it, including a private family chapel.