Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Killyleagh Castle

Killyleagh Castle dominates the small village and is believed to be the oldest inhabited castle in the country, with parts dating back to 1180. It follows the architectural style of a Loire Valley château, being redesigned by architect Sir Charles Lanyon in the mid-19th century. It has been owned by the Hamilton family since the early 17th century. Killyleagh was settled in the 12th century by Norman knight John ...
Founded: 1180 | Location: Killyleagh, United Kingdom

Cortachy Castle

Cortachy Castle is a castellated mansion House at Cortachy, some four miles north of Kirriemuir. The present building dates from the 15th century, preceded by an earlier structure that was owned by the Earls of Strathearn. It was acquired by the Ogilvies in 1473 and substantively modified in the 17th and 19th centuries. In 1820 it was 'romanticised', as was the fashion of the day, by the addition of crenellatio ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Cortachy, United Kingdom

Johnstone Castle

Johnstone Castle belonged to the Houstouns of Milliken, who acquired the estate of Easter Cochrane in 1773. The original structure was substantially enlarged in 1771 and 1812 by George Houstoun, who had the structure remodelled in a castellated style complete with a turret at the left hand of the front elevation, possibly by the architect James Gillespie Graham. The most notable features were barrel vaulted rooms in the ...
Founded: 1771 | Location: Johnstone, United Kingdom

Narberth Castle

Narberth Castle is a ruined Norman fortress in the town of Narberth. The current ruins are undoubtedly Norman and seem to date from the 13th century, having been built by Andrew Perrot. However the castle is mentioned in the third branch of the Mabinogi as the place where Rhiannon was imprisoned and forced to carry travellers through the gates as penance for killing her son. Although there is some controversy over the act ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Narberth, United Kingdom

Shane's Castle

Shane"s Castle is a ruined castle near Randalstown in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. The castle is on the north-east shores of Lough Neagh. Built in 1345 by a member of the O"Neill dynasty, it was originally called Eden-duff-carrick. Shane MacBrien O"Neill changed the name to Shane"s Castle in 1722. Multiple scenes of Game of Thrones series have been shot in and around the 2600-acre estate ...
Founded: 1345 | Location: Randalstown, 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

Rosyth Castle

Rosyth Castle is a fifteenth-century ruined tower house on the perimeter of Rosyth Naval Dockyard. It originally stood on a small island in the Firth of Forth accessible only at low tide, and dates from around 1450, built as a secure residence by Sir David Stewart, who had been granted the Barony of Rosyth in 1428. The original tower house was enlarged and extended in the 16th and early 17th centuries. In 1572 it was at ...
Founded: c. 1450 | Location: Barham Road, United Kingdom

Audley's Castle

Audley"s Castle is a three-storey tower house named after its 16th century owner, John Audley. There are thousands of small stone towers similar to Audley"s Castle in the Irish countryside. They are one of the commonest of archaeological sites, which indicates these were not buildings put up for the higher aristocracy, but for lesser lords and gentry. Most were built in the late Middle Ages (roughly 13 ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Downpatrick, United Kingdom

Fort Saumarez

Fort Saumarez is a Martello tower in Saint Peter, Guernsey, on a headland that forms the northern tip of L"Erée and extends to the Lihou causeway. It was constructed in 1804 on the site of an existing battery after the onset of the Napoleonic Wars, and during the tenure (1803-1813) of Lieutenant Governor General Sir John Doyle. Doyle named the tower for the Guernsey native and renowned Royal Navy Captain, Sir ...
Founded: 1804 | Location: Guernsey, United Kingdom

Narrow Water Castle

Narrow Water Castle is a famous 16th-century tower house and bawn near Warrenpoint. In 1212, a keep was built on the site by Hugh de Lacy, first Earl of Ulster, to prevent river-borne attacks on Newry. In the 1560s, the tower house and bawn were built. It is a typical example of the tower houses built throughout Ireland from the 14th until the early 17th century. This kind of building, normally rectangular in p ...
Founded: 1560s | Location: Warrenpoint, United Kingdom

Kinnaird Castle

Kinnaird castle has been home to the Carnegie family, the Earls of Southesk, for more than 600 years. In 1400 Duthac Carnegie married Mariota of Kinnaird and the Castle dates from that time. Early records were lost in 1452 when the castle was burnt down after the battle of Brechin. The Carnegies were, for once, on the winning side supporting the King but unfortunately the Earl of Crawford, who was on the losing side, took ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Brechin, United Kingdom

Sketrick Castle

Sketrick Castle castle dates from the late 12th century. In the 14th century it was acquired by Sir Robert Savage. The Annals of the Four Masters record the capture of the castle in 1470 by an army led by the O'Neill to assist the MacQuillans. They took the castle and it was given to MacQuillan for safe keeping. It was intact until 1896 when a storm demolished much of it. Sketrick Castle was four storeys high, with a b ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Newtownards, United Kingdom

Kilbryde Castle

Kilbryde Castle is a castellated Scottish castle in the Scots baronial style. Its extensive gardens are open to the public on selected days or by appointment. The property was originally built by the Earl of Menteith in 1460. It is currently owned by Sir James and Lady Carola Campbell. The family has owned the castle since 1659. The castle was remodelled by the Scottish architect Thomas Heiton to its current appearance ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Doune, United Kingdom

Tulloch Castle

Tulloch Castle probably dates to the mid-16th century, when Duncan Bane was granted the barony of Tulloch in 1542. Over the years, it has served as a family home for members of the Bain family and Clan Davidson, as a hospital after the evacuation of Dunkirk, and as a hostel for the local education authority. It is currently used as a hotel and conference centre. Tulloch Castle has been subject to several structural chang ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Dingwall, United Kingdom

Drumin Castle

Drumin Castle is a ruined tower house near Glenlivet, Moray. The lands were granted by King Robert II to his son Alexander Stewart in the early 1370s. It passed from the Stewart family to the Gordon family in 1490. The castle was abandoned in the 18th century and fell into disrepair.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Ballindalloch, United Kingdom

Tully Castle

Tully Castle was built for Sir John Hume, a Scottish planter. During the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Rory Maguire set out to recapture his family’s lands. He arrived at Tully Castle with a large following on Christmas Eve, and found the castle full of women and children. Most of the men were away. Lady Mary Hume surrendered the Castle, believing that she had assured a safe conduct for all in her care, but on Christmas Day ...
Founded: c. 1610 | Location: Blaney, United Kingdom

Dunnideer Castle Ruins

Dunnideer Castle, now ruined, was a tower house located near Insch, Aberdeenshire. It was built c. 1260 partially from the remains of an existing vitrified hill fort in the same location. It consisted of a single rectangular tower of 15m by 12.5m with walls 1.9m thick. Evidence suggests that a first-floor hall existed. Evidence shows it had several floors. The tower house is built within an older prehistoric vitri ...
Founded: c. 1260 | Location: Insch, United Kingdom

Carbisdale Castle

Carbisdale Castle was built in 1905-1917 for the Duchess of Sutherland on a hill across the Kyle of Sutherland. The castle has 365 windows, and the clock-tower only has clocks on three sides: the side facing Sutherland does not have a clock. There is a secret door below the Great Staircase which could be opened by rotating one of the statues. This mechanism is no longer in use. Until its closure, the castle had a large co ...
Founded: 1905-1917 | Location: Highland, 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

Ballygally Castle

Ballygally Castle overlooks the sea at the head of Ballygally Bay. Now run as a hotel, it is the only 17th century building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland, and is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in all of Ulster. The castle was built in 1625 by James Shaw, of Scotland, who had come to the area and rented the land from the Earl of Antrim. Over the main entrance door to the castle, leading to ...
Founded: 1625 | Location: Ballygally, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.

Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.