Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Erchless Castle

Erchless Castle was built in the 13th century by the Bissetts and it came into the hands of the Chisholms. It was remodelled in the early 17th century as an L-plan tower house and underwent further alterations in the 19th century with the addition of a Baronial-style wing in 1895. During World War II the castle was said to have been requisitioned by the military for use as a rest centre for staff employed in entertaining ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Highland, 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

Craigston Castle

Craigston Castle is a historic home of the Urquhart family. It was built 1604–07 by John Urquhart of Craigfintry. The castle is composed of two main wings flanking the entrance and connected by an elevated arch, and surmounted by a richly corbelled parapet. There are bases for corner turrets near the top corner of each wing, but the turrets themselves do not appear to have ever been completed. The wood carvings in th ...
Founded: 1604-1607 | Location: Turriff, United Kingdom

Fetteresso Castle

Fetteresso Castle is a 14th-century towerhouse, rebuilt in 1761 as a Scottish gothic style Palladian manor, with clear evidence of prehistoric use of the site. In 1822 a cairn was discovered near Fetteresso Castle with some human remains inside. The burial site was clearly a Bronze Age construct by the size and shape of the chamber made of unhewn whinstone. Some legends tell that this is the grave of Malcolm I, wh ...
Founded: 1761 | Location: Fetteresso, United Kingdom

Crom Castle

The present structure of Crom Castle was built in 1820 and, although Queen Victoria"s reign began in 1837, the building was built in the Victorian style and has since been the home to the Creighton (later Crichton) family, Earls of Erne. Crom Estate also contains the ruins of the Old Castle, a tower house, which was previously owned by the Balfour family until the Creightons acquired it in 1609. The castle is p ...
Founded: 1820 | Location: Enniskillen, United Kingdom

Olderfleet Castle

Olderfleet Castle is a four-storey towerhouse, the remains of which stand on Curran Point to the south of Larne Harbour. The original towerhouse was possibly built by the Scoto-Irish Bissett family of Glenarm around 1250, although these remains are actually thought to be those of Curran Castle, a towerhouse built in the sixteenth-century. On a 1610 map it was called Coraine Castle. In 1315 Edward Bruce land ...
Founded: 1612 | Location: Larne, United Kingdom

Castle Cary Castle

Castle Cary Castle is a fifteenth-century tower house. It is located near to the site of one of the principal forts of the Roman Antonine Wall. The earliest known record of Castlecary may be from 1304 when a writ was sent from St Andrews to the sheriff of Stirling by King Edward I. It reportedly contained orders for the sheriff to bring all of the forces under his command to "Chastel Kary". The tower, about 12 ...
Founded: c. 1480 | Location: North Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

Stanely Castle

Stanely Castle is located in the waters of Stanely Reservoir. It was probably built in the early 15th century, on an island within a marsh. The castle is now a ruin. Since 1837 it has been partially submerged by the reservoir, and is completely inaccessible. When the water is drained it can be seen that the castle stands on a narrow promontory, which is connected to the reservoir bank on the southwest. Stanely was the an ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Paisley, United Kingdom

Duntarvie Castle

Duntarvie Castle is a ruined Scots Renaissance house in West Lothian. The lands of Duntarvie were in possession of the Lindsays from 1527. A charter of 1605 transferred the property from the Lindsays to the Hamiltons of Abercorn, and this 1605 charter infers the existence of the castle as early as 1212. The Durham family held Duntarvie as tenants of the Hamiltons, although according to Historic Environment Scotland, Dunta ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Winchburgh, United Kingdom

Leslie Castle

Leslie Castle is the historical seat of Clan Leslie, located just to the west of Auchleven. It was built on the site of a former castle (probably a wooden motte and bailey) around 1661. In the late 1970s restoration of the castle was begun and by the end of the 1980s this was completed. In 1995, a Leslie Clan Gathering was held at Leslie Castle. It is now operated as bed and breakfast accommodation.
Founded: 1661 | Location: Auchleven, 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

Inchdrewer Castle

Inchdrewer Castle is a 16th-century tower house in the parish of Banff. Originally owned by the Currour family, it was purchased by the Ogilvies of Dunlugas in 1557 and became their main family seat. The Ogilvies were staunch Royalists, which resulted in the castle coming under attack from the Covenanters in 1640.  George Ogilvy, 3rd Lord Banff was murdered in 1713 and his body hidden inside the castle, which wa ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Banff, United Kingdom

Knock Castle Ruins

Knock Castle is a four-storey ruin, dating from approximately 1600. The external walls of the castle survive intact, although the tower is roofless. The inside of the tower is entirely ruined, but the remains of a vaulted basement, used as a kitchen, and a spiral turnpike staircase can still be seen. An unusual feature at Knock are the defensive shot holes for pistols, of which three are located under each of the numerou ...
Founded: c. 1600 | Location: Ballater, United Kingdom

Ethie Castle

Ethie Castle dates to around 1300, when the monks at nearby Arbroath Abbey built a sandstone keep. The castle passed through the hands of the de Maxwell family and into the ownership of Scotland"s last Cardinal, David Beaton who was murdered in St. Andrews in 1546. Its association with Cardinal Beaton is still evident as the castle includes a small chapel and the Cardinal"s Sitting Room, with its secret staircas ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Arbroath, United Kingdom

Dunimarle Castle

The original Dunimarle Castle is now a ruin, but adjacent to it stands an 18th-century building, borrowing its name, constructed by the Erskine family. The house was rebuilt by R & R Dickson in 1839. It has a good library. Until recently it had some fine art which is now found on temporary loan to the National Galleries museum at Duff House, near Banff, North East Scotland. From 1575, Dunimarle Castle had a coal mine ...
Founded: 1575 | Location: Culross, United Kingdom

Pitsligo Castle Ruins

Pitsligo Castle originated as a 15th-century keep. There is an arched gateway in the west wall of the outer court, with the date 1656 and the arms of the Forbes and Erskines. In the inner court the date is shown as 1663. At the north-east angle of the courtyard there is a tall flanking drum-tower. The main tower had three vaulted stories, but almost all above the lowest has disappeared. There is a stair tower at the ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Rosehearty, United Kingdom

Balfour Castle

Balfour Castle was a baronial mansion at Balfour Mains, near Kirkton of Kingoldrum. The castle which was built in the 16th century is largely demolished except for a six-storey circular tower. A farm house has been built incorporating some of the ruins in c. 1845. The farmhouse and castle remains were designated as a Category B listed building in 1971.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Kirriemuir, United Kingdom

Hallforest Castle Ruins

Hallforest Castle is a keep, one of the oldest in Scotland, as it dates from the 14th century. The castle is believed to have been built by Robert the Bruce as a hunting lodge; he is said to have granted it to Robert II Keith, Marischal of Scotland, the predecessor of the Earls of Kintore. Mary, Queen of Scots visited Hallforrest in 1562. The castle was frequently attacked during the 17th-century wars. It may ha ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kintore, United Kingdom

Dunglass Castle

Dunglass Castle, situated in West Dunbartonshire, is a ruinous castle, originally constructed during 1400–1542. A large section of high wall remains, to approximately 7–8 metres high, with a mixture of original and newer construction. A small conical dovecot also exists on the south wall but it is now completely ruined. The castle and courtyard stone was taken in 1735 to use in repair of the quay following an or ...
Founded: c. 1400 | Location: Bowling, 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.