Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Lochranza Castle

Lochranza Castle dates from the 13th century when it was owned by the MacSweens. In 1262, King Alexander III granted the castle and its lands to Walter Stewart, the Earl of Menteith. It is believed that Robert the Bruce landed at Lochranza in 1306 on his return from Ireland to claim the Scottish throne. By 1371, the castle was the property of Robert II. It is thought that at this time it was used as a royal hunting lodge. ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Coity Castle

Coity Castle in Glamorgan, Wales, is a Norman castle built by Sir Payn 'the Demon' de Turberville, one of the legendary Twelve Knights of Glamorgan supposed to have conquered Glamorgan under the leadership of Robert FitzHamon (d. 1107), Lord of Gloucester. The castle began as a late 11th-century ringwork. A rectangular stone keep and the main curtain wall were added by the Normans in the 12th century, under the de Turber ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bridgend, United Kingdom

New Slains Castle

New Slains Castle, to distinguish it from nearby Old Slains Castle, was originally a 16th-century tower house, built by the 9th Earl of Erroll. The wings around the courtyard were extended in 1664 by addition of a gallery or corridor, and in 1707 the entrance front was renewed. In the 1830s the 18th Earl commissioned the Aberdeen architect John Smith to remodel the castle. This resulted in a virtual rebuilding of ...
Founded: c. 1597 | Location: Cruden Bay, United Kingdom

Fyvie Castle

The earliest parts of Fyvie Castle date from the 13th century – some sources claim it was built in 1211 by William the Lion. Fyvie was the site of an open-air court held by Robert the Bruce, and Charles I lived there as a child. Following the Battle of Otterburn in 1390, it ceased to be a royal stronghold and instead fell into the possession of five successive families, each of whom added a new tower to the castl ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Turriff, United Kingdom

Dryslwyn Castle

Drysllwyn Castle stands on high ground overlooking the Tywi Valley with extensive views. It was built in about the 1220s by one of the princes of the kingdom of Deheubarth, and changed hands several times in the struggles between the Welsh and English over the ensuing centuries. It is considered one of the most important remaining structures built by a Welsh chieftain. Drysllwyn was seized by Owain Glyndŵr in the summer ...
Founded: 1220s | Location: Llandeilo, United Kingdom

Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle stands on a slope above the north side of Brodick Bay and under the shadow of Goatfell, which rises behind it. It can best be described as a strategically important castle developed over four centuries between the 1200s and the 1600s, with an 1800s stately home wrapped around it. The location was probably first used as a defensive site by the Vikings until they were driven from Arran, and the rest of the we ...
Founded: 1510 | Location: Isle of Arran, United Kingdom

Earlshall Castle

Earlshall Castle was built by Sir William Bruce, a survivor of the Battle of Flodden, in 1546. One member of the family died at the battle of Worcester in 1651. Another, Sir Andrew, gained himself the name “Bloody Bruce” by hacking off the hands and head of Covenanter Richard Cameron after defeating him at the battle of Airds Moss during the Killing Time. The castle became abandoned and ruinous, until it was restored ...
Founded: 1546 | Location: Leuchars, United Kingdom

Kellie Castle

The earliest records of Kellie go back to 1150 where it is mentioned in a charter issued by King David I. The first known owner was Robert of London, the illegitimate son of King William the Lion. None of the early buildings to have survived. The estate was signed over to a Siward relative, Walter Oliphant, in 1360 and the castle remained in the ownership of the Oliphant family until 1613. It was purchased by Sir Thomas ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Carnbee, United Kingdom

Balvaird Castle

Balvaird Castle is a particularly fine and complete example of a traditional late medieval Scottish tower house. It was built around the year 1495 for Sir Andrew Murray, a younger son of the family of Murray of Tullibardine. He acquired the lands of Balvaird through marriage to the heiress Margaret Barclay, a member of a wealthy family and daughter of James Barclay of Kippo. It is likely that Balvaird Castle was built on ...
Founded: 1495 | Location: Abernethy, United Kingdom

Crichton Castle

Constructed as a tower house in the late 14th century, Crichton Castle was expanded as power of the Crichton family grew. However, the Crichtons fell from favour in the later 15th century, and the castle passed to the Earls of Bothwell. Francis Stewart, 5th Earl of Bothwell, constructed the Italianate north range in the 1580s, featuring an elaborate diamond-patterned facade. After Bothwell was accused of witchcraft the ca ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Crichton, 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

Grosmont Castle

Grosmont Castle is a ruined castle in the village of Grosmont. The fortification was established by the Normans in the wake of the invasion of England in 1066, to protect the route from Wales to Hereford. Possibly commissioned by William fitz Osbern, the Earl of Hereford, it was originally an earthwork design with timber defences. In 1135, a major Welsh revolt took place, and in response King Stephen brought together Gros ...
Founded: 1219 | Location: Abergavenny, United Kingdom

Brodie Castle

Brodie Castle is a well-preserved Z plan castle located about 5.5 kilometres west of Forres, in Moray. The original Z-plan castle was built in 1567 by Clan Brodie but was destroyed by fire in 1645 by Lewis Gordon of Clan Gordon, the 3rd Marquis of Huntly. In 1824, architect William Burn was commissioned to convert it into a large mansion house in the Scots Baronial style, but these additions were never completed and were ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Forres, United Kingdom

Edzell Castle

Edzell Castle is a ruined 16th-century castle, with an early-17th-century walled garden. The first castle at Edzell was a timber motte and bailey structure, built to guard the mouth of Glenesk, a strategic pass leading north into the Highlands. The motte, or mound, is still visible 300 metres south-west of the present castle, and dates from the 12th century. It was the seat of the Abbott, or Abbe, family. The constructi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Edzell, United Kingdom

Portaferry Castle

Portaferry Castle is a small tower house in built in the 16th century by William Le Savage. In 1635, Patrick Savage"s brother-in-law, Sir James Montgomery of Rosemount (Greyabbey), repaired the castle by roofing and flooring it so that his sister could live in greater comfort there. It is a square building with a small projecting turret on the south corner. It is three storeys high plus attic and there is no vau ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Portaferry, United Kingdom

Scalloway Castle

Scalloway Castle was built from 1599 by Patrick Stewart, 2nd Earl of Orkney to tighten his grip on Shetland. The Stewart family, as Earls of Orkney and Shetland, had a dramatic impact on both groups of islands. Robert Stewart, 1st Earl of Orkney was the illegitimate son of James V of Scotland and one of his mistresses, Euphemia Elphinstone. He was born in 1533, and in 1564 he was given the recreated Earldom of Orkney and ...
Founded: 1599 | Location: Shetland, United Kingdom

Drummond Castle

Drummond Castle is known for its gardens, described by Historic Environment Scotland as the best example of formal terraced gardens in Scotland. The castle comprises a tower house built in the late 15th century, and a 17th-century mansion, both of which were rebuilt in Victorian times. The gardens date to the 1630s, although they too were restructured in the 19th century. The lands of Drummond were the property of the Dr ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Muthill, United Kingdom

Newcastle Emlyn Castle

Newcastle Emlyn Castle is a ruined castle strategically located on a steep-sided promontory overlooking the River Teifi. It was probably built by the Welsh lord Maredudd ap Rhys in about 1240. It changed hands many times over the years in battles between the Welsh and English, and during the English Civil War. The remains of the gatehouse and adjacent towers, and some fragments of wall are all that remain visible now. Th ...
Founded: c. 1240 | Location: Newcastle Emlyn, United Kingdom

Huntly Castle

Huntly Castle was the ancestral home of the chief of Clan Gordon, Earl of Huntly. Architecturally the castle consists of a well-preserved five-story tower with an adjoining great hall and supporting buildings. Areas of the original ornate facade and interior stonework remain. A mound in the grounds of the castle is all that remains of an earlier 12th century motte. Originally named Strathbogie, the castle was gra ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Huntly, United Kingdom

Duart Castle

Duart Castle dates back to the 13th century and is the seat of Clan MacLean. In 1647, Duart Castle was attacked and laid siege to by the Argyll government troops of Clan Campbell, but they were defeated and driven off by the Royalist troops of Clan MacLean. In September 1653, a Cromwellian task force of six ships anchored off the castle, but the Macleans had already fled to Tiree. A storm blew up on the 13 September and t ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Isle of Mull, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Roman Walls of Lugo

Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.

Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.

The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.

Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.

Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.

The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.