Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Strangford Castle

Strangford Castle appears to be a small tower house from the late 16th century, but a blocked door of 15th century type at first floor level, seems to indicate the remodelling of an earlier tower. The current entrance, in the north-east wall, is a reconstruction, positioned by the surviving corbelled machicolation above and a socket from a draw-bar to secure the original door. The original entrance may have been on th ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Strangford, United Kingdom

Dunraven Castle

Dunraven Castle was a mansion on the South Wales coast near Southerndown. The existing manor house was rebuilt as a castellated hunting lodge in the early 19th century and was extensively remodelled later in the century. The site of the castle was the location for several earlier fortifications, the first of which is said to have been built by Arnold le Boteler (Butler) in the mid-12th century. By the 16th century, a man ...
Founded: 19th century | Location: Bridgend, United Kingdom

Balvenie Castle

Originally known as Mortlach, Balvenie Castle was built in the 12th century by a branch of the powerful Comyn family (the Black Comyns) and was extended and altered in the 15th and 16th centuries. The castle fell out of use following an attack by Robert the Bruce in 1308, which left the property uninhabitable. At some point in the 14th century the castle and estates of Balvenie passed to the Earl of Douglas. Nothing is d ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Dufftown, United Kingdom

Llansteffan Castle

Llansteffan Castle sits on a much older Iron Age promontory fort, proving Llansteffan has been inhabited for several millennia. The hill where the castle stands commands the River Tywi estuary. The hill would have been stripped of trees so that foot soldiers were vulnerable to attack by archers. The original earthworks can still be seen and were used as part of the modern castle"s defence system - the castle proper r ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Llansteffan, United Kingdom

Haverfordwest Castle

Haverfordwest Castle is located in a naturally defensive position at the end of a strong, isolated ridge. Pembrokeshire Records indicate that there was an Iron Age hill fort on the site of the castle although there is no physical evidence to suggest this on the present location. Haverfordwest was believed to have been a Danish settlement prior to the Norman conquest of West Wales in 1093/94. The Flemish settled in the ar ...
Founded: c. 1120 | Location: Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

Drum Castle

Drum Castle was for centuries the seat of Clan Irvine. The original 13th-century tower of Drum Castle has been suggested as the work of medieval architect Richard Cementarius, who built the Bridge of Don in Old Aberdeen. It is believed to be one of the three oldest tower houses in Scotland (and notably unaltered). A large wing was added in 1619 by the 9th laird, and further alterations were made during the Victor ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Drumoak, United Kingdom

St Donat's Castle

St Donat's Castle is a medieval castle in the Vale of Glamorgan, positioned on cliffs overlooking the Bristol Channel. The site has been occupied since the Iron Age, and was by tradition the home of the Celtic chieftain Caradog. The present castle's origins date from the 12th century when the de Haweys and later Peter de Stradling began its development. The Stradlings held the castle for four hundred years, until the deat ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: St Donats, United Kingdom

Fort Regent

The construction of the Fort Regent fortress we see today began on 7 November 1806, during the Napoleonic Wars, with the laying of a foundation stone by George Don the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. The fort was built using local workers and men from the Royal Engineers, with an average of 800 men working at any given time. This enabled the substantial amount of work to be completed 8 years later, in 1814. It was given th ...
Founded: 1814 | Location: Jersey, United Kingdom

Burleigh Castle

The remains of Burleigh Castle are located just outside the village of Milnathort. It now sits beside the A911 road, opposite a 19th-century steading, recently adapted into housing. The lands of Burleigh were held by the Balfours from 1456, when they were granted by James II to John Balfour of Balgarvie, and a tower house was erected in the late 15th or early 16th century. Sir James Balfour of Pittendreich extended the c ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Milnathort, United Kingdom

Lews Castle

Lews Castle was built in the years 1847-1857 as a country house for Sir James Matheson who had bought the whole island a few years previously with his fortune from the Chinese Opium trade. It was designed by the Glasgow architect Charles Wilson. In 1918, the Lewis estate including the castle was bought by industrialist Lord Leverhulme from the Matheson family. He gave the castle to the people of Stornoway parish in 1923. ...
Founded: 1847-1857 | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Fraser Castle

Fraser Castle is the most elaborate Z-plan castle in Scotland. The castle stands in over 1.2 km2 of landscaped grounds, woodland and farmland which includes a walled kitchen garden of the 19th century. There is archaeological evidence of an older square tower dating from around 1400 or 1500 within the current construction. Originally known as Muchall-in-Mar, construction of the elaborate, five-storey Z-plan castl ...
Founded: 1575-1636 | Location: Kemnay, United Kingdom

Dinefwr Castle

Dinefwr Castle lies on a ridge on the northern bank of the Tywi, with a steep drop of one hundred feet to the river. Dinefwr was the chief seat of the Kingdom of Deheubarth. The present castle is entered via a fortified entrance protected by a restored length of battlement. The short path from the car park gives an extensive view of the Towy valley. The door admits the visitor to the main space enclosed by the walls, ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Llandeilo, United Kingdom

Kinbane Castle

A two-storey Kinbane castle was built in 1547 by Colla MacDonnell, brother of Sorley Boy MacDonnell, with a large courtyard with traces of other buildings, probably constructed out of wood. In 1551 the castle was besieged by English forces under Lord Deputy, Sir James Croft, in the course of an expedition against the MacDonnell"s. Another siege in 1555 by English forces, the castle was partly destroyed by cannon ...
Founded: 1547 | Location: Ballycastle, United Kingdom

Castle of Mey

The Castle of Mey (formerly Barrogill Castle) and surrounding lands belonged to the Bishops of Caithness. The castle of Mey was built between 1566 and 1572, possibly on the site of an earlier fortification, by George Sinclair, 4th Earl of Caithness. Originally a Z-plan tower house of three storeys, it had a projecting wing at the south-east, and a square tower at the north-west. The Castle passed to George Sinclair"s youn ...
Founded: 1566-1572 | Location: Caithness, United Kingdom

Duffus Castle

Duffus Castle, near Elgin, was a motte-and-bailey castle and was in use from c.1140 to 1705. During its occupation it underwent many alterations. Freskin (died before 1171) was a Flemish nobleman who settled in Scotland during the reign of King David I, becoming the progenitor of the Murray and Sutherland families, and possibly others. He built the great earthwork and timber motte-and-bailey castle in c. 1140 on boggy gr ...
Founded: c. 1140 | Location: Elgin, United Kingdom

Mugdock Castle

The lands of Mugdock were a property of the Grahams from the mid-13th century, when David de Graham of Dundaff acquired them from the Earl of Lennox. It is possible that the castle was built by his descendant, Sir David de Graham (d. 1376), or by his son in 1372. In 1458, the lands were erected into the Barony of Mugdock. Later, in 1505, the Grahams were created Earls of Montrose. The original castle may have been shield ...
Founded: c. 1372 | Location: Strathblane, United Kingdom

Oxwich Castle

Oxwich Castle occupies a position on a wooded headland overlooking Oxwich Bay on the Gower Peninsula, Wales. Although it may occupy the site of an earlier fortification, it is a castle in name only as it is a grand Tudor fortified manor house built in courtyard style. A charter of 1306 granted in Swansea refers to tenants of 'the ancient knight"s fees' (that is, military tenants) at Oxwich, and this ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Oxwich, United Kingdom

Elcho Castle

Elcho Castle is located a short distance above the south bank of the River Tay. It consists of a Z-plan tower house, with fragments of a surrounding wall with corner towers. The fastle was built on the site of an older structure about 1560, and is one of the best surviving examples of its date in Scotland. A large portion of the Castle is accessible, although floors in some rooms have fallen, and much of the building can ...
Founded: | Location: Perth, United Kingdom

Braemar Castle

From the Late Middle Ages the Braemar castle was a stronghold of the Earls of Mar. The present castle was constructed in 1628 by John Erskine, 18th Earl of Mar as a hunting lodge and to counter the rising power of the Farquharsons, replacing an older building, which was the successor of nearby Kindrochit Castle, which dates from the 11th century AD. The siting of Kindrochit Castle was based upon the strategic locat ...
Founded: 1628 | Location: Braemar, United Kingdom

Huntingtower Castle

Huntingtower Castle was built in stages from the 15th century by the Clan Ruthven family. It was known for several hundred years as the "House of Ruthven", until the family was forfeited for the Gowrie Conspiracy in 1600 and the Ruthven name was suppressed by Act of Parliament. In the summer of 1582, the castle was occupied by the 4th Lord Ruthven, who was also the 1st Earl of Gowrie, and his family. Gowrie was ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ruthvenfield, 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.