Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Kisimul Castle

Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Outer Hebrides, United Kingdom

Ravenscraig Castle

The construction of Ravenscraig Castle by the mason Henry Merlion and the master carpenter Friar Andres Lesouris was ordered by King James II (reigned 1437-1460) as a home for his wife, Mary of Guelders. The castle is considered one of the first - perhaps the very first - in Scotland to be built to withstand cannon fire and provide for artillery defence. The king was involved with the planning but, ironically, was killed ...
Founded: c. 1460 | Location: Kirkcaldy, United Kingdom

Clackmannan Tower

Clackmannan Tower is a five-storey tower house, situated at the summit of King"s Seat Hill in Clackmannan. It dates back to at least the 14th century, when it was inhabited by King David II of Scotland, and David is recorded as selling it to his cousin Robert Bruce in 1359. Clackmannan Tower is located on King"s Seat Hill, on the western edge of the town of Clackmannan in the Scottish county of Clackmannanshire ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Clackmannan, United Kingdom

Glenarm Castle

There has been a castle at Glenarm since the 13th century, where it resides at the heart of one of Northern Ireland"s oldest estates. The present castle was built by Sir Randal MacDonnell, 1st Earl of Antrim, in 1636, and it has remained in the family since its construction. It is currently owned by Randal, Viscount Dunluce, the son of Alexander McDonnell, 9th Earl of Antrim. The McDonnells have been in Glenarm ...
Founded: 1636 | Location: Glenarm, United Kingdom

Gylen Castle

Gylen Castle was built in 1582 by the Clan MacDougall. Gylen was only occupied for a relatively short period of time. The castle was besieged then burned by the Covenanters under General Leslie in 1647 during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. In May 2006 a restoration of the castle was completed with a £300,000 grant by Historic Scotland and £200,000 raised by worldwide members of Clan MacDougall.
Founded: 1582 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Castle Stalker

Castle Stalker is a four-storey tower house or keep set on a tidal islet on Loch Laich. The island castle"s picturesque appearance, with its bewitching island setting against a dramatic backdrop of mountains, has made it a favourite subject for postcards and calendars, and something of a cliché image of Scottish Highland scenery. Castle Stalker is entirely authentic; it is one of the best-preserved medieval to ...
Founded: 1440s | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Menzies Castle

Castle Menzies in Scotland is the ancestral seat of the Clan Menzies and the Menzies Baronets for over 500 years. Strategically situated, the sixteenth-century castle was involved in the turbulent history of the highlands. In 1840 an entirely new wing was added, designed by William Burn using stone from the same quarry on south side of Loch Tay. Duleep Singh, last maharajah of the Sikh Empire, lived at Castle Menzies ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Aberfeldy, United Kingdom

Airth Castle

Airth Castle overlooks the village of Airth and the River Forth. According to an account attributed to Blind Harry, in 1298 William Wallace attacked a previous wooden fortification on this site to rescue his imprisoned uncle, a priest from Dunipace. A later castle was destroyed after the defeat of King James III at Sauchieburn in 1488. The southwest tower is the earliest part, dating to the period immediately thereafter. ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Airth, United Kingdom

Loch Leven Castle

Loch Leven Castle is a ruined castle on an island in Loch Leven. Possibly built around 1300, the castle was the location of military action during the Wars of Scottish Independence (1296–1357). In the latter part of the 14th century, the castle was granted by his uncle to William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas, and remained in the Douglases" hands for the next 300 years. Loch Leven Castle was strengthened in the 14th ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Kinross, United Kingdom

Picton Castle

Picton Castle was originally built at the end of the 13th century by a Flemish knight. Later it was moved to the hands of the Wogan family. Picton Castle began as a motte castle and was reconstructed in stone by the Sir John Wogan between 1295 and 1308. The design was unusual, there being no courtyard internally, the main building being protected by seven circular towers which projected from the wall. At the east end, tw ...
Founded: 1295-1308 | Location: Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

Fort Hubberstone

Fort Hubberstone, on the west side of Milford Haven, belongs to a series of forts built as part of the inner line of defence of the Haven following the Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom. Together with Popton Fort on the opposite shore, it provided an interlocking field of fire, and represented the last layer of defence before reaching the Royal Naval dockyard at Pembroke Dock. Construction began in 18 ...
Founded: 1860-1863 | Location: Milford Haven, United Kingdom

Kildrummy Castle

The ruined Kildrummy Castle is one of the most extensive castles dating from the 13th century to survive in eastern Scotland, and was the seat of the Earls of Mar. It is owned today by Historic Scotland and open to the public. The castle was probably built in the mid-13th century under Gilbert de Moravia. It has been posited that siting of Kildrummy Castle was influenced by the location of the Grampian Mounth trackwa ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Kildrummy, United Kingdom

Weobley Castle

Weobley Castle is a 14th-century fortified manor house on the Gower Peninsula. The existing buildings were largely created between 1304 and 1327 by the de la Bere family. They consist of a gateway, a hall and kitchen, a chapel block and an east range, enclosing a courtyard, all now in a semi-ruinous state. The buildings are largely constructed of rubble masonry with window and door features of sandstone. Until the 15th c ...
Founded: 1304-1327 | Location: Gower Peninsula, United Kingdom

Carnasserie Castle

Carnasserie Castle is a ruined 16th-century tower house built by reforming churchman John Carswell, who was Rector of Kilmartin, Chancellor of the Chapel Royal at Stirling, and later titular Bishop of the Isles. Construction began in 1565 using masons brought from Stirling. Although the castle was notionally built for Carswell's patron, the Earl of Argyll, he intended it as a personal residence for himself. On Carswell's ...
Founded: 1565 | Location: Argyll and Bute, United Kingdom

Dunseverick Castle Ruins

Dunseverick Castle is located on the peninsula near the small village of Dunseverick and the Giant"s Causeway. Saint Patrick is recorded as having visited Dunseverick castle in the 5th century AD, where he baptized Olcán, a local man who later became a Bishop of Ireland. The original stone fort that occupied the position was attacked by Viking raiders in 870 AD. In the later part of the 6th century AD, th ...
Founded: 6th century AD | Location: Dunseverick, United Kingdom

Dunninald Castle

Dunninald has a history of at least a thousand years. The name is derived from the gaelic, dun a castle and ard, a high place. A second house was built about 1590, to replace the old tower. This was some four hundred yards inland and was at the foot of the present-day beech avenue, next to the walled garden. By 1811 the second house was some 230 years old and the new owner, Peter Arkley, commissioned James Gillespie Grah ...
Founded: 1819-1824 | Location: Montrose, United Kingdom

Newcastle Castle

Newcastle Castle was initially constructed as a ringwork 1106 by William de Londres, one of the legendary Twelve Knights of Glamorgan, as part of the Norman invasion of Wales. William de Londres was a knight loyal to the Norman baron Robert Fitzhamon and the Newcastle defences marked the most western extent of Fitzhamon"s lordship. The defences were strengthened either by William Fitz Robert, 2nd Earl of Gloucester, ...
Founded: 1106 | Location: Bridgend, United Kingdom

Tioram Castle Ruins

Castle Tioram ruins sits on the tidal island Eilean Tioram in Loch Moidart, Lochaber. The castle is the traditional seat of Clan MacDonald of Clan Ranald, a branch of Clan Donald. It was seized by Government forces around 1692 when Clan Chief Allan of Clanranald joined the Jacobite Court in France, despite having sworn allegiance to the British Crown. A small garrison was stationed in the castle until the Jacobite Uprisin ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Old Beaupre Castle

Although called Old Beaupre Castle the structure is seen as a fortified manor house. The original house was an L-shaped building, now located within the inner courtyard, built circa 1300 and from this period until the 18th century it was owned by the Basset family. During the 16th century intensive remodelling was undertaken, started by Sir Rice Mansel, continued by William Basset and completed by William"s son, Rich ...
Founded: c. 1300 | Location: Cowbridge, United Kingdom

Candleston Castle

The castle, or rather a fortified court in Candleston, was founded in the 14th century on the initiative of the Cantilupe family. It could have been built on the site of an earlier building from the 13th century. At the end of the fifteenth century, it was renovated and rebuilt by Mathew Cradock, a constable of castles in Caerphilly and Kenfig, and around 1500 transformations were made in the range of the great hall. Furt ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bridgend, 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.