Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

Carra Castle Ruins

Carra Castle dates to around the early 14th century. The castle lies in a field near the coast and the harbour of Cushendun, known as Murlough Bay. The site had once been used during medieval times as a children"s cemetery. The castle was once occupied by Irish king Shane O"Neill, and Sorley Boy McDonnell was held as a prisoner here in 1565. In 1567, two years after being defeated by O"Neill, the McD ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Cushendun, United Kingdom

Castle Upton

Castle Upton is situated in the village of Templepatrick. Originally the site of a 13th-century fortified priory of the Knights of St John, the present building was constructed around 1610 by the Norton family who settled here during the Plantation of Ulster. Soon after, it was bought by the Upton family, later the Viscounts Templetown, who remained in possession until the 20th century. The castle was remodelled in t ...
Founded: 1610 | Location: Templepatrick, 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 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

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

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

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

Quintin Castle

Quintin Castle is one of the very few occupied Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland. The castle was built by John de Courcy in 1184 and it was later occupied by the Savage family and their dependents, the Smiths. In the 17th century Sir James Montgomery, then living at Rosemount, Greyabbey, purchased the Quintin estate from Dulaltaigh Smith. His son William, built a walled courtyard and other smaller towers, a large ho ...
Founded: 1184 | Location: Portaferry, United Kingdom

Teaninich Castle

It is not known exactly how long a castle has been on the site of Teaninich Castle but it is thought to date back to at least the 16th century. In the 16th century, the lands in which Teaninich Castle is situated was an area known as Fyrish. In 1589, the lower quarter of the Fyrish lands were acquired from Keith of Delny by Hugh Munro 1st of Teaninich, son of John Munro 3rd of Coul, whose grandfather Hugh Munro 1st of Cou ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Teaninich, United Kingdom

Balquhain Castle

Balquhain Castle is a ruined tower house in Aberdeenshire. It was built in the 14th century and held by Leslie family from 1340. On 5 July 1441 John Leslie of Balquhain made an indenture with four masons, David Hardgat, David Dun, Robert Masoun and Gilbert Masoun that they would complete his building work. The castle was sacked during a feud with the Forbes family in 1526. The castle was rebuilt in 1530. Mary Que ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Pitcaple, United Kingdom

Skibo Castle

Although the Skibo Castle dates back to the 12th century, the present structure is largely of the 19th century, and early 20th century, when it was the home of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. It is now operated as the Carnegie Club, a members-only hotel and country club. The first record of Skibo Castle is a charter from 1211. From its early history, the castle was a residence of the Bishops of Caithness. Skibo Castle rem ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Highland, United Kingdom

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Kromeriz Castle and Gardens

Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).

It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.

After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.

UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.

Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.