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 or early 15th century, by the addition of the five-storey tower house or keep.

Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned here in 1567–68, and forced to abdicate as queen, before escaping with the help of her gaoler's family. In 1588, the Queen's gaoler inherited the title Earl of Morton, and moved away from the castle. It was bought, in 1675, by Sir William Bruce, who used the castle as a focal point in his garden; it was never again used as a residence.

Loch Leven Castle had fallen into ruin by the 18th century, but the ruins were conserved and rubbish removed in 1840. Loch Leven Castle was given in to state care in 1939, and is now managed by Historic Environment Scotland. Today, the castle can be reached by a 12-person ferry operated from Kinross during the summer months.

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Founded: c. 1300
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

yvonne ross (16 months ago)
Great ride out in boat lovely picnic at castle staff were lovely
George Cunningham (2 years ago)
Excellent and well worth the money! 10min boat trip across this amazing loch to this great castle. Staff are very helpful and friendly.
David Ingram (2 years ago)
Not a great deal to occupy you on the island, but definitely worth visiting. The boat journey there and back adds an extra something to the trip and the Boathouse cafe was a nice way to finish off the visit. We had great weather (in September) so sat outside watching the boats come in and out.
Nathan Smith (2 years ago)
Visit a castle on an island - yes please!!! Friendly and helpful staff who really went the extra mile for us. We arrived as a group of 9 and asked for a boat ride to the castle without having a prior booking. Despite them being fully booked they put an extra boat on for us and the pilot skipped his lunch to take us there!!! The pilot on the return trip was great with the kids she really made it fun for them! Great experience - fully recommend it!
Jamie Robinson (2 years ago)
Lovely wee ruined castle with good information boards and an accompanying booklet you can buy from the shop. Nice short woodland walk round the island too and places to sit and eat if you bring a picnic. Spent about an hour on the island and saw everything. Boat ride was pleasant with friendly and informative guide. Nice cafe on the shore too with ice creams and sandwiches.
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Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.