Dornoch Castle

Dornoch, United Kingdom

Dornoch Castle was built around 1500 as the home of the bishops of Caithness. Bishop Robert Stewart gifted the castle to John Gordon, 11th Earl of Sutherland in 1557. In 1570 the castle was set alight in a feud between the McKays and Murrays. The rebuilding which followed included the addition of the upper part of the tower. The castle decayed during the 18th century, but was restored in 1813–1814 to serve as a school and jail. In 1859-60 it became a court house, and was made the headquarters of the Sheriff of Sutherland.

Further alterations were made around 1880, including the heightening of the south-west block, and the addition of a three-storey east tower. Following the restoration the castle became a hunting lodge for visiting sportsmen. In 1947 it became a hotel. The Dornoch Castle Hotel has 24 rooms, including suites, and garden rooms, which were built in the 1970s. In addition, there are several personalized rooms and a restaurant.



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Founded: c. 1500
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dawn Graham (5 months ago)
I travel a lot and I review every place. I give very few five stars but there is absolutely and literally nothing more they could have done to make our stay any more perfect. From the moment we arrived, we dreaded leaving. If you can swing it, reserve the Old Courtyard room, even for a night. It's magical. They have set a new standard and have raised the bar for all future reviews.
Breanna Drossart (5 months ago)
My husband and I stayed here two nights for our honeymoon. Our room was wonderful, the staff was great, food was really good (though dinner was a little pricey but I suppose that can be expected. Just want others to be aware before they go because we were not). Breakfast is included and was amazing. It is a great place to stay in walking distance of many places we wanted to see in Dornoch. Overall, we loved our time here!
Stephanie Herbst Farley (6 months ago)
Awful experience, do NOT recommend! We stayed here while doing the NC500 and it’s the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed in which is hugely overpriced! Bedrooms are not located in the castle but in a horrid garden extension which was a let down. - Bathroom had mould and paint crumbling off the walls. - Bed was really uncomfortable and had a spring digging into my side all night. - Room absolutely stank! Really struggled to sleep. - Walls are paper thin so you can hear EVERYTHING so lots of banging. - Carpet was sticky. Overall it was a sorry end to and otherwise successful trip. Avoid if you can
Carrie Fenneymore (6 months ago)
Stayed for 1 night as part of our honeymoon. We wanted to love this a lot more than we did. The staff are lovely, enthusiastic, smiling and if you had needed something they appeared to be more than happy to help. Location is great, centre of Dornoch-also great for the NC500 if you're on that route. The room was a little bit of let down, we booked a garden standard room. It was clean and tidy but felt a little out of date, the bathroom particularly could do with an upgrade. The bed was comfortable and we had a good sleep-despite the many rowdy efforts of American golfers! We also ate in the restaurant as part of the dinner, bed and breakfast offering. The food was genuinely very good, the wine list could do with a refresh to keep up with the standard of food on offer. Our main gripe was that whilst eating our dinner the staff were re-setting the tables for breakfast-no complaint with doing that, we know how hard hit the industry has been and everyone is adapting how they work. However, breakfast menus being slammed onto tables whilst eating dinner isn't a great atmosphere and it made us feel rushed. We had a chuckle to ourselves the next morning when heading in for breakfast that half the tables were already set for lunch. Overall, this is a great spot-honourable mention to the beer garden in the Scottish sun. The staff are lovely and clearly work very hard. A few tweaks here and there and this would be a gem.
Debbie Fullick (7 months ago)
Staff couldn't do enough for you, everyone so friendly and accommodating. Husband particularly enjoyed the whisky bar, whereas I happily scoffed seafood! Food was amazing. If we are ever in the area again would definitely stay here.
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