Dunrobin Castle

Highland, United Kingdom

Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland's great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. It is also one of Britain's oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s. Dunrobin Castle has been called home to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland since the 13th century and was first mentioned as a stronghold of the family in 1401. The castle stands possibly on the site of an early medieval fort. The name Dun Robin means Robin's Hill or Fort in Gaelic and may have come from Robert, the 6th Earl of Sutherland who died in 1427.

The early castle was actually a fortified, square keep, with walls six feet thick and a vaulted ceiling, looking out from a cliff-top position. The keep stood isolated for some 200 years until a staircase and a high house were added. It was encased by a series of additions from the 16th century onwards. In 1785 a large extension was constructed. Remarkably this early keep still survives, much altered, within the complex of these later extensions, making Dunrobin one of the oldest inhabited houses in Scotland.

Sir Charles Barry was retained in 1845 to completely re-model the castle, to change it from a fort to a house in the Scottish Baronial style that had become popular among the aristocracy, who were inspired by Queen Victoria's new residence at Balmoral. Barry had been the architect for the Houses of Parliament in London and was much in demand. There is very much a French influence with conical spires to the whole project, including the gardens, based on Versailles, which he laid out in the 1850s. Much of Barry's interior was destroyed by a fire in 1915 and the interior today is mainly the work of Scottish architect, Sir Robert Lorimer, who altered the top of the main tower and clock tower at the north side of the building to the Scottish Renaissance style.

Following the death of the 5th Duke in 1963, the Earldom and Dukedom were separted. The Dukedom passed on through the male line whilst the present Countess of Sutherland inherited the Earldom. The Castle became a boys’ boarding school for a period of seven years from the late 1960s before reverting back to being a family house.

Dunrobin Castle is open annually in summer season.



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Founded: 13th/19th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Malcolm Thomas (2 years ago)
Just stunning, stands in the most beautiful setting with amazing gardens and views. Fabulous rooms inside, also a very nice cafe. When we visited, September, the fires in both the entrance and cafe were lit adding to the ambiance. They also have a falconry display on some days. If you're in the area I would highly recommend a visit.
Titanium X (2 years ago)
Beautiful castle with stunning views. At 11.30 am they do falconry - you can see these beautiful creatures. My favourite - Bengal Eagle Owl was very vocal ❤️ Everywhere in the castle you can see beautiful flower arrangements from cut flowers. Such a talent ❤️
Tara Sanders (2 years ago)
Absolutely stunning castle that looks more like a stately home. The white exterior is beautiful, the inside rooms are just as lovely. So much interesting historical and family history. Helpful staff. Great cafe and gift shop, dear prices but you expect that somewhere like this. Interesting small natural history museum in the grounds. We visited in May and the gardens were AMAZING! So many colourful tulips. Very interesting and informative falconry display.
Oxana (2 years ago)
Beautiful indeed! Incredible display of castle and Scotland history and this place also very happily situated. You can take your four legged friend to walk around but not inside the gardens, however pliantly of trails and road along the shore with wonder views on castle and gardens.
Dorottya Pál (2 years ago)
The best castle we’ve ever seen. The location is perfect next to the shore. The castle has a large beautiful garden with different kinds of plants flowers, fountains and if you are there at the right time you can see a bird show and you can learn a lot about falcons.
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