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

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Scott Morton (18 months ago)
Did not get to go inside, but it is a beautiful castle and grounds are amazing. The style of the castle is like nothing I have seen in Scotland. It is very magical.
babar sattar (18 months ago)
Beautiful castle with amazing gardens and woods all around it. Lovely place for a family to spend a few hours and enjoy the scenery & history both at the same time.
Richard Allum (2 years ago)
There is enough here in even the small museum out back for a full day's entertainment, I cannot recommend this castle enough! The gardens are beautiful, the building moreso and the falconry presenter has a clear enthusiasm and passion that is contagious. We went on a cold September day and it was astounding inside and out, wholeheartedly recommended all year round!
Farah Anwar-Bawany (2 years ago)
Beautiful castle with tons of history. Extremely friendly and welcoming staff. The gardens are breathtaking. Well worth a visit, but only opens for part of the year.
Richard Burton (2 years ago)
Fairytale like castle with great gardens, falconry display was excellent and, considering it was raining and past the last display date, hats off to the chap for doing it. Very informative and clearly passionate. You'll have seen more stunning places on the inside but probably not on the outside when you're looking up at it from the gardens.
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