Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress located upon a rocky headland on the north-east coast of Scotland. The surviving buildings are largely of the 15th and 16th centuries, but the site is believed to have been fortified in the Early Middle Ages. Dunnottar has played a prominent role in the history of Scotland through to the 18th-century Jacobite risings because of its strategic location and defensive strength.

Dunnottar is best known as the place where the Honours of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels, were hidden from Oliver Cromwell's invading army in the 17th century. The property of the Keiths from the 14th century, and the seat of the Earl Marischal, Dunnottar declined after the last Earl forfeited his titles by taking part in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715. The castle was restored in the 20th century and is now open to the public.

The ruins of the castle are spread over 1.4 hectares, surrounded by steep cliffs that drop to the North Sea, 50 metres below. A narrow strip of land joins the headland to the mainland, along which a steep path leads up to the gatehouse. The various buildings within the castle include the 14th-century tower house as well as the 16th-century palace.



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Founded: 15th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Bonnie Maxwell (3 months ago)
This castle was so fascinating. There are information posts all along the castle. The kids were also given a guide to try and find objects around the castle to keep them engaged. It worked! The kids had as much fun as us parents. There was so much to explore and the views are breathtaking... the walk to the castle was also breathtaking, but in a different way. ;) ha. The walk is a bit of a workout, but very worth it. We parked in a lot that is situated right next to the start of the castle. There is also a little cafe stand located near the parking lot that was very popular. Next to the castle is walk way to a rocky beach cove, where we spent some time after our trek through the Dunnottar Castle. There were a few families there enjoying the warm, sunny day. Like many others, we highly recommend this castle and would actually go again.
Adam (3 months ago)
Absolutely stunning heritage site. Worth visiting on your own and walking through at your leisure, as the site is huge and incredibly picturesque. However, a tour or audio guide is highly recommended, for extra flavour. Worth taking extra time to walk the coastal trail and enjoy the sights and sounds of the sea. Be warned: there be stairs!
John Crawford (4 months ago)
My family and I absolutely love Dunnottar Castle. It's location is breathtaking. The ruins are complete enough that you get a good vision of what it might have looked like in ages past, but they are incomplete enough to let you imagination run free trying to envision what might-have-been once-upon-a-time. Let your inner knight or princess out to play by visiting Dunnottar Castle. You won't be disappointed. The car park at the site is great; however, if you have time and the inclination, I highly recommend parking in Stonehaven (the fishing village north of the castle). From there, you can walk along the beach (or through town), along the wee harbor, up the hill to the war memorial, and then along the edge of the cliffs to the castle. The walk is stunningly beautiful, with epic views of fields cascading over the hills until they end where the land drops off sheer cliffs into the sea. Around each new bend in the path, the castle will slowly grow closer, the views will change in dramatic ways as the landscape is different...all the while your anticipation will build until you arrive. Make sure you have enough memory for your phone or camera, because you'll be taking pictures during the whole walk! During late spring and early summer, bird watchers take note that the cliffs and headlands will be covered with nesting birds nursing and rearing their young until they are ready to leave the nest. Bring your binoculars and camera!
Nk O. (4 months ago)
Enjoyed my time here. Though this was Castle Ruins, the building is intact to the extent that it gives you a sense of what it was back in the day. There are pictures to help with visualization, signs to serve as guides and the grounds are very well maintained. Particularly, I’d say that the views are the best thing about this historical building. Very picturesque. You can also access the Waterfront/beach from the castle. Will recommend.
Sue Sigalet (5 months ago)
If you haven't been, go! Steeped in history and fantastic views. Not suitable for wheelchair users if wanting to go into castle as lots of steps down and hard work climbing back up but worth the visit to see the castle and where it is placed. We walked from Stonehaven along the coastal path which is 2.8 miles away.
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