New Slains Castle, to distinguish it from nearby Old Slains Castle, was originally a 16th-century tower house, built by the 9th Earl of Erroll. The wings around the courtyard were extended in 1664 by addition of a gallery or corridor, and in 1707 the entrance front was renewed.

In the 1830s the 18th Earl commissioned the Aberdeen architect John Smith to remodel the castle. This resulted in a virtual rebuilding of Slains in a Scots Baronial style, including granite facings, in 1836–1837. Gardens were laid out in the late 1890s.


At first inspection the ruin appears to be a blend of several different architectural styles and periods, due to diverse masonry including older mortared granite, mortared medieval red brick, mortared sandstone and newer well faced granite. In fact most of the architecture seems to derive from a rather cohesive interval 1597 to 1664, which construction is the most expansive and includes the mortared rough granite and medieval brick. The 1836 work adds smoother granite facing that contrasts with the older construction style.

The defensive works of the castle include use of the North Sea cliffs; an abyss to the west that functions as a deep impassable moat; and a ruined rampart that would have been the main entrance on the south. The ruins include reasonably well preserved elements of three- and four-storey structural elements and a basement course over some of the range, especially at the eastern side. There are well-preserved basement kitchen works with numerous firepits and masonry indented storage spaces. The internal doorways are primarily of well-preserved wooden lintel construction, with numerous examples of mortared sandstone and medieval brickwork archways. The interior of the ground level is a maze of passageways and smaller rooms, reflecting a high state of occupancy in 17th-century times.



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Founded: c. 1597
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Jeremy Hannaford (6 months ago)
I couldn't believe I could actually walk amongst the ruins of a castle! It was absolutely incredible to see! There's no ticket or admission. Just a 15 minute walk to something that's amazing to behold. You should take care and be safe around the edges of the castle seeing as it's on a cliff edge and by the water. Its up to you how far you want to go but it's also on you for how safe you feel. You can explore the entirety of this castle in a safe manner. It's something I'll never forget seeing!
Erin Campbell (8 months ago)
Absolutely fantastic! The atmosphere here is amazing. A must see if you’re in the area. The walk up to the castle and the views surrounding it are amazing!!! Parking is however very limited.
Simon Robson (8 months ago)
Very fine castle ruins. Lots of structure remain, so it’s easy to see the layout and get the feeling of the castle. Great views and places to explore inside and around the facility. Some Timbers have even survived. Look on-line for a good history of the castle. Quite a long wall flat from the car park, but we’ll worth it. Being so far away probably minimizes the vandalism.
Jay McGregor (8 months ago)
Beautiful ruin to visit. It has multiple architectural styles as it was in use not too long ago so it was open to expanding and updating. Shame that it was left the way it is now by a demolition company that strips old castles for reselling materials. However it is still absolutely breathtaking and no wonder it was rumoured to inspire the creation of Dracula. As with any ruin you should be extremely cautious around it, however more so with the ruin as the unguarded cliffs are surrounded by steep slippery grass that makes it really easy to fall off the cliffs. If you’ve got dogs or children then keep them secure and nearby, not a place to wander carelessly.
Lakaia Thornton (14 months ago)
Such a beautiful castle and rumored to be the castle that inspired Dracula!! There is a ten or fifteen minute walk from both the car park and the bust stop and it can be a bit muddy. The ruins are situated on beautiful green cliffs and it makes for beautiful pictures and a wonderful experience. We brought a picnic and ate it by the ocean above the cliffs and it was wonderful, couldn't recommend it enough!
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The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.

The monument was partially reconstructed during the 1980s. It is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway, near the hamlet of Ottava. It is 14,9 km from Sassari and 45 km from Alghero. There is no public transportation to the site. The opening times vary throughout the year.