Dreamy Scottish castles to make you believe in magic again
Scotland is a world-renowned tourist destination for so many reasons: the stunning natural scenery that is perfect for road trips, the unique and endearing culture and not to forget, the lovely fairytale-like castles.
The Scottish may be best remembered for their checkered kilts and bagpipes, but a visit to any of the majestic castles will definitely highlight their royal side. While every Scottish castle is uniquely beautiful and inspiring, we have handpicked some of the most magical looking ones that will leave you bewitched. Families will particularly enjoy these destinations, as we all know kids love castles.
Ask any kid to draw a castle and you would likely get a stone-bricked building surrounded by a moat and green grass for miles. This is exactly the image of Caerlaverock, which is truly the castle of our childhood dreams. The stunning medieval appearance of the castle makes it the perfect place for taking the best travel photos but it’s not all just magic and rainbows — the castle has a dark history behind it which is worth reading up about. Since the 12th century, the castle has been the site of many a bloody battle between Scottish and English forces, and the fact that it still stands intact today makes a visit there worth every bit of your time.
Culzean is the perfect castle to visit if you are on a family holiday with the little ones. More than just a grand castle, Culzean is an entire complex surrounded by calm beaches, beautifully preserved gardens, specially dedicated walking trails and best of all, adventure playgrounds for the kids. You won’t have to worry about being bored at Culzean, not when there are so many gorgeous sights to occupy your eyes, from the stunning castle architecture itself to the numerous gorgeous paintings and furniture that adorn the interiors. The castle’s strategic position atop the Ayrshire cliffs makes it an amazing spot to get a good panoramic view of the natural Scottish scenery as well. In fact, Culzean was built on such a prime location that it was used as a secret network for smugglers and fugitives to carry out their crimes. These hidden passageways are definitely worth some good old exploration — just don’t forget to pack your torchlights!
Dunvegan boasts one of the richest historical significance amongst all the Scottish castles, being the oldest castle that has never been abandoned at any point in its history. Its location in the Isle of Skye makes it all the more worth your visit as there are lots more gorgeous attractions in Skye that you can’t miss (psst: check out the Fairy Pools and the Storr). With its marvelous collection of historical artifacts such as royal robes and 15th-century war tokens, the castle itself is one of Skye’s biggest attractions. But the best feature of the castle has to be its magnificent royal garden — we’re talking about five whole acres of elaborately arranged flora and fauna. The beautiful waterfalls, lily pond, gazebo, and pastel-colored flowers all create an undeniably magical aura that will make you feel like you are in a dream.
There are two huge reasons to visit Blackness Castle: first, the castle’s architecture and design is a truly stunning sight to behold. Shaped like a giant ship and built on a patch of flat ground right by the sea, Blackness looks unmistakably like a great stone ship from a distance. It’s no wonder that this impressive castle has been nicknamed “the ship that never sailed” (we think this nickname makes for great Instagram captions for couple photos). But the second reason to visit Blackness Castle is one that would make the movie buffs out there go crazy. Blackness is the filming site for some of the best period movies, such as Mel Gibson’s 1990 movie Hamlet and more recently, the 2018 Hollywood blockbuster Mary Queen of Scots.
Kelburn isn’t the conventional grand castle straight out of a fairytale book, but it has a unique element that makes it no less magical: a large section of the outer walls of the castle is covered in brightly-colored graffiti that gives it a cheerful and quirky appearance — perfect for those who like their photos with a splash of color. The magic doesn’t just stop at the castle’s exterior at Kelburn. Venture into the breathtaking woodlands surrounding the castle to experience awe-inspiring views of gushing waterfalls, towering trees and an aerial view of the islands of the Firth of Clyde. Kelburn is also a family-friendly castle, with a specially dedicated playground for the little ones to get a magical adventure they will never forget at the stunningly realistic Secret Forest. Even adults will feel their inner child marveling at the nostalgic fairytale decor.
Last but not least in this list is Fyvie Castle, an architecturally gorgeous castle that is home to a fine collection of beautiful portraits and a garden teeming with wild birds such as fowls, geese, and even ospreys. On the outside, the castle is the epitome of royalty, with its stark white walls, grey roofs, and immaculately symmetrical windows and pillars. But this grand exterior hides not magic, but instead spine-chilling supernatural vibes. Thrill-seekers will definitely love this castle for its haunting history. From the mysterious Grey Lady who crawls the shadowed corridors in search of the spot where she was laid to rest to the ghostly trumpet player who died of heartbreak after the passing of his wife, the ghost stories of Fyvie make it even more exciting to be there. Keep your eye out for the rumored ‘weeping stones’, which are said to be three sacred stones that are always wet in appearance. Legend has it that failure to return these stones to their original location cursed the male heirs to never be able to inherit the castle.
At the end of the day, Scotland is still best known for its remarkable natural landscapes. But while you’re out there road tripping or hopping on tour buses, don’t forget to make a few stops for some of these marvelous castles.
Their architectural splendor combined with the beauty of the Scottish landscape around them will make you experience magic like never before. When you aren’t touring Scotland’s best sights, spending some quality time as a family by the pool is always a good idea. Take along these sassy kids puddle jumpers, they keep your little ones protected and always afloat!
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