Scotland's Castles

In this article we have designed a 7 day Castle tour around Scotland taking in some of the most iconic Scottish castles starting from our base in Perth using a Campervan hired from www.scottishtourer.co.uk 

 

Day 1

Scone Palace


Only 2 miles from Perth is Scone Palace, is one of Scotland’s most important stately homes and dates back to the 12 century when it was Scone Priory, has been home to the Earls of Mansfield for over 400 years, Scone Palace was the place Scottish Kings were crowned for over 1000 years including Macbeth and Robert the Bruce, and is the home of the stone of destiny upon which the Scottish Kings were crowned, Queen Victoria and Price albert visited the castle in 1842.


Campervan rental, Scotland

The palace is home to a huge collection of antiques, paintings and rare artefacts, built of red sandstone in late Georgian gothic style with castellated roof, You can enjoy a unique experience and stay in the Castle in 5* accommodation in the Balvaird apartment which sleeps up to six persons. You can park the Campervan overnight in the campsite next to the Castle.
https://scone-palace.co.uk/

From Scone head through Perth and travel up the A9 locally known as the great north road for around 45 Minutes until you reach Blairatholl.

 

Blairatholl Castle

This is the home of the Murray Clan and is home to the clan Chief the Duke of Atholl, the 12th Duke Bruce Murray lives in South Africa. Blairatholl is one of the most interesting castles visits in Scotland and is not to be missed, the castle is said to have been built in 1269, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited and Stayed at the castle  in 1844 it was during this stay that she gave permission to establish the private army the Atholl highlanders which still exist to this day and are the only private Army in Europe, ITVs popular television series “Victoria” was filmed here during 2017, 
Campervan Rental Scotland, Castle Tour.


Campervan Rental Scotland, Castle Tour

Visitors to this Magnificent castle will find 30 plus treasure filled rooms fully furnished with many priceless artefacts, allow at least for hours to tour the inside, don’t miss a visit to the historical gardens which were laid out in the 18th century which includes a nine acre walled garden including runs of a Kirk, a red deer park, peacocks roam freely. Parking overnight is available next to the Castle at the Castle campsite. Don’t miss a visit to the House of Bruar complex 3 miles north of Blair Atholl which is known as the Harrods of Scotland which also has a food hall selling local and Scottish produce. 
Website, https://blair-castle.co.uk/

 

DAY 2

Travel from Blairatholl to Pitlochry and across the moulin moor to Glenshee past Braemar to Balmoral Castle, this will take around a two hours’ drive in your campervan including stopes along the way to visit attractions.


Balmoral Castle

Is the holiday home for the Royal family since purchasing the Balmoral Estate by Queen Victoria in 1852, Price Albert decided the existing castle was not large enough for the Royal family so built a new castle in Granite stone 100 yards from the original, the foundation stone for the new castle was laid by Queen Victoria in 1853, under the stone she placed a parchment recording the date together with a bottle containing coins from the period into a cavity prepared next to the foundation stone which marks the position to the front door of the demolished castle.
Campervan Rental Scotland, Castle Tour.


Campervan Rental Scotland, castle tour

Balmoral estate covers around 50.000 acres and is a working estate with forestry, farms, grouse moors, salmon fishing, lochs and mountains such as the popular Lochnager. The estate is a private property and was purchased personally by Queen Victoria so is not a crown property like Buckingham Palace. The estate employs 50 full time staff and around another 50 part time staff during the summer, the estate also has its own distillery Royal Lochnagar which is on the estate.

Whilst the castle remains almost untouched since it was built successive Royal families have made improvements and the current Queen and Prince Philip take a keen interest in running the estate on which the Castle is built. https://www.balmoralcastle.com/

 

DAY 3

From Balmoral follow the coast road the road to Cockbridge to Timontoul and on to Inverness in your campervan, then follow the A9 up the East coast past Dornoch to Dunrobin, this very interesting route will take around 3 hours driving including stops on the way.


Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin castle is one of the largest in the Highlands with 189 rooms ,with fairy tale spires & turrets, it sits in a glorious setting overlooking the Moray Firth, is the factual and spiritual home of Clan Sutherland, it was home to the Dukes of Sutherland and is one of the oldest continually habituated Castles in the Uk dating back to the 1300, the present Duke still has a private residence within the Castle, the Sutherland is originates from “South Land” and was colonised by Norse Invaders from Orkney and Scandinavia, the castle was used as a navel hospital during world war 2 and a boys  boarding School from 1965 to 1972 
Campervan Rental Scotland, Castle Tour


Campervan Hire Scotland, Castle Tour

The Castle gardens are the most impressive of all the Scottish castles being modelled on the gardens of  the Palace of Versailles Paris by Sir Charles Barry in 1850 who also designed the Houses of Parliament in London, the gardens extend  right to the beach front and are spectacular when viewed looking down from the Castle. Despite the far north location the gardens are able to support some tropical plants only found is south America, this is due to the Gulf Stream flow of warm water which flows from the gulf of Mexico across the Atlantic ocean
https://www.dunrobincastle.co.uk/

 

DAY 4

Enjoy a day’s driving in your campervan with outstanding views across baron country side  to the west coast of Scotland and then enjoy the most breath taking scenery down the west coast of Scotland from Ullapool to Eilean Donan castle, From Dunrobin take the road to Lairg and then to Ullapool on Scotland’s west coast and then down the coast towards Kyle of Lochalsh. On the way stop by at ......


Ardvrek Castle

Is a ruined castle dating back to the 14 century and stands on a rocky out crop jutting out into Loch Assynt, it was Built by the MacLeod’s , the ruins are only a small part of the original large castle and is a dangerous structure and can only be viewed from a safe distance.
The Marquis of Montrose who was fighting for the Royalists lost the battle of Carbisdale and he fled to Ardvreck castle where he hid from the troops aided by Neil MacLeod, whilst Neil was away his wife Christine tricked Montrose in the castle dungeon and informed the government troops, Montrose was taken to Edinburgh and executed on the 21 May 1650. Your Campervan can be parked overnight in the large layby 200 yards north of the ruin.
Campervan Rental Scotland, Castles tour.

Campervan Rental Scotland, Castle Tours

The castle was attacked by the Mackenzie’s in 1672 and captured and stripped the castle and used the stone to build Calda House , however Calda house burnt down in 1737 and before they could rebuild the Castle their lands were seized by the crown and both properties have remained ruined ever since.  Calda House burned down in 1737 and before the Mackenzie’s were able to rebuild it, their estates had been seized by the Crown for their support of the losing side in the 1745 uprising. It has remained a ruin ever since.

 

DAY 5

Eilean Donan 

No visit to the Scottish Highlands could be complete without a visit to this world famous Castle, and the very striking prominent position of  Eilean Donan castle or Island of Donan, it is thought it is named after Irish Saint , Bishop Donan who visited Scotland around 580 ad, the first structure was built in the 13th century by the Kintails against the invading Vikings who at the time controlled much of the  north of Scotland . over the centuries the Castle expanded and contracted to the needs of the time.
Campervan Rental Scotland, Castles Tour.

Campervan Rental Scotland, Castle Tours

During the Jacobite risings in the 17th and 18th centuries the castle was destroyed when the government realised that Spanish soldiers occupying the castle in 1719 were supporting the Jacobite’s , The English sent three heavily armed warships , The Worcester, The Enterprise, and the Flambourgh, they bombarded the castle for three days with limited success as the walls of the castle were 14 ft thick in places, eventually they had to send men ashore to fight and overwhelm the Spanish soldiers, the government troops then used the 343 barrels of gunpowder they found to blow up what remained of the castle.

The castle lay in ruins for two hundred years until John Macrae bought the island in 1911 and spent the next 20 years rebuilding the castle to its former glory completing the project in July 1932.

 

DAY 6

Travel north in the Campervan from Eilean Donan and cross the Bridge onto Isle Of Skye towards Dunvegan village which is around a two hour drive.

Dunvagan Castle

Dunvegan castle is the ancestral home of the MacLeod Clan who have been in residence for over 800 years, it was first built in the 13th century and has developed over the centuries and was remodelled in the 19th century in a mock medieval style, the castle is built in a very defensive position on the cliffs overlooking the sea loch Dunvegan, and a draw bridge to the rear.
https://www.dunvegancastle.com/castle/castle/
Campervan Renatl scotland, Castle Tours.
Campervan Rental scotland

The Castle is of high importance Architecturally as it spans around 10 different building periods from 1200 to 1850 , in 1933 Sir Reginald MacLeod the 27th Chief opened the castle to the public and now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Your Campervan can be parked in the campsite overlooking the sea close to Dunvegan Village, we recommend eating at the old school restaurant which is a 5-minute walk from the campsite.
https://www.dunvegancastle.com/about-us/
Campervan Renatl Scotland.

 

DAY 7

Traven to Armadale in the south of the Island and catch a ferry to Mallaig on the mainland towards Fort William stop at the Glenfinnan monument which is a very moving tribute to those who died fighting the Jacobite cause, it was at Glenfinnan Bonnie Prince Charlie raised his father’s Standard marking the start of the 1745 Jacobite uprising, Charlies Army marched as far south as Derby in England before they started to retreat and eventually defeated at Culloden.

Campervan Rental Scotland, Castle Tours

Campervan Rental Scotland, castle tours

This 18-metre-high monument was built in 1815 with the lone kilted highlander on the top is a very poignant reminder of the sacrifices of then highland soldiers, there is now also a modern exhibition and visitor centre telling the story of the Jacobite’s and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
We would suggest driving to Fort William then south and enjoy a drive through the stunning Glencoe towards Stirling.


Stirling castle


Stirling Castle is possibly the most important Castle in Scotland historically and architecturally and dominates the skyline for miles around as its set atop a hill next to Stirling the town, where many battles have been fought and home to many famous monarchs including Mary Queen of Scots.
The Castle is surrounded on 3 sides by steep cliffs making these side almost impregnable by enemies and was a very important fortification from earliest times. 
Many of the important parts of the Castle date from the 15th century and parts from the 14th century still exist, the castle has seen at least 8 sieges with the last one by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746 when he unsuccessfully tried to capture the castle.
Ccampervan Rental Scotland, Castle Tours.
 

Campervan Tours Scotland, Castle Tours

King Edward of England invaded Scotland in 1296 and found the Castle empty and abandoned and they occupied the castle, however they were beaten at the battle of Stirling bridge by William Wallace and when the remainder of the English garrison retreated to the castle they were starved into submission by the scots, the castle was retaken a year later when Edward returned from victory at Falkirk and Edward strengthened the castles defences but was besieged by Robert the Bruce in 1299 and the Scots occupied the Castle once again but only until 1304 when Edward Returned yet again and this time gained the upper hand.
20th Century, the castle is home to the Argyll and Sutherland Regiments, for a more detailed history follow this link the castle website.
https://www.stirlingcastle.scot/
Campervan Reental scotland, Castle Tours

From Stirling it is a 30 minute drive back to our base in Perth to return your Campervan rental Vehicle.