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Cawdor Castle


Cawdor Castle dates from 1370 and was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor, a family made famous by Shakespeare's play "MacBeth". Most Scottish Castles are now unoccupied or run by Trusts, but the Cawdor family still owns the castle and occupies it in the winter.

Cawdor Castle is an extremely well-presented castle and offers 11 rooms to visit. The first room is the Drawing Room, which has some interesting features, such as an old leather wheelchair and a minstrel gallery at the back. Other unusual features can be seen in the "uneven" Yellow Sitting Room, which isn't quite in the shape of a square, has irregular windows and an off-centre fireplace. There is also a trapdoor leading to a dungeon, through which unwelcome visitors would be thrown never to be seen again. We looked for it, but unfortunately never found it, so you may want to ask a guide for directions.

Cawdor Castle was never attacked and what you see today is a very complete and original building. This is rather unusual for a Scottish Castle. It even retains the holly tree around which it was first built. There is a legend attached to this tree and you can still see the "original" tree in an intriguing little vaulted room in the basement.

An interesting fact is that, in the 16th century, the young heiress of Cawdor, then aged 12, married a Campbell of Argyll from Inveraray Castle, hence linking the two families and estates together.

The gardens at Cawdor Castle are well worth a stroll too. The walled garden provides some good fun with its maze. The flower garden is absolutely gorgeous, especially in the late spring when all the buds have blossomed. 


Cawdor, Nairn IV12 5RD

Operated by:

The Dowager Countess Cawdor

Opening Hours:

From 27 April to 1 October, daily 10am to 5:30pm (Last entry 5pm)


Adult £ 14.50, Concession £ 13, Child £ 8 (Under 5's free), Family £ 36.50




English, French & German


To gardens, grounds, restaurant and shop, in Castle ground floor only







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