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Dunnottar Castle

Overview

The ruins of Dunnottar Castle have a distinctive cliff top location and this is possibly the reason why most people want to visit it. The walk to the castle involves a flight of steep steps, but along the way there are easily accessible viewpoints for taking photos. You are free to wander amongst the ruins and there are a few information boards explaining the history. We would have wished to have more information boards so we would recommend that you read up on the castle's history before you visit, or else get a guidebook (~£3.50) from the ticket shop.

The castle is very spread out although it doesn't feel that way when you first start the visit, as the approach to the castle is via a narrow "alley way" that the castle occupants would have been able to defend very easily. It makes you wonder how any would be attacker could have survived a frontal attack on the main gate. The rest of the ruins occupy a larger area that is built right up to the edges of the cliff tops. You could spend an hour here if determined to explore every corner.

From some parts of the castle you also get fantasitc views of the beach to the North, and if it's a bit windy, the rocks on the sea bed form impressive waves. We should also mention that the beach to the north is a good place to go hunting for attractively coloured peebles for a souvenir of your visit.

One of Dunnottar Castle’s most famous events was a siege in 1651 when Oliver Cromwell’s forces were trying to capture the Scottish Regalia (now on display in Edinburgh Castle). The 70 defenders of the castle managed to smuggle the crown jewels out of the castle by lowering them down the cliffs to a local woman who carried them through the enemy lines. 

You can also see a small chamber in the castle where 167 Covenanters were held for 2 months without food or sanitation. It is still quite an eerie place to visit.

Address:

3 miles south of Stonehaven (for GPS use postcode AB39 2TL, it will sort of get you there!)

Operated by:

Dunecht Estates

Opening Hours:

1st April to 30th September: Daily 9 am to 5:30 pm October to March: Daily 10 am to 4:30 pm or sunset if it happens before 4:30 pm.

Admission:

£7 adult & senior, £ 3 child (under 16), £17 family (2 adults + 2 children)

Parking:

Yes

Languages:

English

Accessibility:

Not suitable for wheelchairs. Steep steps lead to the castle

Toilets:

Yes

Shop:

No

Cafe/Restaurant:

No

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