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Threave Castle

Overview

Threave Castle stands on an island in the middle of the River Dee and is largely intact although the roof and interior fittings have long since disappeared. The main element of the castle is a large five storey keep that was built by Archibald the Grim* during the 14th century *(Archibald gets his moniker as he apparently put on a particularly feirce face when going into battle). The keep was protected by an outer wall and ditch, with drum towers at each of the corners of the outer wall. Most of these outer defences have gone, but you can identify where they would have stood and the ditch is still evident.

If swimming across a river, clamdering through a ditch and then breaking down an outer wall didn't deter you from trying to break in, the Keep has a further obstacle in the form of an entrance door that can only be accessed via a drawbridge that connects the gatehouse tower to the keep. With all these impediments in place, you'd think this castle would have been a fairly quiet and safe place to live, but the history of Threave is one of regular sieges and frequent changes of ownership. 

A curious fact about Threave Castle is that it was used as a prison for French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars.

Part of the appeal of visiting Threave castle is the short boat trip across the River Dee. As you sit in the boat, the ferryman will tell you some tales about the castle. Be sure to ask about its ghosts!

Once on the island there is a small hut selling tour guides and a few gifts. You don’t need to buy a tour guide as the information boards around the castle give a good explanation about the castle. Once inside Threave castle you can see the areas where there were kitchens and a dungeon. A tight spiral staircase then leads to an upper floor with good views and, in one corner, an original toilet!

It’s quite a long walk from the car park to the ferry so not much fun if it’s raining.

Save money on visiting this attraction by buying an Explorer Pass

Address:

Near Castle Douglas. DG7 1BG

Operated by:

Historic Environment Scotland

Opening Hours:

April to September - Daily: 10 am to 5pm (Last boat sails at 4.30pm) October - Daily: 10 am to 4pm (Last boat sails at 3.30pm)

Admission:

Adult £ 6.00, Child £3.60, Senior £ 4.80 (Free entry for NTS members)

Parking:

Yes

Languages:

English

Accessibility:

To get to the castle ferry boat you have to walk ~0.5 miles along a path that passes through several gates. There is then a short crossing in a small boat that you have to step in and out of from a jetty..

Toilets:

Yes

Shop:

Yes

Cafe/Restaurant:

No

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