On perhaps one of the most breathtaking sites, Dunnottar Castle was built in 1392 on the cliffside by Sir William Keith, Great Marischal of Scotland, 160 feet above sea level and surrounded on three sides by the North Sea. It is located near the fishing town of Stonehaven just 20 miles south of Aberdeen.  It takes a short but steep walk to get to the entrance and it is here that Dunnottar is best known as the place where the Honours of Scotland, the Scottish crown jewels, were hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army in the 17th century. As a fortified and impregnable fortress, it has played a significant role in Scotland’s bloodied history. Previous visitors include William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots.

Who built Dunnottar Castle?

Sir William Keith, Great Marischal of Scotland - regarded as one of the most powerful families of Scotland - started building Dunnottar in 1392.

For 400 years the castle was the seat of the Clan Keith until 1717.  After the Jacobite Rebellion, and with the forfeiture of his title, the 10th Earl Marischal was forced to sell. Dunnottar Castle. Everything of any value was removed including, floors, ceilings and all furniture leaving just a shell.  It was purchased in 1919 by Lord and Lady Cowdray who began a programme to protect and restore, it to prevent further damage.

  • In 1562 it was visited by Mary Queen of Scots
  • From the parking to the main entrance, there are 219 steps
  • Prices Adults £8 and Children £4
  • During poor weather, the castle may be closed
  • The castle is available for weddings
  • Please check opening times

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