top of page

Discovering the History and Beauty of Dunnottar Castle

One of the most popular destinations guests at the Royal Arch Riverside Park visit is the popular and stunning Dunnottar Castle. The scenic castle is only a short 20 minute drive north on the A90 from the Royal Arch Riverside Holiday Park.

Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Render of Dunnottar Castle by WDA Design Aberdeen

Dunnottar Castle is a ruined medieval fortress located on a clifftop near the town of Stonehaven, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It has a rich and dramatic history spanning over a thousand years. Dunnottar Castle is a historic ruin located in Scotland and is known for its stunning location on a cliff overlooking the North Sea. The castle has a rich history, including being a royal palace, a military fortress, and a prison, and is now a popular tourist attraction. Despite its ruins, the castle remains an impressive sight, attracting many visitors each year.

Dunnottar Castle has been featured in several films and TV shows, including:

  1. Hamlet (1990)

  2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

  3. Highlander (1986)

  4. Stone of Destiny (2008)

  5. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

  6. The Amazing Race (2001)

  7. Victor Frankenstein (2015)

  8. Mary Queen of Scots (2013)

  9. The World from Above (2010)

Scotland's Best-Kept Secret: A Visit to Dunnottar Castle

These productions have helped bring the stunning location and rich history of Dunnottar Castle to a wider audience, and have contributed to its popularity as a tourist destination and visit Scotland. In 2019 it was reported that the castle welcomes over 135,000 visitors.

The castle dates back to the Early Middle Ages and was probably built in the 8th or 9th century. In the 13th century, Dunnottar became the property of the powerful Keith family and was expanded into a formidable fortress. During the Wars of Scottish Independence in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, Dunnottar played a key role in the conflict between Scotland and England.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, Dunnottar was a royal castle and was used as a residence by the Scottish kings. In the late 16th century, the castle was used as a prison for Covenanters, Scottish Presbyterians who were resisting the attempts by the English king to impose Anglicanism on Scotland.

You can purchase tickets to visits the Dunnottar Castle here,

Mary Queen of Scots visited Dunnottar Castle

Mary queen of Scots at Dunnottar Castle Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Mary Queen of Scots

In 1562 Mary Queen of Scots visited Dunnottar Castle for the first time and returned in 1564 for a two-night stay. Mary was a significant figure in Scottish history, and her visit to Dunnottar Castle is a notable event in the castle's history. The castle has a rich and varied history, including periods of royal use, military occupation, and imprisonment, which has made it a fascinating site for tourists and history enthusiasts alike.

During the civil war in 1645, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose marched on Dunnottar Castle and plundered it before burning it. The castle has a rich and complex history, including periods of military conflict, which have left their mark on the site.

In 1650, during the English Civil War, Dunnottar was the site of a dramatic and important event. The Scottish crown jewels, known as the Honours of Scotland, were stored at the castle to prevent them falling into the hands of the English army. A small group of defenders held off a much larger English force for eight months, until the jewels were smuggled out of the castle and taken to safety. Today the jewels can be viewed at the the Crown Room at Edinburgh Castle, together with the Stewart and the Lorne Jewels. The Stone of Scone was added in 1996, after 700 years in Westminster Abbey.

Scottish piper at Dunnottar castle

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Dunnottar was used as a military barracks and was eventually abandoned. In the 20th century, the castle was purchased by a private individual and restoration work was carried out. Today, Dunnottar is a popular tourist attraction and is open to visitors.

The North Sea's Hidden Gem: A Visit to Dunnottar Castle

Throughout its history, Dunnottar Castle has been the site of many battles and sieges, as well as political and religious struggles. It has been a symbol of Scottish independence and resistance, and its dramatic location on a clifftop overlooking the North Sea has made it one of the most iconic and evocative castles in Scotland. Despite its ruined state, Dunnottar is an important part of Scotland's cultural heritage, and a visit to the castle is a fascinating and memorable experience for visitors.

In conclusion, the history of Dunnottar Castle is a rich and diverse tapestry of political struggles, religious controversies, military battles, and royal residences. It has been a key player in some of the most important events in Scottish history, and its dramatic location and rich heritage make it one of the most important and interesting castles in Scotland. Whether you are a history buff, an architectural enthusiast, or simply a lover of beautiful and dramatic landscapes, a visit to Dunnottar Castle is sure to be a memorable and rewarding experience.

To book a staycation at the Royal Arch Riverside Park visit our holiday lodge rentals. All our luxury lodges have a privacy decking area with a hot tub and privacy glass, relax and unwind in the stunning Aberdeenshire countryside with unobstructed views.

Lodges in Scotland with Hot Tubs

Recent Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page