cotland has over 500 historic homes and castles. They date from hundreds of years ago and demonstrate the phases of Scotland's history. Originally built for defense, many of these castles are in ruins while others have been restored or preserved. Some castles were built for the royalty while others were more modest in size and belonged to families or towns. Below are a sample of some of Scotland's castles.

Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle

Located near Crathie, this castle was purchased by Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert in 1852. Still in the British Royal Family, the Queen uses this castle as a summer and holiday home.

 
Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Visited by one million people every year, this castle is located in the center of Scotland's capital. Situated 437 feet above the city on a large volcanic rock formation, it has been used as a royal residence since at least 1093. Within the castle's walls, Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI, who eventually became King James I of England.

 

Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar Castle
Mel Gibson filmed part of Hamlet in this castle. On top of a cliff, 160 feet above the sea, the castle is still striking even though it is now in ruins. William Wallace burned alive an English garrison within the castle during the fight for independece from England. Another historical figure, Mary Queen of Scots, visited the castle in 1562 and 1564. Itis not known whether she did any damage.

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Scone Palace
Scone Palace
This palace has quite a history as all Scottish coronations between 838 and 1603 were held here. The Stone of Scone, or the Stone of Destiny, was kept here for nearly 500 years before it was removed in 1296 by Edward I of England. It remained at Westminster Abbey until it was permanently returned to Edinburgh in 1996. The Stone was used in Scottish and later English coronations, and the present Queen of England was the last monarch to sit on the coronation chair, which was built around the Stone.

 

Stirling Castle
Stirling Castle
Mary Queen of Scots spent much of her life at this castle, which dates from the 13th and 14th centuries. Many Scottish monarches held court here as well. The castle is near the place where William Wallace defeated the British in 1277.

 

This Interactive Castle Map has information on staying in a Scottish castle.

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