- Dunnottar Castle in a few words
- Our advice for a good visit of Dunnottar Castle
- - The best time to visit Dunnottar Castle
- - Some practical information
- What to do when you visit Dunnottar Castle?
- - Observe the ruins
- - Admire the view
- - Study the fauna and flora
- - Helping to protect the environment
- - Playing sports
- How much does a ticket to Dunnottar Castle cost?
- How can I book a ticket for Dunnottar Castle online?
- Are there guided tours of Dunnottar Castle?
- Are there combined tours with other monuments?
- Timetable of Dunnottar Castle
- How do I get to Dunnottar Castle?
- - Where to park near Dunnottar Castle?
- Where to stay near Dunnottar Castle?
Travelling to Celtic lands? Then don't miss to visit Dunnottar Castle, a must see Scottish monument!
Dunnottar Castle, Scotland's famous ruined site, lies on the edge of a cliff surrounded by the North Sea. Its exceptional and spectacular location makes it one of the most beautiful ruined castles in Scotland. Impossible not to fall under the spell of this breathtaking landscape! Indeed, between the breathtaking view of the sea and the beauty of the stones, you won't know where to start. A visit to Dunnottar Castle is fascinating as history blends with the romantic charm of the ruins while highlighting the past grandeur of Scotland's heritage.
Would you like to visit Dunnottar Castle? Then you will find in this article all the information you need to discover it in the best conditions. From advice, history and practical information to prices and opening hours, you will find all the essential information you need to plan your visit and enjoy it to the fullest!
Also read :
12 must-do things to do in Aberdeen
The 11 most beautiful castles in Scotland
Dunnottar Castle in a few words
Located three kilometres from Stonehaven, Dunnottar Castle sits on a huge cliff over 440 million years old. Built in the 14th century, the castle belonged to a powerful Scottish family: the Marischal. They have completely restored it by adding additional rooms such as the Tower House (dungeon). A new face that the Civil War unfortunately did not spare... Indeed, following the Count's refusal to sign a treaty, the Marquis de Montrose ravaged the castle.
Over the centuries, Dunnottar thus passed from hand to hand, between government, private owners and wealthy families. In the course of these many changes, the castle was gradually emptied of its valuables. It now belongs to the Pearson family who, after a restoration, opened the castle to the public.
Our advice for a good visit of Dunnottar Castle
The best time to visit Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar is most pleasant in the summer period, between June and September, as the temperature is around 15 degrees and rainfall is low. As the Scottish weather cliché is not a myth, we advise against the winter period because of the heavy rainfall and plummeting temperatures.
Some practical information
- Pets are welcome at the castle as long as they are kept on a leash at all times.
- The large number of stairs limits accessibility for visitors with reduced mobility. In addition, the defensive positioning of the castle also means that wheelchair access is impossible.
- Dunnottar Castle is oriented towards Green Tourism, with special attention to the protection and preservation of the environment. Visitors, on the other hand, are expected to respect the environment.
What to do when you visit Dunnottar Castle?
Visiting Dunnottar Castle has many surprises in store for you! Since its restoration, the popularity of the castle has continued to grow. With more than 87,000 visitors a year, Dunnottar Castle is still a popular destination. Here are a few must-sees not to be missed.
Observe the ruins
Dunnottar Castle is a ruin, but not just any ruin! Perched on a cliff, it sits proudly as if to show its past greatness.
Composed of eleven buildings of various styles (from the 13th to the 17th century), the one that catches our attention is the 14th century keep with its spectacular guard house. Don't miss the chapel and the rectangular buildings dating from the 17th century. There are numerous ruins of barracks, lodgings, stables and warehouses scattered all over the place. In short, the old stones are just as magical as the setting around the castle!
Admire the view
If you've ever seen the pictures of Dunnottar Castle, you'll understand the excitement of its view. Breathtaking, it incites you to make the trip with the cliffs, the sea and the bay. Go to the place and fully enjoy unforgettable moments (think of the little souvenir photo!).
A special movie anecdote: the film Hamlet played by Mel Gibson and Glenn Close was made in this magnificent setting.
Study the fauna and flora
Bird lovers, Dunnottar Castle is a haven of peace for birds! Here you can admire many winged species and hear the cries of the seagulls. Don't forget to bring your camera so that you can immortalize the beauty of these species.
The best part: when the tide is low, seals stay on the beaches below the cliffs.
Helping to protect the environment
An important part of the work at Dunnottar Castle is managing the unique environment. This movement is called Green Tourism: a tourism that aims both at protecting nature and making investments in terms of infrastructure profitable.
To visit Dunnottar Castle while helping the staff, several actions are proposed to you:
- Respect the Country Code(protect, respect and appreciate your environment).
- Pick up any rubbish you find and throw it in the dustbin.
- Living locally: eating, shopping and sleeping in the area helps local tourism and local traders.
Dunnottar Castle overlooks the sea, many water activities are offered below. For water sports enthusiasts, you can practice kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing and wakeboarding. In short, there is something for everyone.
However, if you are not a thrill seeker or if you are afraid of cold water, you can rent a boat. From there, you can admire the castle from another angle.
How much does a ticket to Dunnottar Castle cost?
Rates for visiting Dunnottar Castle vary according to your age, status and choice of visit. Please note that the family ticket can be used for a maximum of four people including two children under 16 years old.
Entrance fee :
- Adult: £7 (8€)
- Child: £3 (3,50€)
- Family rate: £17 (19,50€)
- Guide: £5 (6€)
Entrance fee for a group (20 visitors and more) :
- Adult: £6 (7€)
- Child: £3 (3,50€)
How do I book a ticket for Dunnottar Castle online?
On the Dunnottar Castle site, it is impossible to book your ticket. The purchase is only made at the entrance of the castle.
However, if you wish to plan your visit and book your ticket, it is possible to book online, especially through tour operators. During these excursions, the price(about 50€) includes transport and a private guide.
Are there guided tours of Dunnottar Castle?
Visiting Dunnottar Castle with a guide is indeed possible. For this you will have to pay an extra £5 (6€). The guide will give you a guided tour inside the fortified enclosure.
Alternatively, if you would like to have a commentary during your visit to Dunnottar Castle, you can also choose to have a tour operator take you to Dunnottar Castle and they will provide you with a guide or audio guide. Prices are around 50€ for this type of service.
Are there combined visits with other monuments?
Many combined visits with other monuments exist. Here are some of them:
- St Andrews, Dunnottar Castle and Falkland: this tour is quite complete as, for 60€, you visit many places of Scottish interest. The highlights of the tour are the Forth Bridge, the town of St Andrews, the village of Falkland and, of course, Dunnottar Castle. For a full day you will enjoy the beautiful Scottish landscape.
- Glamis and Dunnottar Castles: On thisday trip(€50) you will visit one of Scotland's most haunted castles, Glamis Castle, as well as Dunnottar Castle.
- Dunnottar Castleand Royal Deeside: throughout this walk you will admire Dunnottar Castle, but also the Feugh Falls, the Cairngorms National Park and the Muir landscape! The bonus of the excursion is undoubtedly its vehicle: a luxury Mercedes. Attention, the price goes with it: 150€ per day.
Timetable of Dunnottar Castle
The schedules to visit Dunnottar Castle vary according to the periods. Moreover, in case of bad weather, for security reasons, the castle may be closed.
- April 1st to September 30th: from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
- October 1st to October 26th: from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
- 27 October to 9 November: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
- 10 November to 18 January (closed on 18, 25 and 26 December and on 1 and 2 January): from 10.00 to 14.30
- 19 January to 1 February: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm
- 2 February to 15 February: 10:00 am to 3:30 pm
- 16 February to 29 February: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
- 1 March to 31 March: 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
For groups :
- April 1st to September 30th : from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
- 1 October to 31 March: from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
How do I get to Dunnottar Castle?
To visit the Château Dunnottar, several means of transport are available to you. You will be spoilt for choice. Nevertheless, in a perspective of Green Tourism (promoted by the castle), we advise you to take the least polluting means or to optimize your vehicle to the maximum (carpooling).
- Onfoot: from Stonehaven, we advise you to walk to the castle. Not only is it healthy, but the scenery is breathtaking! Bring sturdy shoes and waterproof clothing because who knows what the Scottish weather will be like?
- Cycling: being the same route as walking, you will discover picturesque and beautiful landscapes! The easiest (and safest) route is to follow the Bervie Braes route.
- Bus: this is often the most convenient and economical means of transport. Again, the information is checked as the journey from Aberdeen to the castle costs only £6.90, or €8. The journey takes 20 minutes and is offered by the X7 and 107 buses, which drop you off within walking distance of the Castle car park.
- Car: If you are on a Scottish road trip and have hired a car, simply follow the main A92, Stonehaven / Montrose. Dunnottar Castle is less than three kilometres south of Stonehaven.
Where to park near Dunnottar Castle?
If you are visiting Dunnottar Castle by car, please note that the car park is small in relation to the number of visitors.
Being only three kilometres from Stonehaven, you can park in Stonehaven and do the rest on foot or by bike. There is a bicycle park at the castle car park, although this too is rather limited.
Also to be read: Scotland in Motorhomes: tips, areas, itineraries
Where to stay near Dunnottar Castle?
Dunnottar Castle is very close to Stonehaven, so the easiest thing to do is to stay there. This charming town is worth a visit if you are in the area! With its harbour, beaches, historical sites and woodland walks, a visit to this town is full of surprises. We recommend staying in a charming little hotel such as the Queens Hotel or Ardhutie House. If the hotel offer is abundant, you also have the possibility to rent a typical Scottish Airbnb.
The other possibility is to sleep in the nearest big city, i.e. Aberdeen. Aberdeen is the third largest city in Scotland, after Glasgow and Edinburgh. You will fall under the spell of this quiet and warm city. Intoxicated by the atmosphere of this charming Scottish city, you will be able to stay in a charming hotel as well as in a typical and cosy Airbnb in a local house.