Play Kings And Queens In These 10 Castles Surrounding Dunfermline, Scotland

best things to do in dunfermline uk
| 4 min read

This historic town just south of Fife is situated on high ground, making it the perfect spot for Kings and Queens of a by-gone era to build castles, and there is a lot to choose from! This selection below is our top list of castles that are worth exploring in and around Dunfermline, so grab your history book and take a step into the past with us!

1. Dunfermline Palace

Dunfermline Palace south wall and Gatehouse
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chiswick Chap used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Although technically not a castle, it is one of the most historically important royal buildings in Dunfermline and so we’re including it on this list. The building itself is over 1,000 years old and there is a wealth of information available on site with both self-guided tours and guided tours available. The Palace is attached to Dunfermline Abbey and so joint tickets offer entrance to both locations. The Abbey is worth exploring as it holds the tomb of King Robert The Bruce.

Dunfermline Palace

Address: Dunfermline KY12 7PE, UK

Price: 5 GBP (6.35 USD)

Opening Times: Daily from 9.30am - 5.30pm

Website: Dunfermline Palace

2. Loch Leven Castle

Loch Leven Castle
Source: Photo by Flickr user Shadowgate used under CC BY 2.0

Located just a 15 minute drive from Dunfermline, Loch Leven Castle is famous because Mary, Queen of Scots was once a guest here. Unfortunately, as the history books tell us, her former host turned into her prison in 1567 and she was locked away in the castle, which you can only reach by boat. That alone is a unique experience! Today you can relive Mary, Queen of Scots’s epic escape from prison, but due to limited capacity, we recommend all visits to Loch Leven Castle be booked in advance.

Loch Leven Castle

Address: Pier Rd, Kinross KY13 8UF, UK

Price: 7.50 GBP (10 USD)

Opening Times: Open daily 10am - 4.15pm. Closed November - March

Website: Loch Leven Castle

3. Midhope Castle

Midhope Castle 08
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Camer01 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

As seen on the Outlander series, known fictionally as Lallybroch, this 15th-century castle is just 20 minutes from Dunfermline. Due to the castle being on private land there are very strict visiting procedures to follow, so we recommend reading the website before turning up because you may be turned away. On the same site is Hopetun House, also featured in Outlander, which is worth a visit.

Midhope Castle

Address: Abercorn, South Queensferry EH30 9SL, UK

Opening Times: 9am - 5.30pm (April - September) and 9am - 3pm (October – March)

Additional Notes: Must have a car pass to enter, cost is 5 GBP (6.30 USD). Buy from Hopetoun Farm Shop, open daily 10am - 5pm

Website: Midhope Castle

4. Lauriston Castle

This incredible castle has been left just as it was in 1926 and at just a short 25 minute drive from Dunfermline, we highly recommend visiting. You can tour around all of the rooms and when possible, the kitchen will be opened to offer an interesting contrast between life ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’. The castle is open by guided tour only, which lasts for one hour, but there is no need to book in advance. Once you have visited all the rooms be sure to explore outside in the gardens, which were laid out by William Henry Playfair in the 1840s. Opening times vary depending on the season so check online before you turn up.

Lauriston Castle

Address: 2 Cramond Rd S, Edinburgh EH4 6AD, UK

Price: 5 GBP (6.30 USD)

Website: Lauriston Castle

5. Blackness Castle

Blackness Castle, Blackness, Scotland
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dr John Wells used under CC BY 3.0

Another castle that was used in the TV show Outlander, this 15th-century castle is well known for its huge garrisons. There are various events throughout the year; this castle is still very much active and at just 28 minutes from Dunfermline, it’s a great day out for all of the family. The highlight of this castle has to be the views over the land below; picture perfect. This castle is also referred to as the ‘boat that never sailed’ due to its unique architecture which means that from above, it looks just like a ship!

Blackness Castle

Address: Blackness, Linlithgow EH49 7NH, UK

Price: 6 GBP (7.60 USD)

Opening Times: Open 9.30 - 5.30 daily

Website: Blackness Castle

6. Balvaird Castle

Balvaird Castle 2018
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Billbowery used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This castle is also unique in that it is a 1500s tower house complex with inner and outer courtyards, service buildings and two gardens. A 30 minute drive form Dunfermline, sadly only the exterior of Balvaird Castle can now be viewed, and there is no access granted inside the castle for the general public.

Balvaird Castle

Address: Cupar KY14 7SW, UK

Website: Balvaird Castle

7. Castle Campbell

Castle Campbell - - 749198
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chris Wimbush used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A post shared by Carlos Mendoza (@director_los) on Jun 20, 2017 at 12:49pm PDT

This is one of Scotland’s best-preserved Medieval tower houses, it was built in the 1400s and is still standing strong today. There is a wealth of information inside this castle as they offer viewing of historical films made by local historical experts and enthusiasts. The drive from Dunfermline will take you 32 minutes.

Castle Campbell

Address: Dollar FK14 7PP, UK

Website: Castle Campbell

8. Stirling Castle

Our favorite thing about Stirling Castle has to be the tapestry exhibition in the Great Hall. A 37 minute drive away from Dunfermline, we recommend doing a guided tour and checking out the numerous events that they host throughout the year.

Stirling Castle

Address: Castle Esplanade, Stirling FK8 1EJ, UK

Price: 15 GBP (19 USD)

Opening Times: Daily from 9.30am - 6pm

Website: Stirling Castle

9. Craigmillar Castle

A post shared by Tim Miller (@allpowerfultim) on Jun 21, 2017 at 1:33pm PDT

Located 42 minutes away from Dunfermline, this castle continues our Mary, Queen of Scots story when she famously used the castle as a safe haven in 1566. Our favorite thing about this castle is that it is one of Scotland’s oldest tower houses, but, above that, you can still visit the prison of the castle!

Craigmillar Castle

Address: Craigmillar Castle Rd, Edinburgh EH16 4SY, UK

Price: 5.50 GBP (7 USD)

Opening Times: Daily from 9.30am - 5.30pm

Website: Craigmillar Castle

10. St Andrews Castle

St Andrews Castle was once a bishop’s palace, a fortress and a state prison during its 450-year history. If that wasn’t enough history to tempt you to make the 1 hour drive to St Andrew’s Castle, perhaps the fact that you can peer into the prisons and dungeons of this infamous castle is. It is even said that Cardinal Beaton’s murdered body was kept in the underground mine; this assassination sparked a brutal siege which led to slaughter. A gruesome history to explore, it may be a bit further from Dunfermline than the others on the this list, but we still think it deserves it spot.

St Andrews Castle

Address: Scores, St Andrews KY16 9AR, UK

Price: 5.50 GBP (7 USD)

Opening Times: Daily from 9.30am - 5.30pm

Website: St Andrews Castle

For a day...

That’s it, for just one day, or ten if you choose to visit all of the castles on this list, you can be a King or a Queen. Scotland as a whole has so much history and so this list really is just scratching at the surface of historic buildings in and around Dunfermline, so be sure to do your own research and get ready to go exploring.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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