Top 5 Castles in Wales and Scotland

A trip to Scotland and Wales would not be complete without at least one visit to a castle.  Of course, castles are incredibly abundant there (you’ll find over 3,000!) compared to other parts of the world and you will probably visit many more than just one.   Here is a list of top five castles.  Each was chosen for a specific feature; however, with so many castles to explore, be sure to make time for some of the smaller, less known ones and you may find your own personal favorite.

Eilean Donan Castle

One of the most recognizable and iconic images of Scotland, this is a very popular location for filming movies.  Some well-known titles that were filmed at this spot include, “Loch Ness”, “Highlander”, and “Elizabeth the Golden Age”.  Located on the Kyle of Lochalsh, Eilean Donan sits all alone on a private island.  Although partially destroyed around 1719, in 1911 it was restored to its former glory.  The castle provides some of the most romantic views around and offers daily tours starting at its own visitor’s center.

Edinburgh Castle

The national symbol of Scotland, Edinburgh castle has an amazing overlooking view of Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh from its elevated site; a volcano.  The castle is actually an assemblage of buildings dating from the 12th through 20th centuries.  The Stone of Destiny is located here, and daily tours are offered as well as numerous other events.  Be sure to check their website for upcoming events before planning your trip.

Stirling Castle

Due to its strategic position, Stirling Castle is probably the most important castle in Scotland in historical terms.  It was believed that whoever controlled the castle controlled Scotland and as such the castle is known as the “key” to Scotland.  Its long and bloody history with at least sixteen battles, gives the castle an almost eerie feeling as you wander within its walls.  More recently it found fame through the movie, Braveheart.

Conwy Castle

Perhaps the most visited castle in Wales is Conwy Castle.  As you approach the castle, it seems to just magically appear out of nowhere as it ascends from the hills.  The incredible old suspension bridge connects the main peninsula with Conwy Castle and still guards the main entrance.  All eight towers and the connecting walls are still completely intact as well. They form a protective rectangle which is something completely different from the layouts of Edward’s other castles in Wales.
Perhaps the most intriguing part (and what draws many tourists in) is that Conwy Castle is almost entirely accessible and incredibly well preserved.  Journeying to the top of any of the towers offers the visitor spectacular views of the town, surrounding coastline and countryside.

Urquhart Castle

Set in a spectacular position on the banks of Loch Ness, Urquhart is one of Scotland’s largest castles.  Striking views of Loch Ness and Great Glen can be seen here.  While you may not fall in love with this castle like the others, you’re sure to have your breath taken away by the views that are sure to be imprinted in your memories of Scotland.  You will also get that eerie feeling that comes from being inside a place with a dark and haunted history.
Photo courtesy of Lenivor
Wherever you choose to visit in the UK why not make your stay extra special and stay in some traditional accommodation.  Holiday cottages in Wales and holiday cottages in Scotland are varied in size and features and you are sure to find somewhere that is perfect.