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Dunrobin Castle

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Dunrobin Castle is one of the finest and most celebrated attractions in the Scottish Highlands. The prominent fairytale-like castle occupies a scenic coastal location just outside of the village of Golspie. The oldest of all uninhabited houses that exist anywhere in Scotland, its current appearance is due to considerable restructuring over two hundred years ago.

A magnificent Sutherland stately home, Dunrobin Castle boasts an easy to find position off the main A9 trunk road. The stunning castle design and layout that we see before us today is due to remodelling in the nineteenth century and in a former guise has occupied this location since the fourteenth century. Prior to this elaborate restyling process, the castle possessed a much more basic medieval look and served as a fort. The original courtyard building can be observed when enjoying the interior.

In 1235, when the Earl of Sutherland was created, the castle apparently came into existence on this site.

Sir Charles Barry, architect of the House of Commons was engaged for the commission of remodelling Dunrobin into a Scottish Baronial styled house from a plain fort. The castle has a total of 89 rooms which makes it the northern Highland's biggest house.

Throughout the years, Dunrobin has had several faces. During the Great War, the building became a hospital treating war casualties and in the 1960's became a boarding school for boys.

Today, a sketcher's paradise, the much turreted building of Dunrobin puts one's drawing skills to the test (as I personally discovered).

The castle is famed for its brilliantly landscaped Versailles-like gardens with its giant rhubarb plants (that are big enough to house a family of four), its museum collections of Pictish stones and 'hunting' trophies in the form of stuffed animal heads and for its excellent falconry display. You would be hard pressed to find a sightseeing attraction anywhere that offers more value for money than this.

Admission to the house is 7.50 which includes entry to the museum, entry to the stately rooms and castle interior and a falconry display.

Features falconry displays twice daily during the summer in the castle's grand gardens. There is also a museum displaying the heads of numerous animals shot by the family on safari, ethnographic items collected from around the world (particularly Africa), and an important collection of archaeological relics, collected from the enormous Sutherland estates. Notable among these are the collection of Pictish symbols stones and cross-slabs, including a majority of those discovered in Sutherland. The museum retains its Victorian-early 20th century arrangement, making it one of the most remarkable private collections in the British Isles. It is housed in an 18th century summer-house adjoining the formal gardens.

The castle is a 1 mile walk north of Golspie.

£7.50 admission includes admission to the castle, the museum and the falconry display.


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