Best Castles near Glasgow

The Scottish city of Glasgow is a bustling metropolis that seamlessly combines the old with the new, and has an abundance of culture and charm that is just waiting to be discovered. It is a thriving hub of art, food, and architecture, and attracts a plethora of tourists every year, who are enticed by its friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Aside from the city itself having a lot to offer, there are also an array of gorgeous and historic castles on the outskirts of Glasgow, that are truly fascinating.

This list will highlight the top castles to visit near Glasgow, their key features and points of interest, as well as practical information, such as location and opening times.

The best 11 castles to visit near Glasgow

1. Bothwell Castle

Situated upon the River Clyde, in the South Lanarkshire region of Scotland, which is around 10 miles to the south-east of Glasgow, is a gorgeous, and enormous medieval castle that dates back to the 13th century. It was constructed by the ancestors of Clan Murray, which was a Highland Scottish clan, with the initial purpose of guarding a key point of the River Clyde.

The castle’s prime time was during the Middle Ages; for instance, it played a critical part in Scotland’s War of Independence, and went through a variety of sieges, and was rebuilt several times, before being abandoned in the 18th century. Today, the castle is a very popular site for tourists visiting Glasgow and is easy to get to.

Where: Bothwell, South Lanarkshire
When: 13th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

2. Crookston Castle

Nestled in the Pollock area of the south-west of Glasgow, approximately 5 miles away from the city centre, lies the gorgeous Crookston Castle. The castle dates back to the 12th century and is surrounded by a defensive ring-ditch, which relaters to Sir Robert de Croc giving his name to the village of Crookston, whereby a castle was built by timber.

The castle has so many layers of history to it, including the remains of a chapel on the site that is believed to date back to the year 1180. The castle has also been visited by many famous and noble individuals during its centuries of history, as well as playing a primary role in a plethora of military events.

Where: Crookston, Pollock
When: 12th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

3. Dumbarton Castle

Dumbarton Castle was first mentioned in the year 450, and was renowned as the stronghold of Alcuith of the Kings of Strathclyde; the castle has a vast and fascinating history, for instance, it was seized by the Picts and Northumbrians in the year 756, and was later captured by the raiders from Ireland in 870, who besieged the castle’s rock during a violent military battle.

Later, in the 14th century, the castle became a royal residence, and a fortress; it later changed hands several times during the 16th century, where many architectural changes were made as well.

This is a great place to visit when visiting Glasgow and feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where: Dumbarton, South Lanarkshire
When: 5th century
Open for visit: Yes for more information check here.

4. Craignethan Castle

The beautiful Craignethan Castle is a ruined castle in the South Lanarkshire region of Scotland, which is approximately 10 miles away from Glasgow. The castle was originally built during the 16th century, and existed with a primarily military function, and serves as a prime example of medieval artillery excellence.

One of the castle’s most interesting facts is that Sir Walter Scott visited Craignethan in the autumn of the year 1799, and was captivated by the castle’s charm; he mentioned the castle in many books. This association with Scott is a key pull factor for the castle, and it attracts many visitors every year.

Where: Craignethan, South Lanarkshire
When: 16th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: For more information, check here.

You might also like: The most beautiful castles to visit in Scotland. 

5. Newark Castle

Situated onshore of the estuary of the River Clyde in Port Glasgow, Inverclyde, lies the stunning, and incredibly well-preserved Newark Castle.

The castle was originally built in the year 1478, by George Maxwell; this original castle was built with a tower house, which was enclosed by a large wall, and only a small amount of this remains today.

During the late 16th century, Sir Patrick Maxwell inherited the castle, which he largely expanded in the year 1597, and turned it into an enormous Renaissance mansion, which was built in line with contemporary principles. Since 1909, the castle came into state care and is welcome to visitors.

Where: Port Glasgow, Inverclyde
When: 15th century
Style: Renaissance and Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

6. Balloch castle

Balloch Castle was constructed in the early 19th-century and is nestled upon the southern end of Loch Lomond, which is in the West Dunbartonshire region of Scotland.

Before the current castle existed, there was an old, original castle, which was built in approximately 1238 by the earls of Lennox. The current Balloch Castle was built between the years 1808 and 1809, upon the order of John Buchanan of Ardoch, who was a Glaswegian merchant.

The castle is built in the Tudor Gothic style, and features many decorative features that are inspired by the period; it is a mere stone’s throw away from Glasgow, and a great place to spend an afternoon.

Where: Loch Lomond, West Dunbartonshire
When: 19th century
Style: Tudor Gothic
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

7. Strathaven Castle

Situated in the small Scottish town of Strathaven in South Lanarkshire lies the gorgeous Strathaven Castle; first recorded as existing in the 13th century, it was built by the Flemmings or the Bairds as a wooden structure, that was 100 years later converted into the first stone castle.

The castle has a truly rich heritage, ranging both from the famous and noble families that have resided there, its military role over the centuries, and its stunning architecture; for example, a remnant of corbelling that dates back to the 15th-century is still visible today.

Where: Strathaven, South Lanarkshire
When: 13th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: fenced with no access to the public

8. Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most famous and culturally significant castles; it is nestled upon Castle Hill, which is a large crag that s part of the Stirling Sill formation. It blends in beautifully with the dramatic surrounding scenery, which gives it a truly magical and enchanting feel.

Though the castle’s history dates way back to the 7th and 8th centuries, the majority of the buildings that exist there today date back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and even a few elements of the fourteenth-century architecture remain; its many layers of history impress the large number of visitors that attend the site annually.

The castle is famous for many reasons, including it being the crowning site of Mary Queen of Scots in 1542.

Where: Stirling, Scotland
When: 14th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

9. Dundonald Castle

Located in the village of Dundonald in the South Ayrshire region of Scotland lies the stunning Dundonald Castle, which is a fortified tower house that was constructed for Robert II upon his accession to the Scottish throne in the year 1371.

However, before the existing castle, there is evidence to suggest that an earlier hill fort existed on the same site; it was built of timber, which was caught on fire and burned down in approximately the year 1000AD.

Today, there is a visitor centre on the site, which exhibits the castle’s long and fascinating history, which adds an extra layer to the heritage that is presented in the form of the castle ruins.

Where: Dundonald, South Ayrshire
When: 14th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

10. Doune Castle

Doune Castle is a beautiful medieval stronghold that is located near the village of Doune in the Stirling region of Scotland, which is only a short trip away from the city of Glasgow.

There is evidence to suggest that the castle was originally built in the 13th century, and was later damaged in the Scottish Wars of Independence before being rebuilt again at the end of the 14th century, by Robert Stewart who was the Duke of Albany, and the son of King Robert II of Scots.

The castle is built in the traditional medieval royal castle architectural style, with a courtyard, a tower house, and a gorgeous great hall. The castle was later restored in the 1880s, where the timber roofs and floors were replaced

Where: Doune, Stirling
When: 13th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

11. Blackness Castle

Edinburgh Castles-Blackness-Castle

Situated near to the village of Blackness, upon the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, lies the gorgeous Blackness Castle, which was built in the 15th century, upon the site of an earlier existing fort; the castle was constructed by Sir George Crichton in the 1440s, a time where the area was a key port of trade.

The castle has so many interesting features that still stand today in an impeccable condition, as they have been lovingly preserved as a symbol of Scotland’s heritage. Today, the castle is open to the public to visit, and there is a small exhibition on site.

Where: Blackness, Falkirk
When: 15th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information, check here.

This list has highlighted the best castles near to the bustling Scottish metropolis of Glasgow, demonstrating the truly rich variety of the region. A trip to Glasgow is the perfect place to visit any time of the year, as you can easily combine the modern charms of the city, and the enchanting, older heritage of its outskirts.

2 Comments

  • I am planning on doing a multiple Scotland’s castles challenge adventure all in aid of my favourite charity National Autistic Society Scotland in September 2021 for awareness and helping many vulnerable adults who like me need there expertise through life. its my passion doing long distance cycling as I love being outdoors, ive got a facebook blog where I post about my challenges and a special page for my cycling experience as this will be my 6th year for being a autistic fundraiser.

  • Good luck Louisa. Sounds like fun. A worthwhile cause. Post a link to your blog. I’d like to follow your journey.

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