Oban, the Scottish town in the Argyll and Bute region of the country, is one of Scotland’s hidden gems, and is often regarded as the gateway to the Hebridean islands. It is a stunning waterside town, that has a quiet and idyllic charm, that captures the interests of many tourists every year. The town centre itself is a magical and enchanting centre for history, culture, and a friendly atmosphere, yet head slightly further afield, and discover a completely different side to Oban, that is lined with a plethora of wonderful and fascinating medieval castles. This list will highlight the best castles near to the town of Oban, their key points of interest, as well as practical information, such as opening and closing times, as well as location.
8 Castles you should visit near Oban
1. Carrick Castle
Carrick Castle, located upon the west shore of the stunning Loch Goil, which is situated on the Cowal peninsula of Argyll and Brute in Scotland, is a stunning medieval tower house, with a fascinating history. The castle is believed to have been built by the Campbell family at the end of the fourteenth century; at this point in time, the family was a prominent part of the local culture. The castle has lots of interesting historical facts, such as the famous visitor of 1563, Mary, Queen of Scots. During the 17th century, the castle was left to ruin, and fell into disrepair; it was oftentimes occupied until it was sold to the Murrays, who were the Earls of Dunmore. Today, visitors come to the castle to admire its history and surrounding scenery.
Where: Cowal, Scotland
When: 14th century
Open for visit: It is not possible to go inside the castle, but visitors can come to the area.
2. Inveraray Castle
Situated near to the town of Inveraray, in the Argyll country of western Scotland lies the stunning Inveraray Castle, a historic country site that is built upon the shores of Loch Fyne, which is the longest sea loch in the country. The castle that stands today is built in the Gothic Revival style, which was a popular style of the time when work began in the year 1743. The castle was designed by the architects William Adam and Roger Morris, who lavishly decorated the castle’s interiors in the neoclassical style, which were created for the 5th Duke of Robert Mylne. Today, the castle is open to the public; a large collection of military artifacts, including pikes, swords and muskets, is also on display here, as well as many of the beautiful rooms.
Where: Inveraray, Scotland
When: 18th century
Style: Gothic Revival
Open for visit: 9:00am – 17:00pm
3. Gylen Castle
Gylen Castle is a beautiful and historic ruined castle that is located on the island of Kerrera, in the Argyll and Bute region of Scotland. The castle or tower house was originally constructed in the year 1582, and was built by the Clan MacDougall; however, it was only resided in for a brief period of time, before it was besieged and destroyed by the Covenanters, which was under General Leslie in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, in the year 1647. Today, many people are attracted to the Castle, equally for its fascinating history, as well as its beautiful surrounding history, that truly captures the charm and eeriness of the Scottish Highlands.
Where: Kerrera, Scotland
Open for visit: Not possible to visit inside the castle
4. Dunstaffnage Castle
Located in the Argyll and Bute region of western Scotland lies the stunning, and partially ruined Dunstaffnage Castle, which is approximately three miles away from Oban. The castle is one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles, as it was built in the 13th century; it was originally constructed by the MacDougall Lords of Lorn, and since the 15th century, it has been under the possession of the Clan Campbell. Like many castles in Scotland, Dunstaffnage Castle fell into disrepair in the 19th century, and was not restored until the year 1903, by the Duke of Argyll, although it was never completely restored; today, the castle is open to the public and is under control of Historic Scotland.
Where: Dunbeg, Scotland
When: 13th century
Open for visit: 10:00am – 16:00pm
5. Castle Stalker
Idyllically perched upon a tidal islet on the stunning Loch Laich, which is located to the north-east of Port Appin in the Argyll region of Scotland, lies the stunning Castle Stalker, which is a historic four-story tower house. The original castle was constructed in approximately the year 1320 by Clan MacDougall, but the castle that stands today was built in around the 1440s. During the Middle Ages, the castle changed hands multiple times, between several different prominent clans, until it was later abandoned in the year 1840, at which point it lost its roof. In the year 1908, the castle was purchased by Charles Stewart of Achara, who renovated the site. Today, the castle is open to the public and is a protected monument.
Where: Loch Laich, Scotland
When: 14th century
Open for visit: 10:00am – 15:00pm
6. Kinlochaline Castle
Built in the 15th century, Kinlochaline Castle is a fantastic Scottish tower house that is located on the Ardtornish estate, which is in Morvern, in the Highland council area. The castle was originally constructed with the purpose of being a strategic defense, hence its position at the tip of the Loch Aline; it is constructed of 10 feet of sandstone, and is four stories tall, giving it a truly unique impression. Sadly, the castle was burned down in the year 1644, after being besieged by Alasdair Mac Colla, during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. Again, the castle was later attacked in the year 1679 by the Archibald Campbell, who as the 9th Earl of Argyll, during a conflict, and it was later abandoned in approximately 1690. The castle fell into disrepair and was not reconstructed until the late 20th century by Historic Scotland.
Where: Ardtornish, Scotland
When: 15th century
Open for visit: Not open to the general public, as it is a private residence.
7. Torosay Castle
Located approximately a mile and a half to the south of Craignure, which is on the Isle of Mull in the Scottish Inner Hebrides, lies the wonderful and impressive Torosay Castle, which was designed by the architect David Bryce, for John Campbell of Possil. The castle was completed in the year 1858, and is built in the traditional Scottish Baronial architectural style; it is enveloped by 12 acres of gorgeous and luscious gardens, that are adorned with several splendid terraces. One of the highlights of the castle grounds is its Statue Walk, which is lines with 19 different statues, that are built in the styles of the Italian sculptor, Antonio Bonazza. Fascinatingly, the oldest bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne was found at the castle, and is believed to been made in the year 1893, and remains in pristine condition.
Where: Craignure, Scotland
Style: Scottish Baronial
Open for visit: 10:00am – 17:00pm
8. Duart Castle
As it is known in Scottish Gaelic, Caisteal Dhubhairt, or Duart Castle, is a wonderful medieval fortress that dates back to the 13th century and is located on the Isle of Mull, which is off the west coast of Scotland. The castle is believed to have been built by Clan MacDougall but later came under the possession of Clan MacLean in the 14th century. The castle faced significant military conflict over the centuries of its existence, such as in 1647, where it was besieged by the Argyll government troops of Clan Campbell, though they were driven away by Clan MacLean. Today, the castle is open to the general public, who are fascinated by the castle’s rich heritage, impressive architecture, and beautiful interiors and grounds.
Where: Isle of Mull, Scotland
When: 13th century
Open for visit: 10:00am – 16:30pm