Scotland's 10 best castles and palaces for family day out this summer crowned

Glamis Castle
Glamis Castle has been named as one of the top castles and palaces to visit in Scotland -Credit:ChrisCrafter / Getty Images

The top castles and palaces in Scotland for a family day out have been named in a new study.

With the weather improving in recent weeks and not long to go until the start of summer, many Scots will be starting to think how to make the most of it. In terms of fascinating history and stunning views, nothing can beat a trip to a castle.

New research conducted by UK heritage brand Fairfax & Favor has revealed the 10 best castles and palaces that are worth checking out as we enter the warmer months. The experts considered factors such as days of rainfall at each destination, average temperatures, Google visitor star ratings, and average monthly online searches to put together its list.

Coming in at number one is the legendary Edinburgh Castle in the Scottish capital. Easily one of the most famous castles in the UK, if not the world, Edinburgh Castle is among the oldest fortified places in Europe.

The castle, which has been used as both a royal residence and prison, was built in 1103. However, there are geographical features of the structure that are even older.

According to Fairfax & Favor, Edinburgh Castle scored highly thanks to its relatively small chance of rain compared to the other castles on the list. It also received high visitor review scores and high search interest online.

The spectacular Great Hall in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.
The spectacular Great Hall in Edinburgh Castle -Credit:simonbradfield / Getty Images

Following behind on the list in second place is Holyrood Palace, also situated in Edinburgh. Founded in 1128, the palace is steeped in Scottish history yet is also still used to this day by King Charles to carry out official royal engagements in the country.

Placing third on the list is Stirling Castle, where Mary, Queen of Scots is said to have grown up. Dating back to the 12th century, the castle features many different rooms and sections for visitors to explore — including the largest medieval banquet hall ever built in Scotland.

Rounding out the top five best castles and palaces in Scotland according to Fairfax & Favor are Falkland Palace in Cupar and Castle Fraser in Inverurie, in fourth and fifth place respectively. The former is a well-preserved palace that was built between 1450 and 1541 as a country retreat for leisure activities, while the latter is among Scotland's biggest tower houses and is home to a huge collection of beautiful artwork.

Castle Fraser
At Castle Fraser, visitors can enjoy stunning views from the top of the tower and look for hidden trap doors and secret staircases -Credit:RuthBlack / Getty Images

Other palaces and castles to feature in the top 10 include Balmoral Castle in sixth place, Scotstarvit Tower in seventh, and Castle Coeffin in eighth. Completing the list are Huntingtower Castle and Glamis Castle, placing ninth and 10th.

More information about the study and the methodology used can be found on the Fairfax & Favor website.

Scotland's best castles and palaces

  1. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

  2. Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh

  3. Stirling Castle, Stirling

  4. Falkland Palace, Cupar

  5. Castle Fraser, Inverurie

  6. Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

  7. Scotstarvit Tower, Cupar

  8. Castle Coeffin, Oban

  9. Huntingtower Castle, Perth

  10. Glamis Castle, Angus

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