• Krista the Explorer

Cheat Pass to Scotland's Castles

There are so many castles all across Scotland, it can be overwhelming when you're trying to figure out which ones to visit, especially if you're limited on time. Luckily, I stumbled across the Explorer Pass which saved a lot of time, and most importantly, money! Let's face it, castles are not cheap to get into, especially if they're top tourist destinations. The smaller, less popular castles may boast a cheaper entrance fee, but if you're planning on visiting numerous ones it'll quickly add up. Now, the Explorer Pass doesn't have every single castle on it, but it does have some of the best ones, and even better, some that I hadn't even thought of visiting before. There are different versions of the pass to buy, but I opted for the 7 day pass which you can use over a span of 14 days. This was ideal because I didn't have to cram everything in, day after day, so I could really enjoy those 7 days I was actually castle hopping! There's a map online that shows you all the castles on the pass, so you can easily plan your trips and see what castles are near one another. Now, I took an electric car all over Scotland while doing this, so I had to meticulously plan each castle stop, and had I been able to locate enough charging points, I would have been able to fit in a few more intriguing castles, especially around the Edinburgh area. Not convinced? Well, what if I told you that I ended up paying well under half of what I would have done had I bought tickets for each individual castle! Yes, the pass is that amazing! Tip: Make sure you look up the entry fee's for the castles you want to visit beforehand and calculate if the pass will be worth it to you. Take a look at the castles I visited below. I hope you get inspired!

Urquhart Castle
Located on the shores of Loch Ness. Can you spot Nessie?
Stirling Castle
Still my favourite Scottish castle because of its gorgeous views and the incredible restoration done indoors.
Castle Campbell
Situated in the town of Dollar, just outside of Stirling. This one isn't for the faint of heart. It's quite a trek through the woods and up an enormous hill, but the views from the top are worth it!
Doune Castle
This castle is also in the Stirling area, and was famously used in Outlander as Castle Leoch as well as Monty Python and the Holy Grail!

Lochleven Castle
This castle is on its own island! Make sure you check the weather before visiting!

Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here at the end of her reign, and made a daring escape to the mainland!
Elcho Castle
Located in the Perth area. Don't be alarmed if you start driving through someone's farm, the castle is on the other side!
Huntingtower Castle
Also in the Perth area, it has a strange layout and if you look closely you can see paintwork dating back to the 16th century on the ceiling.
Stanley Mills
Not a castle, but it's on the pass! It's quite an interesting stop if you're around Perth.
Threave Castle
A bell? Hmm, interesting. But what happens when you ring it? Oh nothing much, just a ferryman comes across the water to fetch you and bring you to the castle.

There it is!
Caervarlock Castle
Located in the Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland, this was one I was geeking out over. I won't bore you with historic facts or its architectural genius, but it's a must see castle for sure.

I mean, it still has a working moat! You can see this castle and Threave in the same day very easily. Enjoy!
St Andrews Castle
I spy a castle by the sea. Situated in a beautiful medieval town, St Andrews Castle is simply stunning, sitting atop the cliffside. There's even a mine you can climb through under the castle!
St Rule's Tower
Not a castle, I know. But can you resist this view? The tower can be found in the grounds of the cathedral. It's a little bit of a climb, but like I said, can you resist it?
Linlithgow Palace
Visit the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots! And it's not too far from Edinburgh either.
Craigmillar Castle
So, this castle was closed by the time we got to it. However, I managed to scale a wall and get a glimpse inside! It's located in Edinburgh as well so make sure you don't miss it!
Blackness Castle
This was an interesting one! It's shaped like a boat, was used in Outlander as Fort William, and was mainly used as a garrison or state prison.
Edinburgh Castle
I know, I know. You didn't think Edinburgh Castle was on the pass did you? Surprise! It is. You're welcome.

Bet you want to go castle hopping now don't you? As I said, not every castle is on the list, but there are a lot, and even some bonus locations that aren't castles! What are you waiting for?


My name is Krista, and like many people I love to travel! I think it's important that people share their travel experiences, so I hope that mine help you in some way in your own travels, or inspire you to travel more! 

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© 2018 by Krista the Explorer