Dunnottar Castle

Easily Scotland’s most “whaaaat, is that REAL?” castle, Dunnottar is both ancient and mighty. Little of import in Scottish history occurred without touching on Dunnottar. From the earliest days of the kingdom of Scots when Constantine II found himself trapped against it by a furious Aethelstan of England, to the Wars of Independence which saw Wallace burn its English garrison alive and Cromwell’s invasion when the Honours of Scotland were hidden away within, Dunnottar Castle is at the heart of Scottish history.

It is also one of the most spectacular natural sites in Britain, comparable to Tintagel in Cornwall if somewhat smaller. Dunnottar’s promontory falls sheer to the sea on three sides, and the only approach was (and is) a narrow path completely covered by murderous arrow and gun slits. The castle was virtually impregnable until gunpowder artillery became a mainstay of warfare, and even then it lasted for over 10 months against a concerted siege led by experienced Cromwellian solders. If for some mad reason you only get to see one castle in Scotland there would be a few contenders, but Dunnottar would likely once again come out on top.