A recent piece was published about the top 10 enchanting fairytale castles in the world .
In at number 7 was Dunnottar Castle, Scotland .
No list of the top 10 fairytale castles around the world would be complete without Scotland’s Dunnottar Castle. This ruined medieval fortress sits atop a rocky outcrop, surrounded by steep cliffs.
Dunnottar Castle, perched dramatically on a rocky headland along Scotland’s northeast coast, embodies the quintessence of a fairytale castle. Its remarkable location and rich history make it one of Scotland’s most iconic and enchanting castles, often regarded as a contender for the title of the best fairytale castle in the country.
The castle’s roots trace back to the early Middle Ages, though much of the remaining structures date from the 15th and 16th centuries. Its strategic position, on a rugged cliff overlooking the North Sea, has played a pivotal role in Scotland’s history. This setting is not just strategically significant but also contributes immensely to the fairytale allure of Dunnottar. The way the castle appears to emerge from the rock, surrounded by the crashing waves of the sea, creates a scene that seems to have leaped out of a storybook.
Dunnottar’s fairytale essence is further enriched by its history, replete with tales of knights, royalty, intrigue, and battles. It was here that the Scottish crown jewels were hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army in the 17th century, a tale that adds a layer of romantic heroism to its legacy. The castle also played host to several notable historical figures, including Mary Queen of Scots and William Wallace, adding to its legendary status.
Architecturally, Dunnottar is a feast for the eyes, showcasing the ruins of a medieval fortress with a chapel, keep, and several other buildings, all interlinked and perched on the cliff. The ruins evoke a sense of mystery and nostalgia, prompting visitors to ponder the lives of those who once walked its halls. The castle’s dramatic silhouette against the skyline, especially during sunrise or sunset, offers a breathtaking view, a spectacle that photographers and romantics alike would treasure.
Beyond its physical and historical attributes, what elevates Dunnottar Castle to fairytale status is its atmosphere. The isolation and ruggedness of the landscape, combined with the often misty and ethereal Scottish weather, create a mystical ambiance. It’s easy to imagine mythical creatures and ancient legends in such a setting, where nature and history intertwine so seamlessly.
In comparison to other Scottish castles, Dunnottar stands out for its unique combination of dramatic location, historical significance, and romantic ruin. While Scotland is home to numerous castles, each with its own charm and history, Dunnottar’s blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue makes it a strong contender for the title of the best fairytale castle in Scotland. Its appeal is not just in its walls and history but in the stories and imagination it inspires in those who visit. For photographers, history enthusiasts, and dreamers, Dunnottar Castle is a must-visit, a place where the past and present merge to create a timeless fairytale.
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My favourite castle in Scotland is Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands . It was built on a small island in the middle of three lochs and featured in a James Bond film , the World is not enough , and Highlander .
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