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Cawdor Castle dates from the late 14th-century, having been built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor, with the ancient medieval tower built around the legendary holly tree – wherever you look, Cawdor Castle is steeped in intrigue and history.

Later additions, mainly from the 17th-century, were all built in a Scottish style with slated roofs over walls and crow-stepped gables of local stone. This style gives Cawdor a strong sense of unity, and the massive, severe exterior belies an intimate interior that gives the place a surprisingly personal, friendly atmosphere. 

The imposing, rectangular tower-house consisted of four storeys and a garret with one entrance to the outside world set at upper first floor level; the perfect design to keep out unwelcome visitors. 

This ancient castle, home to the Cawdor family to this day, has evolved over 600 years and has been lovingly filled with beautiful furniture, fine portraits, intriguing objects and amazing tapestries.

Today’s opening hours

13 April - 6 October 2019: 10am to 5:30pm (last admission 5pm).



13 April - 6 October 2019: 10am to 5:30pm (last admission 5pm).

Find Us
Find us

A short distance from the A9 at Inverness, Cawdor Castle can be found off the A96.  Follow the B9090 to Cawdor Village where signs will lead you to the castle.

The castle can also be reached by public transport to Nairn where a taxi would be required.

  • Offers bike storage

Car park on site

  • Free


Nairn Taxi's 01667 451111


Historic Houses members visit for free.

Adult: £11.50
Child: £7.20 (aged 5-15 yrs)
Family: £33.00 (2 adults and up to 5 children 5-15 yrs)


More admission details

  • Wheelchair ramps/routes
  • Accessible parking
  • Guide dogs welcome
  • Accessible toilets
Group Visits
Group Visits

Private group tours can be arranged, by appointment, when closed and during the closed season.

Please contact the office on 01667 404401 or email info@cawdorcastle.com for more details.

A word from the owner

We hope you enjoy your visit to this special and intriguing castle.

Things to See

Fun Facts

The legendary tale says that the Thane of Cawdor, who had a small castle about a mile away, decided to build a new, stronger tower.

Following instructions he received in a dream, the Thane loaded a coffer of gold onto the back of a donkey and let it roam the district for a day- wherever the donkey lay to rest for the evening would be where the new castle would be sited.

Credit - Guillaume de Laubier


Within the woods surrounding Cawdor Castle are five nature trails that vary in length from 0.75 miles to 5 miles.
Four of the five trails start from the Flower Garden, the exception being the violet trail which starts from the Blue Bridge.
The layout of the trails gives you the choice to continue on a longer trail if you wish.


Corporate Hire

School Visits

We welcome schools and educational visits and can provide a brief introduction to the castle and its history from one of our Castle Guides.