Overview

Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland's great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. 

The castle is also one of Britain's oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s, home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland.

The Castle, which resembles a French chateâu with its towering conical spires, has seen the architectural influences of Sir Charles Barry, who designed London’s Houses of Parliament, and Scotland’s own Sir Robert Lorimer.

The Castle was used as a naval hospital during the First World War and as a boys’ boarding school from 1965 to 1972. Located on the east coast of the Northern Highlands the castle has a wonderful vista overlooking the Moray Firth.


Today
Today’s opening hours

1 April to 31 October, 10am to 5pm (10.30am to 4.30pm April and October). Last entry 30 mins before close.

Opening
Opening

2020

1 April to 31 October, 10am to 5pm (10.30am to 4.30pm April and October).

Last entry 30 mins before close.

Find Us
Find us

Dunrobin Castle is just off the main A9 road on the right, one mile north of Golspie, 50 miles north of the Highland capital, Inverness.  

Dunrobin also has its own train station and is a request stop during the summer months.

Parking

Car park on site

  • Free
Parking is available and is free for Historic Houses members when visiting the property for free.

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members visit for free.

Adult: £12.50
Concession: £10.00
Child: £7.50
Family: £35.00

More admission details

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Guide dogs welcome
Group Visits
Group Visits

Special group rates are available for groups of 10 or more when all the tickets are purchased as a single transaction by one person. 

Guides are available along the visitor route to answer questions during free flow tours.

Please allow at least 1 hour for your tour of Dunrobin Castle and further time to spend in the gardens and museum.  Don’t forget about the Falconry displays at 11.30 and 14.00 – these take about 30 mins. 

Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special events

Visit website

Weddings


Today
Today’s opening hours

1 April to 31 October, 10am to 5pm (10.30am to 4.30pm April and October). Last entry 30 mins before close.

Opening
Opening

2020

1 April to 31 October, 10am to 5pm (10.30am to 4.30pm April and October).

Last entry 30 mins before close.

Find Us
Find us

Dunrobin Castle is just off the main A9 road on the right, one mile north of Golspie, 50 miles north of the Highland capital, Inverness.  

Dunrobin also has its own train station and is a request stop during the summer months.

Parking

Car park on site

  • Free
Parking is available and is free for Historic Houses members when visiting the property for free.

Admission
Admission

Historic Houses members visit for free.

Adult: £12.50
Concession: £10.00
Child: £7.50
Family: £35.00

More admission details

Accessibility
Accessibility
  • Guide dogs welcome
Group Visits
Group Visits

Special group rates are available for groups of 10 or more when all the tickets are purchased as a single transaction by one person. 

Guides are available along the visitor route to answer questions during free flow tours.

Please allow at least 1 hour for your tour of Dunrobin Castle and further time to spend in the gardens and museum.  Don’t forget about the Falconry displays at 11.30 and 14.00 – these take about 30 mins. 

Other opening

Museum

Dunrobin Castle Museum


The Museum in the formal Castle grounds provides a further fascinating distraction.

Originally built as a summer house by William, Earl of Sutherland, it was extended by the 3rd Duke. The museum displays the heads of numerous animals shot by the family on safari, ethnographic items collected from around the world (particularly Africa), and an important collection of archaeological relics.

Notable among these are the collection of Pictish symbols stones and cross-slabs, These Pictish Stones form a very important collection, giving an opportunity to study the devices carved on stones 1,500 years ago. There is also a section on geology, gold panning at Kildonan, and the coal mine at Brora.

The museum retains its Victorian-early 20th century arrangement, making it one of the most remarkable private collections in the British Isles.

Opening times for the museum:

11.00am to 4.00pm daily

Falconry

Falconry Dunrobin Castle

Falconry is the ancient art of hunting with birds of prey.

A visit to Dunrobin Castle now includes daily birds of prey flying demonstrations during the months of April, May, June, July, August and September on the Castle lawn. See spectacular shows featuring golden eagles and peregrine falcons, both resident birds in the Scottish Highlands. Learn more about other local birds of prey as well as the ancient art of falconry. Additional attractions include more exotic species such as the European Eagle owl.

Andy Hughes, our professional resident Falconer demonstrates and explains the different hunting methods used by owls, hawks and falcons in a series of fascinating aerobatic displays. Every show creates superb photographic opportunities.

Falconry was originally developed as a means of hunting fast or difficult prey as food for the table, and is still practiced for this purpose in many parts of the world today.

To train one of these fierce and fabulous wild birds is a long and difficult process and requires patience, expertise and dedication. Dunrobin Castle is proud to be able showcase this ancient art.

Falconry Displays will be 1st April to the 30th September 11.30am and 2.00pm

Tea Room

A visit to our popular Tea Room is a must to sample a bowl of hearty home made soup or some freshly prepared sandwiches.  We also offer a deliciously wholesome hot meal, tempting homemade cakes and pastries, and local ice creams.

Gift Shop

The Dunrobin Gift Shop offers visitors a great choice of quality Scottish crafts and woollens, including hats, scarves, hand bags, toiletries, postcards, as well as many other souvenirs.  You’ll be sure to find that perfect gift for friends and family or to take home as a reminder of your day at Dunrobin.

Accessibility

Please note that Dunrobin Castle is a historic building.  As a consequence, there are a number of areas where access is not possible for visitors using a wheelchair or with limited mobility.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss any accessibility issues further before your visit.  Wheelchair access to the gardens can be arranged on request.


School Visits

Dunrobin Castle offers education visits for both primary and secondary schools.


Dunrobin Castle's history and features

Dunrobin Castle has been called home to the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland since the 13th century and was first mentioned as a stronghold of the family in 1401.

The Earldom of Sutherland is one of the seven ancient earldoms of Scotland and the Sutherlands were one of the most powerful families in Britain with many important matrimonial and territorial alliances.

The Earldom of Sutherland was created in 1235 and a castle appears to have stood on this site since then, possibly on the site of an early medieval fort. The name Dun Robin means Robin's Hill or Fort in Gaelic and may have come from Robert, the 6th Earl of Sutherland who died in 1427.

The early castle was actually a fortified, square keep, with walls six feet thick and a vaulted ceiling, looking out from a cliff-top position. The keep stood isolated for some 200 years until a staircase and a high house were added.

It was encased by a series of additions from the 16th century onwards. In 1785 a large extension was constructed. Remarkably this early keep still survives, much altered, within the complex of these later extensions, making Dunrobin one of the oldest inhabited houses in Scotland.

Sir Charles Barry was retained in 1845 to completely re-model the castle, to change it from a fort to a house in the Scottish Baronial style that had become popular among the aristocracy, who were inspired by Queen Victoria's new residence at Balmoral.

Barry had been the architect for the Houses of Parliament in London and was much in demand. There is very much a French influence with conical spires to the whole project, including the gardens, based on Versailles, which he laid out in the 1850s.

Much of Barry's interior was destroyed by a fire in 1915 and the interior today is mainly the work of Scottish architect, Sir Robert Lorimer, who altered the top of the main tower and clock tower at the north side of the building to the Scottish Renaissance style.

Find out more here


A word from the owner

Dunrobin Castle is the factual and spiritual home of Clan Sutherland. Seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland. The motto of Clan Sutherland is Sans Peur, French for Without Fear. It appears on both the Countess's Coat of Arms and the Clan Crest.

Fun Facts

Clan Connections

The Sutherland surname originates from 'South Land,' discovered and colonised by Norse invaders from Scandinavia and Orkney. Many of today's inhabitants of Sutherland are said to directly descend from the Celtic tribes who retreated from these Vikings, and the Chiefs of Clan Sutherland are descended from Hugh, grandson of Freskin de Moravia, a knight of Flemish origin, who was given the lands of Sutherland by William the Lion in 1197. Hugh was also the ancestor of Clan Murray. At that time, Sutherland territory extended south into Nairn and Moray, and north, covering the whole of  Caithness.

Other interesting points, and viewpoints:

• Helmsdale Castle, Sutherland. Scene of the murder of the 11th Earl and Countess of Sutherland in 1567.

• Dornoch Cathedral, Sutherland. A major restoration was sponsored by the Duchess of Sutherland between 1835 and 1837.

• Ben Bhraggie, Golspie, Sutherland. A statue of George Granville

• Leveson-Gower, Marquess of Stafford, the 1st Duke of Sutherland, who died in 1833 towers over the landscape. A liberal reformer who married to the Countess of Sutherland, who was responsible for the Sutherland Clearances.

• Carbisdale Castle, Ardgay, Wester Ross. Built by an estranged Duchess of Sutherland in the 19th century.

• Clan Gunn is another Scottish clan associated with north eastern Scotland, including Caithness and Sutherland, as well as the Orkney Islands.