If you’re the type who likes the haunted fun house at the local amusement park, the bump-in-the-night tales of ghosts, or the eerie and macabre side of life, then a 7 night self-drive tour through the most haunted castles in Scotland might be right up your alley. The trail begins in Edinburgh, taking guests through these famously spooky castles.
Do remember: Rooms that are haunted by ghosts will feel chillier...
Possibly the most famous of Scotland’s haunted manors is the 14th century Airth Castle. Said to be haunted by many a ghostly apparition, not to mention an ankle biting canine spirit, the castle is known to experience mysterious light flickers in darkened rooms.
And if you don’t feel the ghostly dog nipping at your heals, you may just hear the cries of the 17th century housekeeper who is believed to roam the castle in search of two children who perished while under her care.
Stirling Castle is known for the feminine ghosts in colourful silk. Many believe the Green Lady ghost to be a servant of Mary, Queen of Scots. Still looking to serve her master, she was said to save the queen from a fire, only to lose her own life. Another colourful character, the Pink Lady ghost drifts through the castle in her flowing gown in search of her long lost husband who was killed in battle.
In spite of its highly defensive position atop a rugged cliff, there were at least eight attempted sieges on the castle between the 12th and 18th centuries, which could account for the many souls said to still be drifting in and out.
The birthplace and former residence of Mary, Queen of Scots, Linlithgow Castle has had a tumultuous history. Fires, political intrigue and armed attacks have all taken place here and such dramas would naturally attract the spirits of those looking for absolution.
Today, only a cavernous shell of the castle exists, but ghosts are said to roam, including that of Mary of Guise, the Queen’s mother, who waited anxiously from one of the castle turrets for her husband’s return from battle. Unaware of his death at the time, her spirit still awaits her husband.
The legend of the Loch Ness Monster lives on even today, and while it may be just a hoax, there’s no better place than from the ruins of Urquhart Castle to discover the bizarre tales that surround the famous lake. Perched on a hill overlooking Loch Ness, the ruins of the 800 year old Urquhart Castle have their own story to tell.
Once a formidable fortress, Urquhart castle was at the mercy of invading armies and devious political factions intent on taking power. In 1692, the British once and for all destroyed the great structure. Still a fascinating attraction, Urquhart provides the perfect backdrop to the legendary lake where the illusive water monster is said to live.
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The fairy-tale like turrets and central clock tower convey a storied past. Walk the stone corridors decorated with knights’ armour and tapestries and it’s easy to see why this place is filled with legends. Aside from being the birthplace of Princess Margaret in 1930, the castle warranted a mention by Shakespeare in Macbeth and is said to feature a secret room which holds a terrible secret, that of a monster, a deformed child that was hidden away in order to save the family from shame.
A long list of annual events take place at Glamis, giving visitors the chance to learn about its history while interacting with the beautiful grounds and 14th century castle.
While historically inaccurate, Cawdor Castle takes centre stage in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, making it ripe for tales of murderess plots and witchery.
Said to be built around a holly-tree of legendary significance, Cawdor’s rooms and corridors hold legends of their own, including a velvet dress wearing ghost. Said to be that of 12 year old Muriel Calder, the heiress to the family castle and family fortune was kidnapped in 1511. Today, the lovely castle and grounds are available for tours.
Locked in the tower of Dunrobin Castle by her father, Margaret, the daughter of the 14th Earl of Sutherland attempted an escape by rappelling down a rope to the grounds, and into the arms of her awaiting lover, whom her father disapproved. Losing her grip, Margaret fell to her death upon which her lover placed a curse on the father.
Today, legend has it that the upper floor where Margaret was held is now home to her ghost. One of the most stunning castles in Scotland, Dunrobin, with its majestic outward appearance and opulent 189 room interior is highly influenced by French design. The castle and its gardens are one of Britian’s most historically significant attractions.