Doune Castle | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Doune Castle

Doune, Scotland, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

14 Apr 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Doune Castle

Close to Scotland’s geographical centre in Perthshire, Doune Castle is a medieval fortress with one of the best-preserved great halls in Scotland.

Doune Castle history

Originally built in the 13th century, Doune Castle was most likely damaged during the Scottish Wars of Independence and rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century.

The man who rebuilt it was Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany and grandson of Robert the Bruce. Albany has often been considered the ‘uncrowned king of Scotland’, and was the country’s effective ruler from 1388 to his death in 1420, due to his elder brother Robert III’s political weakness and the capture of the future James I by the English in 1406.

For many years Doune Castle acted as royal residence, hunting lodge, and dower house (traditionally used by the widow of an estate owner) until 1603, when James VI left Scotland to take the English throne as James I. Following this it was used as a strategic military stronghold, seeing action during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms in the mid-17th century, and in the Jacobite Risings of the late 17th and 18th centuries.

Ruined by 1800, restoration works were then undertaken in the late 19th century, and the castle was passed into state care a century later. Since then the castle has been used as a prominent filming location, and has appeared in Monty Python and the Holy Grail as well as in Game of Thrones as Winterfell.

Doune Castle today

Today, visitors to Doune Castle can re-tread the footsteps of kings, real and fictional, while listening to the audio tour narrated by Monty Python member Terry Jones. The views from the battlements look out over the River Teith and Monteith Hills on the edge of the Scottish Highlands, and invite contemplation over the views those who lived at Doune hundreds of years ago may have seen.

Inside the castle, the striking 29m high gatehouse houses the fabulous Lord’s Hall to explore, featuring an intricately carved oak screen, musicians’ gallery, and double fireplace. The castle as a whole is labyrinthine in nature, with rooms connected by spiral staircases and low, narrow doorways – so you can literally get lost in history!

Getting to Doune Castle

Doune Castle is located in the village of Doune in Perthshire, and can be accessed by taking the A820 road off the A84, and following the brown tourist signs. Parking is available at the site.

Stirling train station is 8.5 miles away, following which the 59 bus service will take you to Bank Street in Doune, a 15-minute walk to the site.

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