Wandering Crystal

Haunted Castles to Stay Overnight in Scotland

Have you ever wanted to visit a haunted castle and possibly meet the castle ghosts of Scotland? Or better yet, have you ever wanted to stay in a haunted castle overnight in Scotland?

With a richly historic landscape full of imposing medieval castles that witnessed perilous wars, The Great Scottish Witch Hunt and a deadly Black Plague , Scotland has an abundance of castles with a dark history.

Here’s my list of 9 haunted castles in Scotland so you can fulfill your dreams to stay in a haunted castle.

Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland

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Airth Castle Hotel – Stirlingshire

With ties to Robert the Bruce, the 14 th century Airth Castle is the place for you if you want to stay in a haunted castle overnight. Once owned by the family of Robert the Bruce, the castle has several rooms dedicated to some of Scotland’s most historically significant figures.

Paranormal tales, including one of a ghostly dog, run rampant throughout the haunted Scottish castle. According to legend, a fire devastated the castle and caused the death of a nanny and two young children.

Many say this terrible event is the reason behind the sounds of children playing that can be heard throughout the renovated castle today. Although the spine-chilling sounds have been heard in several different rooms, room 9 is said to be the most haunted.

As well as the sounds of playing children, heavy footsteps, unaccounted for screams and intense crying can also be heard throughout the castle.

There’s a hotel located directly next to Airth Castle Hotel and it’s easy to mix the 2 up. Be sure to book a room inside the Airth Castle hotel for a spooky experience!

Address: Airth, Stirlingshire FK2 8JF, United Kingdom

Book here: Airth Castle Hotel

Dornoch Castle Hotel – Dornoch Scotland

Large Castle Hotel with lights on inside rooms at night. One of the places you can stay in a Haunted Castle Overnight in Scotland

Dornoch Castle , located just north of Inverness, was built in the 1500s and was formerly a castle, a school and a jail before it was transformed into the hotel it is today. It’s a great choice for anyone who wants to stay in a haunted castle overnight in Scotland.

The eerie rumours which revolve around Dornoch Castle Hotel involve Andrew McCornish, a thief who was hanged for stealing sheep. His spirit is said to roam around the hotel, quietly watching people as they sleep. According to legend, the ghost was identified as Andrew by the local sheriff after he heard a detailed description.

The castle was exorcised in 1922, but many say it was unsuccessful. Would you stay at Dornoch Castle Hotel, one of the most haunted castles to stay in Scotland?

Address: Castle Street, Dornoch IV25 3SD, United Kingdom

Book here: Dornoch Castle Hotel

Related: Haunted Hotels in Scotland

Barcaldine Castle – Oban

Noted for being one of the most haunted castle hotels in Scotland, Barcaldine Castle has a seriously dark past.

The Laird of Barcaldine, Donald Campbell, was one of the victims of the brutal Glencoe massacre between Clan Campbell and Clan MacDonald. The Campbells ruthlessly slaughtered the MacDonalds as they slept. You can read more about the horrific Massacre of Glencoe in my post on dark tourism sites in Scotland.

Donald Campbell was murdered in Barcaldine Castle during the massacre led by Stewart of Appin. After Donald was murdered, his brother Sir Duncan Campbell offered Stewart of Appin a place to stay.

Don’t be too hard on Duncan though, he had no idea his brother was dead. I can’t imagine he would have been so accommodating if he did know!

Rumour has it that the spirit of Donald Campbell haunted his brother at the Barcaldine Castle out of anger after taking in his murderer.

If you want to stay in a haunted castle overnight in Scotland, be sure to stay in The Caithness Room at The Barcaldine Castle. Guests of that room often report seeing ghostly apparitions or the sensation of someone sitting on their bed!

Address: Benderloch, Oban PA37 1SA, United Kingdom

Book here: Barcaldine Castle

Fernie Castle – Fife

Large castle covered in vines, bushes and green and red leaves. Stay in a Haunted Castle Overnight in Scotland

Once owned by the MacDuff Earls of Fife, Fernie Castle was built in the 15 th century and has a horrible past filled with dismal tales. Now known as one of the most haunted castle accommodations in Scotland, Fernie Castle is the home of an apparition also known as The Green Lady.

The Green Lady is tied to a girl who ran to the castle in an effort to escape from her enraged father. Stories say that she was in love with a man her father did not approve of. Her father caught up with her at Fernie Castle where she later fell to her demise down three storeys.

Not only can The Green Lady’s spirit be seen wandering the west tower of Fernie Castle, one of the haunted castles to stay in Scotland, but she has also extended her turf to cover several hotel rooms. Guests say her spirit interferes with the lights and electricity in their rooms.

Address: Cupar Road, Letham, Cupar KY15 7RU, United Kingdom

Book here: Fernie Castle

Dalhousie Castle – Edinburgh

Dalhousie Castle is known for being the most haunted castle in Scotland. As it’s Scotland’s oldest inhabited castle, Dalhousie has its fair share of guests who have never left.

Once surrounded by a moat to protect it from ground attacks, the lowest level of the castle back in the 15 th century was a dungeon only accessible by rope. Prisoners used to be lowered into the dungeon where they served their sentences in the damp darkness with no hope of escape.

One of the most famous ghosts of Dalhousie Castle is Lady Catherine. A former mistress of a laird from Ramsay, she was said to be locked up by the laird’s jealous wife when she discovered her and left to die in one of the castle’s turrets.

The ghost of Lady Catherine is known as The Grey Lady, who’s often seen in the same place she died. Look for her in the windows of the turrets when you’re admiring the castle from the outside.

You should spend Halloween in Edinburgh at Dalhousie Castle! It would be so spooky and really add to your Halloween festivities.

Address: Edinburgh EH19 3JB, United Kingdom

Book here: Dalhousie Castle

Related Post: Spooky, Scary and Haunted Attractions in Edinburgh

Mansfield Castle Hotel – Tain

Large castle with turrets surrounded by a lush green garden

If you’re looking to stay in a haunted castle overnight in Scotland but don’t want too much of a fright, consider staying at Mansfield Castle Hotel.

The Fowler family purchased the castle from the Ross family in 1890 and began some significant renovations in 1902. Although the Fowler family’s bodies left the castle after their deaths, the spirits of the family are said to have remained.

Mrs. Fowler is rumoured to linger in the hotel whenever renovations are taking place. Her ghostly apparition has been seen by many staff and guests. But instead of haunting those spending the night in a haunted Scottish castle, she’s always more concerned with the changes that are happening within what used to be her home.

Address: Scotsburn Rd, Tain IV19 1PS, United Kingdom

Book here: Mansfield Castle Hotel

Tulloch Castle – Dingwall

Located in the Scottish Highlands, Tulloch Castle dates back to the 12 th century and is home to several ghosts who linger within its ancient walls. Highly regarded as one of the most haunted Scottish castle hotels, Tulloch Castle gives anyone interested in after-dark paranormal activity the chance to sleep in a haunted castle.

Formerly the home of Clan Davidson, the castle features a secret tunnel connecting the basement of Tulloch Castle to Dingwall Castle. Although it’s inaccessible due to the collapse of the haunted castle in Scotland, its dungeon remains intact and you can visit it as part of a tour.

Tulloch Castle’s, one of the haunted castles to stay in Scotland, room 8 is reported as being the most haunted room at Tulloch Castle. Rumours of icy cold spots, disembodied loud footsteps and mysterious rattling doorknobs are all commonly experienced by most guests who stay in that room.

The famous ghost at Tulloch is known as The Green Lady. She’s said to forlornly roam the halls, following her fatal fall down a flight of stairs during the time Clan Davidson lived in the castle.

Address: Tulloch Castle Drive, Dingwall Ross-Shire, Scotland IV15 9ND, United Kingdom

Book here: Tulloch Castle

Culzean Castle – The Eisenhower Hotel – Maybole

Large castle surrounded by a walled path

Culzean Castle in Ayrshire is said to be haunted by a number of ghosts. Guests of the Eisenhower Hotel at Culzean Castle have heard the faint sounds of ghostly bagpipes during stormy, tumultuous nights.

Similar to the story of the piper ghost at Edinburgh Castle , the piper at Culzean Castle ended in a similar sad way. The piper and his dog were sent through the tunnels of the caves below the castle leading to the cliffs’ edge. Unfortunately, after entering the caves, the piper and his dog were never seen again.

Address: Maybole KA19 8LE, United Kingdom

Book here: Eisenhower Hotel

Borthwick Castle – Gorebridge

Do you want to spend the night in a haunted castle that has connections to Mary Queen of Scots? Borthwick Castle took in the infamous Scottish queen when she sought refuge in the late 1500s.

The Red Room in the castle is rumoured to be haunted by a young woman who fell pregnant by one of the Lords of Borthwick. Legend says she was gruesomely stabbed with a sword to her pregnant belly and left to die.

As one of the Haunted castles to stay in Scotland, several guests have reported the sensation of being watched and regularly leave feeling sick.

Address: North Middleton, Gorebridge EH23 4QY, United Kingdom

Book here: Borthwick Castle

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More Information about Spooky & Haunted Things to do in Scotland

  • Haunted Hotels in Scotland
  • The Ultimate List of Spooky and Haunted Things to do in Edinburgh
  • Spending the night inside the Edinburgh Vaults
  • Top 10 Seriously Spooky Things to do in Scotland

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Where is The Traitors filmed? Inside Ardross Castle, a sprawling estate in the Scottish Highlands

The BBC game show, hosted by Claudia Winkleman, has the most beautiful backdrop – and it's back for series two.

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BBC's The Traitors , a psychological reality show presented by Claudia Winkleman, gripped the nation over four weeks towards the end of 2022 – and now it's back with a second series .

The nail-biting competition sees Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia greet 22 strangers as they arrive at Ardross Castle in the Scottish Highlands to play the ultimate game of detection, backstabbing and trust, all in the hope of winning up to £120,000.

For such a dramatic and thrilling game with lots of twists and turns throughout (series one became one of the most talked about shows of 2022), it has the most beautiful backdrop in Scotland.

ardross castle, scotland filming location of bbc's the traitors

'I thought I've been to beautiful places. I have never been anywhere more beautiful than the Scottish highlands in my life. It felt sometimes like we were in a painting if that's not too cheesy,' Claudia previously said.

Recalling filming the first series, which first aired in November 2022, she explained: 'On day two, we saw a double rainbow and everyone was like oh my gosh, and the crew were crying, there were baby deer, there was beautiful heather, there were ancient trees, and an ancient loch... But it's just the most beautiful landscape.'

Where is The Traitors filmed?

Inside ardross castle, who lived at ardross castle, who won the traitors series one, what is the traitors about.

Hidden amongst the players are the 'Traitors', whose job it is to secretly murder a player every night without getting caught. Aiming to stay undetected, the 'Traitors' meet in secret at a 'Round Table' in the castle and decide who to eliminate of their fellow players known as the 'Faithfuls'. Whilst trying to avoid being eliminated, the 'Faithfuls' must figure out who is a 'Traitor' and banish them from the game, before they become their next victim.

Throughout, viewers watch the strangers embark on a series of physical and mental missions to add money to a prize pot. Those who survive to the end have the chance of winning life-changing cash, but if a 'Traitor' remains undetected, they'll steal all the money.

Goliath Games Presents: The Traitors - Official Board Game | Based on the Hit BBC Show | Can the Faithfuls Catch the Traitor? | For 4-6 Players | Ages 12+

Goliath Games Presents: The Traitors - Official Board Game | Based on the Hit BBC Show | Can the Faithfuls Catch the Traitor? | For 4-6 Players | Ages 12+

'The production was amazing in the fact that everybody has to leave the castle at midnight and they all leave individually and are taken back to their dwellings and then the Traitors come back without anybody knowing. It was honestly a military operation,' Claudia explained at the time. 'And there was never even a close shave or anything. Hats off to them!'

bbc's the traitors, filmed at ardross castle, north of inverness in the scottish highlands

The Traitors is filmed at Ardross Castle , a 19th century castle in Scottish Baronial style, north of Inverness. It's set within beautiful landscaped gardens in over 100 acres of parkland on the banks of the River Alness. The castle is not open to the public but it is available for exclusive hire, for both corporate and private clients.

Both the UK and US versions of the game show were filmed in and around Ardross Castle. Take a peek inside...

ardross castle, scotland filming location of bbc's the traitors

Ardross Castle has a rich history of residents and renovations . The 1st Duke of Sutherland bought Ardross in the late 1700s, and built a hunting lodge. By 1845, the 2nd Duke sold the estate to Sir Alexander Matheson .

Matheson purchased Ardross, amounting to 60,000 acres, for £90,000, and he set about developing the estate with the intention of attracting tenants to agricultural tenancies. Some 2,600 acres of land was reclaimed, 11 miles of wire-fencing erected, 28 miles of roads made, and 3,000 acres of ground enclosed and planted.

The architect, Alexander Ross, was commissioned to redesign Ardross Castle in the Scots Baronial style, which incorporated the earlier mansion, plus the addition of 30 rooms.

bbc's the traitors, filmed at ardross castle, north of inverness in the scottish highlands

Following Matheson's death, his son, Sir Kenneth Matheson, sold the estate in 1898 to business man, C. W. Dyson Perrins . His family spent several months annually at Ardross with house parties enjoying the grouse moors, fishing and deer forests. Further estate improvements were made, with Perrins introducing electricity, purchasing additional land and modernising the castle. A big new addition was the formal garden, designed by landscape gardener, Edward White, for the east front.

In 1937, the estate was broken up and sold. Then, Ardross Castle was eventually purchased by Mr & Mrs Austin Mardon , who lived there until 1983, when the estate was sold once again.

In 1983, the McTaggart family acquired the estate and work began on restoring the gardens, with the formal garden, walled garden, shrubberies and lawns revived, with additional specimen trees planted and woodlands extended. The castle and estate properties have been extensively renovated too.

Series one saw the victorious final three – Aaron, Hannah and Meryl – take home their share of the £101,050 prize pot. Catch up on BBC iPlayer .

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  • Robert Florence challenges his fellow comedian pal Des Clarke to spend time in the 'most haunted castle in Scotland'. Will Des - who hates all things spooky - manage it? Click here to subscribe to your BBC Scotland Channel: http://bit.ly/BBC-Scotland-Subscribe​ See more from Des Doesn't Do: https://bbc.in/37aJ7vV We’re also on other channels too: Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bbcscotland​ Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bbcscotland​ Instagram: http://instagram.com/bbcscotland​

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The 12 Most Haunted Castles in Scotland

Scotland, a land of enchanting beauty, is steeped in a rich tapestry of history and lore. Among its most captivating tales are those whispered through the centuries within the ancient stone walls of its castles.

With over a thousand castles dotting the Scottish landscape, each holds a unique narrative of kings, queens, wars, and rebellions. 

From the ghostly piper of Duntrune Castle to the weeping Grey Lady of Edinburgh Castle, these spectral inhabitants reveal a fascinating, albeit chilling, dimension of Scotland’s history. Each castle harbors its own eerie secrets, waiting to be discovered. So, brace yourself as we journey through the chilling tales of the most haunted castles in Scotland.

1. Barcaldine Castle, Oban

Haunted Barcaldine Castle

Located in Oban, Barcaldine Castle is one of the few ancient castles remaining that is open to guests.  

Built in 1609 by Duncan Campbell, the castle is supposedly haunted by the ghost of his brother, Donald. During the infamous Massacre of Glencoe, it’s said that Stewart of Appin murdered Donald using his own sword. Following the killing, Stewart sought shelter from Duncan Campbell, who was oblivious that he had just murdered his brother.

Furious at this injustice, Donald’s spirit is said to cause trouble at Barcaldine to this day. Guests often report strange happenings, especially in the Caithness Room. Those who sleep on the right side of the bed have reported pressure on their back and legs, while others have told of orbs moving around the room.

2. Closeburn Castle, Dumfries

Closeburn Castle Ghost Hunt

Dating back to as early as the 14th century, Closeburn Castle is one of the oldest inhabited tower houses in Scotland. It’s situated in seemingly perfect solitude among 20 acres of Scottish countryside, but beware of the wildlife you encounter…

It’s believed that a chilling death omen developed at Closeburn after Robert Kilpatrick killed a swan cruelly with a crossbow bolt through the breast. Thereafter, the Kilpatricks would occasionally witness the apparition of a swan with a bleeding breast, and within days death or misfortune in the family would occur.

Aside from the sinister swans, witnesses have reported seeing a mysterious lady in black, and dogs have been known to bark nonstop for hours for no clear reason.

3. Fernie Castle, Fife

Fernie Castle Fife

Fernie Castle is a charming 14th century tower house and is a popular location for weddings.  

However, it’s believed that the castle is haunted by the victim of a romance gone wrong centuries ago – the mysterious Green Lady. The story goes that a young woman intending to elope with a man her father did not approve of sought refuge at Fernie. Hiding in a small room at the top of the tower, she was found by her father – a struggle ensued, and the lady fell to her death.

Guests have reported seeing the spectre of a dejected woman in a green dress, and it’s said she makes her presence known at the castle by playing with the lights and electrical appliances. Perhaps if you visit Fernie you’ll find out for certain – did she fall or was she pushed?

4. Blackness Castle, West Lothian

Blackness Castle

Known as the ship that never sailed, Blackness Castle sits on the waters of the Firth of Forth and is known as one of Scotland’s most formidable strongholds.

Utilised over the centuries as both a prison and a military fortress, it’s likely that thousands of Covenanters died gruesome deaths here at the hands of crown forces during the so-called ‘Killing Time’ of the 17th century.

Visitors to the castle have reported thumping noises followed by sounds of dragging along the ceiling, while you should be wary of the seemingly stationary suits of armour… Legend says that a phantom knight is known to jump out from the armour and even chase guests out of the castle.

5. Duntrune Castle, Argyll

Duntrune Castle

If you visit the picturesque Duntrune Castle, don’t be surprised to hear the ghostly sound of pipe music.

Legend goes that when the legendary MacDonald warrior Colkitto captured the castle from the Campbell clan, he left a team of warriors and his piper to defend it. When the Campbells launched a counterattack and retook the castle, they spared only the piper so he could play for their pleasure. One day, the piper saw Colkitto making his return to the castle on a boat; he played a warning song to his leader who swiftly turned around and escaped to the open sea.

The Campbells, furious with the piper, chopped off his hands so he could never play his pipes again; he soon bled out.

Ever since, visitors have witnessed the solitary spectral figure of a piper on the battlements at night and have heard his wistful tune echoing round the loch.

6. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh

haunted Edinburgh Castle

Dominating the gorgeous Old Town of Edinburgh, this castle is one of the most famous in the world and is said to be home to a myriad of ghostly presences.

One of the most frequent apparitions is known as the Grey Lady, who’s often seen weeping as she roams the building. Many believe the spirit is that of Lady Janet Douglas, who was falsely accused of witchcraft and conspiring to murder King James V in 1537. She confessed to the baseless crime after torture and was cruelly burnt to the stake at the castle in front of her son.

Moreover, it’s common for visitors at Edinburgh Castle to report a range of uncomfortable and unexplained occurrences, from seeing shadowy figures, being pushed, and feeling a sense of not being welcome.

You may also like: The Ghosts of Edinburgh Castle | The Most Haunted Places in Edinburgh

7. Dornoch Castle, Dornoch

Dornoch Castle

This impressive 16th century castle sits among beautifully manicured gardens and was the site of an exorcism in 1922.

The spirit targeted was that of Andrew McCornish, a thief who had been hanged at Dornoch Castle for stealing sheep. Witnesses reported seeing a strange, grey-faced man in stockings and breeches in various rooms in the house before the exorcism took place.

While it’s believed the exorcism was effective, there have been reports of his ghostly apparition appearing again. Moreover, guests have described feeling an odd sense of discomfort in the tower, as well as strange lights floating around the room. So, was the exorcism really a success? You’ll have to find out for yourself…

8. Dalhousie Castle, Edinburgh

Dalhousie Castle

Once used as a base for Oliver Cromwell’s invasion of Scotland, Dalhousie Castle has often been labelled as one of the world’s most haunted castles and is said to be occupied by several ghosts.

The most notable phantom at Dalhousie is that of Sir Alexander Ramsay. In 1342, Ramsay was appointed Sheriff by King David II. Incensed and jealous, his friend Sir William Douglas kidnapped Ramsay and brought him in chains to Hermitage Castle where he was starved to death. Legend has it that his death was prolonged and torturous, taking seventeen days in total.

It’s also said that a grey lady stalks the turrets and dungeon of the castle, while paranormal activity at the castle is rife – guests have reported poltergeists, unexplained noises, and creepy footsteps at night.

9. Airth Castle, Stirlingshire

Airth Castle

The stately and imposing Airth Castle is a Category A listed building and operates as a hotel and spa. It’s also home to a 12th century graveyard which explains why the grounds are reportedly home to so many ghosts.

Visitors have reported seeing a spectral groundsman in the castle’s lower floors, the ghost of a nanny in a rocking chair, and have heard the frantic footsteps of two children who supposedly died in a fire in the 1800s.

But it’s not just human spirits that stalk the grounds of Airth Castle. Watch out for a phantom dog who is said to yelp and snap viciously at the feet and legs of unsuspecting visitors.

10. Stirling Castle, Stirling

Stirling Castle

Dating back to the fifteenth century, Stirling Castle is one of the largest in Scotland. Having been attacked no fewer than 16 times, the building has witnessed plenty of bloodshed over the years.

Another lady in green is the most famous spirit to inhabit Stirling Castle, appearing to people as a harbinger of bad things to come. Her appearance often precedes fires or other accidents at the castle.  

Stirling Castle is also home to the so-called Pink Lady who is often seen walking to the nearby church at Ladies’ Rock. It’s rumoured that this spirit is the last survivor of Edward I’s deadly siege of the castle in 1304.

11. Castle Menzies, Perthshire

Castle Menzies

Once giving host to the ‘Young Pretender’ Bonnie Prince Charlie, Castle Menzies in Perthshire is a popular site for paranormal investigators.

Since the castle opened to the public in 1980, guests have witnessed an array of spine-tingling occurrences. Visitors have seen glowing orbs, heard disembodied voices, experienced physical attacks, and have even complained of evil spirits following them home.

It is also thought that Castle Menzies is home to the phantoms of three grumpy women, a coven of witches who are said to haunt the castle’s meat cellar.

12. Glamis Castle, Angus

Glamis Castle

Situated in the heart of Angus, Glamis Castle has been the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372 and was the childhood home of the Queen Mother.

There are numerous accounts and legends of spectral entities at the castle. It’s believed the Queen Mother’s sitting room is haunted by the spirit of a mischievous pageboy, who has a habit of sticking out his foot to trip up oblivious visitors entering the room.

While the great Scottish novelist Walter Scott once stayed at Glamis and wrote of its oppressive atmosphere, the castle is perhaps most well-known for housing the Monster of Glamis – a supposedly half-human, half-animal beast born to the Lyon-Bowes family and locked in a concealed chamber for years.

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  • Closeburn Castle, Dumfries
  • Fernie Castle, Fife
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  • Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
  • Dornoch Castle, Dornoch
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  • Castle Menzies, Perthshire
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9 Haunted Castles in Scotland Blog

Scotland is famous for its castles. There was once over 3,000 scattered throughout the country, and many have creepy stories and mysterious tales to tell. We’ve studied hundreds of gruesome tales to bring you our top 9 haunted castles in Scotland for you to investigate.

So draw the curtains and dim the lights, let’s go in search of creepy haunted castles!

Fyvie Castle Ghost

This magnificent 800-year-old castle was once a Royal residence and played host to Robert the Bruce and King Charles I. The sumptuous interior was created by Lord Leith who bought Fyvie in 1889. He amassed a collection of arms and armour as well as impressive artworks including works by Raeburn and Gainsborough.

Fyvie Castle seen from the grounds

Fyvie is home to the ghost of Lilias Drummond, known as “The Green Lady”. Legend has it that a previous owner of the castle, Alexander Seton, starved her to death in revenge for not providing him with a son and heir.

The night that he remarried, she made an appearance outside the newlyweds bedchamber lamenting their nuptials and creating a hullabaloo.

In the morning it was discovered that she had scratched her name into the castle wall, which can still be viewed to this day.

Edinburgh Castle Piper

One of Scotland’s most important historical monuments, Edinburgh Castle is on the to-do list for most visitors to Scotland’s Capital City.

Edinburgh Castle seen atop its volcanic core

When the last tourists have left, and the castle is secured for the night, the soldiers on duty have reported hearing the faint sound of the bagpipes as they make their rounds.

The legend of the Edinburgh Castle Piper goes back several centuries when a tunnel was discovered under castle rock. No one knew where it went, and it wasn’t big enough for an adult to enter them so a young piper boy was sent in and told to play his bagpipes so the people above could trace his progress.

All worked well for a time; then, all of a sudden, the music stopped. Despite every attempt at a rescue, no sign of the boy could be found.

After a time, when all hope was lost, the order was given for the tunnel to be sealed. Ever since that fateful day, people claim to hear the music of the lonely piper boy as he waits, forlornly, to be rescued.

Eilean Donan Castle

Could this be the most attractive castle in the World? It certainly has a fantastic location sitting on a little island where three sea lochs come together. The castle was blown up by a Royal Navy warship during the 1719 Jacobite Uprising which involved both Scottish and Spanish fighters.

The castle has paranormal activity with a Spanish soldier, who was killed during the attack in 1719, haunting. He is kept company by an apparition called “Lady Mary” who makes occasional visits to one of the castle’s bedrooms.

Craigievar Castle Ghost Stories

The pink walls of Craigvievar Castle viewed from above

This elegant castle is the very essence of a baronial home. Complete with turrets, towers and cupolas and surrounded by beautiful grounds it is said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle .

The extensive grounds are home to Pine Martens, one of Scotland's most reclusive animals and Red Squirrels.

Although it enjoys a peaceful existence today, it has had a turbulent history and was the subject of ancient clan feuds. Within the pink walls of Craigievar lives the ghost of a fiddler who fell into the castle well many years ago and was drowned.

Several guests of the castle claim to have been awoken to the sounds of a violin being played. Despite extensive searches by castle staff over the years, the fiddler has never been found.  

Haunted Stirling Castle

The Royal Palace at Stirling Castle seen from the Queen Anne Gardens

This mighty fortress stands on a volcanic core and looks out over the City of Stirling. Although it was built to protect the River Forth from invading armies, it was also the favourite home of the Stuart Kings and Queens.

In the heart of the castle lies the Royal apartments, Chapel Royal and the Great Hall, where magnificent celebrations were held.  

As you walk around Stirling Castle , you might come across a ghostly Highlander, dressed in the full regalia and wearing a kilt. Many visitors mistake him for a tourist guide, but when they approach him for directions, he just turns away and vanishes in front of them.   

Dunrobin Castle Ghost

Looking up at the Dunrobin Castle from the formal gardens

The largest house in the Northern Highlands boasts no less than 189 rooms. The apartments on the upper floors are haunted by Margaret, who was the daughter of the castle’s owner, the 14th Earl of Sutherland.

Margret had fallen in love with Jamie, a groom in the castle stables. Her father disapproved of the relationship, and while he sought someone more suitable, the Earl had her imprisoned the castle attic.

The lovers planned to elope, and a maid agreed to bring Margaret a rope so she could escape from her makeshift prison.

With her Jamie waiting below on his horse, Margaret climbed out of the window. As she was about to start her descent, her father entered the room. Margaret realised then that she and Jamie could never be together and let go of the rope.

The ghost of Margaret haunts Dunrobin Castle to this day, crying out in pain for her lost love.   

Dunottar Castle

You will never forget your first glimpse of Dunottar Castle . This dramatic cliff-top fortress has had a turbulent 1,300-year history and even in its current ruined state remains impressive and imposing.

Dunottar Castle has a striking position overlooking the North Sea

In 1698 180 people were imprisoned at Dunottar for refusing to recognise the legitimacy of the King. They were detained in a windowless cellar with little food and water for nearly two months.

During that time, 37 capitulated and were released, some tried to escape, although most were recaptured and five people died in the inhuman conditions.

When darkness falls, it’s said you can hear the cries of pain and suffering of these poor souls agonising about their fate. They were not to know that when they were finally allowed to leave the castle transportation to the West Indies awaited them.

Ackergill Tower haunted

In the very north of Scotland, overlooking Sinclair’s Bay sits Ackergill Tower. When Ackergill was a de-luxe hotel, it was one of the favourite haunted castles in Scotland to stay in.  It’s now a private residence.

Ackergill Tower on the shores of Sinclair's Bay near Wick

The story involves a local girl Helen Gunn, who was known as the “Beauty of Braemore”. She had come to the attention of a clansman of a rival clan called Dugald Keith.

He was so besotted with her that he kidnapped her and imprisoned her at Acklergill. To escape his unwelcome attention, she climbed to the top of the highest tower and jumped, killing herself.

Ever since her ghost has been a permanent resident at Ackergill. She is often seen wearing a long red gown and with flowing black hair moving from room to room.

The tragic story of Helen’s death was only one chapter in a 500-year-old feud between the Gunn and Keith Clans which came to an end in 1978 when the two Clan Chiefs met to sign a Treaty of Friendship.   

Brodick Castle

As the ferry sails into Brodick Bay, one of the first sights you will see of the Isle of Arran is Brodick Castle sitting in the shadow of Goat Fell, the island’s highest peak. Built as the seat of the Dukes of Hamilton in 1844, the history of the site goes back to Viking times.

Brodick Castle and Gardens

There have been reports of all sorts of spooky activity here. The oldest part of the castle is said to be haunted by a grey lady. The story goes that when a local woman was diagnosed with “the plague”, she was incarcerated in the castle dungeon, and as no-one was brave enough to feed her, she starved to death.  

Arran is famed for its wild deer population and legend has it that when the Clan Chief is close to death, a white deer will make an appearance in the grounds of the castle. Thankfully for the head of the Clan Douglas, this is a relatively rare occurrence.

Go in search of haunted castles with Scottish Tours

Discovering Scotland’s myths and legends is just part of the Scottish Tours travel experience. Our tours embrace the natural beauty our country is famed for, while the expert tour guides will introduce you to our history, sometimes romantic, occasionally turbulent but always intriguing. You can expect some humour and a fair bit of storytelling too.

Better times are coming and where better to celebrate than in Scotland. Now is the time to research your ideal Scotland Tour with Scottish Tours.   

Photo credits: Abhishek Banik, Nick From, Wee Fee and Deehar (Pixaby)

a night in a haunted castle bbc scotland

10 Scottish Castles You Can Stay A Night In – Part 1

1) Dalhousie Castle Hotel and Spa, Bonnyrigg The patriarch of the clan was Simundus de Ramesie (Simon of Ramsey), an English Knight of Norman descent from the Huntingdonshire village of Ramsey. Simundus, a vassal of David, Earl of Huntingdon, followed his lord to Scotland in about 1140 when David inherited the Scottish Crown. He is considered the founder of the Ramsay clan and the first to have lands at Dalhousie.

The first castle at Dalhousie was constructed by him. The red stone castle is situated in a strategic spot overlooking the River Esk. The drum tower, oldest part of the current structure, an L Plan castle dates to the mid 15th century.

>>> Compare Prices for Dalhousie Castle, Bonnyrigg, Scotland, United Kingdom

Dalhousie Castle & Spa, Bonnyrigg.

2) Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Fort William Inverlochy Castle Hotel is a 19th-century baronial mansion near Fort William, Scotland. It is located about two miles away from the 13th century Inverlochy Castle, after which it was named. This is a baronial mansion was built in 1863 by James Scarlett, 1st Baron Abinger. Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy during an 1873 visit to Balmoral, remarking “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot”. The house has been used as a hotel since 1969.

>>> Compare Prices for Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Fort William, Scotland, United Kingdom

Inverlochy Castle, Fort William.

3) Airth Castle, Stirlingshire The castle is a major historic building, and retains much medieval fabric, and is designated as a Category A listed building by Historic Scotland. Within the castle grounds stand the ruins of the former parish church of Airth, a building, now roofless, of various periods, with substantial parts dating from the Romanesque period, and quire steeple and north aisle added by John Milne the royal master mason in 1647. The castle is said to be haunted by several ghosts.

>>> Compare Prices for Airth Castle Hotel & Spa Resort, Airth, Scotland, United Kingdom

Airth Castle, Stirlingshire.

4) Broomhall Castle, Clackmannanshire Broomhall Castle was originally built in 1874 by John Foukes and Frances Mackison in 1874, for James Johnstone. It is situated in Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, Scotland on the Ochil Hills and consists of three storeys and a tower. In 1906 the wealth of the builder declined, and the Castle was sold to an Italian Riding School. in 1910 it became the Clifford Park Boys Prep School. In 1941 the building caught fire whilst the boarders were camping in the grounds. Despite the efforts of the Alloa Fire Brigade the building was gutted. There was a spectacular scene when the roof fell in, sending a shower of sparks heavenwards.

>>> Compare Prices for Broomhall Castle, Menstrie, Scotland, United Kingdom

Broomhall Castle, Menstrie.

5) Fonab Castle, Pitlochry Fonab is a  traditional Scottish baronial castle, and was once home to the Sandeman family, who made their fortune in the port and sherry trade. Today the castle is a luxurious 5 star hotel, with views over Loch Faskally. The building was totally revamped with ‘no expense spared’ by the Clark family, who appear to dedicated to making it one of Scotland’s top hotels.

>>> Compare Prices for Fonab Castle Hotel, Pitlochry, Scotland, United Kingdom

The Luxurious Fonab Castle, Pitlochry.

6) Stonefield Castle, Tarbert Supposedly, the castle was constructed by the then current MacAlasdair Constable of Tarbert Castle. He neglected his duties as Constable of Tarbert Castle and allowed it to fall into disrepair. He lost, as a result of his neglect, his position of Constable of Tarbert and possession of Stonefield Castle, in the middle of the 18th Century, to Charles Campbell. The castle was extended and remodelled in 1837 and designed by architects William Henry Playfair and William Notman.

>>> Compare Prices for Stonefield Castle Hotel, Stonefield, Scotland, United Kingdom

Stonefield Castle, Tarbert.

7) Mercure Barony Castle, Peebles Located near the Borders town of Peebles, this castle was originally built in the 16th Century for the Murrays of Blackbarony. Today, this imposing 16th century tower house presents itself as a modern and welcoming hotel. Surrounded by 25 acres of pleasant countryside, yet under an hour from the Capital of Edinburgh, the Barony makes perfect location for an unforgettable break.

>>> Compare Prices for Mercure Peebles Barony Castle Hotel, Eddleston, Scotland, United Kingdom

Mercure Barony Castle, Peebles.

8) MacDonald Houston House, Uphall Situated in a secluded spot near Livingston just west of Edinburgh, and set in 22 acres of beautiful woodlands, Macdonald Houstoun House is the perfect country hotel and retreat. Once visited by Mary Queen of Scots, the historic building has the classic grace of a 16th century Tower House. Inside, 70 rooms blend luxury and character, with a unique feature bedroom in the Tower.

>>> Compare Prices for Macdonald Houstoun House Uphall, Uphall, Scotland, United Kingdom

MacDonald Houston House, Uphall.

9) Kildrummy Castle, Alford Kildrummy Castle Hotel was buily in the early 1900’s and is regarded by many, as one of Scotland’s finest country mansion houses. The hotel is built close to the original 13th Century castle, in the midst of acres of carefully tended gardens.

>>> Compare Prices for Kildrummy Castle Hotel, Alford, Scotland, United Kingdom

Kildrummy Castle, Alford.

10) Kinnettles Castle, Forfar Kinnettles estate has origins dating back to the 1300’s. In 1802 the Kinnettles estate was sold to John Aberdain Harvey who built a second manor house surrounded by fine parkland. In 1864 James Paterson bought the property and began work on the structure known today as Kinnettles Castle – now a fine luxury hotel.

>>> Compare Prices for Kinnettles Castle, Forfar, Scotland, United Kingdom

Kinnettles Castle, Forfar.

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Here are the 11 Most Haunted Castles in Scotland

Scotland is famed for it’s haunted houses, castles and ghost stories, it’s very much part of our folklore. Some haunted Scottish castles can actually be stayed in and there are numerous old country manor houses or lodges with their own alleged ghost ‘in residence’. Others can be visited for a tour and for lovers of Halloween and the whole ‘spirit’ world, there are numerous amazing castles to choose from. The ghosts are often ladies and whether it be Cawdor Castle’s ‘handless ghost’, Fernie Castle’s ‘Green Lady’ or Glamis Castle’s ‘Grey Lady’, the female sex seems to make up a high proportion of ghosts wandering the corridors. Many of course were put to the stake as witches or slain by jilted lovers. Some were even killed by furious fathers!

1. CAWDOR CASTLE

Built around a 15th Century tower, Cawdor Castle , near Inverness, is reportedly said to be cursed by witches who were said to be enraged when the playwright, William Shakespeare, used one of their spells in the opening scene of Macbeth. It wasn’t only Macbeth that has had an effect on the paranormal at Cawdor; Romeo and Juliet also has played it’s part in the castle’s history. In the 1880’s, the daughter of the Earl of Cawdor, fell in love with the son of a rival family and was caught in their secret hiding place by her father. The furious Earl then chased his daughter through the castle until she had nowhere to go and so climbed out of a window, dangling by her hands which he chopped off with his sword. Various visitors to the castle have reported seeing a handless young woman in blue dress wandering through the castle.

2. FYVIE CASTLE

The curse of Fyvie Castle in Aberdeenshire is a chilling tale. Thomas the Rhymer, upon visiting the castle, told of a prophecy known as ‘The Weeping Stones of Fyvie’. Until the three stones, supposedly taken from a sacred burial site, are returned, no male heir shall ever inherit the castle. One of the stones was found in The Charter room and can be seen on display there today, another in the Preston Tower and the third is said to be in the Ythan River, and to find that, would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Fyvie Castle also has both a ‘Green Lady’ and a ‘Grey Lady’ to boot!

3. FERNIE CASTLE

Fernie Castle is a 14th Century castle in Fife, which has now become a hotel. The ‘Green Lady’ of Fernie Castle is reportedly a young woman who had married a man of whom her father disapproved. She was hiding in the castle to get away from her father and when she was found, there was a struggle to bring her downstairs and she fell to her death. There has always been the question of whether she was pushed or fell of her own accord. The ‘Green Lady’ has been seen in the guest bedrooms in the west tower.

4. GLAMIS CASTLE

One of the most haunted castles in Scotland, is Glamis Castle in Angus, the childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and ancestral seat of the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorn. With no less than 9 ghosts, Glamis Castle is one of Scotland’s most haunted castles and is a busy place even when the family are away! Glamis Castle is another Scottish castle to have a minor feature in Macbeth but also Royal connections, as before it was granted to the Lyon family in the 14th Century, it was in the hands of Scottish Royalty.

5. INVERARAY CASTLE

Inveraray Castle in Argyll, sits in a magical position overlooking Loch Fyne. Legend has it that it is haunted by several ghosts including a young Irish harpist, who was killed by the Duke of Montrose’s men in 1644. The harpist can be seen in the MacArthur Room and there is also a ‘grey lady’ that has only been seen by daughters of a Duke of Argyll.  Very spookily, and one of the most chilling Scottish ghost stories, is when a Duke dies, the ghostly ‘Galley of Lorne’ can be seen sailing away into the distance on Loch Fyne.

6. DRUM CASTLE

Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire, is one of the oldest tower houses in Scotland. It was given to the Irvine’s in 1323 by Robert the Bruce and has lots of supernatural activities going on. Anna Forbes Irvine who died in 1900, haunts the castle along with the eerie laughter of her son, Alexander, who died in 1865 aged six. Family heirlooms move about in the night with great regularity and when night falls footsteps can be heard.

7. CRATHES CASTLE

Crathes Castle is situated near Banchory and has enchanting turrets, towers and ornate rooms. Built for the first time in the 1500s by the Burnett family the foreboding tower house is still standing. There are most certainly spirits inhabiting this historical castle within the walls. The Green Lady, dressed in a green robe, roams the castle and it is said that she was a either a servant girl or the ward of the Laird and that she had a child and then disappeared. There was a discovery in the 1800s of skeleton remains, from behind the fireplace in a room that has been seen in.

8. DUNROBIN CASTLE

Dunrobin Castle near Golspie is a huge Scottish castle and is reportedly haunted. Apparently, in the 15th Century, the Earl of Sutherland wanted to marry a beautiful young girl from a rival clan and so he locked her away until such time as he could marry her. Her spirit is said to haunt the Seamstress’s Room in the upper floors of Dunrobin Castle. The beautiful woman tried to escape from the castle by making a rope out of her sheets, but sadly, fell to her death. She can still be heard crying from the same room, today.

9. STIRLING CASTLE

Stirling Castle is one of the most important castles in Scotland and has witnessed a colorful history. It is said that the castle is haunted by a ghostly Highlander, dressed in full traditional costume. Visitors to the castle have sometimes approached this ghostly figure expecting him to be a tour guide and answer their questions but he merely turns away from them and disappears completely.

10. CULZEAN CASTLE

Situated on the Ayrshire coast, Culzean Castle is a dramatic and imposing building that looks as if it could be home to several spirits. One such spirit is a young woman who wears a ballgown and is frequently spotted gliding up the grand oval staircase. There is another story that whenever a member of the Kennedy family is about to get married, a ghostly piper can be heard piping away to the in the grounds. He also plays on stormy nights, and you can hear his music mingling with the sound of wind and the rough sea launching it’s waves on the shore.

11. EILEAN DONAN CASTLE

Eilean Donan Castle near Kyle of Lochalsh, has to be one of the most well-recognized castles in the whole of Europe, if not in the world because of it being a photographers paradise. It is also one of the most famous, haunted places in Scotland.  In 1719, during a siege in the first Jacobite rebellion, a Spanish soldier was killed and is said to haunt the castle. There is also ‘Lady Mary’ who has been seen on occasion in one of the castle bedrooms.

The Scots love these tales and are happy to regale others instilling a certain nervous tension into the room, usually just before guests retire for the night and often on a wet and blustery night.  Candles flicker and doors slam but if you hide under your duvet until daybreak, you should be alright.  For guests that enjoy things that go ‘bump in the night’, LTR has some magical homes for them to hunker down and wait for the late night appearance of the Green Lady … or is the Grey Lady?

If you are planning a trip to Scotland, whether you would like to go ghost hunting or even if you would like to avoid the haunted Scottish castles and other haunted locations in Scotland, we would love to help you make the most of your time here.  Do contact us on + 44 (0) 1835 824642 or [email protected] .

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20 Haunted Castles in Scotland

There are said to be LOTS of haunted castles in Scotland, which isn't surprising when you realize that Scottish history, culture, traditions and folklore are peppered with tales of fairies, monsters, spirits and the supernatural.

Around 1500 still exist in Scotland today - in a variety of conditions from fully restored masterpieces to enigmatic ruins, and as ghosts and spirits don't appear to be picky they can (and are) to be found in Scottish castles of any age, description or condition.

These restless souls wander the corridors, towers, staircases and dungeons of some of Scotland's most famous (and infamous) castles. 

Occasionally there is a video or photograph that claims to prove the paranormal activity, mostly the hauntings are based on legends and personal encounters or experiences.

Given what has happened within the walls of Scotland's castles during their lifetimes (battles, murders, suicides, torture and more) I don't think it's too much of a stretch to believe that a few lonely souls still live within their ancient walls.

Image of ghostly castle with full moon

Some of the most haunted castles in Scotland

Whether you believe in ghosts or spirits, are skeptical, or simply find ghost tales good for a laugh, I hope you enjoy learning about the haunted Scottish castles we've featured here.

Airth Castle - Stirlingshire

Airth castle was built in the 1300's and was once owned by the family of Robert the Bruce. The 14th century tower is known as Wallace's Tower after William Wallace is said to have rescued his uncle from it during the Wars of Independence.

Airth Castle is now a luxury hotel and spa ( learn more about that here ).

The ghosts or spirits said to haunt Airth Castle include the Green Phantom, the ghost of a groundsman who is reported to haunt the lower levels of the castle and the ghosts of a nanny/housekeeper accompanied by two children. Airth Castle is said to be one of Scotland's most haunted castles.

Airth Castle. Attribution: By Supergolden - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2181409

The children reportedly died in a fire at the castle during the 17th century and the woman is still searching for them today. Some say that the sound of the children playing can sometimes be heard in rooms 3,4,9 and 23 or running along the corridors.

An odd photo taken in 2007 of some wedding party members in Airth Castle showed a blurred image in the background which many think could be the ghost of the groundskeeper (aka the Green Phantom). 

Other weird happenings include footsteps appearing randomly on a dusty, unused staircase and a ghost dog who occasionally nips at people's ankles.

Airth Castle Website

Alloa Tower - Clackmannanshire

Alloa Tower is one of the earliest Scottish Tower Houses and is believed to have been built in the 14th century.

According to local legends, in the 16th century the Abbot of Cambuskenneth put a curse on the tower itself and on the 17th Earl of Mar (John Erskine) and his family who lived in it at the time. the tower family who lived in it, had a curse put on them.

Today, ghost stories talk of spirits who inhabit various rooms and the dungeon is said to house the ghost of a man in chains, presumably a former prisoner during the early days of the tower's existence. Some reports say he is accompanied by the specter of a servant girl.

The scariest room is the Solar Room, where a phantom man has been reported to be seen hanging. Even worse, some visitors say they have had the feeling of being strangled while in that very room!

Alloa Tower Webpage

Barcaldine Castle - Oban

Barcaldine Castle (link to Barcaldine castle on castle stays part 1 page) was built in the early 1600's by 'Black' Duncan Campbell, a famous member of the Campbell clan.

In the 18th century, Duncan's brother, Donald Campbell (the Laird of Barcaldine) lived in Barcaldine Castle, was killed by Stewart of Appin in a cowardly, surprise attack during the Massacre of Glencoe, and ghostly presence is said to be felt in the Great Hall.

You can read all about the Campbell brothers, the attack, the ghostly presence of Donald who came to Duncan prior to him knowing that his brother was dead, and more in The Legend of Duncan Campbell which can be seen, and downloaded, HERE 

Barcaldine Castle offers Airbnb accommodation which you can learn more about here .

Barcaldine Castle Website

Brodick Castle - Isle of Arran

Built using beautiful red sandstone, Brodick Castle sits at the base of Goatfell Mountain on the Isle of Arran, on a site that is believed to have been occupied since at least the time of the Vikings in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

It has a wild and turbulent history, having been damaged and rebuilt more than once during various clan battles.

Brodick Castle. Attribution: By © Sir Gawain / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28482703

Clan Stewart erected the earliest fortress at this location (post Viking occupation) but were overthrown and the castle claimed by Clan MacDonald in the early 13th century, only to be captured by Edward I of England during the Scottish Wars of Independence at the end of that same century.

It was then recaptured by Robert the Bruce in 1307 and continued to change hands regularly until the late 17th century.

Given all that, it will come as no surprise to learn that Brodick Castle has it's own share of resident ghosts!

There is the Grey Lady who appears in the oldest parts of the castle, and has been observed close to staff members who have been totally unaware of her proximity. There are two different beliefs as to who she is. One says that she's ghost of a woman who had the plague and was left in the dungeons to starve to death, possibly alongside two other women in the same situation. The other says she is the ghost of a servant girl who became pregnant and was dismissed from her job and disowned by her family. As a result she drowned herself near the entrance to the castle.

There's also the ghost of an unknown man who can sometimes be seen sitting reading in the library, wearing a green jacket, plus a few sightings of a second ghostly male figure in the corridors.

Legend has it that a ghostly white stag can sometimes be seen in the gardens and there are also two opposing stories surrounding his appearance. One says that it usually happens when one of the chiefs of the Hamilton family pass away (this family owned the castle previously), the other that his appearance is a harbinger of good fortune. There is a beautiful sculpture of this mythical animal in the castle grounds.

Brodick Castle Webpage

Castle Fraser - Aberdeenshire

An tower house that dates back to at least the 15th century predated Fraser Castle as we know it, which was built over a period of sixty years, beginning in the late 16th century. Castle Fraser was the home of the Fraser family for almost half a century.

This reportedly haunted castle claims several ghosts including an unnamed princess who was murdered while sleeping in the Green Room, and then her killers dragged her body down the stairs of the Round Tower.

Legend has it that the bloodstains left by her body couldn't be removed from the stone steps and they were then covered up with wooden panels.

In addition the the mysterious princess, there are allegedly several other ghosts and spirits within the castle walls. They include the ghost of Lady Blanche Drummond who died of tuberculosis (called 'consumption' at that time) in 1874. She's said to roam the castle and grounds wearing a long black dress.

There are also reports of a host of other ghostly and otherworldly happenings at Fraser Castle, such as the sounds of children laughing and singing when there are no children present.

The Great Hall is sometimes the source of laughter, music and even whispers even though there it's completely empty.

Castle Fraser Webpage

Castle Mey - Caithness

Castle Mey is a 16th century castle in the far north of Scotland, with views out towards the Orkney Islands. It's most famous for being a royal residence as it was purchased by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in the 1950's and was her beloved summer home right up until her death.

Castle Mey (aka Castle of Mey) is said to be haunted by the Green Lady, who is the ghost of Lady Fanny, a daughter of one of the Earls of Caithness. Legend has it that she was in love with a local ploughman, but their relationship was forbidden by her father who then locked her up in the tower.

One story says that shortly afterwards, heartbroken and desperate, she threw herself to her death from one of the windows. Another that she fell accidentally while leaning out too far when trying to catch a glimpse of her beloved.

Now, the Green Lady wanders through the old castle tower, and some staff and visitors to the castle claim to have felt her presence, and noticed unusual happenings on the top floor of the castle.

Castle Mey Website

Castle Menzies - Perthshire

The Chiefs of the Menzies Clan made Castle Menzies their home as early as 1488, but it had existed for centuries before that and was added to and improved in the 16th century, among others.

Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed in Castle Menzies in 1746 while on his way to the famous Battle of Culloden.

Castle Menzies.David Prentice Menzies National Library of Scotland Histories of Scottish Families Red & White Book of Menzies 1908 CC BY-SA 4.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59121907

By the mid 1950's the castle was in ruins. It was restored and renovated over the following decades, but maintains it's original character and unique aspects.

It's a popular venue for ghost hunters and a paranormal investigator claims to have used an EVP monitor (also known as a Ghost Radio) in Castle Menzies and received responses from the ghosts or spirits there.

During a ghost tour of the castle an orb apparently appeared in front of 40 people before disappearing down a corridor. This happened more than once to different tour groups.

In addition to these weird goings-on, reports of three ghostly women (thought to be witches) being seen in the meat cellar; cold spots in a bedroom and footsteps, clanking noises and odd sights at windows have all been reported.

I guess it's not surprising then that Castle Menzies is thought to be one Scotland's most haunted castles.

Castle Menzies Website

Crathes Castle - Banchory

Robert the Bruce gifted some land to the Burnetts of Ley family in 1323, and during the 14th and 15th century a wooden fortress was constructed there. Crathes Castle itself was built on this site in the 16th century.

Relics unearthed in the castle grounds have shown the area to have been inhabited as early as 8000 BC, so there is no shortage of history here.

During 18th century renovations to the castle, the bones of a child were discovered beneath a hearthstone in The Green Lady's Room.

The room's name was a nod to the ghost of the Green Lady, a young woman wearing a green dress, who had been seen cradling a baby by the fireside many times over the centuries. Even Queen Victoria is said to have seen her.

Crathes Castle Webpage

Culzean Castle - Ayrshire

As early as the 1300's, a stone tower house belonging to members of Clan Kennedy sat on this windswept cliff-top on the western coast of Scotland.

In the 18th century Culzean Castle began it's transformation into the elegant and imposing castle which can be seen today. Another of Scotland's most haunted castles, Culzean is said to be home to between five and seven separate paranormal entities including a knight in full armor, a phantom piper, the ghost of a young girl whose ghostly footsteps can be heard running through the corridors and an unexplained mist that occasionally hovers on one of the castle's staircases.

Check out this youtube video made by the "Most Haunted' team who went searching for Culzean Castle's ghouls and ghosts.

Culzean Castle Webpage

Dalhousie Castle - Edinburgh

Today the only original parts of the original 13th century Dalhousie Castle which exist are the foundations and vaults. Over the following centuries it was altered and added to, and the 15th century tower made from local red stone is the oldest part of the castle as it is now.

Dalhousie Castle has a long and fascinating history and has given shelter to many famous historical figures including King David 1st of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots, Sir Walter Scott, and even Queen Victoria.

Given it's age and history, it's not surprising that Dalhousie Castle is said to have several resident ghosts and is one of the most haunted places in Edinburgh.

The most well-known, and frequently seen ghost, is the Grey Lady who is believed to be the ghost of a 16 year old girl known as Lady Catherine Ramsay who lived at the castle in the 17th century.

Some stories say she was mistress to one of the Ramsay Lairds, others that she was in love with a stable-hand, either way she was apparently banished to the tower and died there of starvation and/or a broken heart. Wearing a grey dress she now wanders through the towers, dungeons, stairs, and main corridor.

Dalhousie Castle is now a hotel and spa  and some guests have reported hearing weird and unexplained noises including footsteps, as well as seeing Catherine's ghostly form walking around, or waving from windows. A piper at the castle, Andrew Sharp, claims to have seen this Grey Lady many times, and even snapped a photo of her at a wedding in 2004.

You can see a short video of what one visitor experienced when she went searching for Lady Catherine's ghost right, and also see the photograph taken by Andrew Sharp here 

Another famous ghost at Dalhousie Castle is that of of Sir Alexander Ramsay (who was starved to death there by an enemy, William Douglas, during the 14th century).

Dalhousie Castle Website

Drum Castle - Aberdeenshire

Built in the mid thirteenth century, Drum Castle is believed to be one of the oldest Scottish tower houses in existence, as well as possibly the oldest, continually occupied castle in Scotland.

Drum Castle. 1829. Public Domain Image

It's the ancestral home of the Irvine family, who were gifted the tower house and surrounding forested estate by Robert the Bruce in 1323. Since then, twenty four generations of Irvine's have called Drum Castle home.

Drum Castle has been the sight of many supernatural occurrences and ghostly sightings.

The old stables and nearby gardens are said to have a weird atmosphere and women's laughter and voices have been heard when no one else was around.

The ghost of Anna Forbes, wife of the 20th Laird of Irvine who died in the year 1900) is said to haunt the castle, along with her son Alexander, who died at only six years old in 1865.

Drum Castle Webpage

Edinburgh Castle - Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle is one of Scotland's most famous landmarks, the most well known Scottish castle, and one of Edinburgh's prized tourist attractions.

The combination of it's long and colorful history, and Edinburgh's numerous supernatural stories, legends and haunted places, means this castle appears on many a list of haunted castles in Scotland.

It's possible that building began on Edinburgh Castle as early as the 12th century, and archaeological finds prove that there was a human settlement on Castle Rock (the elevated volcanic rock on which the castle is built) as far back as 850BC. As with all Scottish castles, Edinburgh Castle has a long and rich history.

In 1566 Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son James at the castle. King Charles I stayed here in the mid 17th century, and the pirate named 'Black Bart' was imprisoned in the castle's dungeons in the early 18th century.

One story claims that there are hidden tunnels running from Edinburgh Castle to the Royal Mile which are haunted by a piper who disappeared in the tunnels several hundred years ago. Other ghost stories associated with Edinburgh Castle include those of a headless drummer boy and a group of French prisoners who were held in the dungeons during the Seven Years War which took place around the middle of the 18th century.

There are also reports of visitors having experienced paranormal activities or signs in the castle, such as sudden and unexplained temperature changes, the feeling of being touched, the sight of ethereal figures and more.

Edinburgh Castle Website

Falkland Palace - Fife

Originally a 12th century hunting lodge, Falkland Palace was a Medieval castle during the 13th century and was added to and extended over the following centuries to become an example of Renaissance architecture.

Falkland Palace was a very busy place over the years, and a favorite with Mary Queen of Scots. A fun fact is that Falkland Palace has what are believed to be the oldest tennis courts in Britain, which were built for James V in the 1500's.

There are said to be ghosts who haunt Falkland Palace, one of whom is believed to be the ghost of the first Duke of Rothesay, David Stewart, who was help prisoner at Falkland Palace by his uncle and died of starvation there in 1402.

There have reportedly been sightings of a White Lady, a Grey Lady and even the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots wandering the castle, as well as faces appearing at the window of the Queen's Room.

Is it possible that these sinister faces are in some way related to the death mask of Mary Queen of Scots which hangs above the doorway to the Queen's Room? Who knows, but it's spooky for sure!

Falkland Palace Webpage

Glamis Castle - Angus

Glamis Castle sits on land that is of historical importance to Scotland as far back as the 11th century when King Malcolm II was murdered there.

The castle itself was established in the 14th and 15th centuries, although most of what you see today was built in the 17th century. The castle and it's grounds are stunning, and almost fairy-tale like.

Lithographic print of Glamis Castle dating from mid 19th century. Public Domain image.

In addition to it's well-deserved reputation for being haunted, Glamis Castle has several down-to-earth claims to fame, one being home to the Bowes-Lyon family and the childhood home of the Queen Mother, and another as the inspiration for Shakespeare's Macbeth.

There is a legend that surfaced in the mid 1800's surrounding 'The Monster of Glamis', who was said to be a deformed Bowes-Lyon child who was claimed by the family to have died at birth but instead spent his life in a hidden, secret room in the castle... you can read more about this legend here .

As far as ghost stories go, Glamis Castle is said to be one of the most haunted Scottish castles, and the site of paranormal happenings going back hundreds of years, to the time before the castle existed at all.

There are stories of a Grey Lady, said to be the ghost of Lady Janet Douglas who was burned at the stake as an accused witch in 1537 and who now haunts the family chapel. To this day there is a seat always a seat left empty at the back of the chapel as it's kept for Grey Lady.

There's also Earl Beardie (which Earl he is/was isn't clear but most likely Alexander Lyon the second Earl of Glamis, or Alexander Lindsay, the fourth Earl of Crawford) who lost his soul to the Devil in a card game, and whose ghostly spirit can be heard throughout the castle as he shouts, cusses and rattles his dice.

More gruesomely, there have been reports of a tongueless woman seen wandering around the castle grounds with blood pouring from her mouth. This ghost is said to have once been a castle maid who discovered a secret and an Earl had her tongue cut out to prevent her from sharing it. He may also have had her killed.

The image of a young girl was also seen at a castle window one evening, and then disappeared without a trace.

Glamis Castle Website

Inveraray Castle - Argyll

Looking out over the picturesque Loch Fyne in western Scotland, Inveraray Castle is the ancestral seat of Clan Campbell, and was first built on this site in the mid 15th century.

In the early 18th century John Campbell, the second Duke of Argyll, wanted to upgrade the existing castle and employed an architect to design a grand home incorporating several different styles which were popular at the time.

This work, combined with some other additions in the late 19th century produced what we see now, a beautiful, elegant castle with turrets, towers and conical roofs.

Mary Queen of Scots and King James V have both been guests at Inveraray Castle, and it is also famous for being featured as the home of the titled Crawley family in the hugely popular TV series, Downtown Abbey.

There are many restless spirits associated with Scotland's Inveraray Castle including a Grey Lady, and the ghost of a young boy who was once a harpist at the castle. Legend says he can be heard playing when a member of the family is close to death. I

nveraray itself and the surrounding area is thick with stories and legends of paranormal activities, sightings and ghosts. Inveraray Jail, built in the 1800's and less than a mile from Inveraray Castle is known as one of the most haunted places in Scotland and has it's own gruesome tales and many reports of odd happenings, spectres, unusual appearances and more.

Inveraray Castle Website

Kellie Castle - Fife

Early historical records show Kellie Castle in existence as early as the mid 12th century. The oldest part of the castle today only dates back as far as 1360, with the bulk of it being from the 16th and 17th centuries.

In the 14th century it was for a while the home of a daughter of Robert the Bruce, and in1617, King James VI stayed in Kellie Castle at the invitation of the then owner, Sir Thomas Erskine, who had been childhood friends with the James.

After falling into disrepair in the following century, it was totally, and beautifully, restored by the Lorimer family who were architects and artists.

Kellie Castle is reported to be haunted by two ghosts. One is James Lorimer who has been seen in the castle's corridors. The other is the spirit of Anne Erskine, who was killed by a fall down the castle stairs during a visit.

Although she isn't seen often, her footsteps are heard on the stairs fairly regularly.

Kellie Castle has even been exorcised once, but it did not seem to stop the hauntings!

Kellie Castle Webpage

Skibo Castle - Dornoch

Nestled in the Scottish Highlands, Skibo Castle was originally the home of the Bishops of Caithness, possibly from as early as 1211, and continued to be so until 1545 when it was gifted to a man named John Gray.

Like many of the old castles in Scotland, Skibo Castle changed hands several times until it was leased by the prominent and wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1897, who bought it outright the following year.

The changes in ownership continued when almost a century later, another businessman, Peter de Savary, bought Skibo Castle from Carnegie and turned it into a private members club, and then sold it in 2003 to Ellis Short.

Today it is still known as 'The Carnegie Club' an exclusive, private members club. It'll come as no surprise to you that Skibo Castle has had it's fair share of important guests from Edward VII to Rudyard Kipling, Lloyd George, the Rockefellers, Michael Douglas, Sean Connery and more. Madonna and Guy Ritchie even got married there.

The 'private' designation didn't seem to deter the spirits which are said to haunt Skibo Castle!

These included the White Lady, who was said to be the ghost of a young lady who had visited the castle early in it's history and was believed to have been murdered by one of the castle's keepers. She was sometimes seen wandering the castle while partially dressed.

At some time during castle renovations a woman's skeleton was discovered hidden in one of the castle walls. These particular hauntings ended once the body had been buried, leading stories to claim that her soul was finally at rest.

Skibo Castle Website (aka Carnegie Club)

Stirling Castle - Stirling

Built on Castle Hill, where evidence suggests occupation of the area as far back as Roman times, Stirling Castle was a strategically important historical castle from a defensive standpoint and it is both one of Scotland's largest castles, and a popular visitor attraction.

Stirling Castle

Some of the current Stirling Castle dates back to the 14th century, other parts to the 15th, 16th and 19th centuries. It has a rich and fascinating history having been the focus of a siege at least eight times over the centuries, and bore witness to battles, births, deaths, executions and more.

It has many royal connections, including (among many others) being where King William I died in 1214, was home to several Steward Kings during the 15th and 16th centuries and was where Mary Queen of Scots was crowned in 1543.

Stirling Castle also has no shortage of hauntings, laying claim to several female ghosts including a Black Lady, Pink Lady, a Blue Lady, a White Lady and a Green Lady.

One legend surrounding Stirling Castle's Green Lady says that she is the ghost of a local servant girl who foresaw danger for Mary Queen of Scots and kept watch over her while she slept in the castle one night. She fell asleep and when she woke up there were flames in the bedroom from a candle setting fire to bed linens.

The brave girl carried the unconscious Queen to safety while her green dress smoldered and her skin burned. Mary survived but there's no details as to what happened to the servant girl... except that her spirit now haunts the castle, and she's believed to reside in a small room at the base of the Prince's Tower.

The Blue Lady of Stirling Castle is said to be the ghost of a spurned lover of King James IV, and she is also said to be a harbinger of doom. The Pink Lady is believed to be the spirit of the sole survivor of one of Stirling Castle's sieges (that of King Edward I in 1304) who is still searching the castle for her husband.

Another ghost at Stirling Castle is that of a man wearing a kilt who is sometimes mistaken for a guide, he has been seen walking through a solid stone wall into the dungeons. There used to be a door in the wall at the point he passes through it, but it has been bricked up for decades!

A sentry who died while on guard duty at the castle during the early 19th century is said to still be making his rounds and his footsteps have been heard on several occasions during the 20th century... walking across battlements that haven't existed since the mid 1800's.

Stirling Castle Website

Tantallon Castle - East Lothian

Tantallon Castle is another of Scotland's castles with a fascinating history and spectacular location.

Built in the 14th century Tantallon Castle is the last Scottish castle constructed in the Medieval Curtain Wall style, and it stands on a rugged rocky outcrop (Bass Rock) with views which stretch across the Firth of Forth. This site may well have housed a previous fortification, at least in the 13th century if not before.

It was a stronghold of the Red Douglas family, and was under seige at least three times, eventually being all but destroyed by the troops of Oliver Cromwell in 1651.

Although standing in ruins today, Tantallon Castle is still an imposing spectacle, and it is one of only a few Scottish castles that has offered photographic evidence of it's ghostly inhabitants.

In 1977, the Lamb family were visiting Tantallon Castle and Grace Lamb was taking some photos of her husband and children. When she developed them, one of the photos showed a shadowy figure high up in one of the windows. The Lambs didn't think much of it until another similar happening decades later.

Incredibly in 2009, Christopher Aitchison was taking photographs at Tantallon Castle's ruins and unwittingly also captured the image of a mysterious figure peering out from behind the bars of one of the windows on an upper level.

Experts who reviewed the photograph don't believe it was tampered with, but of whether it was a ghostly figure or not there's no proof.

You can learn more and see Christopher Aitchison's photo here  and the photo taken by Grace Lamb here .

At the time of writing (August 2022) there is no access to the castle ruins themselves due to ongoing masonry safety inspections, but the grounds are open.

Tantallon Castle Webpage

Tulloch Castle - Dingwall

Another of Scotland's Highland castles, Tulloch Castle is thought to have been first built during the 1100's, by the Vikings or Norsemen who had arrived in the regions at that time.

Written documentation shows that by the 16th century this castle was home to the Bayne family, and then around two hundred years later it was sold to the Davidson family.

It changed hands several times over the next two centuries until eventually being turned into the Tulloch Castle Hotel and Conference center in 1966.

Several stories claim that Tulloch Castle is haunted, and there are multiple reports of sightings of different ghosts including those of a young girl, a young boy, a middle-aged woman and a man wearing tartan.

There is also a Green Lady who is reported to have been seen many times, and is believed to be the ghost of Elizabeth Davidson whose family once owned the castle.

You can check out this interesting account of a night spent at Tulloch Castle and the spirits encountered by a clairvoyant medium in 2004.

If you like photographic evidence, you will be amazed by the photograph taken in 2008 by fourteen year old Connor Bond who was attending a family wedding and taking photos in and of the castle.

He didn't notice anything strange at the time but when the photos were developed one image very clearly showed a hand on the banister of the castle's spiral staircase, and seemingly attached to an ethereal and misty white shape. It's astounding.

Tulloch Castle Hotel Website

There are way too many haunted Scottish castles for me to be able to feature them all on this page, but if you found it interesting these books can take you even further into the world of Scottish castles and their ghost stories.

  • Haunted Castles and Houses of Scotland
  • Haunted Scottish Castles and Houses
  • Haunted Castles in Scotland

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Ultimate guide of Castles, Kings, Knights & more | Castrum to Castle

9 Most Haunted Castles in Scotland

Scotland is home to numerous ghosts who love haunting old castles. Whether you are a sceptic or a believer, the stories behind the hauntings will surely send a shiver down your spine. Get your favourite bag of snacks, turn off the lights and let’s dive into the haunted stories surrounding the top nine haunted castles in Scotland.

Duntrune Castle

Duntrune Castle

Abode of the Malcolm clan since the late 1700s, the 12th-century Duntrune Castle is situated high above the breathtaking rugged shoreline of Argyll. It is enclosed by the pristine scenery of the ancient realm of Dalriada.

The current chief of the Malcolm family, Robin Malcolm, is a staunch believer that the castle is haunted by the ghostly apparition of the piper whose life came to an abrupt, violent end in the scuffle between Clam Campbell and Macdonalds during the civil war.

Many can still hear the piper playing his music late at night, warning visitors about the dangers that lurk in this haunted Scottish castle.

Hermitage Castle

Hermitage Castle, Scottish Borders

The semi-ruined haunted castle in Scotland, Hermitage Castle is well-known for its sinister history and is popularly called “the guardhouse of the bloodiest valley in Britain”. Nicholas de Soulis built the typical Norman Motte-and-Bailey castle in 1240.

The castle’s haunted tales and the history behind them are perhaps more wicked than all your bad dreams combined. The most popular among the multitude of the haunted castle’s past inhabitants was Sir William de Soulis, who possessed it during the rule of Robert the Bruce. Sir William was captured and executed for plotting the death of Bruce so that he may himself be delegated King of Scotland.

Legend, in any case, has decided to give an undeniably more sensational end upon the awful master de Soulis. Legends say that this individual was an expert of Witchcraft, who seized the kids of the area and used their blood in his evil customs, during which he would evoke his devilish counterpart, Robin Redcap.

His apparition aimlessly roams the castle corridors, a vindictive phantom whose appearance is regularly joined by the terrible cries of youngsters reverberating along the decaying corridors.

Barcaldine Castle

Barcaldine Castle

Located amidst the romantic setting of the pristine Scottish countryside, Barcaldine Castle is now a famous luxury bed and breakfast place. It is also open for weddings and exclusive get-togethers.

If you are looking for a ghost, you’ll surely find one in this Scottish haunted castle hotel. The ghost of Donald Campbell, laird of Barcaldine, met his gruesome end in the hands of Stewart of Appin during the Massacre of Glencoe in the 17th century. He continues to haunt the castle premises searching for his brother, Sir Duncan, who had unknowingly sheltered the murderer.

Inveraray Castle

Inveraray Castle

The abode of the Duke of Argyll and the seat of the Clan Campbell since the 18th century, Inveraray Castle is the oldest example of Gothic Revival architecture. Situated on the shore of Scotland’s longest sea loch, Loch Fyne, the haunted castle is a treat to behold for its visitors.

Some of Scotland’s most famous ghostly apparitions have made this castle their home. The grey lady who is only visible to the daughters of the Duke, a floating ghost boat in the middle of nowhere, and a noisy kitchen maid are some of the castle’s most well-known ghosts. Some visitors have also heard sweet harp music coming from MacArthur’s room of the castle.

Culzean Castle

Culzean Castle

Currently owned by the National Trust for Scotland, Culzean Castle was home to the Marquess of Ailsa in the past. The gorgeous castle overlooks the mouth of the River Clyde, thus providing a breathtaking view to its visitors.

Culzean Castle is filled with some magnificent and wicked history, and there will undoubtedly be a couple of accounts of paranormal happenings. Perhaps the most popular apparition story associated with Culzean is that of the flute player who, along with his dog, was sent into the caverns underneath the castle. However, he never made it out.

Some ghosts are known to move around the haunted castle. A little kid is said to run along the passages near the kitchen. There are additional accounts of visitors seeing a dark phantom climbing the steps late at night.

Baldoon Castle

Baldoon Castle

At present, very little remains of the 16th century Baldoon Castle . The picturesque ruin is perhaps one of the oldest examples of Renaissance architecture.

Several accounts of local people have seen the phantom of a little girl living there. As per one legend, that is the phantom of Janet, the successor of the popular aristocrat, James Dalrymple.

She gave her consent to marry David Dunbar, the child of Baldoon Castle proprietor, while she was in love with someone else. Nonetheless, the arranged wedding didn’t occur. On the wedding day, the youthful lady of the hour was found murdered in one of the rooms of the haunted castle.

Fernie Castle

A romantic hideaway for Kings and Queens, Squires and Ladies.

A famous Scottish Castle Hotel, Fernie Castle is currently a popular spot for elegant weddings. The castle was probably constructed during the 13th century under the MacDuff Earls of Fife.

Its western tower is haunted by a ‘Green Lady’, a young lady who escaped with her sweetheart, who her father disapproved of. They looked for asylum in this Scottish haunted castle, yet were found by her dad’s men and executed.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

One of Scotland’s most incredible and popular historic sites, Edinburgh Castle has a rich history as it has served as a royal residence, military garrison, prison, and fortress. It has seen the arrival of famous historical figures like King Henry VIII, King James V, and Mary of Scots, among others.

Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most spooky urban communities, bragging a huge number of apparition stories , a considerable lot of which are set in and around Edinburgh Castle. One such story tells the story of the lonely flute player who haunts the concealed passages that run from the haunted castle to the Royal Mile.

Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle

The mid-14th century Tantallon Castle might be in ruins today, but it still looks like it has jumped out from a fairytale. It was home to the strong Red Douglas family, which frequently conflicted with the Crown. This is probably one of the most haunted castles in Scotland with photographic evidence.

A picture, called one of the world’s scariest pictures, shows a figure wearing a ruff and exceptionally old dress, looking from a destroyed window of the haunted Castle.

Scotland’s splendid landscape has its fair share of spine-chilling hauntings that add to the place’s serene beauty. These haunted castles and the stories behind the hauntings serve as excellent bedtime horror stories. Some of these ghostly happenings even have photographic pieces of evidence that may be the stuff of your nightmare. Are you spooked yet, or should we say more?

If you liked reading about Most Haunted Castles in Scotland, you should definitely check out our article on Most Haunted Castles in Ireland !

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My fright night in ‘haunted bothy' at Luibeilt Lodge

  • Published 24 December 2021

Lodge

On a Christmas climbing trip in 1973, two young climbers experienced a frightening series of events in a remote mountain bothy.

Phil MacNeill was 18 and a member of Glasgow's Langside Climbing Club when he and his friend Jimmy Dunn set out from the city for the Lochaber hills.

They took the train to Balloch and then hitched a lift north to Kinlochleven, near Fort William, from where they set out on foot about 10 miles (16km) to Luibeilt Lodge.

A former deer stalking lodge, now in ruins, the building had been adapted for use as a bothy - an overnight shelter for hillwalkers and climbers tackling the area's mountains, which include Britain's tallest - Ben Nevis.

The men, whose story has been recounted by Phil for BBC Radio 4's Uncanny show , were told there were people living off-grid at Luibeilt, but it remained open and welcoming to visitors.

Phil and Jimmy hoped to use it as a base for their climbing trip.

Phil MacNeill

When they arrived the door was locked. Looking through windows the men could see dishes in the sink but no-one inside.

The pair headed off to do some climbing in the snow and ice before returning at about 21:00.

"It was pitch dark," says Phil. "We shone our torches through the windows and nothing seemed to have changed."

The men were able to get inside through an unsecured window.

"It was much colder inside than outside," said Phil. "It felt odd. It became obvious the place had been vacated very rapidly."

There was a table set for Christmas dinner, with crackers still to be pulled open.

Exploring the property, the men noted each room was furnished and appeared to have been occupied, except one - a bedroom directly above the living room.

The small bedroom had a dismantled metal bed frame lying against a wall and a window with the curtains open. On the window sill there was a large stone.

Lodge

The climbers went down to the living room and crawled into their sleeping bags for the night.

Phil says: "It was extremely cold, and the silence was palpable. It enveloped you.

"Almost the minute we blew out our candle there were noises upstairs."

First they heard footsteps, then noises of the bed being put together followed by what sounded like the rock from the window sill being rolled across the floor.

Phil next recalls being awoken at 04:00 when the living room "erupted" with the sounds of objects - including the men's ice axes - being thrown "all over the place" in the darkness.

"I am absolutely petrified," says Phil.

'Flying across the room'

The room fell silent again. Phil lit a candle but it was sent "flying across the room".

Next, the sound of footsteps again, but this time stomping down a spiral staircase from the upstairs to the closed living room door.

Grabbing his ice axe, Phil went to the door and threw it open but he says no-one was there.

It was then the climbers decided to make their escape out of an opened window.

Shining their headtorches to the upstairs bedroom window, Phil says they saw the curtains were now closed. The men fled for Kinlochleven.

Phil, who has sought out other people's experiences of the bothy, believes no-one could have been hiding in the lodge or arrived after they did.

"We would have seen their footprints in the snow," he says.

Phil MacNeill

Uncanny's host, Danny Robins, says the case is one of the most terrifying of the series.

Psychologist Dr Ciaran O'Keeffe and writer and Edinburgh-based paranormal psychologist Evelyn Hollow, regular contributors to the show, offer different explanations for what happened.

Ms Hollow says Scotland is "saturated" in the paranormal and is "one of the most haunted countries in the world".

She suggests the source of the goings was a poltergeist - a potentially violent ghost that can move objects.

But Dr O'Keeffe suggests if it was not other people in the house then the men may have been feeling the effects of tiredness and the extreme cold.

He says this can influence levels of consciousness, alertness and judgement and may have led to mundane sounds being misinterpreted as something sinister.

He says there have been other examples of "haunted" bothies.

Dr O'Keeffe says: "At Ben Alder cottage there was similar phenomena reported. In that case it was found it was a stag using its antlers and banging on the side of the wall."

The Uncanny Christmas special is available on BBC Sounds now and will broadcast on Radio 4 at 23:30 on Christmas Day.

Related Topics

  • Fort William
  • Kinlochleven

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Castle Menzies

© Lynne Crawford Knight

Weem, Aberfeldy

The Haunted Castle Tour

Murder, legends, and perhaps the restless spirits of previous inhabitants..... Are YOU brave enough?

By day a scene of romantic beauty, yet by night a dark, forbidding place. Join us as we explore Castle Menzies, a location steeped in the history, superstition and lore of the highland Clans and their bloodsoaked lands. 

Hear haunting tales of it’s dark history and restless spirits - who often like to make their presence felt! You may even meet them before the night is through.....

Family (of 4) tickets available

*Warning: This site has a reputation of being an active paranormal location, therefor this tour is not for the faint-hearted.

* Min age limit 12yrs

*Tours run throughout the year, please wear sensible footwear and dress accordingly.

Tour lasts approx 1hr30mins.

From £12 per adult

Departure days.

  • W Wednesday

June — October

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  • Aberfeldy, Loch Tay and Glen Lyon
  • Small Group (1-16)
  • Ghosts and Supernatural

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  • Advance booking essential
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  • Face mask essential (not provided)
  • Hand sanitiser available to visitors & staff
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Prices are subject to change depending on season

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History And Horror Tours

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History and horror tours.

At History and Horror Tours we bring a passion for history, a talent for storytelling and an interest in the darker side of Scotland's history, lore and, of course, ghost stories! Whether you are looking for an infamous pirate, an accused witch, a Jacobite officer or a deceased grave robber, we have a whole collection from Scotland's past! We even have our own hangman (and his unfortunate victim) who perform and delight at a variety of events. Let us entertain your guests with twisted tales or join one of our tours as we retrace the footsteps of ghosts from the past and their dark stories.

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Times vary, see our website for details.

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Departs: Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Dunkeld and Birnam, Perth Area, Pitlochry and Highland Perthshire, Per...

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History and Horror Tour of Perth

History and Horror Tour of Perth

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Torchlight kicks off Edinburgh's New Year celebrations

  • Published 29 December 2023

The torchlight procession in Edinburgh has returned after a four-year absence with thousands lining the streets for the spectacular light show

Thousands of people lined the streets in Edinburgh for the return of the traditional torchlight procession after a four-year absence.

The event - which kicked off the city's New Year celebrations - was not held last year due to funding difficulties .

The 2020 and 2021 editions were also cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

About 20,000 participants created a "river of fire" through the streets of the Old Town from the Meadows to the foot of Edinburgh Castle.

It marked the 30th year the capital has hosted a Hogmanay festival.

Celebrations will continue throughout the weekend, with legendary indie band Pulp headlining a concert in Princes Street Gardens on 31 December.

Vikings lead torchlit walk through Edinburgh

Pulp to headline Edinburgh's Hogmanay party

  • Entry fee proposed for Inverness' Hogmanay celebrations

It is the second event organised by Unique Assembly - a collaboration between Unique Events, who founded the festival, and long-time Fringe festival promoters Assembly.

The group won a three-year contract for the world-renowned celebrations in 2022, taking over from previous organisers Underbelly.

torchlight procession

Cammy Day, leader of City of Edinburgh Council, stated that the Hogmanay festival was an "Edinburgh institution".

He added: "It is also a major contributor to our city's economy, providing jobs and commercial opportunities for local residents and businesses. This is a time where we can celebrate the best of our city as one year closes and look ahead with pride and positivity to the next."

Mr Day recently expressed support for a so-called "tourist tax", or visitor levy, to help fund the city's festivals in future.

Unique Assembly told the Scotsman newspaper that further funding would be needed to keep the festival running in future.

Jarivs Cocker

Last year's procession was scrapped due to what organisers stated was "the current economic climate, and the drop in available funding".

Other events planned for the weekend include a Saturday night gig by ABBA tribute act Bjorn Again. On Hogmanay on Sunday, a candlelit concert will be held at St Giles Cathedral.

Pulp's appearance in West Princes Street Gardens will be their first appearance in the city for more than 20 years.

The first Hogmanay festival saw Gaelic folk-rock group Capercaillie perform, and an estimated 70,000 people attending a non-ticketed party.

Headliners in the years since then have included Franz Ferdinand, Mark Ronson and the Pet Shop Boys.

Related Topics

More on this story.

  • Published 30 December 2023
  • Published 26 September 2023

Jarivs Cocker

Scotland rings in 2023 with Hogmanay celebrations

  • Published 1 January 2023

Fireworks explode over Edinburgh Castle during the street party for Hogmanay New Year celebrations in Edinburgh.

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