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Cawdor Castle

Cawdor Castle

The Cawdor Castle is situated on the east bank of the steep sided valley of the Allt Dearg, just about five smiles south of Nairn. The castle was built around the 15th century, as a tower house throughout the centuries additional parts were added. The castle is listed as Category A building.

The Cawdor Castle Gardens are beautiful gardens that were built in different centuries, Which includes the Walled Garden, originally planted in the 17th century, the Flower garden planted in the 18th century, was originally designed for enjoyment in late summer and autumn and the Wild Gardens, which was added in the 1960’s, the castle grounds also includes a woodland area which has over 100 species of Lichen, lies between the Castle and the stream of the Cawdor Burn, Within the castle grounds, you can find a 9 hole golf course. There are two more gardens, the Tibertan and Traditional Scottish vegetable Gardens, can be found near the summer home, Auchindoune House, its just an half an hour walk through the Cawdor Big Wood.

The are 5 varying nature trails range in length from 3 quarters of a mile to 5 miles, each offering differing experiences of the grounds and gardens, with differing but equally splendid views to be had en route. You can also go Salmon Fishing on the River Findhorn if of course you have the proper licensing.

You can enjoy an extensive tour of the castle and its grounds, exploring two floors of the central tower and the north and west rangers, this includes a tour of the reception, living rooms and a number of bedrooms, as well as the thorn Tree room, The rooms of the castle have a unique homely feel as well as the medieval look, as well as the rooms you can explore the dungeons.

Visitors can also visit the gift shop, a wool and bookshop as well as enjoy a wonderful meal at the castle restaurant, you can access the restaurant via the south courtyard and a snack bar can be located near the car park.

cawdor castle Photography by flickr user: Jürgen Mangelsdorf

Brief History of Cawdor Castle

The earliest the castle can be dated back to is 1454, which is a date on a licence to fortify the castle was given to William Calder, who was the sixth Thane of Cawdor however some parts of the castle even goes further back then the recorded date. Historical Architectural style of the stonework can be dated back to 1380.

One unique feature of the castle is the fact it was built around a small loving holly tree, which tradition says that a donkey, laden with gold, layed down to rest under the tree, you can date the remains of the tree death to around 1372.

As the castle started off as tower house it was later expanded number of times throughout the centuries, In 1510 the heiress of the calders, Muriel, who married Sir John Campbell of Muckairn later expanded the castle, and more improvements to the castle were made by John Campbell, 3rd of Cawdor, purchased the rich lands on Islay. In 1635 a garden had been to the castle.

In 1680’s Sir Alexander Campbell, who was the son of Sir Hugh, married Elizabeth Lort of Stackpole court, they both moved lived on the estate and later built a walled flower garden in 1720 and later adding a woodland area in the 18th century.

In the 20th century John Campbell, 5th Earl Cawdor, moved permanently to Cawdor and was succeeded by the 6th Earl, whose second spouse, the Dowager Countess Angelika, lives there still.

In 2001 it was reported that the Countess had prevented her stepson from sowing genetically modified rapeseed on the Cawdor estate, and in 2002 the Countess took the Earl to court after he moved into the castle while she was away.

Cawdor Castle
Cawdor Castle Photography by flickr: wellingtonandsqueak

Telephone: 01667 404401 | Official Website | Facebook | Twitter

How to get there

  • By Car: from Inverness it’s a 18 minutes journey, Follow B865 to A965 min for about 1.2 miles then Follow A96 to B9006 12 min for about 8.6 miles and Take Old Military Rd/B9090 to Cawdor Castle.
  • By Air: Inverness Airport is only 5 miles from the Cawdor Castle, you can grab a taxi from the airport to the castle.
  • By Taxi: fom Inverness town centre you can grab a taxi to Cawdor Castle for £25 to £30, its around a 18 minutes journey.
  • By Train:  The main train station located in Inverness, which is 15 miles from the castle, however theres a small station just 5 miles away from castle located in Nairn.



Ticket Type


Adult £11.20
 Concessions  £10.20
 Children aged 5 – 15 years old  £7.00
Students £10.20
Family Ticket £32.00
Adult Groups 12 years old + £9.75



Opening Hours


Monday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tueday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM


Note: Opening Hours depending on each month, for more information visit the official website


Address: B9090, Cawdor, Nairn IV12 5RD