Eilean Donan Castle

Originally built in the 13th century as a stronghold against the vikings, Eilean Donan Castle is one of Scotland’s most iconic and most photographed sights. We recommend the Photographic Guide to the Scottish Castles which has some really fantastic pictures of our beautiful Scottish castles.

Held at various times by the MacKenzies of Kintail, the Macraes and even Spanish troops during a Jacobite uprising, the castle was destroyed by three frigates from the Royal Navy in 1719. Between 1919 and 1932 the castle was restored to its former glory, with an arch bridge being constructed between Eilean Donan (the island itself) and the main shore, allowing for easier access to Eilean Donan Castle. Eilean Donan itself remains the home of the Clan Macrae.

With its prominent position over tidal Loch Duich and the backdrop of the beautiful mountains of Kintail, Eilean Donan Castle has been featured in a great number of films. These have included “The Private Life of Sherlock Homes” (1970, starring Robert Stephens and Colin Blakely), “Highlander” (1986, starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery), “Entrapment” (1999, starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones), the James Bond classic “The World Is Not Enough” (1999, starring Pierce Brosnan and Robert Carlyle), “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007, starring Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen), and “Made of Honor” (2007, starring Patrick Dempsey).

Located beside Dornie, just 8 miles from Kyle of Lochalsh, Eilean Donan Castle is owned by the Conchra Charitable Trust, and is accessible to the public. A number of tour companies run bus and coach outings to Eilean Donan Castle – these include (from Inverness) The Hebridean Explorer, (from Edinburgh) Haggis Adventures, MacBACKPACKERS, Timberbush Tours, Rabbies Trailburners and Highland Experience Tours, and (from Glasgow) Timberbush Tours.

Eilean Donan Castle at sunset. (© G. Piolle)

At the time of writing, the following opening hours and admission prices applied:

Eilean Donan Castle and Exhibitions opening hours:

10:00am – 6:00pm (last admission at 5:00pm), every day from 1st March till 31st October. Opens at 9:00am during July and August.

Eilean Donan Castle Visitor Centre, Reception, Coffee Shop and Toilets:

10:00am – 5:00pm, every day from 1st March till 31st October.

Eilean Donan Castle Gift Shop:

10:00am – 5:00pm, from February to December.

Eilean Donan Castle admission prices:

Adults: £5.50. Concession (Students and Seniors): £4.50. Family (2 Adults + 3 Children Aged 5-15): £13.50. Under 5s: Free. Group Rate (minimum of 12 persons): £4.00

No visit to Scotland is complete without taking in Eilean Donan Castle, perched proudly on Loch Duich with an absolutely stunning backdrop of the peaks and ridges of the Five Sisters of Kintail and the mountains of Cluanie. For an extra special visit, catch the Castle at sunrise or sunset.

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