Dunvegan Castle & Gardens

Type:Historic House / Palace

Dunvegan Castle, Isle Of Skye, Scotland, IV55 8WF

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Dunvegan Castle & Gardens

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Any visit to the Isle of Skye is incomplete without enjoying the wealth of history on offer at Dunvegan Castle & Gardens, the ancestral home of the Chiefs of clan MacLeod for 800 years and the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland.

Sir Reginald MacLeod (27th Chief) was the first Chief to open Dunvegan to the public in 1933 for charitable purposes two days a week. Since then, the number of visitors has risen from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands. Despite such numbers crowding into a space that was designed to keep people out, we do everything we can to maintain this atmosphere of a family home while sharing our passion for Dunvegan’s historic collection with you. Your support is greatly appreciated. It will help us to preserve, develop and share this iconic part of Scotland’s heritage for future generations to enjoy.

Visitors can enjoy tours of an award winning castle and Highland estate steeped in history and clan legend, delight in the beauty of its formal gardens, take a boat trip to see the Loch Dunvegan seal colony, charter one of its traditional clinker boats for a fishing trip or Loch cruise, stay in one of its charming Victorian holiday cottages, enjoy an appetising meal at the MacLeod Tables Cafe or browse in one of its four shops offering a wide choice of high quality Scottish products.

On display are many fine oil paintings and clan treasures, the most famous of which is the Fairy Flag. Legend has it that this sacred banner has miraculous powers and when unfurled in battle, the clan MacLeod would invariably defeat their enemies. Another of the castle’s great treasures is the Dunvegan Cup, a unique ‘mazer’ dating back to the Middle Ages. It was gifted by the O’Neils of Ulster as a token of thanks to one of our most celebrated Chiefs, Sir Rory Mor, for his support of their cause against the marauding forces of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1595. We also have a small collection of Jacobite and Bonnie Prince Charlie relics on display including the Prince’s waistcoat and a lock of his hair, a Jacobite amen glass, Flora MacDonald’s corset and pin cushion etc.

Dunvegan Castle’s five acres of formal gardens began life in the 18th century. In stark contrast to the barren moorland and mountains that dominate Skye’s landscape, the gardens are a hidden oasis featuring an eclectic mix of plants as you make your way through woodland glades, past shimmering pools fed by waterfalls and streams flowing down to the sea. After experiencing the Water Garden with its ornate bridges and islands replete with a rich and colourful plant variety, wander through the elegant surroundings of the formal Round Garden featuring an ilex crenata parterre as its centrepiece overlooked by a Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucana). The Walled Garden is well worth a visit. In what was formerly the castle’s vegetable garden, is now a diverse range of plants and flowers that complement the attractive features including a water lily pond, Garden Museum, Memorial Gazebo, 17th century lectern sundial, Larch Pergola, Glass House and the ‘Dunvegan Pebble’, a rotating 2.7ton Carrara marble sculpture. There is also a herbal border and traditional raised vegetable beds to illustrate the Walled Garden’s original function to provide food for the Chief, his family and clansfolk.

A considerable amount of investment in new planting schemes, design features and landscaping works has been made to restore the gardens to their former glory and exceed our visitors horticultural expectations. This Herculean effort was recognised when Dunvegan Castle & Gardens was made a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Partner Garden in 2022 and was voted Scotland’s RHS Partner Garden Winner that same year. Being accepted into this horticultural pantheon is a glowing testament to the creative vision and funding that has been bestowed upon Dunvegan Castle’s 5 acres of formal and semi-formal gardens since 1976, when the late John MacLeod (29th Chief of Clan MacLeod) decided to follow the example of his ancestors who had tried to create a garden at Dunvegan. More recently, the gardens were shortlisted for the prestigious Historic Houses Garden of the Year Award 2023. The present Chief, Hugh MacLeod, and his dedicated team of gardeners continue to build on this unique horticultural legacy for future generations to enjoy.

Over the centuries, we have given a warm Highland welcome to visitors including Sir Walter Scott, Dr Johnson, HM Queen Elizabeth II, HRH The Prince of Wales and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan. We look forward to welcoming you.


2022: Regional Winner for Scotland in the  RHS Partner Garden of the year competition.

2023: Shortlisted as one of the 6 finalists for the Historic Houses Garden of the Year competition.

2023: Candidate for 2023 RHS Partner Garden of the Year.

Guide Prices

Please see http://www.dunvegancastle.com/your-visit/visitor-information/ for more information about our admission prices.



  • Disabled Accessibility
  • Facilities for the Disabled


  • On-Site cafe/restaurant/catering
  • Picnic area
  • Refreshments Available

Children & Infants

  • Baby changing facilities

Establishment Features

  • Accept coach parties
  • Dogs Accepted - Yes, in the garden, not in the castle
  • Dogs on Lead Only
  • Gift shop
  • Public toilets

Parking & Transport

  • Parking (free)

Payment Methods

  • Credit cards accepted (with charge)

Tours and Demonstrations

  • Educational Visits Accepted
  • Guided tours
  • Guided Tours Available for Groups
  • Guided Tours Available for Individuals


Opening Times

2023 Opening Times (1 Apr 2023 - 15 Oct 2023)
Monday - Sunday10:00 - 17:45

* Last admission is 17:00.

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