Cawdor Castle

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Cawdor Castle

The Cawdor Castle is situated on the east bank of the steep-sided valley of the Allt Dearg, just about five miles 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 a Category A building.

The Cawdor Castle Gardens are beautiful gardens that were built in different centuries, Which include 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 1960s, 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 Tibetan and Traditional Scottish Vegetable Gardens, which can be found near the summer home, Auchindoune House, it’s just a half an hour’s walk through the Cawdor Big Wood.

The are 5 varying nature trails ranging in length from 3 quarters of a mile to 5 miles, each offering different 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 go further back than the recorded date. The 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, lay down to rest under the tree, you can date the remains of the tree death to around 1372.

As the castle started off as a tower house it was later expanded the 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 the 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 added 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 an 18 minutes journey, Follow B865 to A965 min for about 1.2 miles then Follow A96 to B9006 for 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: from Inverness town centre you can grab a taxi to Cawdor Castle for £25 to £30, it’s around an 18 minutes journey.
  • By Train:  The main train station is located in Inverness, which is 15 miles from the castle, however, there’s a small station just 5 miles away from the castle located in Nairn.


Ticket TypePrice
Historic Houses Member AdmissionFree
Carer TicketFree
Ticket admission for Cawdor Castle 2023

Opening Hours

Monday10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Wednesday10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Sunday10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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


Address: B9090, Cawdor, Nairn IV12 5RD