Dornoch Castle

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Sat, 2009-12-05

Dornoch Castle is right in the middle of the town. The Castle is now a hotel and it retains much of the character of the castle. Due to the layout of this historic castle each bedroom has its own very special ambience and there are several four posters with Scottish hospitality.

Dornoch Castle is set in the beautiful, historic town of Dornoch and situated directly opposite the inspiring 12th century Dornoch Cathedral. To the south is a wonderful run of buildings including the Old Town Jail and the Dornoch Castle Hotel, whose origins are not as a castle but rather as the Bishop’s Palace built to accompany the cathedral.

Join for a dining experience with a difference and sample the culinary delights created by our team of award winning chefs. Dornoch Castle use only local produce which is complimented with individual wines sources from small, private vineyards all over the world.

The renowned Royal Dornoch Golf Course is the world’s 3rd oldest golf course, and proves both challenging and exhilarating to all players. Ideally situated for a romantic wedding break in the Highlands, Dornoch Castle provides the Bride and Groom with perfect photography settings in the Castle gardens, or more dramatically, on windswept Dornoch beach only 5 minutes walk away.

Complimenting the castle, miles of golden beaches and tranquil seas make perfect settings for whale and dolphin watching, while the great lochs are excellent for fishing and there is stalking too. Enthusiasts can take delight in the abundance of bird life: red kites, ospreys, golden eagles, and puffins all frequent in this beautiful corner of Scotland.

The Historylinks Museum chronicles the history of Sutherland and the town. The town is also reputedly where the last witch in Scotland was burnt, in 1722 – a fact commemorated by the Witch’s Stone.

A Little About History Of Dornoch Castle

Dating from the 12th century, the town is steeped in history. The original Dornoch Castle was built by the Bishops of Caithness, with the cathedral is close by (literally across the street). The castle was built as a 13th century Bishop’s palace, not really a fortress, but a comfortable residence. Dornoch Castle is Historic Scotland Listed Building.

click on the image for full view

It currently contains an altered 14th century keep with a round 16th century stair tower, which still houses a staircase for the hotel. The castle was severely damaged by fire in 1570 during a feud between the Murrays and MacKays. As a result, only the south range remains of an early 16th century quadrangular palace. The five story northwest tower (the dominant feature of the castle now) was added in 1557. The rebuilding which followed included the addition of the upper part of the tower. The castle decayed during the 18th century, but was restored in 1813–1814 to serve as a school and jail. In 1859-60 it became a court house, and was made the headquarters of the Sheriff of Sutherland.

All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing Team, Historic Scotland, Room 2.20, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.i… Web:

Further read:

Contact: Dornoch Castle Hotel Tel: 01862 810216 Fax: 01862 810981

email: enqu…


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