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28 July 2023

Balvenie Castle re-opens to visitors

The Moray stronghold, which is one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles, re-opens today (Friday 28 July 2023)

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced that Balvenie Castle will reopen today (Friday 28 July), with visitors once again being able to learn about the three dynastic families that once called the castle home.

Balvenie Castle was built in the 1200s and is one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles. It was a mighty stronghold for over 500 years, serving the Comyn earls of Buchan, who were overthrown by Robert the Bruce in 1306 and lost the castle in 1308; the Black Douglases in the 1400s; and the family of John Stewart, Earl of Atholl, who held Balvenie until the 1700s.

The Earl of Atholl and his wife Margaret, previously married to two Earls of Douglas, paid rent to James II, the Earl’s half-brother: a single red rose every year. Together, the Earl of Atholl and Margaret began to transform the medieval stronghold into an attractive Renaissance residence, a project that would last over the next 250 years.

Craig Mearns, Director of Operations at HES, said:

“As one of Scotland’s oldest stone castles, Balvenie Castle has a fascinating history which includes an attack by Robert the Bruce, as well as an interesting natural history as bats and barn owls continue to occupy the site for part of the year. We are delighted to welcome visitors back to this historic site so they can explore the impressive stronghold located near the Cairngorms.”

Balvenie Castle will be open every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 9.30am to 5.30pm until Saturday 30 September. Last entry is at 4.45pm. The castle closes for lunch from 12.30pm to 1.30pm. Visitors are encouraged to book before visiting.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting, and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle, and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Robin Kepple
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
07721 959 962