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27 July 2023

Caerlaverock Castle has re-opened to visitors

The one-of-a-kind triangular castle, unmatched among British castles, has re-opened.

A photo of Caerlaverock Castle.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced that Caerlaverock Castle has re-opened, with visitors once again being able to explore the Great Hall, Kitchen and Bakehouse, and the Eastern North and South Rooms.

Caerlaverock Castle was first built in the 13th century and was repaired and upgraded by the Maxwells several times over the years, until a siege in 1640 – the castle’s second siege – ended with the castle partially demolished to prevent its re-use.

The castle has a bloody history as the centre of many border conflicts between Scotland and England. Visitors can learn more about this history through augmented reality stops outside and inside the castle walls and meet characters that would have once called Caerlaverock their home.

Today, Caerlaverock Castle remains a well-loved site and its unique structures leaves it unmatched among British castles. It has also had a starring role on film, notably in The Decoy Bride (2011) with Kelly Macdonald and David Tennant.

The picturesque grounds are home to Spectacular Jousting - a thrilling event of horsemanship and impressive skills that takes place annually. This year’s event will take place from 11am - 4pm on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July.

Access restrictions were put in place at the start of last year as a safety precaution while HES, who manages the site, introduced new measures to manage the impact of climate change on its heritage assets, an issue which is affecting heritage owners globally. Caerlaverock Castle is the latest of a series of sites to reopen following inspections and necessary repairs to the masonry.

The High-Level Masonry Programme, which is the result of ongoing risk assessment and sample surveys, assesses the impact of climate change on sites as well as the scale of deterioration caused by a number of other factors, including the materials used in the building’s construction, its age and physical location. Whilst this is not an issue unique to Scotland, HES is believed to be amongst the first heritage managers to approach it in this way, with the results shared with peer organisations.

From today, visitors will be able to access some parts of the castle’s interior spaces such as the Nithsdale Lodgings and the Southern range, including the Great Hall. Some access restrictions remain in place in the Western range.

Craig Mearns, Director for Operations at HES, said:

We are thrilled to welcome visitors back inside at Caerlaverock Castle to explore further areas of the historic site, as well as get a glimpse into what life was like for those who lived here centuries ago through our augmented reality experiences.

“While we were able to maintain access to the grounds since access restrictions were initially put in place, visitors will now be able to cross the moat and go inside the castle itself to view the stunning construction of this unique site.”

Caerlaverock Castle will be open every day from 9.30am to 5.30pm, with last admissions at 5pm. 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