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21 July 2023

Castle Campbell and Gardens to re-open to visitors

The imposing ruin, home to the Campbells for almost 200 years, re-opens tomorrow.

A well-preserved stone castle in a dramatic position at the head of a lush, tree-filled glen

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced that Castle Campbell and Gardens will reopen tomorrow (Saturday 22 July), with visitors once again being able to explore one of Scotland’s best-preserved tower house castles.

Castle Campbell was originally called Castle Glume when it was first built in the early 1400s, before Colin Campbell, 1st Earl of Argyll, took over the castle in 1465 and renamed it two decades later.

The castle consisted of a 20-metre-tall tower with four floors of accommodation. The Campbells added a two-storey range across the courtyard, modelled on the royal lodging in Stirling Castle built for James IV.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle saw several famous visitors. John Knox, the Calvinist preacher who led the Reformation of 1560, preached at Castle Campbell just a few years before that in 1556. Mary Queen of Scots visited in 1563. The Campbells eventually moved their stronghold to Argyll’s Lodging in 1660.

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. Campbell Castle and Gardens 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.

Craig Mearns, Director for Operations at HES, said:

“We are delighted to re-open Castle Campbell and Gardens to the public. Our teams have been hard at work ensuring that visitors are able to experience the beautiful tower house castle, one of the finest in Scotland. Visitors can also get onto the top of the tower to admire the surrounding views.

Castle Campbell marks the latest of a series of sites we have been able to re-open this season, including Linlithgow Palace, and Tantallon and Dirleton castles among others. We are excited to welcome visitors back to so many iconic sites across Scotland.

Castle Campbell is open seven days a week until 30 September from 9.30am to 5.30pm, with last entry 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