Live /

Book in advance to visit Scotland’s historic places. Before you travel, please check the latest Scottish Government guidance.



Roam the ruins of the residence of Robert Stewart, half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots, who became Earl of Orkney in the late 1500s. The Earl’s Palace is a fine courtyard castle, and remains in a remarkable state of completeness.

One of the illegitimate sons of James V, Robert Stewart was a notoriously harsh earl, and the gun holes at ground level in every wall of the palace may suggest that he expected trouble.

The palace’s use was short-lived, however: built between 1569 and 1574, its story effectively ended with the overthrow of the Stewart earls in 1615. An inventory drawn up by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in 1653 suggests neglect had already set in, and by 1700 the palace was roofless and decaying.

Historic Scotland

Opening times

Open year-round.


Download our visitor app

Discover more on the go – the Historic Scotland app lets you find out about Scotland’s most iconic places wherever you are.

Explorer Passes

Get free entry to Scotland’s top visitor attractions with an Explorer Pass valid for 5 or 14 consecutive days.

Become a member

Join Historic Scotland to visit our properties free of charge for a full year and support our work at the same time.

Hire a site for filming

Use one of our fantastic locations on your next shoot for an awe-inspiring backdrop to your work.

Learning visits

Our 300+ historic places serve as creative inspiration for all sorts of learning activities – and for learners of all ages.

Search our events

See the past brought to life by the imaginative year-round programme of events at our properties.