Looking for a day out with some thrills and chills? Take a trip to one of Scotland’s most haunted castles, where you could come face-to-face with a gruesome ghost, spooky spectre or freaky phantom.
With many of Scotland’s castles dating back over half a century, it’s no surprise that some of them are the sites of supernatural activity – including reports of apparitions, strange happenings and disturbing noises!
Whether you’re visiting for Halloween or just fancy freaking yourself out, here’s our guide to Scotland’s most haunted castles.
Reconstructed in the 18th century for the Earl of Cassillis, only some of the original castle remains. The earlier castle had been built by Sir Thomas Kennedy who was murdered on the sands of Ayr in 1602. It has been told that whenever a member of the Kennedy family is to get married, a ghostly piper is heard playing on the grounds; the sounds of the pipes send chills to those who hear it. The piping is also apparently heard on stormy nights, which can be exciting to some but disturbing to others. There have also been reports of a young woman in a ballgown roaming the corridors and to this day, no one knows who she is.
Cairnsmore House | sleeps 12 | from £1,360 per week | dog-friendly
This Georgian house boasts many original features but has been beautifully renovated with stylish, modern additions including underfloor heating. The magnificent walled garden is a real asset to the grand house, and trout fishing is available.
Baldoon Castle is now a ruin but was formerly owned by the Dunbars of Westfield from 1530 to 1800. The castle’s ghost became the subject of Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Bride of Lammermuir. A young woman was forced to leave the man she loved to marry David Dunbar but by the night of her wedding, she had become insane and stabbed him to death in a desperate manner. Ever since the 17th century, she has reputedly roamed the castle dressed in white, blood-spattered and sinister. The anniversary of her death is when you’ll have the best chance of spotting this spurned spectre.
The Lodge | sleeps 4 | from £250/week | dog-friendly
On the edge of the Mochrum Estate, this charming stone cottage has been recently refurbished and is great for small families or two couples. Fishermen will love the salmon and trout fishing available 2 minutes away from the cottage.
This castle was reconstructed in the 19th century but incorporates the original structure which dates back to the 13th century. Before then, there was a Viking fort on the site, so you can only imagine the history and memories held here. For most of its life, it has been owned by members of the Hamilton family and it’s said that the older part of the castle is haunted by a grey lady who starved to death in the dungeons of the castle suffering from the plague. A man has also been seen sitting quietly in the library and, even stranger, a white deer has been repeatedly seen in the grounds of the castle whenever a chief of the family is close to death.
This seven-storey-high spectacular castle was initially owned by the Mortimer family, then the Forbes family who completed the castle in 1626, and it is now owned by the National Trust of Scotland. Stories have been told of a man haunting the corridors, said to be a young member of the Gordon family who was murdered in the castle by Sir John Forbes. He was forced out of a window at sword point and fell to a painful death. A fiddler has also been seen and heard, but only by members of the Forbes family themselves - perhaps a still-loyal member of staff.
Mar Lodge | sleeps 2 | from £370/week | dog-friendly
Hidden within the 300-acre Knockespoch Estate, this secluded cottage has incredible countryside views and plenty of room for two. Sit on the sun terrace and spot wild birds, red squirrels and deer.
Visit Fernie Castle for some truly paranormal activity – the ghost of a ‘Green Lady’ has lived here after she fell to her death from the high tower many centuries ago. She lets you know she’s still around by tampering with the lights and the electrical appliances – the TV being her favourite object!
Garden Cottage | sleeps 4 | from £575/week
In the heart of a country estate in Fife, this cosy cottage is accessed from a private road and surrounded by gardens and woodland, making it a perfect countryside retreat. Inside is homely and traditional accommodation with a wood burner for those chilly Scottish evenings.
The land here was held by the Ruthven family from the 12th century, when Huntingtower Castle used to be called Ruthven Castle. Mary Queen of Scots visited the castle soon after her marriage to Lord Darnley and, later, the 4th Lord Ruthven kidnapped the 15-year-old King James VI and held him in the castle for a year. ‘My Lady Greensleeves’ is the name of the resident ghost and, although she is sometimes seen in advance of a death, she is also said to have cured sick people – an unusually benevolent gesture for a ghost!
The Whinnies | sleeps 15 | from £1,250/week | dog-friendly
Sleeping 11 in the main house and a further four in the annexe, this property is perfect for two groups holidaying together in the Perthshire countryside. Congregate on the south-facing deck and light up the BBQ while enjoying the uninterrupted views.
Looking for some more supernatural inspiration? Take a look at our guide to the most haunted locations in Scotland. Or browse our full collection of self-catering holiday cottages in Scotland.