Castle Campbell reopens to visitors

Dating back to the 15th century, Castle Campbell is one of Scotland’s best-preserved tower house castles. It has now reopened to visitors after being closed for more than a year because of safety issues.

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) announced that the castle and its gardens are reopened as of Saturday 22 July.  Access was restricted at the start of last year by HES, who manages the site, after inspections found that repairs to the masonry were necessary.


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.


“We are delighted to re-open Castle Campbell and Gardens to the public,” says Craig Mearns, Director for Operations at HES. “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.”

While Caste Cambpell is one of several sites that have recently been reopened, about two dozen other sites managed by Historic Environment Scotland remain closed to the public. At places such as Kelso Abbey and Edzell Castle, the fear is that their masonry will collapse and potentially injure visitors. It has prompted fears that the Scottish government is not spending enough money on maintaining these sites and that some be allowed to collapse. See the piece ‘Left in ruins: Should we let historic buildings ‘gracefully die’?‘ from Holyrood.

Photo by Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia

Castle Campbell will be open seven days a week until 30 September from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Click here for more details.

Top Image: Photo by Scotland By Camera / Flickr