Isle of Arran Castles: A Complete Guide

One of my favorite parts of Scotland, the Isle of Arran is brimming with loads of fun stuff. Like many parts of the nation (and appropriately known as ‘Scotland in miniature’), it’s home to hidden beaches, charming villages, endless animals, great hikes, and fantastic road trips.

The place also plays host to a small few castles… but if you’re expecting a smorgasbord of fortresses on Arran, you better think again. There are a measly three castles on Arran (and one of them is inaccessible).

But you’ve probably been Googling it, so we’re here to answer your questions regardless.

Want to know about the 3 castles on the Isle of Arran? In this unsurprisingly-short blog post, we’ve covered them all in full detail!

Isle of Arran Castles

1. Brodick Castle

Brodick Castle

The best and most famous castle on Arran, Brodick Castle is one of the island’s biggest tourist attractions, and it’s a brilliant place to visit. Looming over Brodick, the most common access point on the island, it’s visible from many parts of the nearby village (and beach).

Brodick Castle is only open during warmer months… but if it’s open when you visit the island, you should definitely wander inside. In the sprawling confines of the castle, you’ll find great insights into the history and heritage of the place and its people.

It’s also a great option for a family day out, with many kid-friendly attractions and adventures. You get a Victorian arcade, Victorian games, costumed actors, pools, a playpark, formal gardens, and more than 10 miles (16km) of beautiful waymarked trails.

On top of all that, Brodick Castle is the most popular starting point for heading up Goatfell, the highest point on the island.

Top tip: if you don’t want to drive or jump on public transport, this is Arran’s easiest castle to visit. It’s a 2-mile (3.2km) walk from the center of Brodick.

How to get to the castle:

  • By public transport: Take the 324 bus from just west of Brodick pier
  • By road: Follow the A841 road west out of Brodick
  • Year built: Originally in the 5th century, but 1510 in its current form
  • Address: Brodick Castle, Isle of Arran, KA27 8HY
  • Opening Hours: 2nd of April until 30th of October, 10.30am until 5pm, 7 days a week; closed for the rest of the year (but the grounds are open 10am until 5pm, year-round)
  • Entrance fees: £14.50 for adults, £8.50 for kids
  • Parking fees: Free
  • Recommended Stay Nearby: Auchrannie Resort

2. Lochranza Castle

A red deer stag and Lochranza Castle in the Isle of Arran, Scotland
A red deer stag and Lochranza Castle in the Isle of Arran

Brodick might be the most famous castle on Arran, but Lochranza Castle (I reckon) is much more scenic. It’s definitely less well-known, so if you want a quiet spot where you can snap some outrageously picturesque photographs, you’ve found it.

The place sits on the edge of a little promontory jutting out into the lake of Loch Ranza (yep, Loch Ranza is also the name of a sea loch, and not just a tiny village).

It’s one of my favorite parts of Arran, and it’s an excellent picnic spot. You get great views from the shore of the loch, from the ridge above the loch, and even from the northern part of the village of Lochranza.

And even better, this part of the island is home to lots of resident free-roaming deer… when you visit the castle, make sure you also visit those little cuties.

Again, it’s possible to go inside, but only during warmer months. And when I say “inside,” I say it loosely, because Lochranza Castle is just a desolate set of ruins. There’s no fee, and there’s not much to do there.

But if you’re interested in history, you might find it vaguely exciting.

How to get to the castle:

  • By public transport: Take the 324 bus from Brodick to Lochranza
  • By road: Follow the A841 road all the way from Brodick to Lochranza
  • Year built: Dates from the 13th century, but most of the castle was built in the 16th century
  • Address: Lochranza Castle, Isle of Arran, KA27 8HL
  • Opening Hours: 1 April to 30 September, 9.30am until 5.30pm, 7 days a week
  • Entrance fees: Free
  • Parking fees: Free
  • Recommended Stay Nearby: Lochranza Youth Hostel

3. Kildonan Castle

Even more ruinous and remote than Lochranza Castle, this place is actually inaccessible to the public. But although you can’t get inside, you can get pretty close… so it’s worth a visit if you’re somehow interested in moss-covered collections of crumbling bricks.

Back in the day, Kildonan Castle was in a pretty strategic spot, overlooking Arran’s south coast, and tiny Pladda Island. Because of that, it’s still a great place for great views. If you want a nice place to chill out on the south of the island, you won’t find many better places than this.

Sitting right over some small grassy cliffs, Kildonan Castle offers nice views of the beach—and the beach offers nice views of the castle.

There’s a lovely little circular walk you can take from the sands to the castle. It’s nothing special, but I recommend it if you’re looking for a gentle jaunt.

How to get to the castle:

  • By public transport: Take the 323 bus heading south from Brodick
  • By road: Drive south along the A841 road from Brodick
  • Year built: Originally in the 13th century
  • Address: Kildonan Castle, Isle of Arran, KA27 8SD
  • Opening Hours: N/A
  • Entrance fees: N/A
  • Parking fees: N/A
  • Recommended Stay Nearby: Monamore Guest House

Isle of Arran Castles: Final Thoughts and Further Reading

There you go—that’s everything you need to know about the 3 castles on the Isle of Arran!

If you want to learn more about adventuring around one of the best islands in Scotland, check out our handy guides on Arran’s best restaurants, best campsites, best hikes, and all the top reasons you should visit the place.

Thanks for reading, make sure you stick around for much more, and we’ll see you next time!