Dunvegan Castle & Gardens and Exploring Nearby

This guide provides everything you need for a fulfilling visit to Dunvegan Castle and its surroundings on the Isle of Skye, ensuring a rich blend of history, nature, and local dining experiences.

Dunvegan Castle Guide Snapshot

Dunvegan is a small village located on the west coast of the Isle of Skye in Scotland, approximately 25 minutes from the larger town of Portree. It is a popular destination for tourists due to its proximity to the stunning Coral Beach, which boasts turquoise waters and unique coral-like sand. Dunvegan has a small number of restaurants, cafes, and shops selling gifts. Be sure to stop by Cath Waters shop to pick up some stunning local artwork inspired by the landscapes of Skye. For those on the go, there are also a few takeout options available in the village. If you’re seeking a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, you can join a boat trip to St Kilda, a tiny island off the coast of the Hebrides, that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, departing from Dunvegan Pier.

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go beyond just sightseeing.

Highlights of Dunvegan Castle & Nearby

  • Castle guides are knowledgeable and friendly offering fantastic insight into the historic clans and culture of Skye.
  • Great for kids.
  • Lovely walks through Beautiful gardens and views over Loch Dunvegan.
  • The Seal boat trips are a lot of fun and definitely recommended (Adult £12 Child £9).
  • Could be saved as a rainy day activity.

Dunvegan Castle entry Fee

  • Adult: £16.00
  • Child (5-15 yrs): £11.00
  • Concessions: £13.00
  • Family ticket (2 adults, 4 children): £37.00
Plan Dunvegan Castle
Seal Trips are well worth it!

What You Can Expect at Dunvegan Castle

Dunvegan Castle has been the seat of the Clan MacLeod for over 800 years. The castle has been continuously inhabited by the MacLeod Clan since its construction in the 13th century, making it one of the longest continually inhabited castles in Scotland. Over the centuries, the castle has played host to a number of important historical figures, including Bonnie Prince Charlie, who sought refuge at the castle after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden.

Today, visitors can take guided castle tours of the castle and its grounds, where they can learn about the history of the MacLeod Clan, including their role in Scottish history and their connections to important historical figures such as Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald. The castle is also home to a number of important historical artifacts, including the famous Fairy Flag, which is said to have magical properties and is one of the oldest clan banners in Scotland.

The castle’s informative tours and knowledgeable guides bring to life the history of the clan and its connections to Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora McDonald. The well-maintained interior of the castle stands out as a rare example of a lived-in castle in the region. The admission price (£16 Adult, £11 children) is well worth the cost to explore this fascinating site.

The gardens at Dunvegan Castle are particularly enchanting. The well-manicured lawns and the beautiful flora and fauna, especially in the walled garden, are a sight to behold. Children can enjoy the gardens while adults take in the stunning views of Loch Dunvegan. There are plenty of walks to take, including a wooded walk and a path down to the water. For those who love wildlife, there is a boat trip to see the seals in the loch.

Dunvegan Castle is also well-equipped with amenities, such as clean toilets and plenty of parking. The café offers good treats, although it shuts early, so don’t promise ice cream to little ones too late in the day.

Dunvegan Castle is a fantastic afternoon out. Its stunning gardens, informative castle tours, and wildlife boat trips offer something for everyone. Go along and immerse yourself in Scottish history and natural beauty – Dunvegan Castle won’t disappoint.

Dunvegan Castle Car Park

Opposite the main castle gates is a sizable parking area, though it can get crowded during busy hours. You will find that car park using this postcode on your Sat Nav – IV55 8WF 

Plan Dunvegan Castle
Dunvegan Gardens are stunning.

Nearby Dunvegan Castle Summary

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RESTAURANTS NEARBY

Skye Coral Beach is beside Dunvegan Castle

After exploring the historic Dunvegan Castle, take the opportunity to visit the nearby Coral Beach. Located just 10 minutes from the castle, this picturesque beach is a great way to spend a few hours. The best times to visit are either earlier in morning or during the evening to witness a spectacular sunsets.

Keep in mind that the road to the beach is narrow, and the car park can fill up quickly. It’s important to take your time while driving, and avoid bringing caravans to the area, as the car park is not suitable for large vehicles. The beach itself is a 30-minute walk from the car park, so make sure to wear appropriate footwear and clothing.

The Coral Beach is truly remarkable, with its crushed coral (calcified seaweed) and shell sand. Rock pools, clear waters, and an abundance of shells make for an engaging and memorable experience for kids. If you’re a wild swimmer, this is a great spot for wild swimming.

For the best views of the beach and Loch, take a walk up the headland. Keep in mind that dogs need to be on leads or at heel due to the presence of livestock. The beach is perfect for a quiet walk, with friendly people and well-behaved dogs often seen enjoying the area. The walk to and from the beach takes around an hour and a half, depending on your pace and whether you stop to take in the stunning views or observe the local wildlife.

You will be walking on a path used by cows, so keep this in mind. They are used to people, but keep dogs on a leash and keep a safe distance.

Include Neist Point on Your Dunvegan Castle Day

Neist Point is a fairly long drive from everywhere on Skye. However, if you are visiting Dunvegan Castle you’ll be halfway to Neist Point. You have to go through Dunvegan to get to the lighthouse, so it makes sense to do both on the same day to avoid covering the same ground twice.

To reach Neist Point, there’s a small parking lot available, followed by a long and steep walk down to the cliff. The hike to the top of the cliff is well worth the effort, as it offers incredible views straight down to the water. The walk is highly recommended for anyone physically able to make the journey.

The path to the lighthouse is a fairly long walk and can be challenging on the way back uphill, especially for those with mobility issues. However, the outcrop on which the lighthouse is built provides fantastic views. Take the time to walk along the cliff edge, explore the beach and rock pools, and venture across to the old crane and quayside. Alternatively, you can take the path to the right out of the car park, which leads you along the cliff top with breathtaking views across to the Outer Hebrides and the old World War II lookout post.

Don't Miss Cath Waters Dunvegan Shop

For those looking to shop on the Isle of Skye, a visit to Cath Waters Shop in Dunvegan is a must. The new charming shop in Dunvegan showcases the talents of local artist Cath Waters, featuring her stunning contemporary Scottish landscape art.

As you explore the shop, you will find a wide range of items adorned with her captivating artwork. From high-quality prints and canvases to homeware and accessories such as cushions, coasters, and mugs, there’s something for everyone. The vibrant and evocative depictions of Scotland’s natural beauty make these products perfect as gifts or mementoes for your trip to the Isle of Skye.

I write this now with a Cath Waters ‘Talisker Coaster’ under my coffee and a matching cushion nearby…

We don’t know Cath Waters but I love her work! She is a fantastic example and advocate of the creativity found in Skye. 

Restaurants Nearby Dunvegan Castle

The Old School Restaurant

The Old School Restaurant in Dunvegan offers a delightful dining experience that combines delicious food with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Highly regarded as a favourite among locals, the restaurant requires advance booking to ensure a memorable meal in this popular locale.

Upon arrival, guests are greeted with charming and a rustic ambience that instantly makes you feel at home. The Old School Restaurant boasts an interesting and varied menu, with daily specials and loads of local and traditional options. 

Diners can expect to be treated to fresh bread and butter as they peruse the menu. Some standout dishes include the hearty Cullen Skink, succulent beef cheeks, and light crab cakes and scallops. Each dish is expertly prepared and presented, providing both hearty and lighter options to suit every appetite.

The Dunvegan - Restaurant

The Dunvegan Restaurant and Cafe on the Isle of Skye offers a unique Argentinian-style menu featuring locally sourced fish, meat, and vegetables. The cafe offers a great place to stop for a coffee and cake. Guests are warmly welcomed by attentive staff who carefully cater to special dietary requirements.

The exceptional quality of the food is evident in dishes such as the Rock Turbot, Steak, Veggie Mezze, and Pork starters. While prices may be higher than some other place on Skye, the combination of ingredients, service, and picturesque location make it worth a stop after of before visiting the Castle. 

The restaurant also has a well-stocked deli for those interested in taking a piece of the experience back to your airbnb. 

Edinbane Lodge

For those looking for one of the best dining experiences on Skye, look no further than Edinbane Lodge. You can read our full review here.

Edinbane Lodge offers an unparalleled dining experience that has left guests raving about its exceptional quality. With a warm welcome and attention to detail in every aspect, this establishment truly stands out as a must-visit destination on the Isle of Skye.

Guests can enjoy a six-course menu full of delicious surprises, with the flexibility to opt for a four-course option if preferred. The food at Edinbane Lodge is consistently exceptional, and each course is beautifully presented. The staff’s expertise and warm demeanor ensure that every visitor feels welcomed and well cared for.

More Nearby Food Options

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The Fairy Glen & Exploring Nearby

Visit Fairy Glen on Skye for stunning landscapes, then savour local flavours at The Ferry Inn, Uig, and The Galley Cafe. Discover the Quiraing, Duntulm Castle, and the rich history at Kilmuir Museum of Island Life.

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