Doune Castle, Stirling – Clan Stewart
Situated on a beautiful wooded bend at the mouth of the Ardoch burn, Doune Castle has appeared in multiple famous productions over the years, including Monty Python’s ‘The Holy Grail’ and the cult classic series ‘Outlander’.
The castle was first built by the Stewart family in 1361 by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, as he aimed to build a residence that reflected his important standing at the time as the virtual ruler of Scotland and later the governor and guardian of the country.
Robert would die in 1420 and his son Murdoch would take over his role for a short time before being executed following the return of James I from exile in England. Subsequently, Doune Castle would come under the rule of the crown where it would serve as a hunting lodge until the 16th century when James Stuart, the captain of the castle, would be made Earl of Moray following his marriage to Elizabeth Stuart. With this new title, the castle would be given to the family as their seat and it would remain under their ownership until the 20th century.
This would not mean that the castle would make it through the next 400 years would incident, however, and it would be occupied by government troops during the Jacobite risings of 1689 and 1715 before being taken by the Jacobites in 1745 for use as a prison.
The castle would later be restored in the 19th century after falling into disrepair and would then become a popular filming location, featuring in the movie, ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, and the two cult series’ ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Outlander’ where it was turned into the fictional locations of Winterfell and Castle Leoch respectively.
The castle features two prominent towers and a high curtain wall which surrounds a courtyard (all of which are fantastically preserved) and is now a scheduled ancient monument. It was donated by the Earl of Moray to Historic Environment Scotland in1984 and is now open to be visited by the public.