Caerlaverock Castle is an impressive a medieval fortress which stands out for its unique triangular design and picturesque location, ensuring it ranks among Scotland’s most remarkable castles.
First built in the late-13th century on the site of previous fortifications, Caerlaverock Castle has a long and fascinating history and still bares the wounds of many of its battles.
Standing strong on the Scottish border, the castle is in many ways a symbol of the divisions that for so many years tore England and Scotland apart. Due to its strategic location, Caerlaverock was often central to the on-going rivalry and warfare which took place between the two crowns.
Indeed in the early 14th century Caerlaverock Castle was besieged and captured by the English king Edward I, as he led his armies against Scotland. Despite holding off an initial assault, the small Scottish garrison could do little once Edward turned his siege machines against the fortress and it was captured within two days.
In the 17th century Caerlaverock was home to Robert Maxwell, the 1st Earl of Nithsdale, who remodelled the structure and based the living quarters on Linlithgow Palace. However, Caerlaverock retained its military significance and was the scene of a major siege in 1640 which damaged the castle’s exterior and left it partially ruined. The southern wall was largely destroyed in this siege but this damage does little to take away from the imposing might of the castle’s iconic and unique triangular structure.
Today Caerlaverock Castle stands in the centre of picturesque countryside and the surrounding land is even classed as a ‘National Scenic Area’; protected and celebrated for its natural beauty.
The imposing moat, once a fearsome deterrent to attackers and important strategic tool against the undermining of enemies, is now a highlight for visitors and a stunning site all year round – reflecting the glistening sunlight in summer or laced with ice and snow during the winter months.
A trip to Caerlaverock Castle itself offers a lesson in siege warfare and there are many interesting reconstructions of medieval siege engines; exciting educational tools that instantly transport visitors to the battlefield. For families, there’s even a castle-themed adventure park to provide extra entertainment for children, ensuring there always lots to see and do at Caerlaverock!
From Dumfries head south on the B725. Continue on this road for some time before turning right to take the road to the castle (keep an eye out for the brown ‘Caerlaverock Castle’ sign which signposts this turning.)
A café and gift store are located inside the main visitors centre. Limited parking available a short distance from the site.
Caerlaverock Castle is open daily 9.30am-5.30pm (4.30pm Oct-Mar). Entry costs £5.50 adults, £3.50 children and £4.40 concessions.
Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, DG1 4RU
+44 (0) 1387 770244
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