Dunvegan Castle is one of the iconic sights of Isle of Skye. I have to admit it was not on my list of things to visit during our time of the island, as there is a limit to the amount of castles that one wants to visit during the holidays. However, we ended up here by accident, as we were passing by when we discovered that we couldn’t do the whiskey tasting that we originally planned to do. We really enjoyed our visit, so don’t make the same mistake that I did and just included Dunvegan Castle on your itinerary.
Dunvegan Castle is directly located at Loch Dunvegan, giving you the quintessential Scottish views. I personally didn’t care too much for the castle itself, it didn’t look very appealing, but we decided to visit the gardens only. A ticket for the gardens and the castle costs 14 pounds, while just a garden entry ticket costs 12 pounds for adults. You do not have to make reservations, as you can buy tickets upon arrival at the ticket desk. There is a free parking lot across the street, where we were lucky to find a space big enough for our campervan. If you just visit the gardens I would advise to factor in about two hours of time, if you also visit the castle I would add another hour.
I am a big fan of gardens and gardening and I was super surprised at how lush and colorful the gardens of Dunvegan Castle turned out to be. The weather in Scotland can be a bit sub par and I was super exited to see so many blooms in the garden. The garden is divided in three gardens: The Water Garden, the Round garden and the Walled garden. They are very different to each other and they are connected with beautiful pathways. There is also a little woodland area and a rhododendron garden, but the rhododendrons were not in season when we visited at the end of July.
Water garden: The Water garden is the most surprising of the three main gardens, it was very different from typical British gardens and gave off an almost exotic vibe. The centerpiece of this garden is a waterfall, that you can cross with a little bridge (definitely adds interest for kids!). The concentration of plants is so high in this area, that it was difficult to take pictures giving a good overview. Definitely a stunning entry into the gardens!
This part of the garden features a little buxus maze and a wildflower patch. Hugo loved running through this maze, so I forgot to take pictures of this area… They were also re-planting certain areas of this garden for next year.
Walled garden: This was my favorite part of the Dunvegan Castle gardens. The walled garden was overgrown with pretty flowers such as climbing roses and it was incredibly well maintained. It featured a little water lily pond as well as a gorgeous greenhouse (major gardening inspiration). There were benches scattered through the loviest bits of the garden, so you could enjoy the setting in between the flowers. Scotland usually doesn’t get too much sunshine, so I was very surprised at how beautiful the blooms were! It definitely serves as inspiration for our own, often wet, garden.
Seal trips: From Dunvegan Castle you can do seal trips for 10 pounds per adult. The tours depart from April – September, depending on weather conditions. We had recently done a seal trip in Vlieland, so we skipped this part, but it seems like a lovely activity with kids.