Scotland

Armadale Castle, Gardens and Museum of the Isles

Once the seat of the famed MacDonalds of Sleat, this impressive castle is dramatically positioned overlooking the Sound of Sleat and is surrounded by 40 acres of woodland gardens. In addition, there’s a fascinating museum which follows the history of the MacDonald family and its position with the wider history of the Highlands.

Although it looks ancient, the original castle was built in 1815, but in 1855 a fire destroyed the castles’ central section. In 1925 the family moved out and the castle was left empty, then in 1972 the Clan Donald Lands Trust bought the site to preserve it as much as possible. Today, the castle is fenced off for safety reasons, but visitors can still gaze in wonder at the views with the impressive ruin in the foreground.

The garden, which in parts date back to the 1790s when the original mansion was built, covers 40 acres, and wraps around the castle. Due to the mild climate caused by the gulf stream current and its sheltered position, plants have thrived here, where 100-year-old trees encircle carpets of bluebells, orchids, and wildflowers, whilst there’s also ponds, herbaceous borders, sculptures and terrace walks.

The fascinating museum delves into the history of the Highlands and islands through the narrative of Clan Donald. The six galleries lead you through 1500 years of history from bloody battles and the Jacobean rising, through to the changes where clansmen became crofters and chiefs became landlords. There’s a fascinating collection of artefacts to gaze at, including a gun thought to have been at the battle of Culloden.

There are two shops – The Gatehouse and the museum shop – whilst there’s also a bar and bistro which is open Tuesday to Saturday – it’s best to book a table during busy periods.   

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Skye here.

Armadale, Sleat, Isle of Skye IV45 8RS | 01471 844 305

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