Island History: Explore the Six Castles of Mull

Island History: Explore the Six Castles of Mull

From romantic castle ruins to decadent family mansions, explore Mull’s castles and learn about the people that have shaped the past and present of the island.


The island of Mull in the Inner Hebrides has been continually inhabited since Mesolithic hunter-gatherers first exploited the island’s natural plant and animal resources. Over thousands of years, it has been home to countless peoples and the island’s castles depict a small yet fascinating portion of that rich and varied history.

Learn about Mull’s castles here and voyage hundreds of years back in time…

Aros Castle

Aros Castle, or what remains of it today, is believed to be the oldest castle on Mull. Thought to have been built in the 13th Century by the Clan MacDougall, it was once a major stronghold and held a sought-after defensive position overlooking the Sound of Mull. That said, the castle clearly fell out of favour and was later described, somewhat barbarously, in 1688 as “ruinous, old, useless and never of any strength”. Nevertheless, Aros’ ruins today make for a truly romantic backdrop.

Duart Castle

The oldest inhabited castle on Mull, Duart Castle has been the seat of Clan Maclean for over 700 years. Standing high over the Sound of Mull and Loch Linnhe and commanding awe with its huge curtain walls and solid keep, the castle is truly breath-taking. Today, you can still explore the castle – visiting the state rooms in the 13th Century keep, discovering the various exhibitions, venturing down into the dungeons and climbing to the top of the keep for jaw-dropping panoramas.

Dun Ara Castle

The Medieval Dun Ara Castle was once a stronghold of the MacKinnons and was occupied until as late as the 17th Century, before being abandoned. If you’d like to visit the ruins of the castle, they can be found on the Glengorm estate near to Tobermory. The climb up to the top is pretty straightforward from the south-east side and the castle's foundations are still clear to see. Interestingly, even though you can walk there today, it’s believed that the castle was originally accessed by sea.  

Glengorm Castle

Also known as Castle Sorn, the 19th Century Glengorm Castle is a regal country home overlooking the Atlantic and the islands of the Hebrides. While you can’t freely explore the castle itself, you can enjoy a number of walks around the castle’s grounds – one of which leads you to Dun Ara Castle. You can also visit the coffee shop and farm shop onsite in the estate’s converted stables, where local produce is sold, hot coffee is served, and local ingredients are transformed into delicious meals.

Moy Castle

Moy Castle takes pride of place on a rocky crag at the head of Loch Buie. Constructed in the 15th Century by Hector MacLean, it was a family home for many years but eventually fell into disrepair. While ongoing renovation works mean that entrance to the castle is not permitted, you can still go and see its imposing façade and enjoy the short walk (less than half a mile) from the castle to the Lochbuie Stone Circle – probably dating from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age.

Torosay Castle

Torosay Castle is a Victorian mansion designed in the Scottish Baronial style by architect David Bryce. Conceptualised in 1856 and completed in 1858, the castle was intended to be a home and is still a private residence today. That said, if you’d like to get a little closer, the gardens are open to the public on certain days throughout the year, so you can look forward to pleasant strolls around the castle gardens and lovely views of the castle and the bay. 

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

Sign up to receive our boutique stories…

Stay connected with retreat magic and be the first to know about our new additions. We promise to only fill your inbox with the dreamiest staycation stories and luxury travel moments.