Ten castle wedding venues in Scotland you need to know

Nothing says romance quite like a castle – and Scotland has dozens of the world’s finest fairytale fortresses ready to host your wedding celebrations. Patricia-Ann Young has picked out ten of the best for your consideration

Close your eyes and think of Scotland – what do you see? We all know that the postcard image of the country is of rugged hills and ancient, majestic strongholds, and while some of us who live here dismiss this vision as a tourist fantasy, who among us has not had our heart lifted just a little by the sight of an ancient fortress perched on a windswept crag far off in the distance? It’s hard to imagine a more beautiful – or indeed Scottish – setting for your wedding day. If you want your celebrations to have a touch of regal romance, look no further: we have rounded up ten possibilities from around the country.

Gordon Castle

the exterior of Gordon Castle
Gordon Castle’s gardens are a visitor attraction in themselves. People come from all over to see them, so you know you’ll have a truly remarkable backdrop for your wedding day (and photos!)

Back in the 18th century, the fortress of Gordon Castle was transformed into a grand baronial mansion and was home to the very latest in luxury – and things are no different today. Here in Fochabers in the Morayshire countryside you’ll find all of the grandeur of a historic castle together with the sumptuousness and comfort of the most exclusive city hotel. The celebration spaces are gorgeous: there’s the beautifully classic Orangery, a fantastic location for a heartfelt ceremony or a more intimate wedding celebration; the newly converted Tower Hall in the ancient tower, meanwhile, is much larger and can seat up to 250 people, making it ideal for a big blow-out bash. There is plenty of onsite accommodation too, both inside the castle itself and in the grounds, with five holiday cottages for your guests to make a full weekend of it.

Aikwood Tower

the exterior of Aikwood Tower
Deep in the heart of the Borders, the exclusive-use Aikwood Tower has a long history of romance and adventure. Book it for your celebrations and be part of its next chapter (Photo: Rachel Hein)

Fancy having your very own private castle all to yourself on your wedding day? If so, Aikwood Tower could be what you’re looking for. Standing tall in the beautiful Borders landscape, this luxurious exclusive-use venue is a meeting of old and new, while always paying tribute to the tower’s 500-year history. History buffs will especially love the marriage stone of Robert Scott of Aikwood and Elspeth Murray of Elibank dated 1602 that still presides over modern-day unions here. Just 15 weddings a year are held in Aikwood, and great effort is put in by the team to ensure that each couple’s day is individual and completely tailored to their wants and tastes. “Aikwood offer couples the opportunity to make all their castle romances come true – our cosy and comfortable castle becomes their own and they can play their part in creating more history,” says Vicki Steel, who owns Aikwood with her husband Rory. “We love making them feel as special as the lairds and ladies of old would have done!”

Barnbougle Castle

a bride and groom walk towards Barnbougle Castle
Barnbougle Castle boasts stunning views over the Firth of Forth – no wonder it has often been used by film and TV crews for location shoots

This castle on the shores of the Firth of Forth has an interesting past. The first stronghold on this site was built by the Moubray family to protect themselves from their enemies, but it soon became well known as a spot for piracy and smuggling. It was revived in the Victorian era by the 5th Earl Rosebery who went on to become the Prime Minister – he would practise his political speeches in the castle’s stunning barrel-vaulted banqueting hall. Its grandeur has been preserved and today Barnbougle is an awe-inspiring and versatile wedding venue (just a half-hour drive from central Edinburgh) that will well and truly wow your guests with its beauty.

Crossbasket Castle

the exterior of Crossbasket Castle
A fine 17th-century mansion, Crossbasket Castle has been sensitively restored into a beautiful wedding venue

It is hard to believe that Crossbasket Castle is a mere 35 minutes away from Glasgow city centre, close to East Kilbride. Overlooking waterfalls and acres of scenic woodland, it’s an impressive yet relaxed location for a romantic wedding day. The building is fantastically regal both inside and out; we especially love the Stewart Room, which has a huge bay window overlooking the gorgeous gardens and grounds. While Crossbasket is on a large, sprawling country estate, it offers intimacy and privacy and can be hired exclusively for your celebrations. The castle is also home to Michel Roux Jr Restaurant, a byword for fine dining, and the team here will be on hand to create a stunning wedding breakfast for your guests. If you’re a pair of foodies, this place should definitely be on your shortlist.

Barony Castle

a couple kisses in front of Barony Castle's pagan altar
Nature lovers will fall head over heels for Barony Castle’s pagan altar for a ceremony space surrounded by leafy, fragrant woodlands. The trees also offer protection from wind and rain – and even extreme sunshine! (Photo: Brian Cassidy)

Tucked out of sight in the countryside near Peebles, Barony Castle is a real hidden gem. Dating from the 16th century, it sits in 25 acres of lush Borders countryside. It was taken over ten years ago by two local families who have turned it into the stunning hotel it is today. The floor-to-ceiling windows of the Eilbank Suite will bathe your wedding ceremony in natural light, but there are options for marrying outdoors too: the castle has a very special woodland ceremony space just a short walk away. Under an ancient yew tree sits Barony Castle’s outdoor wedding altar, built on the remnants of a 16th-century pagan altar. You can tie the knot here surrounded by magnificent tall trees, accompanied by up to 80 of your friends and family.

Blair Castle 

The exterior and grounds of Blair Castle
Blair Castle’s striking white façade could almost have been specially designed by a wedding planner with grand ideas…

Want a venue steeped in history? Head to Blair Atholl in one of the most scenic parts of Perthshire where you’ll find a castle that began life during the medieval period. Through the centuries since, Blair has had several purposes and masters, but nowadays it is one of the most cherished and celebrated castles in Scotland. Its iconic white façade is a gorgeous backdrop for wedding photos (see our photoshoot on page 14 if you need proof); inside, a variety of stunning rooms can be used for your ceremony and reception. Our favourite is the Victorian ballroom, for its sense of easy elegance and grandeur; it can accommodate up to 300 guests during the ceremony and 220 for dining. If you’d like to fully embrace the romance of the Perthshire landscape, hold your ceremony in the ruins of St Bride’s Kirk. Its ancient, overgrown walls and roof open to the sky give the traditional church wedding an outdoor Scottish twist.

Fyvie Castle

the exterior of Fyvie Castle
Enjoy the thrill of a good ghost story? Head to Fyvie Castle – the atmospheric fortress is reputed to be home to two curses and a phantom! No surprise, really – it’s 800 years old!

If you want to give your celebrations an aristocratic air, Fyvie Castle is the place for you. The 800-year-old Aberdeenshire fortress was once the home of royalty, and nowadays boasts one of the best art collections in Scotland. The Music Gallery, which can hold up to 110 guests, is a stunning ceremony space, with Flemish tapestries lining the walls and a remarkable vaulted ceiling. For a large crowd, take advantage of the castle’s extensive grounds by putting up a marquee – because the only thing better than getting married in a castle is using its imposing façade as the backdrop to your reception. “Photographers are spoilt for choice at Fyvie,” smiles Rhona Wight, event manager for the National Trust for Scotland property. “The boathouse on our private lake is popular, but my favourite feature is the beautifully intricate wrought-iron gates that you see as you approach the castle.”

Cluny Castle

A bride and groom walk down the aisle after getting married at Cluny Castle
Cluny Castle has its very own chapel which serves as a charming ceremony space (Photo: Chris Henderson)

At the end of a winding tree-lined drive in deepest Aberdeenshire is the secluded and majestic Cluny Castle. Truly a sight to behold, this magnificent building ticks every box for a fairytale wedding venue – turrets, breathtaking grounds and sumptuous interiors to bring gravitas and drama to the day. You can marry in Cluny’s achingly romantic chapel, complete with an impressive vaulted ceiling, intricate stained-glass windows and beautiful dark oak pews. Celebrate in a marquee on the lawns or make use of the beautiful dining room and drawing room for a smaller gathering. The team work closely with a handpicked group of approved suppliers, offering you a selection of the best caterers that Aberdeenshire has to offer. There’s overnight accommodation full of Scottish character for up to 26 guests too. This grand country retreat encourages you to create your own unforgettable memories in an atmosphere that is both relaxing and welcoming.

Winton Castle

An aerial picture of Winton Castle and its grounds
Exclusive-use Winton Castle can sleep up to 16 guests within the castle itself. Two luxury holiday cottages are also available to hire if you want to make a weekend of it (Photo: Rustic White Photography)

This lovely castle, set in the rolling green countryside of East Lothian, feels like something straight out of the pages of a storybook. The grand, elaborate exterior prepares you for the equally impressive interiors, with each room filled with jaw-dropping art and antiques. Up to 140 people can join you inside Winton for the wedding breakfast, but if your guest list is longer than that, why not make use of an elegant marquee, allowing your friends and family to take advantage of the beautiful and expansive grounds. Events manager Rae McGonigle knows what makes Winton is so magical: “There are few places where you can enjoy the grandeur and space of a castle with the homeliness and intimacy of a family home, alongside stunning gardens and a private loch, all run by a local, professional and dedicated team!”

Shieldhill Castle

An aerial shot of Shieldhill Castle
Despite its sprawling size, Shieldhill Castle also caters for couples looking to throw a more intimate celebration

Aiming to host a tasteful and elegant wedding day somewhere a bit different? Hidden away in rural South Lanarkshire, Shieldhill began life all the way back in 1199. Nowadays, it is a magical venue that can be exclusively yours for the duration of your wedding celebrations, and both intimate and large dos can be held here. There’s also the option to take your celebrations out into a marquee and make use of the lovely lawns. There is plenty of onsite accommodation too, so the whole gang can live it up and turn your wedding day into a wedding weekend.