Dornoch Castle

Dornoch Castle is situated opposite Dornoch Cathedral in the town of Dornoch, in Sutherland, Scotland, a little over 40 miles (64 km) north of Inverness.

Dornoch Castle

As of 2021, the castle was operated as a family-run hotel with 24 rooms.[1]


Dornoch Castle was built around 1500 as the home of the bishops of Caithness.[2] Bishop Robert Stewart gifted the castle to John Gordon, 11th Earl of Sutherland in 1557.[2] In 1570 the castle was set alight in a feud between the McKays and Murrays. The rebuilding which followed included the addition of the upper part of the tower.[2] The castle decayed during the 18th century, but was restored in 1813–1814 to serve as a school and jail. In 1859-60 it became a court house, and was made the headquarters of the Sheriff of Sutherland with extensive remodelling by William Fowler.[3]

Further alterations were made around 1880, including the heightening of the south-west block, and the addition of a three-storey east tower.[2] Following the restoration the castle became a hunting lodge for visiting sportsmen. In 1947 it became a hotel. The Dornoch Castle Hotel has 24 rooms, including suites, and garden rooms, which were built in the 1970s. In addition, there are several personalized rooms and a restaurant. The castle is a category B listed building.[2] The Castle is believed to have been haunted by the ghost of Andrew McCornish who was hanged for sheep stealing.[4]

The building passed into private hands in 1922, and became a hotel in 1947. It is now the Dornoch Castle Hotel.[5]


  1. ^ 7 Castle Hotels in Scotland That You Can Stay in
  2. ^ a b c d e Historic Environment Scotland. "Castle Street Dornoch Castle (Castle Hotel) and Garden Wall (Category B Listed Building) (LB24636)". Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Dictionary of Scottish Architects - DSA Architect Biography Report (July 29, 2021, 5:18 am)".
  4. ^ Dornoch Castle A Brief History
  5. ^ "History". Dornoch Castle Hotel. 12 March 2018.

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Coordinates: 57°52′49″N 4°01′42″W / 57.88028°N 4.02833°W / 57.88028; -4.02833