The name of this great home descends from the Gaelic words for Robin’s Hill or Fort, a possible reference to Robert, the 6th Earl of Sutherland (died 1427). The most northerly of Scotland’s stately houses, Dunrobin stands on the East coast of Sutherland with stunning views over Moray Firth.
Dunrobin can be traced back to the 1300s, making it one of the oldest and largest inhabited houses in Scotland, home in ancient times to the powerful Clan Sutherland. Until the 1700s, Dunrobin was a heavily-fortified square keep castle and, despite waves of alterations across the centuries, much of the original architecture is still visible.
Dunrobin has a long and fascinating history, variously serving as a naval hospital during the First World War and as a boys’ boarding school between 1956 and 1972. Its current residents, Lord Strathnaver and family, are part of a 700-year chain of succession.
The house that stands today was remodelled by the architect Sir Charles Barry (highly in demand after designing London’s Houses of Parliament) in the Scottish Baronial style with French influences. Much of Barry’s interiors were destroyed by fire in 1915, and redesigned by Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer. The 189 rooms are time-capsules transporting visitors to the castle’s eventful past.
The house is encircled by large formal gardens, designed in 1850 by Sir Charles Barry, and modelled on the Parisian Jardin de Versailles. Exotic plants and elegant fountains make walking in the gardens a pleasurable part of any visit to Dunrobin. Falconry displays are held twice-daily.
Once the summer house of William, Earl of Sutherland, the Museum contains a private collection of hunting trophies, ethnographic items and archeological relics, including 1500-year-old carvings.
Accessibility and Directions
Dunrobin is open between the April 1st and October 15th. There is a car park on-site and ample guest facilities.
- 15 minutes North of the market and cathedral town of Dornoch
- One mile North of Golspie
- One hour’s drive from Inverness (the Highland capital)