Dumbarton Castle to reopen on 18 February following conservation work

17 February 2023
Dumbarton Castle will open its doors this weekend as visitors return to the 800-year-old site.

Dumbarton Castle, which once sheltered Mary, Queen of Scots before she fled to France, will reopen on Saturday 18 February 2023, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has announced. 

Access restrictions were put in place at the start of last year as a safety precaution while HES, who manages the site, introduced new measures to deal with the risk associated with potentially unstable high-level masonry. 

Visiting Dumbarton Castle

Once the castle reopens this weekend, visitors will be able to climb the White Tower Crag for stunning views over the Firth of Clyde, explore the artillery fortifications to see fine examples of early 18th century military architecture, enter the Guardhouse and explore the Magazine.  


One minor access restriction will remain in place at the Spur Battery which will exclude access to the Spanish and Bower Batteries. Ground level restrictions also remain in areas around the base of the Rock which is managed as part of HES’s routine rock risk. 

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Dumbarton Castle is the latest site to reopen following the completion of its high-level masonry inspection. Since inspections began in May last year, HES has been able to increase access at more than 30 sites including Doune Castle Burleigh Castle, Dundonald Castle and St Andrews Castle which reopened after their surveys were carried out. 

History of Dumbarton Castle

The castle’s history spans hundreds of years – as well as being an important royal castle in the Middle Ages, Dumbarton was also a mighty garrison fortress with defences being packed with guns and saw military action as recently as the Second World War. In 1548, Mary, Queen of Scots was brought to Dumbarton Castle for safety before she sailed to France. 

Craig Mearns, Director of Operations at HES, said: “I am very pleased to announce that Dumbarton Castle is reopening this weekend, ahead of schedule. Our staff have been working very hard to get the castle ready for reopening and we very much look forward to once again welcoming visitors through the gates of this iconic fortress.” 

Visiting the castle

Dumbarton Castle will be open from 10am – 4pm daily except Thursdays and Fridays until 31 March. From 1 April 2023, the site will be open daily from 9:30am – 5:30pm. For further information or to book tickets, visit the website

(Text and image copyright Historic Environment Scotland)