What came after castles?

Palaces, great houses and tourist attractions

Some castles and palaces are still lived in. The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh is the Queen's official residence in Scotland.

Why did the Scottish nobles leave their castles to live in great houses?

Castles were built to be strong rather than comfortable. When cannons were introduced, castles were not strong enough to withstand the impact of cannon balls so they didn't offer important people much protection.

The royal family, nobles and clan chiefs left their castles to live in in more comfortable homes, like grand houses and palaces.

Eventually, many castles became ruins, which you can still see today. Some were knocked down and replaced with grand houses.

Palaces, 1600s

By the 1600s, people didn't want to live in cold and damp castles anymore.

Kings, queens and noble men wanted to show off how important and rich they were so they built palaces and great houses.

Many existing castles were replaced with much grander homes.

Find out more about life inside a palace here.

How are palaces different from castles?

Royal homes, 1800s

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert loved Scotland so much that they wanted their own home here.

They bought an old castle at a place called Balmoral, surrounded by beautiful hunting grounds. Eventually they knocked down the old castle and built a new and bigger fairy-tale castle.

Balmoral Castle became one of two Scottish homes of the royal family and it still belongs to them today.

Find out more about how an old hunting ground became a royal retreat here.

Why did Queen Victoria buy a Scottish castle?

Castles today

Nowadays, Scottish castles are mostly used as tourist attractions or museums.

Famous castles like Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle are visited by people from all over the world.

Some castles are still lived in, like Inveraray Castle which belongs to Clan Campbell.

Find out more about how castles are used today here.

How are castles used today?