Kilchurn Castle

Kilchurn Castle is located 2 miles from St Conan’s Kirk and is one of Scotland’s most photographed castles. Although the “classic view” of Kilchurn Castle is from the road to Inverary, there is a distant view from St Conan’s Kirk along Loch Awe through the trees to the distant Kilchurn castle.

View from Lochawe Village (Credit: Henrik Thorburn, 2014)

Getting to Kilchurn Castle from from St Conan’s Kirk (By Car)

To reach Kilchurn head east along the A85. Pass though the village of LochAwe, past the Ben Cruachan Inn and the Loch Awe Hotel and out of the 30 mph speed limit. Follow the main road over the River Orchy and just over bridge on the right hand side you will see two marker posts. Carefully turn right across the oncoming traffic and down the slope into the car park.

Car Parking at Kilchurn Castle

The car park has a large capacity for cars. Please be careful when leaving after your visit from the car park as it joins the A85 main road where cars can be travelling over 60 mph (100 kilometers per hour)

Visiting Kilchurn Castle

Footpath to Kilchurn Castle (Credit: Giuseppe Milo, 2015 )

Kilchurn castle is maintained by Historic Scotland and the castle door is only opened during the high season from 1st April . At other times you can only walk around the exterior. The route from the car park to castle is off road on a wide path, however the approximate distance to the castle is 1 kilmetre. You will under the railway bridge which is one of the most photographed railway bridges in Scotland. There is a gate just past the bride to keep cattle and sheep in the field. Dogs must be kept on a lead as the sheep are often hidden in the deep grass.

Credit (Eightalbumdeal, 2017)

Kilchurn Castle Exterior

Credit: Gunther Tschuch, 2017)

Originally the castle was built on an island, however the lower level of loch awe now means that it is a peninsula… apart from during times when the loch level is very high. It is possible to walk all the way around the castle, although the grass can be slippy and there is uneven ground. from the castle you can just see St Conan’s Kirk on the north shore of Loch Awe.

Keep Dogs on a Lead. Credit: Remi Mathis, 2013

Inside Kilchurn Castle

Credit: Remi Mathis, 2013

The entrance to Kilchurn Castle passes through a dark room at the base of the early keep and you emerge into the courtyard. There are then load of things to explore; towers, barracks, halls, fireplaces, staircases and more. Some of the towers are closed off for repairs (as of 2020) but you can still access many areas. There are a number of information boards with the history of Kilchurn castle.

Walking or Cycling from to Kilchurn Castle from St Conan’s Kirk

The route from St Conan’s Kirk to Kilchurn Castle runs along the main (and busy) A85. The footpath ends approx 500m from the entrance to the castle, and need walking either on the road or on the narrow grass verge. The road bridge over the River Orchy has a very narrow footpath.

Some Old Kilchurn Castle Images

1846 Engraving of Kilchurn Castle
Kilchurn Castle Postcard 1867
Kilchurn Castle, Loch Awe (painting, 1868, oil on canvas), Sidney Richard Percy (1821–1886)

You Can also Reach Kilchurn Castle by Canoe or Boat

Sadly the ferry from Loch Awe Station Pier no longer operates, so you would need to launch your own canoe. Canoeists doing the 3 Lakes Challenge often visit Kilchurn Castle. (Credit: Stephen McKay, 2007)

Visiting St Conan’s Kirk from Kilchurn Castle

St Conan’s Kirk is 2 miles from Kilchurn Castle and this amazing building is worth visiting and a highlight of any visit to Argyll. Turn left towards Oban onto the A85 from the Kilchurn Castle car park. After 1 mile you will enter Lochawe village and then in about 800 metres you will see the Kirk on your left. Parking is limited but there is a layby after the Kirk on the left or some space at the side of a minor road by turning right onto St Conan’s Road. Our Directions Page has more info.

Kilchurn Castle Opening Times

The castle is normally opened during summer; Daily, 9.30am to 5.30pm from 1st April to 31st October but if travelling a long distance pleae check Historic Scotland for up to date information