Wondering where Dun Dunbar is? We reveal the best of ‘A Castle for Christmas’ Filming Locations in Scotland – A Castle for Christmas is a romantic Scottish romp starring Brooke Shields as American author Sophie Brown and Cary Elwes as the Duke of Dunbar, or Myles to his friends. It’s a cheery and sparkly extravaganza, but leads to Scots asking burning questions such as, do we ever talk like that, are we ever really THAT friendly, and does our weather only veer between summer and pretty snow sprinkling down?
The ‘Scottishness’ of the film may be a bit marmite, but one thing that nobody can argue with are the beautiful locations. Here’s where to find them and hopefully visit them. [*Contains affiliate links that I may receive a small income from.]
where is Dun Dunbar? – Dalmeny House
Where is Dun Dunbar castle? The castle that Sophie (Brooke Shields) falls in love with, the workplace of her father, and the home of the cantankerous Duke (Cary Elwes) is filmed at Dalmeny House. This beautiful property can be found on the Rosebery Estate, just west of Edinburgh. The elegant building dates back to 1817, and it’s the home of the Earl and Countess of Rosebery. Although still used as a private residence, Dalmeny House usually welcomes visitors. It was closed for 2021 but roll on 2022. Apparently a few Dun Dunbar scenes were shot at Barnbougle Castle, which is also situated on the Rosebery Estate and is available for exclusive use.
Visiting Dalmeny House? Consider staying at the Orocco Pier Hotel in South Queensferry.
When Sophie arrives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and sets off in her tartan taxi for the Highlands (from Edinburgh airport?!😂) she passes the beautiful Inveraray Castle. Downton Abbey fans will recognise it as the Highland home of Shrimpy and his daughter Rose. It reopens for the season in March 2022. Inveraray Castle is located quite a distance from the majority of ‘A Castle for Christmas’ locations, on the west coast of Scotland, between Glasgow and Oban, but it certainly looks worth the trip.
Where are the castle ruins in A Castle for Christmas? The sublime clifftop ruins that Sophie and the Duke pass by, as they go on tour together, are set in East Lothian. This ruined 14th century fortress near North Berwick is under the stewardship of Historic Scotland. The castle is currently closed for masonry work but it’s free to explore the grounds and take in the grandeur of the building (there is also a shop and toilet facilities on site). It’s also a great vantage point for views of Bass Rock.
Exploring Tantallon Castle – consider staying at the stunning Marine Hotel and Spa in North Berwick.
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The smart Dakota Hotel in South Queensferry initially made headlines due to its links with Scottish racing driver David Coulthard. It’s also the unexpected setting of Sophie’s New York apartment in A Castle for Christmas. It’s said that, rather than working within a suite, the Dakota restaurant or ‘Grill’ was transformed to create the backdrop for the star’s stateside home.
Discover the Dakota’s latest prices and availability here.
Where is the pretty village in A Castle for Christmas? Many of the cobbled street scenes representing Dunbar (which is a real Scottish town) were actually filmed in Culross, Scotland’s most complete example of a burgh of the 17th and 18th centuries. Attractions in the town include Culross Palace, run by the National Trust for Scotland, and access to the palace is free for members. In fact, the town is so appealing as a director’s backdrop that it’s featured in another huge Scottish hit, Outlander.
For cosy accommodation consider Stay Bed and Breakfast in Culross’ old schoolhouse.
Lastly, if you love the music in the film then check out Scots band Starsky and the Fox, whose track ‘Celtic Heart’ features in this Netflix romance.
In a tongue-in-cheek tweet, Netflix describes ‘A Castle for Christmas’ as ‘the most accurate depiction of Scotland ever seen on screen. Honest’ 😀. But if it makes you wish to explore Scotland more, then it’s due a little credit 🙂