Spynie Castle. History, Facilities and Opening Hours.
12th century
Open to Public

Spynie Castle or Spynie Palace in Nr Elgin, Moray, was built in the late 12th Century and has been the fortified seat of Moray’s Bishops for about 500 years.

The exact origins of the castle are unclear. Moray’s early Bishops had no fixed abode and instead moved between houses at Birnie, Kinneddar, and Spynie. In 1172, King William I, the Lion, made grants to the Bishopric of Moray. In April 1206, Pope Innocent III authorized the permanent move to Spynie.

Excavations carried out between 1986 and 1994 revealed that the first castle was a wooden structure built in the late 12th century. These buildings, probably a bishop’s house with a hall, a bed-chamber, a chapel, and a brew house and bake house, were surrounded by a rectangular ring work and ditch. 

The wooden buildings were gradually replaced with stone throughout the 14th century, when the first main castle building, a near-square structure built within a 7-meter-high curtain wall, was erected.

The castle was described for the first time as a Palace in the Registry of Moray in a writ of 1524. The most significant buildings were established in the later 15th and 16th centuries.

Visit Spynie Castle


Assistance Dogs
Accessible Restrooms
Bike Access
Ground level access for some buildings
Picnic Area
Spynie Palace East Gate
Spynie Palace, East Gate. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Spynie Palace, East range from the West.
Spynie Palace, East range from the West. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


1 Apr to 30 Sept:
Daily, 9.30am to 5.30pm
Last entry 5pm

1 Oct to 31 Mar:


Near, Elgin IV30 5QG
National Grid reference: NJ 227 658.


01343 546358


Member/Explorer Pass holderFree
Child aged 5-15£7.20
Child under 5Free
Spynie Palace, corbel in the great hall.
Spynie Palace, corbel in the great hall. Source: Wikimedia Commons.


Spynie Castle Gifts

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