Homes of MacKenzie Chiefs and Lairds

The MacKenzies have owned many castles, and mansions over the centuries, hardly any of which are still in the hands of clanspeople. A list of onetime MacKenzie lairds & branches can be found here. Below is a selection of the most important or picuresque of their seats. Most of them are now private homes, and clanspeople are asked to respect the privacy of their current owners. Fortunately a few are open to the public as visitor attractions, or as hotels - as noted in their respective entries below.

Eilean Donan Castle

The original castle was the seat of the MacKenzies in Kintail and was destroyed during the Jacobite Rising of 1719.
The Earls of Seaforth had made their followers the Macraes the hereditary constables of the castle, and it was rebuilt by them in the early 20th century. A Macrae family trust now own it and run it as a visitor attraction. For details see here.

Brahan Castle

The seat of the Earls of Seaforth, the earliest part of which was built in 1611. It was demolished in the early 1950s.

After the domolition of the main house, the stable block was converted into a home. The current owners of Brahan, who are not MacKenzies, rent out holiday accommodation for visitors in other houses on the estate. 

The Original New Tarbat House

This was built in the late 17th century by Sir George MacKenzie of Tarbat - later the 1st Earl of Cromartie. 
It provided him with a more comfortable residence than the castle of Tarbat which was subseuqntly renamed Ballone (see below).
Lord MacLeod replaced this in 1787 with the mansion occupied by the family until 1962 (pictured
here) which is now a roofless ruin. 

Ballone (originally Tarbat) Castle

The original seat of the Lairds of Tarbat, built in about 1590, near Portmahomack in Easter Ross.
The castle was bought and restored in the early 21st century by an architect. It is not normally open to the public.

Conan House

This is the eastern seat of the MacKenzies of Gairloch.
This 1790s mansion is a private house which is not open to the public.

Flowerdale House

This house, part of which dates from 1738, is the west coast seat of the MacKenzies of Gairloch.
It is not open to the public, but visitors can rent the nearby Flowerdale Cottage for holidays in this beautiful area.

Kinkell Castle

Built for MacKenzie of Gairloch in the 1590s and restored in the 1960s.
Though the castle is privately owned and not open to the public, nearby Kinkell Cottage can be rented for holidays. 

Allangrange House

This 18th century house was the seat of the family who were chiefs from 1829 to 1907.
 The house is not open to the public, but the gardens are open once a year as part of the Scotlands Gardens scheme.

Lochslin Castle

The seat of the 17th century ancestors of the MacKenzies of Allangrange as it was in the 1830s.
This castle on the Tarbat peninsula, south east of Tain, has since fallen down and only a few traces of it now remain.

Scatwell House

The Scatwell estate became a MacKenzie property in the 17th century.
The present Scatwell House in Strathconon was built in the mid-19th century and is now a country house hotel.  


Redcastle was granted to Kenneth MacKenzie of Kintail in 1589.
The original castle, called Etherdouer or Edradour, was built for the king in the late 12th century.

Ord House

The estate of Ord was granted to the MacKenzies in the late 16th century.
The present Ord House has a stone dating part of it to 1637 and is now a country house hotel. 

Fairburn Castle

Fairburn was granted to Murdo MacKenzie in 1542 and the castle was built a few years later.
The later lairds built an elaborate mansion house leaving the castle to decay. The Landmark Trust hopes to restore it.

Coul House

Coul, in the village of Contin, was acquired by the MacKenzies in the 16th century.
The present house was built in 1821. It is no longer owned by MacKenzies, but is a hotel close to the clan seat at Strathpeffer.

Kilcoy Castle

Kilcoy belonged to the Mackenzies, to whom it came by marriage, from 1618 to 1967.
The original castle was probably built in the 16th century, and became a ruin in the 19th century. It was restored in the 1890s by the architect Alexander Ross. It's now a private home, but once a year the gardens are open as part of the Scotlands Gardens scheme.

Kincraig Castle

Kincraig was a MacKenzie property from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
The present "castle" was created in the late 19th century by alterations and additions to the mansion originally built c.1800. It is now a hotel - heavily decorated with MacKenzie insignia - and makes a good base for exploring the old MacKenzie lands in Easter Ross. 

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