Cadzow Castle
Cadzow Castle entrance bridge
Cadzow Castle stands above Avon Water, overlooking Chatelherault Country Park, a remnant of a medieval hunting park. The castle dates to the 12th century, though it stands on a site probably used as a hunting lodge by the kings of Strathclyde centuries earlier. Cadzow was an occasional royal residence for kings going as far back as David I (1124 - 1153).

You may see different dates for the building of Cadzow Castle. The most common misconception is to term it a 16th-century castle, but this refers only to the rebuilding of Cadzow by Sir James Hamilton of Finnart for his half-brother the 2nd Earl of Arran.

Sir James rebuilt the early medieval structure, creating a more comfortable fortified manor, befitting the more settled times. Mary, Queen of Scots briefly stayed at Cadzow in 1568 after her escape from Loch Leven Castle.

The castle was besieged and sacked in 1572 by the Protestant Regents who were administering Scotland during the minority of James VI. Cadzow was destroyed by explosives to render it useless for military purposes and left to crumble into ruin until the 10th Duke of Hamilton began a rebuilding programme in 1820.

The Duke intended Cadzow to become a romantic folly in the grounds of nearby Hamilton Palace. The earlier ruins were landscaped to present a picturesque ruin in keeping with the romantic ideals of the time.

Today, the Great Hall, Kitchen, and Chapel remain from the medieval buildings at Cadzow. The site is defended by a pair of drum towers, one partially sunk in the ditch.