Castle Hill Cullen Walk

Written by Chris Thornton | 1st of January 2024
Castle Hill Cullen

The picturesque seaside town of Cullen has no end of lovely walks, but one of my favourites is Castle Hill, which is a short distance from Seatown and the historic Cullen Viaduct.

We had taken in the New Year at my brother's home in Cullen, and it was a beautiful sunny New Year's Day morning. What better way to start our new year than taking the short walk to Castle Hill and taking in the panoramic views?

Starting the walk

We started the walk from its eastern side at the entrance to the Cullen House grounds. This tree-lined walk is on the road to Cullen House (a private residence) but soon forks off to the right, giving access to the Castle Hill path. It's very well signposted!

The road to Cullen House and Castle Hill accessed from Grant Street.
The road to Cullen House.
Cullen House Road.
This quiet road is lovely for a quick walk.
Turn to Castle Hill.
We turned right here for Castle Hill.
Tree trunk sign for Castle Hill.
Cool tree trunk sign!
Castle Hill signage.
Another sign just in case you miss the other signs.

Local volunteers immaculately keep the paths leading to Castle Hill in pea gravel. They have erected a brilliant information board all about the project and history of the local area; there's a wee donation box stuck to the right-hand side if you fancy supporting this fantastic project.

Path to Castle Hill with Cullen Bay.
The path starts out a bit rougher before you arrive at the new paths.
Craggy trees lining the Castle Hill path. A great nature walk.
Craggy trees line the path to Castle Hill.
Start of the main path to Castle Hill.
The volunteer maintained paths are lovely.
Following the path to Castle Hill.
The path gradually gets steeper are you ascend the hill.
Castle Hill information board.
This great informational board tells you everthing about the project, and history around Cullen.

As we got closer, the path braches in multiple directions, left and right both take you to the summit of the hill, but another path takes you to the Cullen Viaduct and back into Cullen itself.

Castle Hill paths.
The paths leading left and right here take you to the summit. The path at the right of the photo leads to the viaduct.

We took the right fork and kept climbing the hill. The views along this path are stunning, taking in scenic views of the Cullen Bay, Seatown and Cullen itself.

Royal Burgh of Cullen
The paths give fantastic views of Cullen.
Bin of Cullen from Castle Hill.
The Bin of Cullen dominates the horizon looking west.
Seatown and Cullen Bay.
Part of Seatown and Cullen Bay.
Cullen Harbour.
Cullen Harbour.

At the top is a stone folly with a flagpole and numerous benches and picnic tables.

Picnic tables at Castle Hill, Cullen.
There are ample benches and picnic facilities.
Castle Hill folly and flagpole. Medieval Royal Cullen Castle.
The folly with flagpole.

Instead of retracing our steps, we took the path across the Cullen Viaduct and back into the town.

The Castle Hill Project

Before 2016, Castle Hill was overgrown, with no paths to the summit. A dense layer of gorse bush covered 80% of the hill, making it challenging to get to the top.

Working with Historic Environment Scotland, the present volunteer group obtained permission to reinstate the old paths as they were seen in an old photograph from 1949. £20,000 was crowdfunded for the project.

The volunteer group have done an absolutely amazing job of bringing this wonderful landmark back to Cullen; the views from the summit are truly spectacular.

Castle Hill from Cullen Harbour
Castle Hill as seen from Cullen Harbour (top right with flag) while my daughter attended Cullen Sea School.

Cullen Castle

The castle on the summit of Castle Hill no longer exists, but it's easy to see where it once stood on its artificial earth mound and perimeter ditch. The original castle would have been a motte and bailey-style castle and existed from the 12th to 14th centuries; the earlier castle would have been made from wood.

Cullen Castle has links to Robert the Bruce and his wife, Elizabeth De Burgh, who possibly died at the castle in 1327. Organs from her body are buried at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin (The Auld Kirk) in Cullen. The last remnants of the castle succumbed to a landslide in the 19th century.

The ruin currently at the top is just a folly and a point for a flag to be flown; I don't believe this is part of the original castle.

Videos from Castle Hill Cullen

Here are a few video clips from our trip to Castle Hill:

Cullen Bay.
Bin of Cullen and Cullen Bay.
Cullen Bay, Seatown and Cullen.

How difficult is the Castle Hill walk?

It's very easy but does have some mildly steep paths. Most people with poor to moderate fitness should manage this walk.

Can the Castle Hill Walk be accessed from Cullen Viaduct?

Yes, it can be accessed from the walk along the old railway viaduct or from the entrance to the Cullen House grounds. See the photo below for the access point.

Path from Cullen Viaduct to Castle Hill. A splendid historical location.
This is the path from Cullen Viaduct to Castle Hill.

What can be seen from the Castle Hill summit?

A great deal can be seen, including Cullen's historic Seatown, harbour, beach, and viaduct. Further afield, it's possible to see part of Bow Fiddle Rock, the town of Portknockie, offshore wind farms and the Bin of Cullen.

What other walks are there in Cullen?

Check out my other articles on the Crannog Walk and Cullen Caves Walk.

The Bin of Cullen Walk, a short distance by car from Cullen, gives some of the best views in the area; you can see from Elgin/Lossiemouth all the way to Macduff and beyond!

Is Cullen House open to the public?

Cullen House is a short distance from Castle Hill, but it is a private residence and not open to the public. However, the roads around the house are open to pedestrians on Tuesday and Friday afternoons between 1 pm and 5 pm. It's possible to take in the Auld Kirk nearby too!

Key information on Castle Hill Cullen Walk

  • The Castle Hill Cullen Walk is a short route accessible from multiple paths, leading to where Cullen Castle once stood.

  • The walk is accessible from the Cullen House road or the Cullen Viaduct.

  • The walk is short, easy, and accessible for most fitness levels.

  • The walk is not suitable for wheelchairs.

  • The walk was reinstated in 2016 by local volunteers as part of the "Castle Hill Project".

  • There is no castle on the hill but a stone folly, flagpole, benches and picnic tables.

Cullen Bay from Castle Hill.
Viewing Cullen Bay from Castle Hill.


If you're visiting Cullen, the walk up Castle Hill is a must in fine weather. It's a very short walk and an ideal detour when walking the old railway line coastal path. If you fancy a longer walk, you can continue onwards to the Temple of Pomona, which is now open to the public again.

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

Claim Your Free 6 Day Travel Itinerary:

Simply enter your email and we'll send it your way!

Free Scotland travel itinerary

Hi, please leave a comment below, or why not start a discussion on the forum?