The Castle of Mey was the property of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1952 until 1996, when Her Majesty generously gifted it with an endowment to the Trust.
The castle is situated on the north coast of Caithness, in the parish of Canisbay, about 15 miles east of Thurso and six miles west of John O'Groats. It stands on rising ground about 400 yards from the seashore, overlooking the Pentland Firth and the Orkney Islands. It is thought that a fortified granary occupied the site originally.
Constructed on a z-plan, the castle was built between 1566 and 1572. Seen from a distance, its turreted aspect is very striking. The jutting towers and corbelled turrets are typical of that period of the 16th century, particularly the chequered character of the corbelling of the smaller turrets. The parapet of the large turret is supported on winged cherub heads as corbels, similar to those on Carberry Tower, Midlothian.
There are numerous gun slits throughout the ground floor, several in the angles of the tower and more at first-floor level. The round arched entrance to the courtyard, on the north aspect is unaltered.
The walled garden and parkland to the west and the east border and parkland to the east are protected by the Great Wall of Mey - 12 feet high - which gives very necessary protection from the severe wind gales and salt spray.