Inverness is a small town on the edge of the Scottish Highlands and the gateway to Loch Ness and the Great Glen. If you plan ahead, you should have no problem ticking off the city sights and also venturing to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle.
Urquhart Castle (Caisteal na Sròine)
A82, Drumnadrochit, Scotland
Almost all organized tours that come to Loch Ness, whether from Inverness, Invergordon, Glasgow, or even Edinburgh, include at least a glimpse of Urquhart Castle. Many tours combine a visit to the crumbling gray-stone castle with a sightseeing cruise on Loch Ness or the Caledonian Canal, while other tours make stops at the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition and the Bronze Age Clava Cairns.
Explore the castle ruins independently, wander around the battlements, admire the splendor of the Great Hall, scan the lake’s surface for the Loch Ness monster, and examine medieval artifacts on show at the castle’s visitor center. Historic Scotland Explorer Pass holders visit for free.
Awesome Experience to Scotland
Andrew was amazing! This was a private tour very reasonably priced and he took us wherever we wanted and provided us recommendations and options. Got a chance to do Tomatin Distillery along the way and Urqhart Castle as our mains. Also ended up even running a little longer than expected but he was great and patient with everything. Also a fantastic story teller so the time in the car flew by! Would highly recommend if you get a chance and want to do Scotland at your own pace.
Lyman_L, Feb 2020
Things to Know Before You Go
With its rich history of battles, Urquhart Castle is an absolute must for history enthusiasts.
Wear comfortable shoes and bring rain gear, as much of the ruins are exposed to the elements.
Most of the castle is accessible via paved paths, with the exception of the guardhouse, the battlements, and the first floor and basement of Grant Tower.
How to Get There
Urquhart Castle is situated on the west bank of Loch Ness near Drumnadrochit. From Inverness, drive south along the A82 for around 30 minutes. Buses (including the 19, 917, and 919) connect Inverness bus station to Urquhart Castle.
When to Get There
The castle is busiest in summer, when lines often form at the staircase at Grant Tower and the parking lot occasionally fills. Arrive just after opening, or an hour or two before closing, to experience the ruins at their quietest. During the winter months, the castle ruins are peaceful, and moody weather adds to the atmosphere.
The History of Urquhart Castle
Urquhart has a long and tumultuous history, with a castle having stood here since at least the 13th century. The fortress was seized, reclaimed, damaged, and restored many times between then and the 17th century. In 1762, the gatehouse was blown up to prevent Jacobites from moving in and establishing a base here. Nowadays, the Historic Environment Scotland manages the evocative ruins.
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