Urquhart Castle

Visit one of the most scenic heritage attractions in Scotland, a set of majestic ruins on the banks of the glittering waters of Loch Ness.

Bring your camera for your trip to Urquhart Castle. Its crumbling brown walls and spectacular towers, which are set against the tree-covered hills and still waters of Loch Ness, are extremely photogenic. Learn about 1,000 years of history and trace centuries of conflict between the English and the Scots at these stirring medieval ruins.

St. Columba is said to have visited a Pictish fort at this site in the 6th century, although the current castle wasn’t built until the 13th century. The Scots and the English fought for control over the stronghold, before it was blown up in 1692 by an English army garrisoned here.

At the information points on the castle grounds learn about the different people who have claimed ownership of the castle. Watch an educational film about Urquhart's colorful history in the visitor center and examine a scale model of the castle building.

Enter the castle grounds across the drawbridge into the gatehouse now housing an exhibit of Historic Scotland. Stop to see the dungeon. As you explore, think about the poor prisoners who were once confined to these dank, gloomy quarters.

Wander the grounds and look for the remains of an old kiln used for drying grain and a replica trebuchet, a medieval siege weapon. Climb Grant Tower for views of the castle and Loch Ness. From the top of the tower, visitors can see an ancient chapel and a dovecote. Step into the Great Hall, where huge feasts were held to celebrate military victories. Walk down to the loch's shores to see the remnants of a blacksmith's workshop.

Enjoy a drink at the café with uninterrupted views of the loch. Watch for the Loch Ness Monster, one of the most famous mythical creatures in the world.

Find Urquhart Castle next to the quiet villages of Lewiston and Drumnadrochit, about a 30-minute drive south of Inverness. Use the on-site parking and gift shop. A bike rack is provided for those who wish to travel here on two wheels.

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