Discover 1,000 years of drama and experience a glimpse of medieval life whilst enjoying breathtaking views over Loch Ness from the ruins of the greatest castle in the Highlands.
The present ruins date from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though built on the site of an early medieval fortification where St Columba is said to have worked miracles in the 6th century. Founded in the 13th century, Urquhart played a role in the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century. It was subsequently held as a royal castle, and was raided on several occasions by the MacDonald Earls of Ross. The castle was granted to the Clan Grant in 1509, though conflict with the MacDonald’s continued. Despite a series of further raids the castle was strengthened, only to be largely abandoned by the middle of the 17th century when Urquhart Castle was partially destroyed in 1692 by the government troops garrisoned there to prevent its use by Jacobite forces, and subsequently it was left to decay. In the 20th century it was placed in state care as a scheduled monument and opened to the public, and it is now one of the most-visited castles in Scotland.
From the visitor centre the castle ruins look mighty, after walking over what would have been the wooden draw bridge, climb the Grant Tower that watches over the iconic loch and peer into the prison cell, and imagine the splendid banquets staged in the Great Hall.
Urquhart’s stories are also told through a remarkable collection of artefacts left by its residents, historic replicas, including a full-sized, working trebuchet siege engine. The exhibition also consists of a theatre which runs an informative movie for visitors about the history of the castle from the 6th century to the 17th century. You can join a guided tour that leaves on the hour, included in your entry fee. Perched on the banks of Loch Ness beside the village of Drumnadrochit, Urquhart commands great views up the length of the loch, and is one of the main sites for reported sightings of the legendary Loch Ness Monster.
Location Around 2 miles southeast of the village Drumnadrochit and 16 miles south of Inverness, along the A82 road. 49 miles from Fort William.
Getting there Follow signs for Drumnadrochit. Free parking on site
Entry £9 or free with Historic Scotland membership
Open Daily- April, May and September: 9.30am to 6pm, June, July and August: 9.30am to 8pm, October: 9.30am to 5pm, November to March: 9..30am to 4.30pm. Last entry 45 minutes before closing.