Scottish Castles > Urquhart Castle
Maybe it's not the most famous of Scotland’s castles, but Urquhart Castle is well worth a visit for the history and the magnificent views.
After my visit to Urquhart it was the views that stayed in my memory, much more than the castle itself.
Situated on the banks of Loch Ness, the Castle, surrounded by stunning scenery, is the ideal vantage point for views over the loch and Great Glen.
Urquhart, which was once one of Scotland's largest castles, has a fascinating and bloody history that dates back to the 13th century. Built in the 1230s, the best preserved part of the castle is the tower that was built by the Grant family, and despite its ruinous state it remains an impressive stronghold.
A climb to the top of the tower will give you spectacular views across the Loch, and some there are some visitors who patiently lie in wait hoping to catch a glimpse of "Nessie" the mysterious Loch Ness Monster.
Opinion has it that there was a Pictish settlement in the area round about the year 597, and from the 13th century, when the area was granted to the Durward family, much blood has been spilled and Urquhart Castle has changed hands many times, like so many Scottish castles.
Featuring prominently in the Scottish struggle for independence, the Castle was occupied by King Edward I of England in 1296, and it remained in English hands until Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scotland and recaptured it in 1308. The final action came in 1689 during the Jacobite uprising, with the Castle being defended by a garrison loyal to the protestant monarchy of William & Mary, holding off the Jacobite force, who had pledged allegiance to the exiled Stewart kings.
When the soldiers left in 1692, their last act was to blow up part of the Castle, in order that it could not be used as a stronghold for the Jacobite rebels, and it remained in ruins. In 1912 Urquhart was handed over to the state and was bought by the Chewett family in the 1930s.
In 2003 it was gifted by the widowed Mrs Chewett to the National Trust For Scotland, and is now looked after by Historic Scotland.
Historic Scotland has carried out some modernisation of the castle, and there is now a new visitor centre. The centre shows an introductory film tour of the history of Urquhart Castle, and a model of how it would have looked at its peak. The Centre also has a shop and cafe, and around 250,000 visitors come each year, but perhaps the most famous visitors were Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who actually stayed here in 1847.
Conveniently located just one hour's drive from Inverness Airport, Urquhart Castle has now become one of our most popular tourist attractions, along with Loch Ness, and tales of the Loch Ness monster.
There is free parking at Urquhart with disabled access around the grounds, and with Inverness and Fort William nearby, you have a good base to explore the Scottish Highlands with a host of attractions.
Opening Times :
1st April to 30th September - 9.30am to 6.00pm
1st October to 31st March - 9.30am to 5.00pm
Closed 25th & 26th December.
Admission Charges :
Adult - £7.00
Child - £4.20
Concession - £5.60
Find A Hotel In Scotland. Different providers, different prices, and user reviews. Save time and money, search them here for the best deal.
More Scottish Castles :
Edinburgh CastleCastle Hotels
A brief look into the history of the Castle of Castles.
One of the most famous, especially since 'Braveheart’.
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle is one of our most beautiful.
Behind the majestic appearance lies many dark secrets.
Built on cliffs surrounded on three sides by the North Sea.
Not surprisingly became a centre for smuggling.
Related Pages :
A stay in one of our Scottish Castle Hotels is the ultimate when it comes to treating yourself to something a little bit special. Explore Scotland in beautiful surroundings and a relaxed atmosphere.
Imagine the many banquets, stately dinners and balls that have taken place in the great halls of these Scottish Castles. You can have a traditional wedding with a formal white dress and veil.
Back To Top
Home | About | Contact | Privacy | Site Map