Urquhart was once one of Scotland’s biggest castles, during it’s 500 years as a fortress it has saw a number of conflicts and battles between the Scots and the English during the wars of Independence.
The castle is located on the headland which overlooks the Loch Ness, the buildings of the castle were laid out around two enclosure: the northern enclosures also known as the Nether Bailey, which has most of the intact structures, The gatehouse and the Grant tower at the north end of the castle and the southern enclosure also known as the Upper Bailey, is situated on higher ground, which has ruins of earlier buildings.
Things to see and do during your visit:
- View the full sized and working trebuchet that was used during castle sieges.
- Admire the view of the castle and how its strategical position made it a power castle.
- Visit the old prison cell, that once had the legendary Gaelic Bard Domnall Donn imprisoned in.
- Climb the grant tower and see the view of the Loch Ness.
New visitor centre opened in 2002, which has a large car park for cars and coachs.
Brief History of Urquhart Castle
The castle was invaded by the English, Edward the first invaded the castle in 1296, and the Lords of the Isles, went on to takeover the castle a number of times in the late middle ages, trying to expand their territory into the north-east.
In the 1300’s, Urquhart featured prominently in the Scots’ struggle for independence. The castle came under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scots in 1306. In 1332, in the dark days following Robert I’s death, Urquhart was the only Highland castle to hold out against the English. The MacDonalds were the lords of the isles and they swept through Glen Urquhart in their quest for more power, the castle would repeatedly get passed back and forward between the clan and the crown.
James the IV was given the barony of Urquhart to the Grant family in 1509, the Clan Grant were charged with repairs to the castle and the estate. This is when the Grants built the Grant Tower, which is a five storey tower house, that still stands today.
In 1689 after the exile of the Catholic King James VII and was later replaced by the Protestant monarchs William and Mary the 2nd.
In 1692 the castles gatehouse was blown up, which meant the castle would never become a military stronghold ever again, since then the Urquhart castle soon fell into decay, and part of the Grant Tower crashed to the ground in 1715 during a violent storm.
Due to the rich history of the castle, the Urquhart castle was passed into state care in 1913, and now is one of Scotland’s most visited castle.
Telephone: 01456 450551 | Official Website |
How to get there
Urquhart Castle is situated beside the Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland,nearest road is the A82 road which is 13 miles south west of Inverness and only 1.2 miles east of the Drummadrochit Village.
- By Bus: Citylink bus service: 917, 919 All buses, in both directions, drop off and pick up passengers in the Urquhart Castle car park.
- By Car: 30 minutes drive from Inverness around 16.6 miles via A82.
- On Foot: The Great Glen Way long distance walk starts (or ends) in Inverness and passes through Drumnadrochit, just up the road from Urquhart Castle.
|Child Under 5 Years old||Free Entry|
|Member/Explorer Pass holder||Free Entry|
Note: Prices are a guide only and may change on a daily basis, visit the official site or contact the ticket administration for more details
|Monday||9:30 AM – 6:00 PM|
|Tuesday||9:30 AM – 6:00 PM|
|Wednesday||9:30 AM – 6:00 PM|
|Thursday||9:30 AM – 6:00 PM|
|Friday||9:30 AM – 6:00 PM|
|Saturday||9:30 AM – 6:00 PM|
|Sunday||9:30 AM – 6:00 PM|
Closed on: 25 and 26 December
Note: Opening hours may vary depending on the month of the year, visit the official website for more details.