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“Well worth exploring”
Review of Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle
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$50.76*
and up
Loch Ness, Glencoe and the Highlands Day Trip from Glasgow
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$39.48*
and up
Loch Ness Sightseeing Cruise Including Urquhart Castle
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$49.35*
and up
Loch Ness Cruise Including Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Discover 1,000 years of drama, experience a glimpse of medieval life and enjoy stunning views over Loch Ness from the ruins of the greatest castle in the Highlands. Climb the Grant Tower that watches over the iconic loch, peer into a miserable prison cell, said to have held the legendary Gaelic bard Domhnall Donn, and imagine the splendid banquets staged in the great hall. A more comfortable view of the iconic ruins, against a backdrop of Loch Ness and the hills of the Great Glen, can be enjoyed from the café. 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, and a short film. The castle has a distinctly Highland heritage and the site has witnessed some of the most dramatic chapters in our nation’s history. This is where St Columba is said to have worked miracles in the 6th century, where acts of chivalry and defiance provided inspiration during the Wars of Independence and where the MacDonald Lords of the Isles struggled with the Crown for power.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed May 11, 2013

This castle ruin offers spectacular views of Lock Ness. It looks stunning when approaching by boat. Explore the grounds and it's fascinating history. The Loch makes it even more special. The cafe at visitor centre offers a good variety of lunch snacks and souvenirs. A must while at Loch Ness

Thank incink
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,415 - 2,419 of 3,974 reviews

Reviewed May 11, 2013

A must do along with the boat cruise. Need two hours to view as it is quite a large area and plenty to see. There are a lot of stairs but you don't have to climb them if you don't want to

2  Thank Mandy Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Urquhart Castle's guidebook describes it as "a noble ruin in a majestic setting." I can't think of a better way to describe this former stronghold of the Great Glen. Whether seen by air, land or water, your first glimpse of Urquhart rising up from the shores of Loch Ness will stay with you for a very long time.

My visit there was part of a boat tour. Since we entered the grounds by way of the water side, I immediately began to explore the castle itself. In hindsight, it would have been better to first hike up to the visitor's center and see the short film outlining its history.

In the dark ages a Pictish fortress stood on the promontory that the castle later occupied. It is said that it was visited by St Columba himself.

The first castle was built by the Durward family who were given the land as a reward for loyal service to King Alexander ll. It played a part in the Wars of Independence, being twice captured by the English. It was ultimately taken back by King Robert The Bruce. Later on it was visited by his son, King David ll.

In the fourteenth century it was seized by the MacDonalds and in the sixteenth century it was given to the Grants by King James lV.

It was the Grant family who built the hauntingly romantic Grant Tower. Nowadays, you can climb to the top, take in the exquisite scenery of the loch and its environs, and imagine what it must have been like to live in the tower.

Another interesting part of the castle is the gatehouse. You can see where the constable lived and worked as well as see an intact prison cell.

Sadly the castle was blown up in 1690 by government soldiers who wanted to prevent the Jacobites from occupying it. Jacobites were the supporters of the exiled King James Vll of Scotland and ll of England.

In the following centuries, visitors from all over the world flocked to see "the noble ruin" so the rubble was cleared and the site was made safer for exploring. That being said, the ground and masonry are uneven and the stairs are narrow and winding so one must mind their step while walking around.

To gain access to the castle from the visitor center, you have to cross a causeway and bridge. Be sure to have a look at the trebuchet reproduction. A trebuchet is a type of catapult. Imagine what it would have been like to look out of your window and see a besieging army with several of those formidable siege engines parked on your land.

After your castle wanderings, you can head back to the visitor center to get a bite to eat and a warm beverage. And perhaps a souvenir to remind yourself of your visit to one of Scotland's most magnificent sites.

8  Thank Suzanne P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

We went to these castle ruins, it had a good history movie about 8 minutes long included which was cool, but the whole thing is pricy for just ruins of a castle.

Thank PaulRaymond_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 8, 2013

Was told entry fee not worth it so just admired from a distance.
Fairly destroyed now it sets a lovely atmosphere on the shores of Loch Ness.

Thank SSSputnik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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