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“Historic castle ruins on Loch Ness”
Review of Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle
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$20.29*
and up
Loch Ness Sightseeing Cruise
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 older children, Activities for young children
Reviewed June 14, 2014

Admission runs £7.90 per adult. It was fairly busy on the day we visited and also quite cold and windy as the winds come off of Loch Ness across the castle grounds (late May) Do take the time to watch the short film before touring the castle for a brief history of the castle. It's not the best in production talent but will give you some background.

The castle is in ruins but you can go up in one of the tower areas for some nice view (which is probably the best part remaining of the castle). The ruins do cover a rather large area and sits directly on the shores of Loch Ness. Even though this castle is mainly ruins it does get busy due to it's location on Loch Ness and the tourist that the Loch itself draws due to the mystery of "Nessie". The area where you buy tickets is small so there is typically a wait in order to buy tickets. You can then walk down the inside stairs or elevator to the main level which opens to the gift shop / cafe and the area for the film. Unfortunately this is also where you exit so parents beware, you'll have to navigate children around the gift store twice for this castle visit. There were lots of "Nessie" stuffed animal and trinket souvenirs displayed to draw in the kids.

If you want to see castles with more intact areas, then you'll find time better spent elsewhere. The ruins are interesting but not for those looking more for castles that you can walk through to see more of the interiors of past castle life.

Thank smariel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"introductory film"
in 34 reviews
"interesting history"
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"visitor center"
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"beautiful location"
in 51 reviews
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"information boards"
in 50 reviews
"fantastic views"
in 36 reviews
"sunny day"
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2,186 - 2,190 of 4,071 reviews

Reviewed June 13, 2014

Very over priced for what you get,especially if you compare it to the magnificent Caernarfon Castle in North Wales,which is a hell of a lot cheaper.And I got the best views of the castle from the river cruise and from walking to the castle from the village.Don't get me wrong,it is worth a visit.And also some of the staff need to have lessons in how to smile.

1  Thank Greg P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 12, 2014 via mobile

As a coach driver transporting visitors and clients to this establishment I feel ashamed to be Scottish.
The charge for one is terrible for what your seeing and then there's the welcoming staff NOT.
The management say they put the money back into the sights across Scotland but I know they just plant more and bigger Trees to obscure the view from the car park and coach park.
Meaning cars are forced to stop on the A82 abandon cars so they can take a Quick Photo,
The other option is pay the exorbitant price for frankly a mediocre visit.
When there is castles close by in my opinion are more inviting and better value for money.

4  Thank hotscotjimmy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ByHistoricScotland, Manager at Urquhart Castle, responded to this reviewResponded June 23, 2014

Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your valuable feedback. Historic Scotland regularly commissions many different surveys and quality assurance inspections to ensure that we are providing a quality service to our visitors. Delivering a first class service is very important to us and I very much appreciate your comments.

Our tree planting within the car and coach park relates from the building of the visitor centre in 2001. During the construction many of the existing trees had to be felled and it was a condition that the area had to be replanted. I totally understand that this policy is frustrating for visitors but I do hope you can appreciate that we are bound by the conditions laid down on us by the planning authority.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 10, 2014

Urquhart Castle (maintained by Historic Scotland) is picturesquely sited along the west shore of Loch Ness. The large site is well set with paths and information at strategic points. The views of the dark loch are spectacular even if you don't see Nessie (she is quite elusive). The gift shop is well-stocked, but it too is the big problem. You enter and exit the site through the shop and when the buses are in the shop can become oppressively crowded even off season. At the height of the tourist season I'd hate to imagine the traffic jam.

Thank Bob J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 9, 2014

A derelict castle located on the banks of Loch Ness.

Ample parking is provided, but it is a fair hike down stairs and a sloping path to get to the castle. They have lots of information plaques describing the various areas. A tour is available, but we elected to go alone. Great views afforded up and down Loch Ness.

Stopped at the café for an excellent pot of tea and a scone.

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

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