Explore the Legendary Urquhart Castle: Here’s What You Need to Know

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The North Coast 500 will not only take you to outdoor spots but it can take you to some great histories. Here’s another guide for you.

Urquhart Castle is an iconic landmark of Scotland, sitting on the banks of Loch Ness in the Highlands. It has a long and storied history, with records dating back to the 13th Century. The castle was originally built to protect the area from Viking invasions, but it changed hands many times over the centuries, enduring sieges, wars and natural disasters.

The current structure was built in the 16th Century and features a great hall, chapel and sprawling gardens that visitors can explore. It has been restored over time and is now one of the most visited sites in Scotland, attracting thousands of tourists each year.

As an integral part of Scotland’s national heritage, Urquhart Castle is a must-see destination for anyone visiting the Highlands. Come experience this breathtaking castle for yourself and explore its past, its grounds and its beautiful surroundings.

KeyDetails
Opening HoursUrquhart Castle is open all year round. From April to October, the castle is open from 9:30am to 5:30pm. From November to March, it opens at 10am and closes at 4pm.
Location & DirectionsUrquhart Castle is located on the western shore of Loch Ness in the Highland region of Scotland. It can be reached by car, train/bus, bike, or on foot.
Ticket Information & PricesVarious ticket packages are available. The basic admission ticket costs £10 for adults, £8 for seniors and children aged 5-15. Children under 5 get in for free. Different packages offer additional features.
Tour OptionsA variety of tour packages are available, including an Introduction Tour, a Highlights Tour, Guided Tours, and an Audio Tour. A Paranormal Activity Tour is also available.
Things to Do at Urquhart CastleUrquhart Castle offers a variety of things to do, such as exploring historical artefacts, interactive displays and exhibitions, and beautiful gardens. Visitors can also shop at the souvenir shop.

Opening Hours

Urquhart Castle welcomes visitors all year round. From April to October, the castle is open from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, providing plenty of time to explore its grounds and monuments. From November to March, the times are slightly shorter; the castle opens at 10 am and closes at 4 pm.

Visitors are advised to check the official website for any seasonal changes in opening hours before planning their trip.

Location & Directions

Urquhart Castle is located on the western shore of Loch Ness, in the Highland region of Scotland. It is easily accessible by car, however, public transportation such as buses and trains can also be used to arrive in the area.

By Car: Travelling by car is the easiest way to get to Urquhart Castle. From the south, follow the A82 toward Drumnadrochit and you will find signs for the castle soon after you pass through the village. From the north, take the A82 from Inverness and follow the signs to the castle.

By Train/Bus: The closest train station is in Inverness, which is approximately 12 miles away from the castle. From there you can catch a bus to reach Urquhart Castle. The buses normally run once or twice a day and the journey usually takes around 40 minutes.

By Bike: If you prefer to cycle to the castle, it is possible to do so using shared cycling paths that have been built in the area. The paths are mostly flat and well-maintained, making them a great choice for those who wish to take in the scenery while exploring the area.

On Foot: You can also walk to the castle by taking a looping route that follows the Loch Ness shoreline for the majority of the walk. The route is about 8 miles long and can take up to five hours, depending on your speed. However, the stunning views are certainly worth the effort along the way.

Ticket Information & Prices

Visiting Urquhart Castle doesn’t have to be an expensive trip. There are several ticket packages available that cater to different budgets and needs.

The basic admission ticket allows entry to the castle grounds and costs £10 for adults, £8 for seniors and children aged 5-15, and is free for those under 5 years old. Those visiting with a Historic Scotland membership card also get a discounted rate of only £7.50 for adults.

For those who wish to explore more, there is a ‘Castle Only’ ticket that includes admission to the castle and entry to all exhibitions. This package costs £15 for adults, £12.50 for seniors and children, and free for those under 5 years old. Again, members of Historic Scotland enjoy a discounted rate of only £12.50.

Those interested in learning more about the castle can opt for the ‘Castle and History Tour’ package, which includes admission to the castle and guided tour. This ticket costs £17 for adults, £14 for seniors and children, and free for those under 5 years old. Historic Scotland members get a discounted rate of £14.

Finally, the ‘Castle & Audio Tour’ package provides admission to the castle and use of the audio guide. This ticket costs £18 for adults, £14.50 for seniors and children, and is free for those under 5 years old. Historic Scotland members once again enjoy a discounted rate of only £15.

No matter the budget or interest level, Urquhart Castle has the perfect ticket package to make your visit memorable.

Tour Options

Urquhart Castle offers a variety of tour packages to choose from, giving visitors the chance to customize their experience. Tours include an Introduction Tour, which presents an overview of the castle’s history and features, as well as a Highlights Tour, which focuses on some of the most important aspects of the castle.

Guided tours are available for both adults and children. They offer a more in-depth exploration of the castle and its history. Audio tours are also available for those who would like to explore the castle at their own pace.

If you are looking for something a little different, then consider taking the Paranormal Activity Tour. It will take you deep into the castle’s dark and spooky passageways, where you may very well come across ghosts and ghouls.

Things to Do at Urquhart Castle

For anyone looking for something fun and exciting to do, Urquhart Castle is the perfect destination. In addition to its unique history, the castle offers a variety of things to do that will leave visitors with lasting memories. From interactive displays and exhibitions to historical artefacts, there is something for everyone.

The castle’s extensive collection of historical artefacts can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Visitors can explore interactive displays and learn more about the castle’s past, or take a tour and get an up-close and personal look at some of the artefacts. For those who want to take a piece of the castle home, the souvenir shop located within the grounds offers items such as jewellery, books, and more.

In addition to the artefacts, visitors can experience a number of exhibitions and interactive displays. The castle’s audio guide takes visitors on an informative journey through the history of the castle, delving into its rich past. There are also plenty of interactive displays and activities to keep kids entertained.

For those who prefer to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding landscape, the castle grounds offer plenty of beautiful gardens, paths and terraces to explore. One can spend hours simply taking in the sights of nature, watching the wildlife, and appreciating the beauty of the area.

From exploring the castle’s history to experiencing its breathtaking views and rich wildlife, there is something for everyone at Urquhart Castle. With its unique blend of exhibitions, interactive displays and historical artefacts, it is a perfect destination for any traveller.

Events at Urquhart Castle

Throughout the year, Urquhart Castle is home to some of the most exciting events in the area. From outdoor theatre performances to historical re-enactments, there’s always something special happening that visitors can enjoy.

The summer months are especially full of fun activities, such as evening ghost tours, traditional music and dance performances, and weekly family fun days. During winter, visitors can attend story time sessions and listen to live lectures focusing on the castle’s rich history.

If you plan to visit Urquhart Castle, be sure to check the official website for details on upcoming events. You can also contact the Visitor Centre on the phone or by email to find out about any special offers that might be available.

The following list includes some of the main events held at Urquhart Castle each year:

  • Spring Open Day – Celebrate the end of winter with a special day of arts and crafts, storytelling, and lots of family fun.
  • Summer Solstice Festival – A day of music and dance to celebrate the longest day of the year.
  • Harvest Festival – Enjoy the wonders of autumn with hay rides, farmers’ markets, and traditional Highland games.
  • Christmas Market – Take part in the holiday cheer with carol singing, festive stalls, and hot drinks to keep you warm.
  • New Year’s Eve Fireworks – Ring in the new year with an amazing display of fireworks over the castle grounds.

Relaxation at Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle offers a unique atmosphere to take a break and relax amidst the beautiful surroundings. Visitors can explore the grounds, relax or enjoy a picnic in many of the peaceful areas around the castle.

The overlooks provide some of the best views around the castle and are great spots to enjoy the beauty of the area while taking a break. Aside from just relaxing, visitors can also take binoculars and look out over Loch Ness to see if they can spot any mysterious underwater creatures.

The gardens within the castle walls provide tranquil spaces with lush greenery and a variety of flowers. Visitors can find places to sit and soak up the sun, have a picnic, or just get lost in the beauty of the gardens.

The castle is also surrounded by an array of walking trails that provide more opportunities for relaxation. With easy routes along the shores of the loch and more rugged trails through the surrounding hills, there is something for everyone.

No matter what kind of break visitors are looking for, Urquhart Castle provides stunning views and plenty of peaceful spots to relax.

Restaurants Nearby

If you’re looking for a bite to eat after your visit to Urquhart Castle, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby that offer both traditional Scottish cuisine as well as international dishes. With an eclectic mix of eateries ranging from cosy pubs to fine dining, there’s something to suit all tastes.

If you’re looking for a local favourite, the Red Lion Inn is a great choice. Located in Drumnadrochit, this quaint establishment specializes in fresh, seasonal produce, wines and ales. It also features live music every week. Other local favourites include the Lochside Cafe in Invermoriston and the Highlander Inn in Fort Augustus.

Alternatively, if you want a more international twist, there’s the Old Mill Thai Restaurant in Drumnadrochit, which serves up delicious Thai food. Other international choices include the Indian Spice Hut and the Chinese Dragon, both located in Invermoriston.

Whatever your tastes are, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your hunger near Urquhart Castle.

Insider Tips

For the best Urquhart Castle experience, there’s no substitute for tips from people who really know the place. From veterans in the gift shop to the groundskeepers, everyone has their own unique ideas for visitors. Here are some tips from the people who know:

  • Walk the perimeter of the castle walls – You’ll see a variety of different angles and towers.
  • Take a boat tour around the loch – Get a unique perspective of the castle from a boat on the water.
  • Pack a picnic – Have lunch on the grass overlooking the loch for a truly unforgettable experience.
  • Check out the museum – There are lots of interesting artefacts and stories to explore in the Urquhart Castle museum.
  • Snap photos at sunset – For that magical Instagram shot, wait until the sun sets to take some photos of the castle.

So if you’re planning a visit to Urquhart Castle, be sure to take advantage of all these insider tips to make it the trip of a lifetime!

Shopping

At Urquhart Castle, you’ll find several great souvenir shops that offer unique items sure to take you back to your visit to the castle. You can find a variety of items ranging from keychains and postcards to t-shirts and mugs with the castle’s logo. There are also plenty of handmade items and local crafts that make wonderful gifts and mementoes.

If you’re looking for something special and authentic, there’s an on-site gift shop located near the entrance to the castle. Here you’ll find a range of items from medieval-style swords and shields to traditional Scottish tartans. You can also pick up a few souvenirs from the Visitor Centre located a short walk away from the castle.

For those looking for more unique items, the nearby town of Drumnadrochit offers a selection of small shops with locally made pottery, jewellery, and woollen products. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go further out to the historical towns of Inverness and Nairn for a wider array of souvenirs. Regardless of where you go, you’re sure to find something special to take home with you.

Conclusion

Urquhart Castle is an incredible place to explore and learn about its rich history.

For those looking to do more than just explore, there are plenty of options to choose from, such as audio tours, interactive displays and even events hosted on the castle grounds.

Whether you’re looking to create lasting memories or have a peaceful getaway, there is something here for everyone. We hope this guide has been helpful in preparing you for your NC500 route.

Top FAQs About Things to do at Urquhart Castle

  • Q: What is the history of Urquhart Castle?
    A: Urquhart Castle dates to the 13th century and was built by the greatest noble families in Scotland. It has survived centuries of conflict, including the Wars of Scottish Independent against Edward II, Robert the Bruce’s struggle for Scotland’s crown and feuds with Clan Grant among others.
  • Q: What are the opening hours for Urquhart Castle?
    A: Urquhart Castle is open from April to October from 9:30 am to 6 pm and from November to March from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Q: How can I get to Urquhart Castle?
    A: Visitors can get to Urquhart Castle by car, public transport, bike or on foot. It is located 3 miles east of Drumnadrochit on the south side of Loch Ness.
  • Q: What ticket packages are available and what are their prices?
    A: Urquhart Castle offers standard admission, discounted admission for children/students/seniors, Family Tickets and Discounted Group Tickets. Prices range from £7.50-£27.50.
  • Q: Are there any guided or audio tours of the castle?
    A: Yes, visitors can join scheduled guided tours which are offered daily via the gift shop next to the castle. Audio guides are also available.
  • Q: Are there any events hosted at the castle?
    A: Yes, special events are hosted throughout the year at Urquhart Castle. These events range from historical battles to dinners and concerts.
  • Q: Are there any places to relax or have a picnic near the castle?
    A: Yes, visitors can enjoy the views or take a rest at one of the benches or picnic tables located around the Urquhart Castle grounds.
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