Visit Brodie Castle in Scotland

If you are looking for a great day out and love the outdoors and history then head along to Brodie Castle. Situated 4 and a half miles west of Forres this 16th-century castle has something to offer everyone. With playful gardens for the kids, beautiful gardens for the green-fingered and plenty of history for the history lover, there is much to see and do. The grounds are open all year round and the castle, garden, cafe and playful garden vary depending on the time of year. Keep up to date with opening times on their website.

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Built in 1547

A well preserved castle steeped in history ready for you to explore

About Brodie Castle and its history

Built-in 1567 by the Clan Brodie this Z-plan castle was badly destroyed by fire in 1645. Later rebuilt, this castle presents ornate corbelled battlements ad bartizans. Well-preserved it has 5-storey towers on either corner, an impenetrable 16th-century guard chamber, a 17th-century wing and a vast Victorian extension. Additionally, the interior of the castle is also well preserved. With an array of antique furniture, ornate ceilings and oriental artefacts you can see much of its history within.

The land Brodie Castle is built upon was granted to the Brodies by Robert the Bruce back in 1311. It is not known how far back their links lie as much was lost in the fire. However, in 2003 the last remaining Brodie died having lived in the castle until then. Interestingly, nearby there is a mound ‘Macbeth’s Hillock. Supposedly this is where Macbeth met the three witches who foresaw his future as king. Furthermore, you can see a Pictish stone known as ‘Rodney’s Stone’ which stands 6-feet high!

The Gardens

On this 71-hectare estate, Brodie Castle prides itself in its gardens. Here you can explore the beautiful walled garden, enjoy woodland walks and explore nature trails. And in the Spring you can enjoy the display of daffodils. Home to the National Daffodil Collection you can see a magnificent display of over 400 varieties!

But for the kids and big kids alike, the most fun of all is the Playful Garden! Slip down slides, crawl through tunnels, explore fascinating, fun sculptures including a giant rabbit. Here you will meet quirky characters each with a story to tell. And each story connects them to Brodie castle and its past. You will even explore a model replica of the castle! And wet days are no problem because there is indoor soft play too. Furthermore, you and the children can enjoy a woodland adventure playground all of which is free.

Walks, refreshments, facilities, events and more…

How about a nice walk? Well, a Pond Walk sees you cover 1 and a half miles on a surfaced level path enjoying the surrounding scenery. And a Green Walk takes you 20 minutes along a rougher more grassy path, which can be wet in parts. And after all your activity you can stop for refreshments at the onsite cafe. Toilets facilities are available, including baby changing and accessible facilities. And for your four-legged friends, dogs are welcome.

If you want to attend any of the yearly events that are on such as illuminations and seasonal events you can also get involved. Check out the events page to see what is up and coming. And if you want to take a memento home, there is a gift shop on-site too, selling bespoke local gifts and crafts.

Head along today and enjoy the fun!

So head along to this fabulous venue and enjoy a great day out. Brodie Castle and its playpark and gardens have so much to offer. For opening times check out the website to see what is open when you plan to visit as not all sections are open all year round. So come along and visit this wonderful place and have fun!

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Address

Brodie Castle
Forres
Moray
IV36 2TE

Telephone

01309 641371

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Seat of Clan Mackenzie

Castle Leod is located in the village of Strathpeffer, around a half-hour drive north-west from Inverness city centre. Much of the current building dates from around the 17th century, although there has been a structure on this site since at least the 1100s. The castle building is open to the public only on certain days during the year. However, private tours for small parties are possible through special arrangement. It is also used as a wedding venue.

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Originally a Pictish Fort

Involved in many historical events including the Jacobite Rising

History of Castle Leod

Originally a Pictish fort stood on the site. Eventually, a castle structure replaced it, and over the centuries this has been rebuilt and altered. Much of what we see today come from alterations made in the 17th century and the date 1616 is carved on a dormer window. The same family has lived in the castle for over 500 years and it is the Seat of Clan Mackenzie, a traditional Scottish clan. The castle and clan were involved in many important historic events, including the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

Castle Leod and Outlander

Castle Leod is widely regarded as the inspiration behind Castle Leoch, the seat of Clan Mackenzie in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books. Although it was not used as a filming location in the TV series, it is still a popular place for fans to visit and is on the itinerary for many Outlander trips and tours.

Visiting Castle Leod

A grade A listed building, the castle is looked after by the Clan Mackenzie Charitable Trust. The trust cares for the building, restoring and conserving it for future generations. As well as managing access for visitors. The castle and grounds are open to the public on selected dates throughout the year. Please see the website for public open dates and ticket prices. Private tours may also be available on request.

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Address

Strathpeffer IV14 9AA

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Exploring Dunrobin Castle

If you travel an hour north of Inverness, you will come upon this striking castle, resembling a French chateau. Boasting 189 rooms and dating back to the 13th century, Dunrobin Castle is one of Britain’s oldest consistently inhabited houses. Having been home to the Earls and Duke of Sutherlands for hundreds of years, this castle is said to have possibly been built on an early medieval fort. Over time, it has had many extensions making it what it is today.

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A Historic Castle

13th century castle in the Scottish Highlands

History of Dunrobin Castle

A castle has stood on the site since the 13th century. Interestingly, the oldest surviving section of the castle, part of a fortified square keep dating from 1275, is still visible in the courtyard. In 1845, Charles Barry, who designed the Houses of Parliament, re-modelled the castle. Designed in the Scottish Baronial style, it became popular with aristocrats. Sadly a fire in 1915 destroyed much of Barry’s interior. So what you see today is the work of Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer.

The castle's many uses

The castle has been used for many purposes over the years. During World War One it was used as a naval hospital. Later it became a boys’ boarding school. But since 1973, it has been open to the public. It is still owned by the Sutherland family and they retain some parts of the building for private use.

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Explore inside and out

Amazing castle interiors and attractive gardens to explore

Visit Dunrobin Castle Interior and Gardens

Open annually from April to October, you can visit Dunrobin Castle and marvel at all its delights! Explore the magnificent interiors with a self-guided tour of staterooms on the first floor. Then, make your way through smaller rooms to the older section of the castle. Additionally, your tickets include access to the stunning gardens and its grounds. Plus you can see the Falconry where you can watch birds of prey flying demonstrations. And at the end of your tour, you can visit the café for some refreshments and the shop for some souvenirs. View ticket prices and opening times here.

Address

Golspie KW10 6SF

Telephone

01408 633177

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Cawdor Castle and Gardens

Dating back to the 14th century and built by the Thanes of Cawdor as a private fortress, Cawdor Castle is a fascinating Scottish castle. Situated 30 minutes from the city of Inverness and 5 miles from Nairn, this castle is well worth a visit. Interestingly, it was built around a 15th-century tower house, which primarily belonged to the Clan Cawdor. According to legend, the tower was built around a legendary holly tree dating back to 1372. And to this day you can still see it in the dungeon!

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The Scottish Play

Macbeth becomes 'Thane of Cawdor'

Links with Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Did you know, the castle has links the literary genius Shakespeare and his play Macbeth? In the play about the 11th century Scottish king, Macbeth becomes ‘Thane of Cawdor’. Although historically inaccurate, and even though the castle did not yet exist at that time, this link between Macbeth and Cawdor has made the castle more famous.

Visiting Cawdor Castle

Here you can explore the lavish interior of this splendid castle, where the Dowager Countess Cawdor still resides. If you like stepping back in time you will love this. Explore generations of the Campbells in the Drawing Room. Marvel at the magnificent fireplace in the Dining Room. See the 19th century range and old cooking utensils in the Old Kitchen. And gaze at the stunning tapestries that adorn the Tapestry Bedroom.

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Castle Gardens and Grounds

Enjoy the beautiful castle grounds and activities

Exploring the grounds

And if you have green fingers, the ground’s gardens are beautifully maintained and well worth a visit. With a choice of gardens to explore you could spend a whole day here. Golf and nature-trail offer further activities. And the River Findhorn is a popular salmon fishing spot. With so much to do, you can wind down and refresh at their café at the end of your visit or do a spot of shopping in the gift shop. View ticket prices and opening times here.

Address

B9090, Cawdor, Nairn IV12 5RD

Telephone

01667 404401

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Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness

Steeped in more than 1,000 years of history, Urquhart Castle sits on the banks of Loch Ness. It is one of Scotland’s largest castles, which has played host to some of the most climactic episodes in Scottish history.

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A medieval fortress

Witnessed many a battle during the Wars of Independence

History of Urquhart Castle

Having been passed between Scot and English control for over 500 hundred years this medieval fortress has witnessed many a battle during the Wars of Independence. Taken control of by Edward the I in 1296, the Scots reclaimed it back in 1298. They lost control again until Robert the Bruce’s victory in 1308. At this time it became a royal castle. For over 200 years there were many English and Scottish battles seeing ownership changing many times.

Host to many clan wars

By 1508, this castle was under the royal ownership of the Grant clan. Here, it played host to the many clan wars. And, in 1545 Clan Macdonald stripped the castle of all its valuables. Despite the castle having been heavily fortified it was abandoned in the 17th century. As a consequence, Urquhart Castle saw its demise. It was at this point, to prevent the Jacobites rising, it was deliberately blown up. Thus leaving the ruins that are visible today.

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Dramatic ruins

Panoramic views of Loch Ness and the surrounding countryside

Visiting Urquhart Castle

Situated on a rocky peninsula, you can enjoy stunning panoramic views of Loch Ness and the surrounding countryside. It is from here you can explore the dramatic ruins, including the Grant Tower. You can even peer into the prison cell, said to of imprisoned legendry Gaelic bard Domhnall Donn: a handsome man, a brave warrior, and a good poet. Did he really steal cattle or was his crime to fall in love with the Laird of Grant’s daughter? See the ruins of the Great Hall and envisage the many great banquets held there. Explore medieval artefacts including the Urquhart Ewer. And possibly most excitingly, you can see a full-sized trebuchet (a stone-throwing machine in laymans terms). View ticket prices and opening times here.

Address

Drumnadrochit, Inverness IV63 6XJ

Telephone

01456 450551

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Exploring Inverness Castle

In the heart of Inverness, the imposing Inverness Castle sits high on a hilltop. Standing proudly, overlooking the River Ness. The present building, made from red sandstone, dates back to 1836 and currently houses the Inverness Sheriff and Justice of the Peace Court. However, 1057 saw the first construction of a castle on this site, said to have been built by King Malcolm III of Scotland. And since, it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. For example, Robert the Bruce destroyed the castle in 1308, to prevent the English from occupying it during the Scottish War of Independence. So did the MacDonald clan, many times during the Lord of the Isle era.

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Climb the tower

For amazing 360° views of the city

The Viewpoint

Although the majority of the building is not open to the public, there is access to the Inverness Castle Viewpoint. Here, you can take in the best views over Inverness. With 360° views, you can see the whole city from the viewing platform at the top of the tower. Look out for famous landmarks and historic buildings. Marvel at the River Ness as it rolls beneath you. Explore the city’s network of streets and see beyond to the rolling countryside. Additionally, as you climb the tower you will learn some intriguing myths and legends associated with the city.

Castle views

But perhaps the best views of Inverness Castle itself can be seen from the other side of the River Ness. At night it looks magical, when the castle is all lit up and the light is reflected in the waters below.

Visit Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle is a dominant landmark in the city centre. You can walk up the hill to see it more closely, but there is an admission fee to access the Viewpoint. Check here for ticket prices and opening times.

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Address

Inverness IV2 3EG

Telephone

01349 781730

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