East of Inverness History Trail

So, you want to see the best of our Scottish history and explore new places when visiting Inverness? Well, our East of Inverness History Trail is the ideal day trip for you. So make the most out of your visit to Inverness, Loch Ness, and the Highlands of Scotland with our planned day trips. Further, we’ve selected some of the best known, most beautiful, and historic locations to give you a sense of Scotland’s heritage.

You can travel to them all, starting at Culloden Battlefield and finishing at Brodie Castle. Or just select the highlights if you are short of time. Whatever you decide to do, you are sure to love the East of Inverness History Trail!

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Culloden Battlefield

Where the Jacobites rebellion met a bloody death...

Inverness History Tour of Culloden Battlefield

One of the most famous battlefields in the UK is in the Scottish Highlands at Culloden. It was here in 1746 that Charles Edward Stuart – better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie – was decisively beaten and his claim to the throne was over. Culloden was the last set-piece battle where both sides stood ready for each other on British soil. It only lasted an hour, but saw up to 2,000 of Charles’ troops die, compared to only around 300 of the government’s.

Today, a battlefield visitor centre presents the full history of events leading up to the battle and the aftermath which is still a topic of discussion today. Culloden has inspired many works of art, including the well-known Skye Boat song as Bonnie Prince Charlie fled ‘over the sea to Skye’. Viewers/readers of Outlander will be familiar with Culloden, and it also made an appearance in an early Patrick Troughton episode of Doctor Who.

Start your East of Inverness History Trail at Culloden. You can find it on a map here, and it’s what3words is having.restrict.rephrase

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Inverness Clava Cairns

Fancy touching a piece of Scotland’s history that dates back over 4,000 years? Then a visit to Clava Cairns is what you are looking for. This is a burial ground from the Bronze Age which has lasted remarkably well through time. The Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Bulnuaran of Clava (as they are officially known) was a significant site for millennia for rituals and burials in Scotland.

It is believed that many of the stones used to build the cairns were actually from an even earlier farming settlement in the area, further adding to the historic significance of this ancient place.

The cairns are only six miles east of Inverness, and 300 yards east of Culloden Battlefield. You can find them on a map here, and their what3words is abstracts.stirs.funny.

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A magnificent structure

Also known as the Clava Viaduct and the Nairn Viaduct

The Culloden Viaduct

So good they named it thrice! This stunning stone viaduct goes by three names depending on who you ask: Culloden, Clava, or Nairn Viaduct. But one thing everyone agrees about is that this is a breathtaking piece of engineering. Opened in 1898, it has 29 semicircular arches over the valley of the River Nairn. It is 1785 ft long and 132 ft high and will give you a sore neck if you stare up at it for too long!

The viaduct sits half a mile east of the Clava Cairns. You can view it on a map here, and it’s what3words is dreamer.forge.openly.

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Train rides over the viaduct

The most remarkable aspect of this viaduct is that it is still in regular use today. Check out this video of an LNER train driver’s point of view as he heads from Inverness to Edinburgh.

The viaduct sits half a mile east of the Clava Cairns. You can view it on a map here, and it’s what3words is dreamer.forge.openly.

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Fort George

Built as a result of the Jacobite rebellion

Fort George

Jutting out into the Moray Firth is Fort George, a magnificent artillery fortification – perhaps even the mightiest in all of Britain. The fort was built after Bonnie Prince Charles’ defeat at Culloden as a way for the King to stop any further Jacobite uprising. The fort was completed in 1769.

Although the barracks are still in use by the army (but will completely close by 2032), most of Fort George is fully open to all visitors. Some assistance for wheelchair users may be required at times. It is a fascinating example of how life in the army was hundreds of years ago. It lets you literally walk the same paths of soldiers of the past.

You can find Fort George on a map here, and its what3words is meaning.tributes.spurned.

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Dolphin Spotting

Whilst at Fort George, make sure to keep your eyes peeled on the water. This is a popular area for dolphins! Here and across the water at Channory Point are some of the best places to visit near Inverness to catch a really good sighting. Make sure you bring your camera as some of the dolphins like to play! Or you can book a boat trip on the Moray Firth to explore the sealife and spot dolphins with the experts at Dolphin Spirit!

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Cawdor Castle

Walk in the stunning gardens after a Scottish castle tour

Step back in time at Cawdor Castle

“All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor.” And so with that line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Cawdor Castle was immortalised (even though never directly mentioned). With origins in the 15th century, the castle was home for hundreds of years to the Calder and then Campbell families.

It now sits as a five-star visitor attraction – even Robert Burns once paid a visit! It is open to the public between April and October when you can visit the gardens and go inside the castle. Of particular note to visit here is the ‘thorn tree’ which is underneath the castle. Its base dates from AD 1372.

The castle also offers plenty of woodlands to explore, and fishing opportunities too. You can find Cawdor Castle on a map here, and it’s what3words are zoom.flush.easygoing.

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Beautiful Nairn Beach

Ready for a break? Then Nairn Beach is the perfect place to take a coffee or picnic and relax. With wide expanses of sand and breathtaking views over the Moray Firth, the beach is the perfect place to stop awhile. There are parking facilities, toilets, and some nearby cafes. There’s even a play area for the kids, Nairn Beach is dog friendly too.

If you can come when the sun is due to set, there’s a good chance you’ll get a beautiful display. In the colder winter months, it’s also a good place to spy the Northern Lights, if you are lucky. Narin beach can be found on a map here, and what3words are folds.bond.releasing.

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Brodie Castle

Another wonderful castle in our area for you to explore...

Brodie Castle

Brodie Castle can trace its origins back to 1587. I was home to the Brodie family until the early 21st century. The castle is open to visitors and a particularly good time to go is in spring when daffodils carpet the gardens. There are hundreds of varieties on display, and make for a beautiful spring walk!

This is a family-friendly attraction too, with woodland walks and an area called The Playful Garden. The kids will love it! Brodie Castle is on the map here, and it’s what3words is strain.wiggling.retain.

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Enjoy east of Inverness

By heading east of Inverness, you are guaranteed to find beauty, history, and culture. Enjoy your adventures in this beautiful part of the Scottish Highlands! If the East of Inverness History Trail has whetted your appetite for adventure, check out some more road trips near Inverness. So, now to head back to the start with a bit more history and Culloden Battlefield – one of the most popular attractions in Inverness.

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