March 7, 2017

History and Nessie Spotting // Visiting Urquhart Castle
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When our bus from Inverness to Drumnadrochit flew right past our stop and started making its way out of town, we knew we had made a BIG mistake. How in the world were we going to get to our hotel to check in? Would we have to walk? It was starting to look like it. But then again, maybe, just maybe, things would turn out okay. And they did!

As it turned out, the bus that we were on went right past Urquhart Castle – the top sight on our list for our short time in Drumnadrochit. This time, the bus stopped. We figured that we might as well get off before we made it any further away from our destination. And, since we were staying just one night and we were only carrying small backpacks, we simply walked on in and bought our tickets.

Exploring Urquhart Castle

After we bought our tickets, we walked through the small gift shop and emerged on the other side to an amazing view of the castle and Loch Ness behind it. Although we were excited to get to exploring, we took a good fifteen minutes to make it down the hill and into the castle. I just couldn’t help but stop every couple of feet to take another photo, and of course we had to check out the giant trebuchet!

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

[one_half]Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.[/one_half][one_half_last]Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.[/one_half_last]

After stopping for photos of the trebuchet, we finally made it to the entrance way of the castle. Once again, I made Daniel stop so I could take some pictures.

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.
Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

[one_half]Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.[/one_half][one_half_last]Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.[/one_half_last]

We snuck a peak into the guard tower, and then it was on and up to the meeting point for the free walking tour!

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

The Tour

We were one of the first to reach the top of the castle and meet with our guide Andy. Once it looked like everyone who wanted to take the free tour had made it, Andy started off. He began with an overview of the history of the castle. He would often point to nearby sketches of what the castle probably looked like through the years. I thought these extra visual representations were really helpful, since I always have trouble imaging what ruins would have looked like in their heyday. We heard about the different owners of the castle, what it was used for, and a whole lot more history. Plus, this was all while enjoying some pretty fantastic views over the loch.

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle. Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

It was starting to look like rain though, so Andy decided that it was time to get going. He led us down through the rest of the castle, stopping at various different places to tell us about them.

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

Finally, we ended up at the Grant Tower – the most intact part of the castle that is left. Our tour finished up outside of the tower, but Andy made sure to give us plenty of tips for when we went into explore for ourselves. He was even around to answer questions if we happened to bump in to him! We ran into him in the basement and he pointed out how much more jagged the rocks in that part of the tower were than those at the top. This was because they built the basement first, and the technology wasn’t as good.

All in all, Andy’s tour was very informative. We were very happy that we managed to arrive on time to catch it. We definitely learned so much more than we would have just reading the signs scattered throughout the castle. Easily the best part of it all though was just how stunning the location of Urquhart Castle was. Overlooking Loch Ness, I don’t think they could have found a better place.

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

[one_half]Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.[/one_half][one_half_last]Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.[/one_half_last]

Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

If You Go

From Inverness, the number 19, 917, and 919 buses all take you straight to the Urquhart Castle Car Park after about a half hour ride. These busses also pass through the popular Loch Ness tourist village of Drumnadrochit if you’re staying there. Check the Stagecoach Bus website for bus times.

Urquhart Castle is open from 9:30am every day except for the 25th and 26th of December. Closing times range from 4:30pm to 6:00pm depending on the season. Tickets are £8.50 for adults and £5.50 for children aged 5-15 (children under 5 get in free). If you’re a member of Historic Scotland, tickets are free.

If guided tours are your thing, Historic Scotland offers free half-hour tours throughout the day, which I highly recommend.

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Loch Ness is often seen as Scotland's biggest tourist trap - but it's also incredibly beautiful. Urquhart Castle, on the shores of Loch Ness, is one example of this. Check out this post for a guide on how to visit Urquhart Castle.

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Untold Morsels

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The comments +

  1. Tanja

    March 9th, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    what a fascinating castle! #farawayfiles

  2. vanbrune

    March 9th, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    I went on a loch cruise and got to see the castle from the boat a few years ago. Looking at your pictures, I really wish I had gone on a tour with an actual visit to the castle. It looks even more gorgeous from close up!!

  3. Hilary

    March 9th, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    We visited Drumnadrochit and Loch Ness this past summer and loved it! It’s so fun to see it through someone else’s eyes! #farawayfiles

  4. addieabroad

    March 9th, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Our visit definitely wasn’t as nice weather-wise as it would have been in the summertime, but it was also a whole lot less crowded I’m sure! Either way, I loved it!

  5. Kat @anaussieinsf

    March 9th, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    I adore Scotland, and I’ve never been to Urquhart Castle. Just quietly, Andy looks like a bit of a character, I bet he made the tour interesting. Thanks for sharing, now I can put it on my list. #farawayfiles

  6. katy@untoldmorsels

    March 10th, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    I love this castle. We visited many years ago and I just loved its position overlooking the loch. When we were there they had a lone bagpiper wandering the castle ruins and it was so atmospheric. Thanks for reviving those memories for me Addie #farawayfiles

  7. Ahila

    March 11th, 2017 at 8:17 am

    I stayed for a couple of days in Inverness, but didn’t visit Urquhart castle though we had discussed visiting it. So, enjoyed your post about your visit and the beautiful photos of the castle ruins! #FarawayFiles

  8. Clare Thomson

    March 12th, 2017 at 10:15 am

    The colour in your photos is just extraordinary – very bright for Scotland! It’s such a stunning location for a castle. We’ve driven past Loch Ness – we stopped to see if we could spot Nessie but sadly, no luck – but we didn’t go around the castle. Looks like we missed out and the free guided tour is a great idea. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  9. Nina

    March 15th, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Stunning pictures! I really must go to Scotland.

  10. Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me)

    March 22nd, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Such a beautiful place! My mother in law’s maiden name is Urquhart, so I feel I have a duty to visit….

  11. addieabroad

    March 27th, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I wonder if there’s any relation!

  12. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad

    June 7th, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Great post, this looks awesome! I’ve not seen much about Urquhart Castle before. I was actually just going to check to see if it’s included on our Historic Scotland membership but you’ve answered that for me! Haha.

  13. Addie

    June 7th, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Historic Scotland membership is awesome – You should definitely check it out!

  14. Scottish Castle Hopping // A Day Trip from Home • Addie Abroad

    June 10th, 2017 at 10:33 am

    […] through Cairngorms National Park. I had done this by train a few months earlier on the way up to Loch Ness, and the rolling hills were no less impressive this time around – though perhaps not as […]

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