Best Castles near Inverness

Νestled in the depths of the luscious Scottish Highlands, lies the magnificent city of Inverness; with the famous Loch Ness on its doorstep, and an array of charming shops and restaurants in its historic centre, Inverness is a magical place to visit. In addition, the city’s outskirts are home to some of the best castles in Scotland; here is a list of some of the best castles near Inverness:

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10 Best Castles to Visit in Inverness

1. Inverness Castle

In the heart of Inverness lies the impressive Inverness Castle; with views of the River Ness below, and a domineering and grand presence, the castle has been hailed as one of the most beautiful castles in the whole of Scotland.

The history of the fortress dates back to the medieval era, with the earliest castle being built in 1057. Since then, it has been rebuilt several times and resided in by many nobles and royals over the centuries. Today, it is open to the public and is one of the city’s main tourist attractions.

Where: Inverness
When: 11th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: It is now a courthouse and not open to the public. You can only visit the Inverness Castle Viewpoint. Click here for more info.

2. Ballindalloch Castle

Often regarded as the ‘pearl of the north’, Ballindalloch Castle is one of the most impressive and well-preserved castles in the whole of Scotland. It was originally constructed in the mid-16th century, though it was shortly burned and destroyed by James Graham, who was the first Marquess of Montrose.

The castle then underwent several reconstructions and restorations, firstly in the year 1645, and then again in 1770 by James Grant his ghost is still said to haunt the castle. The castle is open to the public during the summer months, as it is still resided in by the Macpherson-Grant family.

Where: Ballindalloch
When: 16th century
Style: Gothic
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

3. Cawdor Castle and Gardens

Surrounded by gorgeous and expansive luscious gardens in the scenic parish of Cawdor in Nairnshire, lies the impressive and historic Cawdor Castle.

The castles date back to the 15th century, where it was owned by the Calder family, who was a prominent Highland clan, before being passed over to the Campbells, another Scottish clan, in the 16th century.

The castle is famous for many reasons, but in popular culture, it is closely associated with its connection to ‘Macbeth’, by William Shakespeare. The castle is an A listed building and is open to the general public to visit and explore.

Where: Cawdor
When: 16th century
Style: Gothic
Open for visit: Yes, for more information click here.

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4. Urquhart Castle

Situated on the bank of the famous and beautiful Loch Ness, lies the fantastic ruined Urquhart Castle; this impressive castle has a long and expansive history, and it is not entirely certain as to when it was originally constructed.

However, the first written record of the castle dates back to the year 1296, after it was captured by Edward I of England, thus marking the beginning of the Wars of Scottish Independence.

This castle is in fantastic condition considering its age, and there is so much history attached to it; the castle makes for a great day trip from Inverness, as the views are amazing, and the castle is fascinating.

Where: Loch Ness
When: 13th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

5. Dunrobin Castle

Castles in Highlands-Dunrobin-Castle

Dunrobin Castle is an impressive and enormous stately home located in the Scottish county of Sutherland; it is the historic seat of the prominent Clan Sutherland.

The origins of the castle date back to the Middle Ages, though the vast majority of the gardens and the building that stands today date back to the mid-19th century, where it was renovated by Sir Charles Barry, between 1835 and 1850.

The castle was a boarding school for a number of years but is now a tourist attraction.

Where: Sutherland
When: 13th-century origins
Style: Neo-Gothic
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

6. Castle Leod

Castle Leod is a stunning A listed building that is located near the village of Strathpeffer in the Scottish Highlands, just a stone’s throw away from Inverness.

Its origins date back to the 12th century, where it was built upon the ground of an ancient Pictish fort; however, the castle that stands today was built dates back to the 17th century, and it has served as the primary seat for the Earls of Cromartie since.

Where: Strathpeffer
When: 17th century
Style: Renaissance
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

7. Brodie Castle

The beautiful Brodie Castle is an impressive fortress that dates back to the 16th century, whereby an early Z-plan style castle was constructed by Clan Brodie, in approximately the year 1567.

However, this castle was burned down by a fire in 1645 by Lewis Cordon, from the prominent Clan Gordon. It was not then rebuilt until the 19th century, wherein 1824, William Burn converted it into an enormous manor house.

Where: Forres
When: 16th century
Style: Scottish Baronial
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

8. Balvenie Castle

Located to the north of the burgh of Dufftown, lies the ruined medieval Balvenie Castle; it originally dates back to the 12th century, after it was constructed by the Comyn family, who were a prominent and powerful family in the region.

It remained at the centre of many critical historical battles over the centuries until it was abandoned in the early 18th century after William Duff committed suicide on the site.

Where: Dufftown
When: 12th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

9. Rait Castle

The beautiful and historic Rait Castle is situated nearby to Inverness, in the town of Nairn; its origins date back to the 13th century, whereby it was the property of the Comyn family, who later took on the name of ‘de Rait’.

It was later passed to the Mackintosh family, who are at the centre of many myths and legends. The castle, though ruined, is open to the public today, and is well worth the visit.

Where: Nairn
When: 13th century
Style: Medieval
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

10. Balmoral Castle

The famous Balmoral Castle is an impressive and historic royal residence that is situated in Royal Deeside, in Aberdeenshire; it has been resided in by the British royal family since the year 1852, after it was purchased by Prince Albert, who was the husband of Queen Victoria.

The castle is completely magical and iconic, and has so many impressive architectural features, both externally and internally; the grounds are also fantastic and perfect for spending an entire afternoon strolling around.

Where: Deeside
When: 19th century
Style: Scottish Baronial
Open for visit: Yes, for more information check here.

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