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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 09 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Lucy Gillmore

The most photographed castle in Scotland and, many say, the most beautiful, punches above its weight in the tourist attraction stakes. Christopher Lambert stormed across the causeway to this tiny fortress, perched on an island where three lochs meet, in Hollywood blockbuster, Highlander.

Founded in the 13th century, it was the traditional stronghold of Clan Mackenzie and their allies the Clan Macrae. Clan Mackenzie and Clan Macrae sided with the Jacobites in the unsuccessful Jacobite Rebellion, leading to the castle’s partial destruction in 1719 by British government forces during the rebellion’s repression. It was rebuilt from 1919-32 by Lieutenant-Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap, and is now recognised as a Scottish icon.

Price from: £10
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The site is a 1.5-hour drive west of Inverness or north of Fort William. There is plentiful free parking on site. In winter (November to mid-March, except January), there are free guided tours on the hour and half hour throughout the day, every day. In summer (mid-March-October), the castle is fully open for wandering, or there are free guided tours every 15 minutes. The visitor centre has a coffee shop and gift shop.

The complex has a cosy two-bedroom (one double, one twin) holiday cottage for weekly lets, idyllically set and with 180-degree panoramic views over Loch Long, Loch Duich and Loch Alsh.

When to do it

The castle is open from March to December, seven days a week. The castle is closed in January and February, and occasionally/randomly for weddings – check the website for dates before you go.

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