This dramatic stronghold overlooks the waters of Loch Ness and is surrounded by some of the Highlands' most stunning scenery. Once one of the largest castles in Scotland, an exhibition and audio visual presentation now captures its turbulent and bloody history. As a place to visit, Urquhart Castle makes a fascinating half day out. There are many castles in Scotland that are more complete, and some that are larger. But there are few with quite such a turbulent history, and even fewer located in such beautiful surroundings. And in no other do you have the chance, however faint, of taking a photograph that proves that dinosaurs are not, after all, extinct...
Contact: (01456) 450551
Cawdor. A magical name, romantically linked by Shakespeare with Macbeth. A superb fairy-tale castle, and just what every visitor is looking for ... Scottish history that you can touch and see and sense for yourself. Cawdor Castle is not another cold monument, but a splendid house and the home of the Cawdor family to this day. Along with the three gardens, the Cawdor Big Wood, and their own 9-hole golf course, Cawdor Castle is a truly extraordinary place.
Contact: (01667) 404401
Fort George sits behind its massive grass-topped artillery defences on an isolated spit of land jutting west into the Moray Firth at Ardersier, 11 miles north east of Inverness. Conceived in the immediate aftermath of the 1745 uprising and the nearby Battle of Culloden that concluded it, Fort George was intended to be a once and for all solution to the threat posed by the Highlands, and the Jacobites in particular. Fort George offers a fascinating day out. Visitors approach from the landward side where the sloping grassy banks designed to absorb artillery shells all but hide the fort from view. The visitor centre and shop is in the old guardhouse on the ravelin, a free standing defensive structure completely exposed to fire from the main fort.
Contact: (01667) 460232