Urquhart Castle

I’ve been enjoying reading about Hannah from Mum’s Days’ castle challenge this year after she set herself a challenge to visit all 45 castles in Northumberland. I love history and have to admit to having a few moments of castle envy as there aren’t very many to visit near where I live. So when we visited Scotland this week and passed the ruins of Urquhart Castle as we were driving along Loch Ness, I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to visit.

Urquhart Castle - Little Hearts, Big Love

Urquhart Castle dates from the 13th century although a Pictish fort probably stood on the site before the medieval castle was built. The largest and most complete building still standing is the Grant Tower which was built in the 1500s. Although it was a royal castle for many years, it was never the main residence of the lords who owned it. It was last occupied during the Jacobite Risings between 1689-1692 when the gatehouse was destroyed by the defending garrison to prevent the castle being used by the Jacobites. It is now owned and conserved by Historic Scotland.

Urquhart Castle - Little Hearts, Big Love

Entrance to the castle costs £8.50 for adults (with admission for Jessica and Sophie being free as they are under 5). There is an exhibition giving details about what life in the castle would probably have been like and models of the castle as it may have looked. There is also a short film which gives more information about the castle, although we didn’t stop to see this as the girls were quite keen to go and see the castle at the point when the film was starting.

Urquhart Castle - Little Hearts, Big Love


Urquhart Castle - Little Hearts, Big Love

The view walking down from the exhibition to the castle itself is beautiful with Loch Ness as the backdrop to the ruins. Jessica enjoyed riding on Daddy’s shoulders past the working replica of a trebuchet and both girls were keen to wander about and explore once we had reached the gatehouse entrance to the castle.

Urquhart Castle - Little Hearts, Big LoveUrquhart Castle - Little Hearts, Big Love

There are quite a few steps to get to parts of the castle which were fairly easy for both Jessica and Sophie to manage and both girls enjoyed having the opportunity to explore.

Urquhart Castle - Little Hearts, Big Love

We went inside the entrance floor of the Grant Tower and the girls were quick to make a beeline for the spiral staircase but I wasn’t quite brave enough to attempt to go up and down it whilst having to carry one of them so we didn’t get to explore the other floors or see the view from the top of the tower.

Urquhart Castle - Little Hearts, Big Love

Urquhart Castle - Little Hearts, Big Love

As we headed back down the hill from the Grant Tower towards the gatehouse, it was starting to rain and so we headed back to the café for some lunch before heading off on the next stage of our travels around Scotland. Jessica was quite taken by a little model of a princess in the gift shop which she promptly christened “Hellie” and it has rapidly become her new favourite toy, helping keep her amused during some of the long car journeys.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

26 thoughts on “Urquhart Castle

  1. Your opening photo is stunning, what a splendid Scottish castle this must once have been. I can imagine it being very grand back in it’s day and what amazing views. I don’t blame you leaving out the spiral staircase with the girls. A beautiful start to your holiday. Thank you for sharing with me on Country Kids.

  2. I am always so envious of those that get to explore castles in Europe! Looks like such a beautiful site and sounds like a fun time exploring with your family!

  3. It looks like a beautiful place to visit, soaking up the history and the atmosphere and all with those stunning views. My two love exploring sites like that, though yes, the spiral staircases can be tricky! Lovely photos x

  4. Oh wow Louise that first photo is breathtaking, what an amazing place to visit.
    Visiting Castles is so much fun, we were inspired by Hannah too and went to visit our local castle and it was so much fun. I am now looking for the next one to visit.
    Scotland is such a beautiful place.

  5. Ah, you’re making me homesick! Visiting castles like this is something that I really miss. It looks like you had a great time, and it is a beautiful setting beside a Loch Ness isn’t it? #CountryKids

  6. I love Urquhart castle, it’s so beautiful on the shores of Loch Ness! The girls look very happy with their visit! 🙂 x

  7. WOW Louise your photos are STUNNING!! Urquhart Castle is so impressive, that back drop of the loch! Just wow. Now I have castle envy!!!! I’m so pleased you had a sunny day for it too – it make such a difference to your photos. It’s now become an obsession… is there going to be any sun??? Haha!

    Fab post and thank you so much for the mention for my challenge 🙂 xxx

    1. Thank you Hannah – it was a beautiful place for a visit and I have been loving reading about your castle visits too! Hope you get some sunny days for your future visits 🙂

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