Urquhart Castle is situated 18 miles
south of Inverness, 17 miles north of
Fort Augustus, by the village
of Drumnadrochit, top area for the
Loch Ness Monster information and
The Castle is open for most of the
year, closing at 1800 summer, 1630
winter, with an entrance fee, only closed
25th and 26th December. Postcode: IV63
See also a large Click On
Map for Top Attractions in the area.
The Image top is of the large car park and
modern Visitor Centre with a Cafe, Museum, and
Cinema that shows a short video of the Castle
You can explore all around the Castle, climb
the Tower, go down to the Beach, and read a
number of Notice Boards that give information
on the different sections of the Castle and how
they were used.
This is the area where most sightings of the
Loch Ness Monster have been, so have your
camera ready should she pass by while you are
there. The Loch Ness
Monster became world famous after a
sighting of her in 1933.
If you fail to see Nessie, there is the
Loch Ness Exhibition
Centre 2 miles north with information on
her, with a monster replica in a pond by the
car park, a good photo spot.
Urquhart Castle History
400s? - a Wooden Pictish Fort was on this
site, at the high point on the south side of
the present Castle.
500s - St Columba visited the area in an
attempt to spread Christianity throughout
Scotland. Little is known about religion of the
Picts before St Columba.
1100s late & early 1200s - the
MacWilliams from this area rebelled against the
1229 - King Alexander II granted the lands
of Urquhart to his loyal supporter Thomas de
Lundin. Lundin's death a few years later led to
the Castle passing to his son Alan Durward, who
is said to have built the earliest parts of the
Urquhart Castle seen today.
1275 - Alan Durward died, leading to the
Castle passing to John II Comyn, Lord of
1296 - Urquhart Castle was captured by
Edward I of England at the beginning of the
Wars of Scottish
Independence. King Alexander III of
Scotland had died without leaving an heir,
leading to Scottish Nobles fighting amongst
themselves to see who would become King.
The English invaded Scotland so they could
support a King of Scotland that was under their
The three main Families in line for the role
of Scots King were Balliol, Bruce, and
1298 - Urquhart was taken back by the
1303 - the English re-took the Castle,
putting Alexander Comyn in charge.
1306 - Robert the
Bruce murdered John Comyn at Greyfriars
Church in Dumfries / south Scotland. Bruce was
then crowned King of Scotland at Scone
1307 - Robert the Bruce and his forces moved
north taking the castles of Inverlochy,
Urquhart, and Inverness.
1314 - The Scots victory at Bannockburn led to the end of
the first Independence War with England,
leading to Urquhart Castle becoming a Royal
Castle, looked after by a number of Keepers,
families loyal to the King.
1342 - King David II used Urquhart for a
hunting trip, the only King to have stayed at
1395 to 1476 - the MacDonald Lords of the
Isles, took control of Urquhart Castle on a few
occasions as they rebelled against Kings.
1476 - King James III awarded control of
Urquhart Castle to his loyal supporter, George
Earl of Huntly.
1509 - King James IV awarded the Grants control
of Urquhart with the task of keeping the
under control. Over the following 20 years, a
number of battles took place between the Grants
and the MacDonald's, and their allies the
The Grants eventually took control of the
area, building much of the Castle seen
1600s early - Castle Grant
Castle became the main residence of the
Grants, leading to Urquhart Castle being run
1644 - a mob of Covenanters broke into
Urquhart Castle and robbed Lady Mary Grant.
1647 - Urquhart Castle was noted as being
1688 - the First Jacobite
Rising began after James VII Stuart was
deposed by his Protestant daughter Mary Stuart
and her husband William of Orange. James had
been accused of being a Catholic with strong
connections to France.
The Grant's opposed the Jacobite's, using
200 of their own soldiers to defend Urquhart
Castle for Mary and William.
About 500 Jacobite's laid siege to the
Castle, with the Grant's holding out until the
Jacobite's were forced to give up their fight
in 1690, with James Stuart having to live in
exile in France.
1692 - as the Soldiers left Urquhart Castle,
they blew up the Gatehouse to prevent
Jacobite's from using the Castle in future
The following years saw locals plunder the
Castle for building materials such a wood,
lead, and stone for farms and houses.
1715 - parts of the Grant Tower collapsed
during a storm.
1770s - the Grants began building the town
of Grantown-on-Spey, about 40 miles east of
Urquhart where their Castle Grant is
1770s - Urquhart Castle was noted as being
1745 / 1746 - during the third and final
Jacobite Rising, Grants fought on both
1800s - the Castle Ruins became popular with
the first tourists to Scotland, especially with
1913 - Historic Scotland took control of the
Castle so it could be maintained as a tourist
1998 - a new Visitor Centre and larger Car
Park were built to accommodate the increasing
number of tourists to the Castle, now one of
the most visited Castles in Scotland.
Today - some of the larger Loch Ness
Tour Boats dock at the
Castle, allowing tourists the opportunity to
explore the Castle, and cruise Loch Ness in
search of the Monster on the one trip.