Once one of Scotland's largest castles, Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness remains an impressive stronghold despite its ruinous state. Its remains include a tower house that commands splendid views of the famous loch and Great Glen.
Reputedly once visited by Saint Columba when it was the home of a Pictish chieftain, Urquhart witnessed considerable conflict throughout its 500 years as a medieval fortress and its history from the 1200s to the 1600s was particularly bloody. Following the invasion of King Edward I of England in 1296, it fell into English hands and was then reclaimed and lost again. In the 1300s it figured prominently in the Scots’ struggle for independence and came under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scotland in 1306.
The castle’s history is told in the exhibition and audio-visual display in the new visitor centre. The centre features an outstanding array of medieval artefacts found at the castle. It also tells the stories of the noble families who held the castle at different times from the Durwards to the MacDonalds and Grants.