We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“More touristy than expected, but still worth the trip.”
Review of Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Loch Ness Sightseeing Cruise Including Urquhart...
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Discover 1,000 years of drama, experience a glimpse of medieval life and enjoy stunning views over Loch Ness from the ruins of the greatest castle in the Highlands. Climb the Grant Tower that watches over the iconic loch, peer into a miserable prison cell, said to have held the legendary Gaelic bard Domhnall Donn, and imagine the splendid banquets staged in the great hall. A more comfortable view of the iconic ruins, against a backdrop of Loch Ness and the hills of the Great Glen, can be enjoyed from the café. Urquhart’s stories are also told through a remarkable collection of artefacts left by its residents, historic replicas, including a full-sized, working trebuchet siege engine, and a short film. The castle has a distinctly Highland heritage and the site has witnessed some of the most dramatic chapters in our nation’s history. This is where St Columba is said to have worked miracles in the 6th century, where acts of chivalry and defiance provided inspiration during the Wars of Independence and where the MacDonald Lords of the Isles struggled with the Crown for power.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Reviewed 10 August 2014

My first introduction to Urquhart Castle was by Leonard Nemoy during a 1970s episode of "In Search Of" as he so eloquently described the mysteries of Loch Ness. Since then it has been my dream to visit the Loch and the Castle. Now that the dream has been realized and I have had the chance to pesonaly scratch at the secrets that the area holds I can say that now I sit in a somewhat anti-climactic state. Castle Urquhart, while not a dissapontment was a bit more touristy than I had hoped for. With the gates to the tickets opening at 0930 we had plenty of time to ensure that we were first in line. Even though we were successful in our positioning tactic the crowds soon desended upon the castle making access to much of the ruins difficult and many of the paths and staircase treacherous. During the middle of the visit a tour boat from Jacobite tours docked at the connectioning pier thereby doubling the historical sites population.

Now do not misunderstand me. The castle is still well worth the visit but patrons should understand its popularity.

The visitors center is a fully equipped facility to include bathrooms, a cafe and gift shop. As well, an elevator is available for disabled guests to take them from the ticket counter to the main floor one level below. A short film is shown here for all who wish to view and I highly recommend it as it sets a good history for the visitor pror to stepping onto the castle grounds. The walk from the visitors center to the castle is about 1/2 mile and moble chairs are available for disabled visitors.

Entrance into the Castle is required as it cannot be viewed from the road with the exception of a small roadside pullout several miles north of the castle. Cost for entrance is just under £10 for adults.

See you on the trail and remember, dont be one of "those."

John Eric

Thank John F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (4,020)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"loch ness"
in 952 reviews
"short film"
in 155 reviews
"gift shop"
in 218 reviews
"explorer pass"
in 42 reviews
"historic scotland"
in 88 reviews
"introductory film"
in 33 reviews
"interesting history"
in 52 reviews
"visitor center"
in 79 reviews
"beautiful location"
in 50 reviews
"entrance fee"
in 55 reviews
"information boards"
in 50 reviews
"fantastic views"
in 37 reviews
"sunny day"
in 59 reviews
"well worth the visit"
in 29 reviews
"boat tour"
in 31 reviews
in 751 reviews
in 179 reviews

2,042 - 2,046 of 4,021 reviews

Reviewed 10 August 2014

This castle is situated on a loch ness with breath taking panoramas. The presentation about the castle is very good and gives an informative introduction the history of the castle. We went on a sunny day ..so we could wander the ruins without getting wet or blown!

1  Thank Al A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2014

We went by here at about 6:30 in the morning on our way to the Isle of Skye. We were the only ones there, the first gate to the Castle and grounds was locked, the second gate, very short, we climbed over. Took some beautiful pictures and strolled the castle and it's grounds. Would have loved to see the 8 minute video other reviewers have mentioned. Can only imagine what it may have been like to live there 100's of years ago. Beautiful!!

Thank rhenfoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2014

The first time I was here years ago there was just a fence around the castle and a little gate and it was just perfect. Then it had the advantage that hardly anyone was here. Over the years I've been back a couple of times to find increasing degrees of security/commercialisation. Now it is very hard/impossible to get to (except from the loch) without going through the visitor centre. While I do understand that a lot of people want to see this lovely spot, the crowds definitely spoilt it for me, queuing to to climb up or down the tower steps and standing on the platform with 30 other people is no fun. If you want to see the castle or the views without hundreds of people jostling you for pictures, then come off season, near closing time or in bad weather. Still worth a visit but be warned, you'll not be alone.

Thank Bizzy6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 7 August 2014

We visited Scotland in July of 2014 and one of my goals was to boat on Loch Ness. The Ferry from the visitor centre to Castle Urquhart was a great idea and a smooth, beautiful ride. The pictures of the castle from the water were great, and we were anxious to see an "unrestored" castle of such importance in Scotland.

We were not disappointed. The wonderfully enormous trebuchet visible on docking was our first surprise, as was the bagpiper playing inside the grounds. The castle has a number of interpretive signs that "set the stage" for our imaginations. Our 18-year old son wanted to see a "real" castle and Urquhart fit the bill. I saw notes on Tripadvisor that the views from the Loch and the castle are the same - not so whatsoever. The massive size of this former glory, the layout, the great history to it (the sign describing all the riches stolen from the castle was a real interest) - all made my son declare this was the best castle of our visit.

We had purchased an Explorer Pass and as such, Urquhart was included with the pass which enhanced the value of the pass in our opinion, and we were all too happy to pay for the ferry ride, so all in all, we felt a good value. We highly recommend the Explorer Pass for Scotland - this castle, Edinburgh, Doune, and many more were included in the single price.

While we were visiting the castle, a pair of Eurofighter Typhoon fighters thundered by overhead, giving us a view of the training the Scottish and British pilots were going through - just another great moment in a wonderful visit.

The washrooms were spotless and readily accessible up the hill, the restaurant was clean and well stocked, the gift shop nicely laid out.

Frankly, as a North American looking for a few castles to visit, I would have difficulty finding anything wrong with castle Urquhart. Yes, it's a ruin - isn't that what you should expect from an ancient castle? Great value and great atmosphere. Nicely done!

Thank Tim W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Urquhart Castle also viewed

Loch Ness, Scottish Highlands
Culloden Moor, Scottish Highlands
Fort Augustus, Loch Ness

Been to Urquhart Castle? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing