Castles and Historic sites across the Highlands
The Highlands of Scotland is a region that is seeped in history. From prehistoric settlements to castles, historic sites lie almost around every corner. The rich heritage that abounds makes the Scottish Highlands a must see destination on anyone’s bucket list of places to take holidays and short breaks.
It is a land of legend and folklore, of castles and historical sites where momentous events and everyday life was played out down the ages. History can be seen everywhere you look. Heritage and culture are not distant echoes but still very real and reverberating down to the present day.
Historic places and buildings have shaped the culture and outlook in the Highlands through countless generations, and continue to do so in a tangible way even now.
Whether you are a history buff or simply looking for a great family day out, there’s plenty to choose from for all ages.
A by no means exhaustive itinerary should include Culloden just outside the Highland capital, Inverness. It was here on this bleak moorland that the last pitched battle was fought on British soil in 1746. The protoganists were the Jacobite army of Bonnie Prince Charlie whose attempt to restore the House of Stuart to the British Crown was dealt a decisive hammer blow by the Hanoverian forces of the Duke of Cumberland.
An exciting new visitor centre and exhibition brings the bloody battle to life in “an innovative and interactive way which appeals to all the family.”
The built heritage of the past is also well represented in the Highlands, with many of the most evocative and iconic castles to be found anywhere in the world. The likes of Inverness Castle, Castle Urquhart, Eilean Donan and Dunrobin are quite rightly world famous, their haunting architecture and outstanding landscapes giving them an air of magic and surprise.
But away from the headline acts of Eilean Donan and Dunrobin, there is a plethora of lesser-known castles to discover and enjoy. Cawdor Castle near Nairn, for example, is said to be “the most romantic castle in the Highlands”. The 14th Century home of the Thanes of Cawdor, it is a true fairytale castle and home to the present Cawdor family.
However, it will forever be linked with the Shakespearian play, MacBeth even though the castle wasn’t built until 300 years after the royal power struggle took place.
Turning the clock back even further, the Highlands are home to an incredible tapestry of prehistoric, Pictish and Celtic remains going back nearly 8000 years. Burghead on the banks of the Moray peninsula is today a small coastal village but was once the largest Iron Age fort in Britain.
With a multiplicity of interpretation and visitor centres, the historical past of the Highlands from its earliest beginnings is being brought alive to visitors from all over the globe. Showing off the Highlands in the context of its history, culture and language, the efforts of many people and organisations across the Highlands are helping to ensure the region is rightly perceived as being that extra bit special.