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Cawdor Castle and Gardens
Cawdor Castle and Gardens

Cawdor Castle and Gardens

Open daily 10am -5.30pm from May to early October
Cawdor, Nairn, Scotland

The basics

The appeal of Cawdor Castle transcends its shaky literary connections. The castle–which is still home to the descendants of the Clan Campbell of Cawdor–remains remarkably preserved and is surrounded by immaculate gardens, the Cawdor Big Wood, and a nine-hole golf course. Highlights for visitors include the sumptuous Drawing Room, with its fascinating family portraits; the Dining Room, with its grand stone fireplace; the 17th-century-style Tapestry Bedroom; and the Old Kitchen. According to legend, the castle is built around a thorn tree—since identified as a holly dating from 1372—which visitors can still see today in the dungeon.

Many sightseeing tours of the Highlands and Inverness include stops at Cawdor Castle alongside nearby Culloden and the Clava Cairns. If you don’t have your own transportation, a guided tour is your best bet for checking off several attractions in one day, rather than relying on public transportation, which can be time consuming.

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Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
$432.08 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Awesome tour with Mike
Mike was so amazing!!! He was patient and informative. He allowed us to take our time and gave us options. It was our first time to inverness and we really enjoyed seeing all the sites and visit loch ness. I am excited to try his other tours when we come back. Urquhart Castle was my favorite part.
Christine_C, Apr 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Inverness

star-5
Best way to do a whistle stop tour
Scott_M, Jan 2022
Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
This was a lovely tour, Mike, the guide was informative without boring us silly with facts. He was patient and adapted the tour to facilitate us and included a trip to see some Highland Coos for the toddler (and adults). The car was super clean. Thanks Mike!
star-5
Outstanding!
MelissaWikle, May 2022
Loch Ness,cawdor castle,inverness,Culloden battlefield,& more from invergordon
Outstanding! Great tour. He really crammed a lot into the time. Highly recommend! Very nice new van and he even provided snacks and water
star-5
History, Science, and Gin
Judith_S, May 2022
Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns & Cawdor Castle
Our guide George M. was fun and knowledgeable. A wonderful tour to Clava Cairns, Culloden, Loch Ness Museum and a sweet little gin distillery! He also whisked us up to Beauly Priory. A very full day with many interesting stops.
star-5
Wonderful day in the Highlands
Kimberly_Z, Apr 2022
Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
We could not have asked for a better tour or guide. George was wonderful and made the day interesting and fun. He was also very accommodating for our group. The sites were incredible and his knowledge of the area and the history made the day truly memorable.
star-4
Good tour but tries to pack too much in.
Christopher_B, May 2022
Tour 2 Cawdor Castle, Inverness, Culloden Battlefield and Loch Ness
Tour was good. Cawdor castle was very interesting and the gardens were beautiful. Culloden battlefield had some interesting history and our tour guide went into detail about it. A must stop if you’re a fan of Outlander. We only had about 40 minutes in Inverness and wished we could have spent more time exploring there than taking the longer “scenic route.” Also the stop at Loch Ness was only about 10 minutes on the side of the roadway. Enough time to take a few pictures but that is all. I would recommend not stopping at Beauly and using that time in Inverness. Plan on bringing a snack since There really is no time to get a meal along the way.
star-5
Wonderful Tour with a Great Guide
Julie_C, Dec 2021
Half-Day Tour, Loch Ness, Cawdor Castle & Outlander sites Tour from Inverness
My friends and I visited Inverness in mid-November. We had just one day in the area and decided to book this tour as a convenient way to see some popular sites, and we did not regret it! The scenery and views were absolutely stunning, and the history captivating. Our tour guide, Mike, was absolutely lovely and accommodating. We shared our tour with another group, and Mike ensured we were all able to see the destinations we really wanted to, not only getting us to each destination but also providing some insightful commentary along the way. We were on a tight schedule to catch our transportation out of town, and Mike made sure to help keep an eye on the time to make sure he got us there on time, dropping us off directly at the bus station. Would highly recommend this tour for anyone who wants to see the main attractions of Inverness and the surrounding area with someone helpful and knowledgeable, and willing to cater the experience to you.
star-5
Beautiful Tour
Angela_P, Sep 2021
Tour 2 Cawdor Castle, Inverness, Culloden Battlefield and Loch Ness
Kate from Thistle Excursions was a very informative and interesting guide. We saw lots of the area around Inverness and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Thank You.
star-5
Fully recommend
Paula_F, Apr 2022
Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
I would definitely recommend doing this. Alister our tour guide was wonderful, really knowledgeable and made sure we had a good time. Alister went above and beyond for us.
star-5
Highly recommend
Nina_G, Jul 2021
Half-Day Tour, Loch Ness, Cawdor Castle & Outlander sites Tour from Inverness
There was a bit of a mixup in the beginning about pickup and time. However our tour guide was fabulous. He was so knowledgeable and accommodating and pleasant. My family and I had a wonderful time. I would highly recommend this tour. Breathtaking views and lots of history. I would definitely do again. Highly recommended.
star-5
Great way to start our family holiday
Catherine_J, Sep 2021
Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns & Cawdor Castle
This tour was an amazing start to our holiday in the Highlands. We got to see Clava Cairns, Culloden battlefield, Cawdor Castle and Beauly Priory and some friendly Highland Cows into the bargain. The weather was sunny and hot for the most part and the beautiful Cawdor Castle gardens were a highlight for me. We all enjoyed the reenactment of the battlefield at Culloden and the kids were fascinated by the video demonstrations of the old cannons firing. These are all amazing places and we would never have managed all this on our own on public transport. The best thing about the tour though is George who is a mine of interesting information that you would not find in a guidebook. For the whole of the rest of our tour of the Highlands someone would pipe up at least once a day ‘remember what George said about that’ (clans, salmon fishing and even Jimmy Page!) I would highly recommend starting your Highland adventure with a tour with George.
star-5
Superb guide and comfortable vehicle
Archana_K, Apr 2022
Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
The tour guide was very knowledgeable and had a very friendly manner Personalised the tour to our needs and also had an amazing comfortable vehicle Definitely recommend
star-5
Highland Happiness!
Adrienne_C, Apr 2022
Loch Ness,Culloden Battlefield,Cawdor Castle & Much More From Inverness City
We got to see everything we wanted including Loch Ness, a couple of fluffy Highland cows, Clava Cairns (Outlander fans!), and my hubby got to see the castle which his family hailed. There was so much more to this trip, but these were the highlights for us. Mike was amazing-so full of knowledge and history and understanding of our time. It was all around amazing!! I would love to go back in the future.

Things to know before you go

  • Cawdor Castle is a must-visit for anyone interested in Scottish history and gardens.
  • Many sightseeing tours of the area included admission to the castle but check details first.
  • The Courtyard Café, located inside the old servants’ quarters, serves light meals and drinks.
  • The Castle Giftshop sells Campbell and Cawdor tartan, cashmere blankets, local jams and honey, and whisky from nearby Royal Brackla Distillery.
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How to get there

Cawdor Castle is a 25-minute drive east of Inverness, the capital of the Highlands. If coming from Nairn, it’s a 12-minute drive southwest. Directions are well signposted. You can also reach the castle by public transport: take the Stonehaven-bound train from Inverness to Nairn, then get on the #105 bus: the journey takes just over an hour in total.

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When to get there

The castle is only open from spring through fall—typically April to early October (check in advance). During open season it is open every day from mid-morning until early evening (last admission 30 minutes before closing). To avoid crowds, visit on a weekday outside of school holidays (typically July/August).

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Nature Trails

The wooded area (known as the Big Wood) that surrounds Cawdor Castle offers five walking trails that vary in length from 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers) to 5 miles (8 kilometers). A walk along one of those trails takes you past a variety of trees including birch, aspen, rowan, wych elm, juniper, and Scots pine. The Big Wood is also home to more than 130 species of lichen, including a number of very rare varieties thanks to the clean air and low rainfall.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Cawdor Castle and Gardens?
A:
Attractions near Cawdor Castle and Gardens:
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Inverness?
A:
As well as visiting the Cawdor Castle and Gardens, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: