Urquhart Castle: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Urquhart Castle.

  • Urquhart Castle is situated on the bank of Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland, home of the famous Loch Ness Monster. It was built during the 13th and 16th centuries.
  • The castle grounds and towers offer some of the best views of Loch Ness, and many supposed monster sightings have been made there. The monster has been seen since the 7th century.

  • The medieval castle seen today was built on the site of an earlier castle.
  • The 6th century Irish monk, St. Columba is said to have visited the site and performed miracles there.
  • The walled part of the castle measures about 150 metres by 46 metres. A 30 metre wide dry moat also offered protection, although many visitors arrived by water.

Urquhart Castle

  • In the late 13th century, King Edward I of England controlled the castle. It was taken by the Scottish and in 1332 was the only castle in the Highlands to withstand English attacks.
  • During the 14th century, Urquhart Castle was controlled by the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce. Legend says that he was inspired to keep fighting the English by watching a spider spin its web.
  • The MacDonalds, Lords of the Isles attacked the castle several times during the 15th and 16th centuries. The Grant clan owned the castle from the 16th century until 1912.
  • One attack by the MacDonalds and Camerons in 1545 is known as the Great Raid. The attackers took most of the furniture, cannon and castle gates, as well as 2,000 cattle.
  • It is Scotland’s third most visited castle, after Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle. As well as having a museum and cinema, the castle also hosts wedding ceremonies during the year.
  • Much of Urquhart Castle was destroyed during 17th century fighting between the Jacobites and Williamites. Locals used the stones for building and a tower was damaged during a 1715 storm.

What next? Learn more castle facts by visiting our castles resources page.