Loch Ness and Inverness make the perfect destination all year round, but winter in the Highlands offers some amazing experiences that you simply won’t get elsewhere!
No highland holiday would be complete without a visit to a fairytale castle, and Cawdor has got this covered! Steeped in history and intrigue (the castle has been linked to Shakespeare’s Macbeth!) this 14th Century castle boasts high tapestry-hung walls and turnpike stairwells that allow visitors a truly authentic Scottish castle experience.
Open from May to October, Cawdor itself also boasts an amazing array of gardens (Kitchen garden, flower garden and wild garden) which are sure to delight hardened horticulturists and amateur admirers alike, while the nearby Dower House of Achindoune can be accessed through the Big Wood – giving access to a further kitchen garden, Tibetan garden and arboretum.
The Castle also offers it own golf course set over 25 acres of beautiful parkland, with 1161 yards (par 32) offering a range of challenges for golfers of all levels. While fishing fans may enjoy the opportunity to fish the Laird’s Beat – offering opportunities to take all classes of salmon from pools and stream across the estate.
Refreshments are available in the Cawdor Courtyard Restaurant and Clubhouse Coffee shop, while gifts and souvenirs can be purchased in the three onsite shops – the Gift Sjop, Highland Shop and Wool Shop.
Cawdor Castle also hosts events including open garden days, open air theatre and food festivals, throughout the year – check their website for the latest information on upcoming attractions.
This imposing structure spans the River Nairn near Clava, and is the longest masonry railway viaduct in Scotland. The magnificent feat of engineering is an inspiring sight, and the track remains in regular use by passenger services today, although visitors could be forgiven for expecting to see a steam train puffing its way across the arches in place of these more modern engines.
Golf Magazine’s Top New International Course of 2009 has certainly been making a big name for itself since its opening - having hosted both the European Tour and the Scottish Open.
With unrivalled views across the Moray Firth to the hills and mountains of the North, the course offers vistas over beautiful Ben Wyvis and Historic Fort George as well as the Inverness icon that is the Kessock Bridge and the Black Isle sentinel of the Chanonry Lighthouse.
The course has been roundly praised for its design, location and playability for golfers of all levels – and the superb art deco clubhouse presents a great place to relax and unwind after enjoying a round.
Dating from about 4,000 years ago, these prehistoric burial cairns from a Bronze Age cemetery that is both fascinating and haunting in equal measure.
The site comprises graves, ring cairns, kerb cairn and standing stones, as well as the remains of an undated chapel.
Visitors are asked to be respectful of the site, and reminded of the story of the anonymous tourist who apologetically returned a stone stolen from the site to the tourist office with a request that it be returned to its original spot – as they believed their family had been cursed by its presence in their home.
Surrounded by almost a mile of massive walls, this enormous military base dates from the 18th Century and has changed little in that two and a half centuries.
Walk the walls and see the defences including the imposing cannons, explore the barrack rooms and view the historic weapons arsenal, or take a moment of peace in the Regimental Chapel, which is hung with old colours and battle flags. Alternatively, why not join an organised dolphin watch, for the best chance of spotting one of the Moray Firth’s most famous residents – the bottlenose dolphins.
The Fort is also home to the recently refurbished Highalnder’s Museum, home to the history of three of the four regiments that came together to make up the Highalanders Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland – from the days after the Battle of Culloden right up to the present day. Guided tours are available during the summer months.
Want to make the East of Inverness YOUR Highland holiday destination this year? Check out the great choice of accommodation on offer across the area!