Our final stop of the day is at Cawdor Castle, one of Scotland's most beautiful and well-preserved castles, dating back to the 14th Century.
Despite many fortifications and alterations over the years, Cawdor Castle is remarkably well-preserved, giving a wonderful impression of how the landed gentry would have lived back in the 15th Century. Unusually for a Scottish castle, it remains in the family, with the Dowager Countess Cawdor, stepmother of the 7th Earl of Cawdor, residing there over the winter months.
The audio guide provides an interesting and entertaining overview of each of the castle’s 12 principal rooms, which contain collections of 17th Century tapestries, fine art, antique furniture and sculptures. Every object has a story behind it and this is no more so than in “The Thorn Tree Room”, where you hear the story of the legendary tree which the castle was built around back in 1372 and which, remarkably, still exists there today!
After you have completed the audio tour we would recommend heading outside to the immaculate gardens: The Flower Garden is a formal garden designed in the 18th Century and featuring lavender borders and yew tree hedges; The Walled Garden features exotic plants, a maze, a Knot Garden and a hidden Paradise Garden; The Wild Garden is a hidden delight which leads to 5 miles of nature trails in ancient oak woodlands. For those who are bringing children, these trails are a wonderful place to let them run around and play!
We would recommend that you stop off at the Courtyard Cafe, which offers delicious lunches (be sure to leave room for their tasty home baking!)
There are also three gift shops here, one of which sells a wonderful selection of classic Scottish souvenirs unique to the castle.
You will have around two hours at Cawdor Castle. Admission to the castle is not included in the tour price and is payable on the day (adults £13.50, see FAQ section for all other prices)
After departing from the castle at 1.30pm we will arrive back into Inverness at 2pm.