Inverness Castle was built on the site of an earlier fortress in 1835 and sits on a low cliff overlooking the River Ness and the cathedral on the opposite bank. It is thought that 11th-century castle which featured in Shakepeare's play Macbeth (even though there is no historical evidence to suggest that it was where Duncan I was murdered) was in fact located to the east of the present castle. Originally built of wood, it was replaced by a fortress of stone on Castle Hill. Apparently there have been sightings of the ghost of King Duncan walking along the banks of the River Ness in full regalia.
Today Inverness Castle houses the Sherriff's Court. Take Castle Street which winds its way up around the rear of the castle and past some pretty floral displays to get to the statue of Flora MacDonald. At the Castle Garrison Encounter you can journey back in time to 1745, enlist in the Regiment and meet some of its other characters live. Open daily during the tourist season from 10.30am to 5.30pm. Tel: +44 1463 243 363.
And there are several famous Scottish castles to visit, within easy reach of Inverness.
Cawdor Castle & Gardens
Viewed as one of the most romantic castle's in Scotland, built int the 14th century with links to Shakespeare's Macbeth. Tour the castle with its fine paintings and furniture. There are also three separate gardens and a golf course to enjoy.
Magnificently sited, overlooking Loch Ness. Urquhart is one of the largest castles in Scotland, with a long and colourful history, built in the 1230s, seized by the English in 1296, sacked by the MacDonald Lord of the Isles in 1545 and left to fall into decay after 1689.
The castle’s history and that of the noble families – Durward, Macdonald and Grant – who held it, is told in the exhibition and audio-visual display in the new visitor centre. The Centre features an outstanding array of medieval artefacts found at the castle.
Visitors can relax in the café and visit the shop with its local crafts. The visitor centre contains retail, interpretation area, audio-visual presentation and tearoom and toilets on one level. Stunning views of the loch can be obtained from the visitor centre verandah.
Dunrobin Castle is home to the Dukes of Sutherland and could easily be the inspiration for a Disney castle with its clusters of pointed turrets. It has a magnificent setting on the seashore near Brora, about 1 hour's drive north of Inverness. There are formal gardens dating back to 1850 in the style of those at Versailles and each day there are displays of falconry in the grounds and a café to refresh the hungry.