Heading west of Forres, towards Inverness, you will find many places of historical interest to visit during your stay in the area. You could possibly visit all of these in one day, however there is an awful lot to take in, so if you want to spend time absorbing the history you may want to plan a couple of days. All are within easy reach of Cluny Bank, not more than 30mins drive away.
Culloden Visitor Centre
Learn about the true history of the Jacobite Rising which began in 1745 and culminated in the Battle of Culloden in April 1746. As well as being able to see artefacts from both sides of the battle, the visitor centre has an immersive 360-degree experience which puts you right at the heart of the conflict. There are interactive displays, a gift shop and cafe within the centre.
Outside you will find the atmospheric battlefield, here you can walk along the actual battle lines of both the Government and the Jacobites and see the markers where the individual clans where buried.
If you are a fan of Outlander, Culloden Battlefield is a place that you must visit. You will also find the next port of call interesting.
Turn right as you exit Culloden Visitor Centre and you will see a sign for the Clava Cairns. Turn right at the signpost and carry on straight along the road until you come to a sign directing you to turn right. Here you will find a parking and picnic area as well as The Clava Cairns in a secluded woodland setting.
The Cairns are roughly 4000 years old and are made up of passage graves, a ring cairn, kerb cairn and standing stones, similar to those seen in Outlander! They have been well preserved and give an insight into societies during the Bronze Age. The cairns were believed to have been built to align with the midwinter sunset and are of true historical interest.
Two years after the Battle of Culloden, work began to build Fort George in an effort to control the Scottish Highlands. Upon completion the fort was the largest and most powerful fortress in Northern Europe, however by 1769 the threat of a rising had dissipated and the fort was used for training purposes.
Today the fort remains virtually unaltered and is an active working fort, home to the Black Watch. Whilst some areas of the fort are restricted there is still plenty to see providing a fascinating insight into 18th Century military life. Walk around the main ramparts, which are more than 1km in length, that defend the forts vast area. The ramparts are also a good place to spot the Moray Firth Dolphins.
This fairytale castle was built in the 15th century and is surrounded by stories, myths and legends. Some may be true but others have been discounted due to not falling within the timeline. The castle had additions and renovations take place in the 17th and 18th centuries including a courtyard, drawbridge and turrets.
The castle has been well kept and is still home to the Cawdor Family, however there is still a good amount of the castle to view. When visiting be sure not to miss the wonderful gardens. We visited on a beautiful summers day and have to say that the gardens were very impressive with several different defined areas. Cawdor also has a 9-hole golf course, a coffee shop and gift shop.