A Guide to Visiting the Culloden Battlefield, Scotland
On the 16th April 1745, a brave group of Scottish clansmen faced off the English army for what the Jacobites considered the rightful king of Britain, Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The battlefield at Culloden is all that remains of this brief and bloody battle, where between 1,500 and 2,000 Scots were massacred and buried.
Culloden is located near Inverness and welcomes visitors to see the battlefield. The place has become much more popular since the Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon became a TV series.
The Battle of Culloden holds cultural significance not only for what happened on the battlefield but the repercussions of the Jacobite Rising. Clans and traditions were stripped, the Gaelic language (unsuccessfully) squashed, and thousands of people were deported to America or died of starvation. The battle is indeed hugely significant in Scottish history.
This article is a guide on how to get to Culloden Moor and how to make the most of your visit.
Take the A9 from Inverness and turn onto the B9006; drive for around 13 minutes. The battlefield can be seen on the right-hand side; it’s a wide-open space with flags in the ground. There are clear signs pointing to Culloden Battlefield.
By Public Transport
From Inverness, go to Queensgate (Stop A) and take the Number 5 bus for Croy. It's a 36-minute ride.
The Visitor’s Centre
There is a café, gift shop, and exhibition in the Visitor’s Centre, which can be reached a short walk ahead from the entrance. The battlefield itself is free to enter.
Those interested in learning more about the history of the battle can enter the exhibition, which includes:
- Cinematic experience at the 360-degree battle immersion theatre.
- Guided tour of the battlefield.
- Entry to the museum where historical artifacts are displayed.
Alternatively, you can choose to explore the battlefield on your own.
Visitor’s Centre Entry Prices (Café and Gift Shop Entry Free)
One Adult Family
National Trust Members
Things to See
Leanach Cottage is the first thing you’ll see when you enter. It is a restored building crafted from heather from the battlefield itself.
You can see gravestones for various Scottish clans and the estimated number of men from the clans who died on the battlefield. Clan Fraser can also be found here.
The English stripped the Scottish people of their swords, kilts, and clans after the Battle of Culloden, so the graves are not only representative of the death of the brave clansmen who fought here, but of the death of the clans themselves.
A monument was built to honour the fallen soldiers and can be found on the west side of the battlefield.
The Visitor’s Centre at the Culloden Battlefield holds various events throughout the year, including more detailed tours, historical lessons in the forms of plays or presentations held by volunteers, talks, and special services. For more information, visit the official National Trust for Scotland website.
- Dress warmly. Even in summer, the battlefield can get cold and rainy.
- Don’t make too much noise. Be polite and courteous of others.
- Keep to the path.
- Keep in mind that the gift shop is expensive. Though there are some unique items available here, remember that you can get many whiskies and sweets for a lot cheaper elsewhere.
- The jewellery is around the same price as other places.
- If you’re a fan of Outlander, you can find many Outlander-themed gifts at the shop, such as snoods, mugs, and brooches.
Visiting the Battlefield of Culloden is a humbling and emotion-heavy experience. The battle, after all, signified the failure of the Jacobite Rising and the difficulties the Scottish people, particularly Highlanders, would face.
Though Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom in 2014 (albeit narrowly; 45% of the votes were in favour to leave), there are still many Scots who believe the country would benefit from independence and mourn the loss of what could have been if the Jacobite Rising had been a success.
For more information on the Culloden Battlefield and its history, please visit the National Trust for Scotland website.
Culloden is a great place to visit, and coupled with activities near Loch Ness or in Inverness, it can be a great day out in one of the most beautiful countries on Earth!
© 2020 Poppy