With its varying landscapes of rolling hills, mountain valleys, vast lochs, diverse cities, and untouched white sandy beaches that rival even those of the Caribbean, it’s not surprising that Scotland is one of the most visited countries in the world.
Pre-pandemic, Scotland welcomed over 150 million visitors from around the globe. Now that the world is opening back up, these numbers are expected to be the norm once again.
For such a small country with a population of only 5.4 million, Scotland is much more than Braveheart and Haggis – though you should definitely give the latter a try when you visit.
Although a small country, it’s one steeped in rich history, unrivaled nature, ancient architecture, warm, friendly locals, and incredible food.
When it comes to Scotland, there’s no shortage of things to see and do – no matter what you’re interested in.
When you cruise with us on our traditional hotel barges, Scottish Highlander or Spirit of Scotland, you’ll experience some of the most beautiful and famous sights that the highlands have to offer while enjoying a truly unique and relaxing experience as we cruise along the Caledonian Canal.
Although there are many things to see on this route, one of the favourites among our guests is Cawdor Castle.
It’s such a favourite and must-visit place that we decided to write a whole post about it.
Don’t worry, though – there’s so much to see and experience at Cawdor Castle that could never be captured in one single post, as this is a place that truly has to be seen to be believed.
The History of Cawdor Castle
Set in the Scottish highlands on the outskirts of Inverness in the ancient fishing port and the market town of Nairn lies the magnificent and moody Cawdor Castle.
Amidst towering trees that surround and perfectly seclude the 14th-century castle and its pristine gardens, this is a place that conjures up images of something from a fairytale.
Cawdor Castle was built in 1370 as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor – an Anglo Saxon family made famous by Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
One of the things that make Cawdor Castle such a special place is how it survived attack over the many battles during Scotland’s volatile 600-year history, which means that the building you see today is as complete as it was then – making it a true piece of history that can never be replaced.
Many battles, such as The Battles of Auldearn and The Battle of Culloden were being fought a mere 8 miles away, yet the fortress of Cawdor remained untouched.
When visiting Cawdor Castle, there’s much to see. From the grounds and gardens to the 11 well-maintained rooms inside the castle itself, some of which we’ve listed below to give you an idea of what to expect on your visit.
The Drawing Room:
The beautiful Drawing Room at Cawdor Castle is one of the most popular and everyone who visits remembers it.
The room is warm and inviting, while still retaining a dark mystique that is reminiscent of the time period in which it was built.
Extravagant tapestry, furnishings, and portraits really bring this room into its own.
The Yellow Sitting Room:
The Yellow Sitting room is definitely an interesting one, not only with its odd “uneven” shape and off-centre fireplace, but the room itself has a secret trapdoor leading to a dungeon. So, watch out where you walk or you could find yourself spending a bit longer at Cawdor Castle than you’d initially intended.
The Dungeon at Cawdor Castle is located directly below the Yellow Sitting Room and looks more like a cave than a typical dungeon. With low ceilings and stone walls that lead off into smaller tunnels, this place makes for a very interesting visit.
Other Rooms and Gardens:
At Cawdor Castle, none of the rooms are ever alike. From the Pink Bedroom which is exactly as it sounds, and The Old Kitchen, there’s so much to explore at Cawdor Castle with surprises lurking around every corner.
The gardens and grounds are equally incredible and are truly a sight to behold.
Whether you want to soak up the atmosphere and imagine what it would have been like during the castle’s peak or you want to admire the beautifully bright and diverse flowers in The Flower Garden, this shouldn’t be missed on your visit.
Your Caledonian Canal Cruise
Step aboard the Scottish Highlander, the classic and exclusive hotel barge that will cruise slowly along the Caledonian Canal route where you’ll pass through sleepy highland villages, mountains, castles, and more.
The Scottish Highlander hotel barge is a luxury canal cruise with a difference. With a maximum capacity of 8 passengers, the guests who travel on this hotel barge will benefit from a personalised level of service, and a cosy atmosphere while still having plenty of space to relax.
Decorated in the charming and traditional style found in the Scottish highlands of rich, dark wood paneling and warm, vibrant tartan, the Scottish Highlander hotel barge boasts an observation area that is partially covered to protect from those rainy days, a forward-facing deck area with seating, and a cosy dining room and bar area where you can enjoy a relaxing drink after a long day of sightseeing.
A variety of cabins are available on board, including twin and double staterooms, and a junior suite. All cabins are centrally heated and come with en-suite facilities. Meals on board are prepared by a master chef, using local, fresh ingredients.
You can also visit Cawdor Castle aboard the 12 passenger luxury hotel barge Spirit of Scotland.
A luxury Scottish cruise will be unforgettable, and even more so when you choose to stay with us aboard the 8 passenger Scottish Highlander.
Ready to Experience it for Yourself?
Get in touch with one of our cruise experts today to learn more about our range of luxury hotel barge and canal cruise packages and book the experience of a lifetime.