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Eilean Donan Castle - Kyle of Lochalsh

The West Highlands of Scotland, so full of beauty, romance and staggering scenery is one of the most popular regions to visit in Scotland and is world renowned for its photogenic nature. When you think of Scotland it is likely that images from this region will spring to mind. One the most evocative, and popular, attractions, in a region that isn't lacking in "must see" destinations, is Eilean Donan Castle. Situated on small tidal island at the intersection of three sea lochs, the castle and the views that surround it, are breath taking in nature and well worth the any trip to this part of the world. The area and castle are so popular they have even featured in a number of Hollywood movies, such as Highlander and the Bond film, "The world is not enough".


Although Eilean Doann Castle, today, may seem like some remote and far off stronghold, at the very edges of civilisations, it has played a key role in some of the major events in Scottish history, including Jacobite rebellions that would eventually lead to the original castles destruction in 1719. As well as the breath taking, views the castle offers visitors a chance to learn a little of the way life and history of this part of the highlands and how it came to form part of modern Scotland.

The castle couldn't sit in a more spectacular location, on a small island at the confluence of three sea lochs, (Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh). It is only a short 1km walk or so from the small town of Dornie and about 9 miles from Kyle of Lochalsh, your gateway to the Isle of Skye. Due to the island the castle sits on being surrounded by sea lochs, it is affected by the rising and falling of the tides, which used to make the island inaccessible on foot. Today there is a bridge that takes you from the visitor centre and the mainland to the castle itself.

As most travellers will arrive in the area from Inverness or Fort William, it is always strange to have the feeling of being deep within the remote Highlands but actually being so close to the sea. This is what originally made the island an ideal location for a settlement by the Clan Mackenzie, a good defensive position but with excellent access to the open sea and the rest of the western isles of Scotland.

The castle is easy to get to as it is just to the side of the main A87 road and has a good amount of parking spaces that even cater for larger campervans and buses, which is needed for such a popular attraction. If you fail to find a parking spot then you can try the town of Dronie a very short walk away or at the opposite side of the road bridge which also offers some great views back towards the castle. There isn't a charge for parking so if you don't have time to visit the castle itself you can still take in the breath taking views and get some cracking photos. As well as the castle there is also a nice coffee and gift shop, and a visitor centre. So you are well catered for onsite but there are other eating options within Dronie if you choose or on nice days there aren't many better places to sit loch side and have some lunch.

The opening hours vary through the year so please check the official home page for times, Visit - Eilean Donan (eileandonancastle.com), but they are for the most part between 9-5pm. To access the castle its £10 per adult, £6 for children and under 5's are free. Please do note, for those with reduced mobility, access within the castle itself is not really practical. Due to the nature of the castle and the fact it is a protected monument that isn't allowed to be modified, means the castle isn't wheelchair accessible. However, for wheelchair users and those who are registered disabled, access to the island the castle is on is free of charge, so you can still visit and take in the views. It is a bit gravely so can be a little tricky to push a wheelchair but access will be free. The visitor centre, café etc is fully accessible to all with all these amenities specifically designed to be fully accessible.


Getting Here

The main way to visit Eilean Donan castle is via car. The castle sits just off the main A87 and to get here you will likely be travelling down from Inverness or up from Fort William and should find it easy to find, travelling in the direction of Skye. Having your own car, or campervan, is definitely the best way to explore the highlands, however, you can still visit via public transport.

Kyle of Lochalsh is a small town that sits across the water from Skye, on the mainland, and is the end of the line for the train service running from Inverness. From here you can get a local bus from the Harbourside that will run right past the Castle. So it is possible to do via public transport, check out ScotRail for times and prices (Train Tickets | Times & Timetables | Fares in Scotland | ScotRail). There are also numerous tours you can join that will take you to the castle that leave from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. These would involve a long day if you are planning on returning to one of these locations.


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