As we turn into the long drive I glance across at the Drummossie Moor and catch a glimpse of the tall grasslands on the battlefield to my right. It’s mid-September, we’re travelling around Scotland in our motorhome and the weather has been warm and sunny the past 3 weeks. Today we’re visiting one of National Trust Scotland’s most popular sites, Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre.
At the end of the neat lawned drive we find a large car park, thankfully with plenty of spaces. We arrived for opening time to get ahead of the crowds and find ourselves in good company. There were 3 motorhomes already parked up along the back of the car park. We pull in and neatly line up Lexi van to join the other motorhomes for the morning whilst we explore and learn more about the brutal history of this battle ground.
Sadly, the visitor centre isn’t dog-friendly so I opted to take our two spaniels for a walk around the battlefield whilst Dave went to explore the visitor centre. We were soon immersed in the history of this astonishing and tragic event. If you enjoy learning about Britains history then I’d highly recommend adding a visit to Culloden Battlefield and visitor centre to your Scotland Road Trip or holiday plans. Continue reading for a brief insight into the Jacobites, the battle of Culloden as well as useful visitor information to help you plan your own trip to this National Trust Scotland site.
About the Battle of Culloden
On the 16th April 1746 one of the UK’s most brutal battles took place at Culloden in the Scottish Highlands. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite army went into battle against the Duke of Cumberland and his redcoats at Culloden near Inverness. In less than an hour around 1,600 men were killed, 1,500 of them were Jacobites!
Who were the Jacobites?
A Jacobite was a supporter of the exiled Stuart King James II. Jacobites were a largely 17th- and 18th-century movement that supported the restoration of the senior line of the House of Stuart to the British throne. The name is derived from Jacobus, the Latin version of James.
The 1745 Jacobite Rebellion was a turning point in British history. Believing the British throne to be his birthright, Charles Edward Stuart, aka ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, planned to invade Great Britain along with his Jacobite followers and remove the Hanoverian George II.
Visiting Culloden Battlefield
The Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre is a popular National Trust Scotland site. Inside the visitor centre there’s plenty to see and do, including a 360-degree battle immersion theatre. Read the true story of the 1745 Rising, from both the Jacobite and Government perspectives. There are weapons and artefacts on display in the museum too. You can also look out over the battlefield from the roof garden on top of the visitor centre. The visitor centre also has a large gift shop stocking beautiful Scottish products as well as a cafe for snacks and refreshments.
Just outside the visitor centre take a walk across the field towards Leanach Cottage. This was used as a field hospital immediately after the battle of Culloden.
Continue on your walk around the wild moor, which the National Trust care for trying to keep it how it might have looked in 1746 with grassland and Higland Cows grazing. There are path’s that lead you around the battlefield, with flags representing the frontlines of both armies (red flags for the government army and blue flags for the Jacobites). A 6m high Memorial Cairnstands in the centre of the battlefield so that you can appreciate the scale of the battlefield.
Whilst walking around the Culloden battlefield you will see graves of the fallen soldiers as well as Clan Stones dedicated to the family clan members who died during the battle. This is a place of pilgrimage for people from Scotland as well as for visitors from around the world. It was very quiet and humbling walking around the battlefield site. When walking past people I smiled but we all remained silent not wanting to disturb the lasting resting place of so many men.
Clan Memorial Stones Culloden Battlefield Grave Stone fallen soldiers Culloden Battlefield
How To Find Culloden
Culloden is 5 miles east of Inverness, off the A9/B9006. Follow the brown signs to Culloden. (IV2 5EU)
National Trust Scotland Membership
Where To Stay
During our visit to Culloden Battlefield and visitor centre we stayed at Culloden Moor Motorhome Club Site. A well kept, clean campsite with friendly staff. For dog owners this site is a great location as it’s surrounded by forests and trails for you and your dog to explore. The campsite is 1.5 miles from the Culloden Battlefield site and 6 miles from the city of Inverness. Well worth booking a couple of days here during your Scotland Road trip
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- There is a large car park on site with plenty of Motorhome parking available.
- For history fans I would recommend allowing 2+ hours for your visit to the Culloden Battlefield and visitor centre.
- Drones are not allowed over the battlefield.
- National Trust Culloden website
- National Trust 275th Anniversary film series
- National Trust Podcast series: The Road To Culloden – Written by volunteers at Culloden visitor centre
Finally, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about a visit to Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre. If you enjoy history then I’d highly recommend visiting this National Trust Scotland site.
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