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From fortified tower homes to evocative ruins, along with fairy-tale turrets and shining white- or pink-walled structures, there are over 3000 buildings in Scotland that can be called castles, and the area around Inverness is a good place to begin exploring some of the most impressive structures.
The pink-tinged walls of Brodie Castle protect a remarkable collection of art and antiques, and the rooms have been restored with expert care and diligence by the National Trust for Scotland. The castle is open to the public in the summer, and the grounds are open all year round, with woods, hides for wildlife watching and an important collection of daffodils in the landscaped gardens. If you can’t tear yourself away, there is also luxury accommodation available in the Laird’s wing of the castle.
For almost 300 years, Castle Stuart lay derelict, roofless and abandoned, the original family fortunes foundering when Oliver Cromwell gained power in England. The present owner, Charles Stuart, has had the castle lovingly restored, including decorating the bedrooms in the tartans of the clans who supported his namesake, Charles Edward Stuart — “Bonnie Prince Charlie” — at the nearby battlefield of Culloden. The golf course beside the castle was constructed in 2009. It is of such a high quality that it has hosted the Scottish Open and won international awards for its design. The castle on one side, and the expanse of the Moray Firth on the other, provide a stunning backdrop for a round of golf.