The Culloden Battlefield was the site of one of the last battles to take place on British soil. On April 16, 1746, Bonnie Prince Charlie and his army of 5,000 Jacobite Highlanders faced off against the Duke of Cumberland and 9,000 Hanoverian government troops. Though the Jacobites fought valiantly, they were ultimately defeated, resulting in the elimination of the Scottish clan system and the suppression of Highland culture. Today, the Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre retells the events of that fateful day through interactive exhibits that put travelers in the thick of the action.
The Culloden Battlefield is a must-see site for any history buff hoping to untangle the story of the British Isles. Visitors can purchase entrance tickets to find themselves on the frontlines of one of the most important battles in British history and explore the popular site at their own pace. The battlefield is also often a stop on guided day tours from Inverness and Invergordon, most of which include round-trip transportation and visits to other famous attractions, such as Loch Ness. Entry to Culloden is included in National Trust for Scotland Discover Tickets, 3- or 7-day sightseeing passes that grant visitors entry to a number of Scottish sights, including Culzean Castle, the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, and the Preston Mill. Many travelers combine a visit here with a trip to the nearby Clava Cairns, a Bronze Age site located just 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) away.
Things to Know Before You Go
- To ensure entry, it’s best to book tickets in advance.
- The center and the battlefield are both wheelchair accessible.
- Audio guides are available, so visitors can take a self-guided tour of the outdoor battle site.
- It’s best to wear warm clothing to walk around the windswept moor where the battle took place.
How to Get There
Culloden is about five miles (eight kilometers) east of Inverness. Buses travel from Inverness’ city center to the site, though schedules change seasonally. If traveling without a car, the easiest way to get there is via organized day trip tour from Inverness, most of which include pickup and drop-off.
When to Get There
The battlefield is open daily, and most visitors go during summer, when mild weather makes for pleasant strolling around the open-air battlefield site. The visitor center is open daily from 10am to 4pm from January 3 to March 31; from 9am to 5:30pm in April, May, September, and October; from 9am to 6pm in June and July; from 9am to 7pm in August; and from 10am to 4pm from November 1 to December 23, with varying seasonal hours in late December. It’s best to visit in early morning to get in before the crowds.
Things to See at the Culloden Battlefield
Visitors can amble around the battlefield in Culloden Moor, where headstones memorialize fallen soldiers and the Memorial Cairn pays homage to those who died for the Jacobite cause. The battlefield is also the setting for Leanach Cottage, a thatched residence that’s one of the few remaining examples of a common building type in the area during the early 18th century.