Cawdor Castle is about 5 miles from Nairn and 12 miles from Inverness. It's famous for its Macbeth connection. There's turrets, tapestries and a tea room, but the real star is the garden. Of all the castle gardens in Scotland this is one of the best.
How to get there
National Cycle Route One comes close to Cawdor. You can follow the cycle route from Nairn (which has a train station). You have to leave the cycle route when you reach the B9101. Don't worry as this is a quiet road and its only 2.7 miles to the castle.
Through the gates
Crossing a drawbridge is right up there with climbing a spiral staircase when it comes to classic castle experiences. Not all of Scotland's castles have drawbridges, but Cawdor does. It crosses a moat and takes you to the imposing 15th century tower.
In the winter months Cawdor Castle is a family home, so it is only open to visitors in the summer. A visit to Cawdor is by a guided tour that lets you see 12 rooms.
Highlights include the seventeenth century Flemish tapestries. I loved the fireplace in the dinning room. It has carvings of a goat, a dog chassing a rabit, a fox smoking a pipe and a cat playing a fiddle. This fireplace is so heavy that it broke the drawbridge when it was being carried into the castle.
In Shakespeare's play Macbeth is told by the witches that he will become Thane of Cawdor. This is the connection that makes the castle famous. However, the castle was built much later than the period that the play is set in.
There's a great tea room in the castle. My lunch of roasted red pepper soup and a slice of coffee and walnut cake was superb.
It was nice to see inside the castle, but the gardens impressed me the most. If you are short on time then I would recommend seeing the gardens over the interior. You will not be disappointed.
There's a blue door in the gardens. It has a stone carving of a swan with a crown above it. On the other side of the door there' a blue bridge. This is your gateway to woodland walks by the Cawdor burn.
The castle's walled garden is total sensory delight. There's the smell of flowers, the vibrant colours of the flowers, the birdsong and trickling water. I felt really happy walking around here. I noticed that the other visitors all had smiles. It's just a lovely place to be.
I've been to many of Scotland's gardens and this is one of the best.
See Brodie Castle and Cawdor Castle in one day
These 2 castles are about 12 miles apart. You can use National Cycle Route One to travel between them.
You can also use the train to get near to the castles: