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Things to do in the Highlands

Torridon

We care for some of the most iconic and magnificent places to visit in the Highlands. Here's a list of 12 things to see and do on your tour of the Scottish Highlands, from soaring mountains and iconic wildlife, to Jacobite monuments and 'impossible' gardens.

Discover the Jacobites

Scotlands history is pulled into sharp focus at these battlefields and monuments, which tell the story of the famous Jacobite risings.

1. In 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his father’s Standard at Glenfinnan, marking the start of the fourth (and final) Jacobite campaign. At our visitor centre you can learn more about the ’45, before climbing the tower to join the lone Highlander atop the famous monument. Take a moment to reflect as you take in the panoramic view of Loch Shiel.

2. At Culloden Battlefield, where the Jacobite risings came to a brutal and harrowing end, you’ll get a moving and respectful view of this chapter in Scottish history. Visit our immersive museum and take a guided tour around the battlefield and memorials – see this pivotal point in history from both sides.

3. Few places are as awe-inspiring and atmospheric as Glencoe, where volcanic eruptions and powerful glaciers have sculpted towering jagged mountain ranges. Some say that legendary Celtic hero Fingal spent his life among these inhospitable mountains. This was also the home of the MacDonald clan, victims of the infamous Glencoe Massacre in 1692. 

Glenfinnan monument
Glenfinnan monument

Outdoor adventures

The Highlands are a landscape unlike any other, and the perfect playground for anyone who loves to hike, cycle, kayak or climb.

4. The Five Sisters of Kintail is one of the finest hill walks in Scotland, and a great challenge for fit and experienced walkers with the right equipment. For families there are low-level walks along Gleann Lichd, and you can even give sea kayaking a go with the help of our friendly rangers.

5. One of the special things about venturing into the Highlands is that feeling of isolation. Reaching the Falls of Glomach takes a lot of effort – getting to and from the falls involves a 12 mile hike – but it’s worth every step. 

Crystal-clear water plunges 113m in a constant thunderous roar, making Glomach (Gaelic for ‘hazy’) one of the tallest waterfalls in Britain. This is an unforgettable, unmissable experience.

6. Want to get your adrenaline going? The trails on Balmacara Estate are perfect for mountain biking. In fact, you can try all sorts of outdoor pursuits on this traditional Highland crofting estate – activities like orienteering, hiking and birdwatching let you experience the environment in new ways.

Places for nature lovers

Want to go wild? Youll find some of Scotlands rarest wildlife in the Highlands, from soaring birds of prey to unique plant species.

7. Is there a more iconic Scottish animal than the red deer? The distinctive bellow of these majestic mammals can be heard echoing through the glens in rutting season, and there’s no better place than Torridon to spot them in the wild. Get up early to find them on the hillside, or visit our deer enclosure and museum for a closer look. There’s lots of other wildlife to see among this dramatic landscape, too, from otters to eagles.

8. Calling all plant lovers! You simply can’t miss the ‘impossible garden’ at Inverewe, created by Osgood Mackenzie over 100 years ago. What was once a barren wilderness is now home to thriving plants from all over the world – Wollemi pines, Himalayan blue poppies, Californian redwoods and rhododendrons from India and Nepal! And if that isn’t enough, you can even spot Scotland’s Big Five wildlife in the surrounding habitats.

Highland castles and homes

Looking for things to do near Inverness? Get out your map and discover these fantastic historical properties.

9. Rose-coloured turrets, cool collections, nature-spotting and play parks – Brodie Castle has everything you need for a great family day out. Hop along to our Playful Garden to find a giant bunny sculpture and musical games, then explore the woodland adventure playground behind the castle. The castle is crammed with art and antiques, and the grounds offer many opportunities to enjoy a relaxing stroll whilst admiring the views.

10. Fossil hunter, folklorist, stonemason, writer, geologist and social justice campaigner – Hugh Miller might be Scotland’s most famous multi-tasker! This great Scot came from humble beginnings, and you can learn more about the man and his work – and try to solve the ‘mystery trail’ – at the Hugh Miller Birthplace Cottage & Museum in Cromarty. 

Did you know that Miller’s great-grandfather, who built the cottage, was a pirate?!

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Free* places to visit

With all that rugged wilderness at your disposal, you can take your pick of things to do in the Highlands that dont cost a penny, including some free events.

11. At our wild Highland properties we’re all about BYOE ... bring your own equipment! If you have your own canoe, mountain bike or walking gear, you can come to our outdoor places and paddle/pedal/scramble/ramble to your heart’s content. If you don’t have the kit, or you need a guide, we’re happy to help you bag a Munro or explore the sea lochs.

12. Look out for free events throughout the year. From craft fairs and plant festivals to children’s activities and expert talks, there’s always something happening at our places.

Dont forget, members benefit from free access to all of our places. Find out more about how to join.

*Parking charges may apply at some of our places if youre not a member.

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