Culloden House and the Bonnie Prince Charlie Connection

Hello, friends! I hope you are all continuing to stay safe and healthy during this crazy pandemic. How is everyone weathering the quarantine? Has the place where you live begun to reopen?

Today I would like to show you Culloden House, a stately Georgian-style mansion set in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Last year, Mr. C and I visited for afternoon tea, before exploring the house and grounds and then heading over to see nearby Clava Cairns.

Front view of Culloden House. Green Virginia Creeper growing all over the  front of the mansion.

Tiered trays of afternoon tea foods.  A silver teapot and cup of tea.

Culloden House is located roughly four miles from Inverness city center, and just under four miles from Culloden Moor, the location of the bloody final confrontation of the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Outlander fans will undoubtedly be quite familiar with the locale and the battle.

Culloden Moor sign and a black bird.
Access road to Culloden Moor.

Set within forty acres of parkland, Culloden House dates to the latter part of the eighteenth century. A castle stood on the site even before that, however. According to Historic Environment Scotland, ‘Coulloddin Castle,’ a tower house belonging to the MacIntosh family, existed by the late 16th century” (Pont, 1595). Builders incorporated parts of the original castle into the structure we see today.

Red Virginia Creeper growing on Culloden house in the fall.
A photo of a postcard I picked up while visiting Culloden House. The mansion, covered in Virginia Creeper, looks stunning in autumn.

The property was home to various families throughout the years, two of the most prominent being the MacIntoshes and the Forbes. In 1626, Duncan Forbes (1572-1654), a wealthy urban merchant, purchased Culloden House from the MacIntosh chieftain. Thus began the family’s long tenure.

The Battle of Culloden and Bonnie Prince Charlie

On April 16, 1746, the final confrontation of the Jacobite Rising of 1745 took place on the battlefield at Culloden Moor. The Jacobites were led by Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’), who sought to restore the Stuart monarchy to the British throne. In this gruesome final battle against the Duke of Cumberland’s troops, which lasted less than an hour, at least fifteen-hundred Jacobites perished. It was to be the last pitched battle (pre-arranged battle) ever to be fought on British soil.

A tapestry depicting the Battle of Culloden.
A tapestry depicting the Battle of Culloden, on display at Culloden House.
A portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
A portrait of Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) hangs on display in Culloden House.

For the three nights before the battle, Prince Charlie commandeered Culloden House. On display inside the house, is a swath of fabric from the bed in which the prince slept.

A future Duncan Forbes, Lord Culloden (1685-1747), is perhaps the most well-known from his family’s history. Forbes was a Hanoverian, but vehemently opposed the treatment of the Jacobites following the Battle of Culloden. “…many wounded Jacobites were brought here (Culloden House) after the fighting, and then shot. (Martin Coventry, author of The Castles of Scotland). Coventry says that others “had their skulls bashed in with musket butts.” Some say that Forbes died shortly after the battle, due to being brokenhearted over the treatment of the Jacobites.

Rear facing view of Culloden House.
Rear view of Culloden House

Two of the four statues on the rear side of the house. They are said to “represent ‘Zenonia’, ‘Odenetus’, ‘Cato’, and ‘Scipio’. This may allude to the Stoic ideas of reason and virtue, the Forbes’ political role (equated with that of Odenetus who was entrusted with the protection of Rome’s Eastern empire), and his criticisms of the government, the ideal of the balanced constitution and the ideal statesman.” (Historic Environment Scotland) 

Today Culloden House is a beautiful hotel with twenty-eight guest rooms, including the four located in the white garden mansion near the main building. The hotel is renowned for its understated elegance and hospitality.

White mansion at Culloden House.
The Garden Mansion near the walled garden. The house contains four double ensuite bedrooms and a living area.

Here is a quick peek inside part of the main house.

Drawing Room at Culloden House.
Dining room at Culloden House.
Conference room at Culloden House.

As much as we enjoyed the mansion, Mr. C and I especially loved strolling through the beautiful walled garden at Culloden House. I will close today with some shots from the garden and around the property.

A woman carved into a tree trunk.
Ornate walled garden door.
Wrought iron features on a garden door.
A garden path.
An orange bench in walled garden.
Pink flowers in front of a stone wall.
Garden path in a walled garden.
Golden chain tree.
Golden chain tree.

A bench in the walled garden, dedicated to Diana Gabaldon, from “The Ladies of Lallybroch”. Gabaldon is the author of the Outlander book series.

A gray stone cottage.
Purple flowers on tall stems.
A manicured garden path.
Red roses growing on a stone wall.

Friends, I hope you enjoyed this look at Culloden Houe. As always, thank you for stopping by my little corner of the internet. I wish each of you a wonderful week ahead.


25 thoughts on “Culloden House and the Bonnie Prince Charlie Connection

  • How beautiful! Your wonderful photos felt like a (much-needed) mini-vacation. 🙂 Being an avid D. Gabaldon fan, I enjoyed seeing this area in the present day.
    Stay well, Wendy.

    • Thanks, Eliza. Diana Gabaldon has done so much for Scottish tourism and for piquing people’s interest in history. It was really neat to see, in person, the sites that she writes about.

  • It looks lovely! Some of your photos inside remind me of Glengarry Castle Hotel, where we stayed when we first arrived in Scotland. I wish we’d seen this place too, but I was too busy searching for 15th Century ruins. Invergarry suited me perfectly there.
    When we got back to Scotland a month later, we were taken on a tour of Drumlanrig Castle, where apparently Bonnie Prince Charlie and his badly-behaved men spent a night, over the objections of the caretaker. Apparently they rode their horses inside the building and up the staircases. Sadly, no photos inside Drumlanrig were permitted, but I have some lovely pics of the grounds.
    I love your travel stories, we have covered similar ground in Scotland.

    • We loved Invergarry too. Did you get to see Corse Castle while you were there? I’ll probably write about that one soon. I think you could live in Scotland for many years and still not see it all. We were supposed to go back in three weeks. 🙁

  • That garden is so lovely. And a bench dedicated to Diana Gabaldon how wonderful. I am a huge fan I have met this amazing author on more than one occasion. She is so talented and a very nice person too. I would love to visit this place.

  • I do watch Outlander. Funny diddy: Around Season 2 I was doing my ancestry. All these years I thought I was Irish… guess what?! I am Scottish! So I have started to educate myself knowing that. It’s been great and your blog here is a great addition to that. Thanks!

    • Thank you! I am glad you have found some useful information on here. I, too, have some Scottish heritage. And also English, Manx, and likely some Irish as well. I did Ancestry awhile back which was a lot of fun.

      I love Outlander. Have you been watching the new season? I’m waiting for it to come out on DVD.

      • I have English too. Ancestry is so much fun and yes, I am watching it. Only one more show for this season. All the previous seasons are on Netflx. I will miss it when it goes.

  • What a place, and all that tragic history. I’d love to visit one day. The garden reminds me of the garden at Larnach Castle in Dunedin on the South Island in NZ. It’s just about the only castle we have in NZ but there are lots of the same plants in the 14 hectare garden.

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