Things to do in
Clava Cairns

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Clava Cairns: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Edinburgh: Outlander Experience 2-Day Tour

1. From Edinburgh: Outlander Experience 2-Day Tour

Day 1 Your first visit will be Blackness Castle overlooking the Firth of Forth. The castle was used as the backdrop for Fort William and then Wentworth Prison (or as it in known, Linlithgow Palace). Onwards to Doune Castle, better known as Castle Leoch, home to Colum Mackenzie. The castle has also made appearances in the Monty Python and the Holy Grail film. Stop for lunch and a taste of whisky at the charming little distillery of Deanston. Next, into the Highlands and through Glen Coe with a quick stop at Loch Ness before arriving at your overnight in Inverness. Day 2 Step back in time 4000 years ago at Clava Cairns, the inspiration for Craigh na Dun. Then, continue to Culloden Battlefield, the scene of the last battle fought on British soil. Discover a living history at the Highland Folk Museum and its various time period scenes. Relive one of the first scenes when Jamie's ghost looks up in Claire's room at Outlander's Inverness: Falkland Village. Finally, explore the outside of Lallybroch at Midhope Castle. There will be a quick photo stop before arriving back in Edinburgh.

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From Inverness: Glen Affric, Culloden and Clava Cairns Tour

2. From Inverness: Glen Affric, Culloden and Clava Cairns Tour

Leaving Inverness in the morning, this full-day tour begins with a trip to the ancient burial site of Clava Cairns. This Bronze-Age graveyard has survived four millennia, and is a great spot to take atmospheric photos. The location was perhaps the inspiration for the Craigh na Dun time portal in the Outlander books. Afterwards, you’ll head to Culloden, one of the most important sites in Scottish history. It was here that a 60-year series of uprisings finally ended in a tumultuous battle in 1745. Explore the visitor center and pay tribute to those who lost their lives at the last ever battle fought on British soil. Continue to Glen Affric and stop to walk among the indigenous Caledonian pine trees. Enjoy views over Loch Affric and the mountains beyond, with your expert guide taking you to the best waterfalls and photo spots. Afterwards, explore the historic ruins of Beauly Priory, a monastery dating back to the 13th century. To cap things off, you’ll head to the shores of Loch Ness, before ending up back in the center of Inverness in the early evening.

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From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye and The Highlands Tour

3. From Edinburgh: 3-Day Isle of Skye and The Highlands Tour

Day 1: Departing Edinburgh, we will take our first short drive heading north and stop at the mysterious Kelpies. Scotland’s largest piece of outdoor art depicting mythical creatures of Scotland’s folklore that your driver will tell you all about. We’ll then continue on our journey and pass Stirling Castle. Be inspired by tales from your guide of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Continuing north, into the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, admire the scenery as your tour guide explains the remarkable tribal clan history of the Highlands. Discover beautiful Glencoe, the most famous valley in Scotland, and hear of its tragic history. Admire the spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct then head north and arrive on the southern banks of Loch Ness to get photos of the infamous monster Nessie! Stop for photos of Urquhart Castle before arriving in Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, where you'll stay for 2 nights, choosing from a local guesthouse, hostel, or hotel. Day 2: After breakfast, depart Inverness and drive across the Kessock Bridge to the Black Isle and marvel at the spectacular scenery of Achnasheen and Loch Carron. Arriving on the Isle of Skye, venture north to explore the highlights of the island, including; the Cuillin Mountains, Trotternish Peninsula, Portree, the Old Man Storr, Kilt Rock and the famous Quiraing. In late afternoon, stop for photographs of the most beautiful castle in Scotland, 'Eilean Donan Castle'. Backdrop to many famous films, such as 'Highlander' and 'Made of Honor', this castle is another must-see iconic landmark! A scenic drive through stunning Glen Shiel follows, returning to Inverness to stay your final night. In the evening, visit a local Highland Pub to drink some Scotch whisky or beer and eat some traditional Scottish food, whilst listening to some local musicians perform. Day 3: Visit Culloden Battlefield, site of the last Jacobite Rising, then 'Clava Cairns', incredible 4,000-year-old, Bronze-Age standing stones. Travelling south, stop at the Highland Folk Museum. Here you'll experience highland life in the 17th century. See the buildings, the clothes and weapons, and how people lived 300 years ago. Then, drive through the dramatic Cairngorm National Park. You will have the chance to experience Dalwhinnie Scotch Whiskey-Distillery for an optional tasting tour before you visit the historic Dunkfeld Cathedral on the banks of the mighty River Tay. Your journey back to Edinburgh takes you across the famous Forth Bridges.

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4-Day Outlander Trail From Edinburgh

4. 4-Day Outlander Trail From Edinburgh

Leave Edinburgh and begin following the trail of the best-known film locations featured in the Outlander TV Series. Your first stop is the charming village of Culross. You continue to the small town of Falkland to relive the first scenes of the show, where Falkland substitutes for 1940s Inverness. In the early afternoon you stop at the Newtonmore Highland Folk Museum, which houses replicas of 18th century turf-roofed Highland crofts. These were used as a setting in the first episode of the show. You then pass Aviemore, where you may recognise the stunning hilly and wooded area of Tulloch Ghru. You arrive in Inverness later that afternoon, which will be your base for the next two nights.  Day 2 starts by visiting Culloden, which plays an important role in Scottish history and the Outlander books. It’s at the Culloden Battlefield where Claire and Jamie said their tearful goodbyes, before Jamie joined the Jacobite army to fight for the Stuarts. You have the opportunity to explore the visitor center and site, and pay tribute to those who lost their lives at the last battle fought on British soil. You then take a short drive to the ancient standing stones at Clava Cairns. After lunch, head continue to Castle Leod, “home of the Clan MacKenzie”, where you can enjoy a relaxing walk. The castle resembles the way that Diana Gabaldon described Castle Leoch, though she had never heard of this building prior to writing Outlander. A short drive takes you to Beauly, the site of Beauly Priory and the tomb of Lord Lovat in the heart of Clan Fraser lands. Beauly priory is a beautiful 13th-century ruin and where the Lovat Frasers are buried in Diana Gabaldon’s book. In the afternoon, you can sample ‘The Water of Life’ with a whisky distillery tour and tasting. Afterwards, return to Inverness with time to explore the town and enjoy the city for another evening. Day 3 starts with a visit to the majestic Glen Affric. Lochs, mountains and pine forests: this is one of Scotland’s most glorious glens. You then continue along the entire length of Loch Ness and through the Great Glen before heading to Glenfinnan. It stands framed by typically spectacular Highland scenery and bedside a section of the Jacobite Steam Train railway line famously used as the Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter. Your overnight stop is in Fort William underneath the shadow of Britain’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis. Day 4 begins with a magnificent drive through Glencoe, across the rugged Trossachs area onto Doune Castle. The castle is an extensive ruin that represents Castle Leoch in the TV program. Later, you have a photo stop at Blackness Castle on the banks of the Firth of Forth. This was used as the set for Fort William in the show and appears in many other movies because of its beautiful setting and thickly fortified walls. After your medieval adventure, you'll return to Edinburgh in the early evening.

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Loch Ness and the Highlands 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

5. Loch Ness and the Highlands 1-Day Tour from Aberdeen

Your tour departs Aberdeen and heads straight for the ‘Whisky Capital of the World’, Dufftown. Unfortunately it's too early in the morning to taste the whisky at the Glenfiddich Distillery, but you have time to take a photo of the iconic site and grab a coffee. Venture through the heart of Speyside and arrive at Loch Ness for an optional boat trip which is bookable via your guide on the day of the trip. Onboard the ship, you travel over the widest and deepest part of the loch and get a fine view of Urquhart Castle. Upon your return back on dry land, it’s time to travel deep into the past at Clava Cairns. This spot is situated in a gorgeous green grove and boasts well-preserved ancient burial tombs. They even say this spot was the inspiration for Outlander’s Craigh na Dun. Follow this up with a trip to Culloden Battlefield, the location of the final Jacobite Rising. It’s an eerie, flat, tragic landscape that can put the history of Scotland into perspective. The interactive exhibition center here really brings it all to life. Have a comfort break within the gorgeous Cairngorms National Park before you reach Aberdeen 8:00 PM.

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Loch Ness, Inverness and Highlands 2-Day Tour from Edinburgh

6. Loch Ness, Inverness and Highlands 2-Day Tour from Edinburgh

Get back to nature in the Scottish Highlands and go for gentle walks. Spend the night in the city of Inverness and avail of a flexible itinerary on day 2. Day 1: Depart Edinburgh and head west to Glasgow before visiting the pretty village of Luss on the banks of Loch Lomond. Descend into Rannoch Moor and pass the Black Mount and Glencoe at the site of the 1692 massacre of the MacDonald Clan. Go for a leisurely walk to soak up the atmosphere. Head north towards Fort William and get stunning views of Ben Nevis before traveling around Loch Ness after lunch. Pass historic Urquhart Castle before arriving in Inverness, where you will spend the night. Day 2: Choose to visit the Culloden Battlefield, where Bonnie Prince Charlie was defeated by the Duke of Cumberland. Glimpse the ancient stones of Clava Cairns and taste the whisky at Dalwhinnie Distillery. Go to the old military garrison of Ruthven Barracks. Return via the Hermitage and stop for a gentle forest walk in idyllic woodlands (summer only) before crossing the Forth Bridge to arrive back in Edinburgh.

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Inverness: Outlander Day Tour

7. Inverness: Outlander Day Tour

First, stop at the world-famous Loch Ness, after which you carry on to Wardlaw Mausoleum, which was built in 1634 as the burial place for the Frasers of Lovat before later being used by the clan until the early 19th century. You’ll even venture into the crypt where you’ll learn of the mystery surrounding the double lead-lined coffin which was said to contain the headless body of the 11th Lord Lovat (Jamie’s grandfather in Outlander). Next, visit the attractive ruins of Beauly Priory, dating back to 1230, the burial site for the Frasers of Lovat and MacKenzies as far back as 1479. It was there at Beauly Priory that Claire came across the Lovat Seer, Maisri, when she and Jamie were visiting his grandfather prior to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Carry onto Culloden Battlefield, where Jamie survived the brutal and bloody end to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Your guide will walk you around the battlefield and past the Fraser Stone, which commemorates the Fraser clansmen who fought there that day. Your next stop is Clava Cairns, three well-preserved Bronze Age burial chambers each surrounded by a circle of standing stones. The site boasts its own "split stone", similar to the one in the first Outlander book when Claire was transported back in time to 1743.

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From Edinburgh: 2-Day Scottish Highlands & St. Andrews Tour

8. From Edinburgh: 2-Day Scottish Highlands & St. Andrews Tour

Take a 2-day adventure out into the Highlands with a charismatic and knowledgeable guide. See the views that inspired countless artists and writers, and visit its most famous attractions, including Loch Ness. Day 1 Departing from Edinburgh, pass the iconic Forth Bridge as you make your way to St. Andrews. Take time to explore the town’s medieval castle and cathedral, ancient University buildings (where Prince William and Kate met), or wander along the fairways edge of the world-famous Old Course.   You’ll then venture into the Scottish Highlands with a visit to the peaceful Hermitage nature reserve. Take a short walk through the forest to the Falls of Brann before lunch in Pitlochry. Continue north into the Cairngorm National Park and watch as the rolling mountains turn blue in the summer or white with falling snow in the winter. In the late afternoon, you'll arrive at Clava Cairns, the Neolithic burial chambers that inspired Diana Gabaldon during the writing of her famous Outlander novels.   Your second-to-last stop today is at Culloden Moor, the site of the last battle fought on British soil in 1746. Your guide will retell the events of the battle and teach you about its significance not only to the Highlands, but also to the Scottish diaspora since. Spend the night in Inverness, a small city packed with restaurants and fun pubs—meet the locals and dance the night away to Highland music in the famous Hootenanny’s Bar with your fellow travelers.   Day 2 Your second day begins by venturing the entire length of the most famous body of water in the world, Loch Ness. Pass Urquhart Castle on your way to Fort Augustus at the mouth of the Loch, where you’ll have the option of taking a 1-hour boat cruise to search for Nessie.   Continue West towards the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, recently made famous by the Harry Potter movies. Hike to a viewpoint to get the best photos of this impressive piece of 19th-century engineering and, in the other direction, be treated to views of Loch Shiel and the monument to the Jacobites: one of the finest views in Scotland.   After lunch, you’ll arrive in Glencoe, the site of the infamous Massacre of 1692. Your guide will share this terribly sad story of betrayal with you. However, the beauty of Glencoe stays with those who visit this place for a very long time.   Your unforgettable Highland adventure ends with a scenic drive through Loch Lomond and Trossachs Park, passing Stirling Castle and into Edinburgh.

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Isle of Skye, Oban, St Andrews and Highlands 5-Day Tour

9. Isle of Skye, Oban, St Andrews and Highlands 5-Day Tour

Departing from Edinburgh, travel through Scotland’s Central Belt to Glasgow, here there's time to visit the magnificent Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, opened in 1901. Then cross the Kingston Bridge over the River Clyde and head north to the village of Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond. Next, it’s onwards and upwards over the steep pass of 'Rest and be Thankful' in the village of Inveraray, a town lapped by the sea water of Loch Fyne and famed for its oysters and seafood. Next head to Dunadd Iron Age Fort, the coronation site of kings and queens of Dalriada, the ancient Gaelic speaking kingdom. Follow in the footsteps of kings and queens and take the steep but thankfully short path to the summit of the hill. After a stop at Kilmartin Museum, drive through the stunning Argyll scenery to the bustling port and fishing town of Oban, the location of your first night’s stay. In the morning discover the beautiful Glencoe, considered to be the most impressive glen in Scotland. After a short hike and photograph stop, head to the Glenfinnan Monument and Viaduct. Fom Glenfinnan travel to Fort William where you have two options – a tour of Ben Nevis Whisky distillery or a visit to Inverlochy Castle and Neptune’s Staircase. Time to head north and arrive at the southern banks of Loch Ness to get photos of the infamous monster Nessie! Your route then takes you into some of the most spectacular scenery in all of the Highlands as you pass through Glenshiel and the iconic Five Sisters of Kintail to the meeting point of 3 sea lochs – Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh – the wonderful setting for Eilean Donan Castle. On Day 3, explore the sights of the Trotternish Peninsula to the Old Man of Storr, Kilt Rock and the Quiraing, hear about the local folklore of how the Fairies, Fishermen and Giants created the landscape. Next, visit the Museum of Island Life, and then loop around north Skye to take in magnificent views across the sea, east to the Torridon Mountains and west to the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Journey onto the Cuillin Mountains and travel through Kyle of Lochalsh to the unbelievably pretty village of Plockton. At Plockton there is the option of taking a one-hour cruise or a short hike through nearby woodland. In the evening, visit a local highland pub to drink some Scotch whisky or beer and eat some traditional Scottish food, whilst listening to some local musicians perform. On Day 4, visit Kessock bridge and then head to the North West Highlands. The first stop of the day is at Corrieshalloch Gorge, Scotland’s deepest gorge, and then onto the legendary North Coast 500 Route traveling passed towering peaks to the ancient ruin of Ardvreck Castle. After this fascinating slice of Scottish history, head to the very wonderful Knockan Crag to learn more about the incredible geology of this area, next head to the pretty ferry port and fishing town of Ullapool. After lunch, travel to Rogie Falls and find frothing water cascading down the falls and gentle trails among the forest. From Rogie Falls it’s a short drive to the town of Beauly, the one time favorite town of Mary Queen of Scots. On the last day the first stop is Clava Cairns, the site of incredible standing stones and burial chambers dating back to at least 4000 years ago. Culloden Battlefield is the next stop location of the last battle to be fought on British soil. Onto Cairngorms National Park next, and then the final stop of the tour at the ancient east Fife town of St Andrews. This medieval walled town is home to St Andrews University, the oldest in Scotland, as well St Andrews Cathedral. It’s always hard to drag yourself away from St Andrews but in the early evening it's time to start winding your way through the fishing villages of the East Neuk of Fife, across the Forth Road Bridge with views of the 1890 Railway Bridge and the 2017 Queensferry Crossing, and back into Edinburgh.

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What people are saying about Clava Cairns

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 204 reviews

The trip was amazing. We started our trip in the Edinburgh city center, where we met with our guide and driver John, who is the most Scottish person I've ever met, and we head north towards the Highlands. We made several stops along the way and seen many wonderful attractions. We spent the night in an hotel in Inverness (not part of the tour package) and we met again with the group the next day to go to the magnificent Isle of Skye. Overall the trip was really enjoyable, tiring at times, but well worth it. The atmosphere in the bus was quite relaxed and felt like we were going on a trip with a group of friends, thanks in most part to John who was both very knowledgeable in Scottish history and also very funny; he managed to make the trip interesting and entertaining.

The trip combined historical interest with scenic beauty.The Culloden site is very well set up. The guide was very knowledgeable. I find the buses a little uncomfortable in one way: Sitting by a window, there is not enough elbow space and what there is, is hard and unpleasant to rest on. The seat belts can also be difficult to fasten and annoying.

We could not be happier with the service provided, our tour guide for the two day trip, Kelly, she was fantastic and very knowledgeable, and kept us interested throughout,would definitely recommend this tour for Outlander fans.

I think it's totally worthwhile! Amazing views and a perfect way to get to know more about Scotland in a short period of time. Doug, our guide was amazing!! I completely recommend it!

A really good tour guide show just lots of things above and beyond his duties fantastic scenery and areas.