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Clava Cairns
Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns

Free admission

The Basics

Two parts of the Clava Cairns complex can be visited: the Balnuaran of Clava, which features two passage graves, a kerb ring cairn, standing stones, and a central ring cairn; and Milton of Clava to the southwest, with its ruins of a medieval chapel and a cairn. Visitors will find information boards at the site explaining the significance and symbolism of the ancient stone mounds.

The cairns make for a common stop on guided day trips from Inverness and Invergordon, most of which include round-trip transport and visits to other famous Highland sites, such as Loch Ness, Cawdor Castle, and Culloden Battlefield—the site of a major Jacobite defeat—which is just a 5-minute drive from the Clava Cairns.

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Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
$48.73 per adult
Traveler Favorite
James was great!
James was our guide for this tour! It's the first time I've used Rabbie's tour guide and the experience was amazing! Great stops and plenty of time to see everything! The lunch break in Beauly was also lovely. Will definitely be booking with Rabbie's in the near future!
Irish_D, Jun 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Inverness

star-5
Awesome!!!
Sharon_D, Jun 2022
Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
The weather was perfect ! Jim the driver was very informative about everything !!! Only having a small party, made the day go without a hitch. ! Could of stayed all day at National park in Glen Affric !! The Culloden tour was exceptional and very informative. The Clava Cairns were mystical and enchanting. So in all a very good day trip !! Would go again, hopefully have more time to explore Culloden museum as it was very busy and the National Park which was so peaceful.
star-5
History, Science, and Gin
Judith_S, May 2022
Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns & Cawdor Castle
Our guide George M. was fun and knowledgeable. A wonderful tour to Clava Cairns, Culloden, Loch Ness Museum and a sweet little gin distillery! He also whisked us up to Beauly Priory. A very full day with many interesting stops.
star-5
Inverness and more
Lynday_S, Jun 2022
Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns & Cawdor Castle
Thank you George! From meeting as scheduled to returning us back to our cruise on time, this was a full day of fun and learning. George's passion and stories made the sightseeing all that much worthwhile.
star-5
Wonderful
john_L, Jun 2022
INVERGORDON PORT Tour of Culloden, Cairns & Cawdor Castle
Avril herself was awesome at what she did for us, Her tour is highly recommended. She went above and beyond to give us a tour to remember always.
star-5
Got to see it all !!
Janice_K, Jun 2022
INVERGORDON PORT Tour of Culloden, Cairns & Cawdor Castle
My husband and I very rarely take excursions, but we felt it necessary at this port to be able to see all the wonderful things we wanted to see...Avril delivered all that and more!!! Her van was spotless and comfie, and her personality was beyond!! She was very kind, funny and knowledgeable and it was great experience!!! and we got to meet "Jamie Fraser" lol
star-5
Awesome Tour!
Sarah_B, Apr 2022
Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
Out of all the tours I did in Scotland, this one was my absolute favorite. It is the perfect blend of nature and history! Glen Affric is stunning and Culloden and Clava Cairns are so worth a visit! The exhibition at Culloden is particularly great. Our guide James was also awesome. He shared a lot of great information with us, but didn't talk our ears off either. It was nice to have those quiet moments to just enjoy the scenery. Thanks James!
star-5
Great trip…loved the time to walk in the beautiful forest.
Brenda_J, May 2022
Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
Shawna was great. Very personable and knowledgeable. Glen Afric was incredibly beautiful. She directed us to the best places to eat and shop. I highly recommend
star-5
Excellent Highland experience
shopbuy, May 2022
INVERGORDON PORT Tour of Culloden, Cairns & Cawdor Castle
Amy, being a Highland native, was FANTASTIC! Her knowledge and kind willingness to accommodate our group was excellent. The tour was exactly what we were looking for in visiting the Culloden Battlefield and her history of that event was powerful.
star-5
Great choice for Inverness and beyond!
Marie_R, May 2022
INVERGORDON PORT Tour of Culloden, Cairns & Cawdor Castle
Totally delightful day! Avril interesting, knowledgeable, so personable, fun, flexible, KNOWS her corner of the world!!
star-5
Inverness - Culloden - Clava Cairns and so much more!!
Glenda_W, Apr 2022
Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
We had a wonderful day filled with fascinating stops, beautiful nature, lots of activity and a guide positively brimming with information to share with us. We loved our day!!
star-5
Great way to start our family holiday
Catherine_J, Sep 2021
Culloden Battlefield, Clava Cairns & Cawdor Castle
This tour was an amazing start to our holiday in the Highlands. We got to see Clava Cairns, Culloden battlefield, Cawdor Castle and Beauly Priory and some friendly Highland Cows into the bargain. The weather was sunny and hot for the most part and the beautiful Cawdor Castle gardens were a highlight for me. We all enjoyed the reenactment of the battlefield at Culloden and the kids were fascinated by the video demonstrations of the old cannons firing. These are all amazing places and we would never have managed all this on our own on public transport. The best thing about the tour though is George who is a mine of interesting information that you would not find in a guidebook. For the whole of the rest of our tour of the Highlands someone would pipe up at least once a day ‘remember what George said about that’ (clans, salmon fishing and even Jimmy Page!) I would highly recommend starting your Highland adventure with a tour with George.
star-5
Beautiful and inspiring tour
Garance_D, Feb 2022
Glen Affric, Culloden & Clava Cairns Small-Group Tour from Inverness
Great tour to learn about highlands history. Our tour guide Matthew was great, open to questions and very knowledgable. If you like Outlander you will be delighted, and even if you are not a fan but a history buff, you'll be happy. Glenn Affric is the best part, beautiful landscapes that will never leave your mind.
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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Clava Cairns is a must-see for history buffs.

  • The area around the cairns can become muddy after rain, so wear sturdy footwear.

  • Bring rain gear in case of a downpour, as the open-air site is exposed.

  • The surface around the cairns is uneven and may be difficult for wheelchair users to navigate.

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How to Get There

The Clava Cairns are located about seven miles (11 kilometers) east of Inverness, and are not served by public transport. From the Culloden Battlefield, the cairns are just a 5-minute drive or 30-minute walk away. Parking is available at the site.

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When to Get There

Because of their off-the-beaten-track location, the Clava Cairns do not attract big crowds. If you want to have the site all to yourself, go early in the morning.

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The Mystery and Intrigues of the Clava Cairns

As with many prehistoric burial sites, the Clava Cairns remain somewhat of a mystery. Historians can only theorize about their purpose or meaning. The cairns’ alignment suggest midwinter sunset was an important time for those who built it, but it’s not known exactly why it was so significant. With the sheer amount of effort necessary to arrange the stones for each grave, historians also believe the cairns may have housed important members of society.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Clava Cairns ?
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Inverness?
A:
As well as visiting the Clava Cairns , check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: