Perched on a promontory over the North Sea, Inverness' Fort George is surprisingly little-known outside Scotland, but is in fact the largest military stronghold in the UK. Built to protect the royal troops of King George II, the 18th-century fort is encircled by giant stone ramparts over a half-mile (1 km) in length, and by moat (now dry). Sloping battlements, stone-built Georgian barracks, and a chapel awash with regimental colors lend to the site's rich history. Visitors can step inside the barracks to see recreated scenes from the life of an 18th-century soldier, or visit the nearby dog cemetery, where the regimental mascots are buried. Another highlight of a visit is the Grand Magazine, where hundreds of ancient rifles line the walls.
While at the fort, be sure to take in the spectacular views over the Moray Firth, and don't miss the Highlanders Museum in the former Lieutenant Governors’ House—it's the largest military museum outside Edinburgh and is crammed with historic cannons, weaponry, and ammunition, as well as uniforms and medals. History-buffs can round off a tour of Scottish military history with a stop at nearby Culloden battlefield, which is free to enter with the Historic Scotland Explorer Pass.
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