Explore the impressive ruins of this red stone medieval church, which is renowned for its high-quality masonry work.
The red stone walls and conical spire of Fortrose Cathedral sit at the heart of the charming coastal town of the same name. Visit the cathedral ruins to discover the history of the church and how it relates to the town itself. Come in summer to enjoy the fair held at the complex.
The cathedral was built with sandstone in the middle of the 13th century, although the south aisle and tower were added in the late 1300s. Stop at the cathedral today and you’ll find only ruins still standing, the result of Protestant Reformers stripping away much of the stone to build a citadel for Cromwell in Inverness.
Survey the foundations of the original cathedral, of which only an outline still exists. The two erect buildings at the site were later additions. Stop at the information points to find out how it would originally have looked and read the inscriptions on the old gravestones spread throughout the grassy square.
Walk along the high arches of the south aisle and chapel. Countess Euphemia, a 14th-century noble, commissioned this section of the building. Her tomb sits here alongside the resting places of two bishops. The other intact section of the building is the north choir range. This once functioned as the chapter house and was later adapted into a tollbooth and prison after the Protestant Reformation.
Wear a traditional costume and attend St. Boniface Fair, an annual celebration of Highland culture. Craft stalls, acrobatic performances and the sounds of Scottish folk music fill Cathedral Square during the event, which takes place every August. Shop for local produce at the stalls surrounding the ruins or simply soak up the festival atmosphere.
Wander Cathedral Square and admire the characterful pubs and stately Victorian houses. A more modern Catholic church, still used today, is located in the northern corner of the square.
Fortrose Cathedral is about a 25-minute drive from central Inverness. Find free parking on-site. The complex is open year-round and admission is free.