Beauly Priory Visitor Guide

Beauly Priory

Around a 20-minute drive from your accommodation at the Kingsmills Hotel, the Highland village of Beauly is a great place to visit for a day trip. The main attraction is Beauly Priory, which stands right in the village centre. This ancient ruined church was founded in 1230 and it is a very atmospheric site. The ruins are free to visit. You can walk in and around the priory and there are boards giving information about its history.

Ruins of Beauly Priory in the Scottish Highlands

“C’est un beau lieu!”

Beauly Priory dates from 1230, when a group of French monks set up a community there. The monks of the Valliscaulian order lived under strict rules of poverty and chastity. They fished from the river and had very little contact with the outside world. In 1510 the monks joined a different order, the Cistercians, eventually becoming disestablished in 1634. Over time, the priory fell into ruin. Originally there were many buildings, but only the church part remains today.

The name Beauly, from “Beau lieu” (beautiful place) in French, likely came from the monks that first settled there. However, there is a local legend that the name originated in 1564, when Mary, Queen of Scots came to visit. Mary spoke French and when she arrived she supposedly exclaimed “C’est un beau lieu!” (It’s a beautiful place).

Exploring the burial ground

There are several notable burials in the priory graveyard, including prominent members of the Mackenzie and Fraser clans. As such, it gets a mention in the popular Outlander book series, and also made an appearance as a filming location in series 2 of the TV adaptation. At the back of the graveyard, stands a huge 200-year-old sycamore tree, with a girth of 5.33 m and a height of 17.50 m.

Beauly Priory near Inverness, Scottish Highlands

Beauly Priory is managed by Historic Environment Scotland and is free to visit. You can check opening times and further visitor information here on the HES website.

Enjoy a history break in Inverness

After a day immersing yourself in Scottish history, head back to our hotel to put your feet up. Enjoy a delicious Scottish meal in one of our two restaurants and then sample one of our most famous exports in our Whisky Bar. Get in touch below to choose your perfect room or give our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 1463 257 100 for more information.

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