Things to do and places to visit from Loch Ness
There is no shortage of things to do and places to visit from Loch Ness, and our base at Dochgarroch, strategically situated at the eastern end of the loch, on the Caledonian Canal, is a perfect place to start or finish a trip.
You can choose to begin or end your excursion with a Loch Ness by Jacobite cruise at Dochgarroch, or either of Clansman Harbour and Tomnahurich Bridge.
There is a huge range of places to visit within the Highlands and elsewhere in Scotland. Starting your journey from the eastern end of Loch Ness, they include:
Within one hour of Loch Ness:
- Inverness …
- Cawdor Castle - made famous in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
- Glen Ord Distillery - on the edge of the Black Isle, take a tour of the distillery and watch the distillers at work creating a magical malt whisky.
- The Commando Memorial - magnificent sculpture dedicated to the soldiers who trained in the hills prior to the Second World War.
- Nairn Beach - wonderful sands with excellent golf courses nearby. Charlie Chaplin used to holiday here.
- Tomatin Distillery - visitor centre has tours and extensive range of whiskies - with tastings for those not driving.
- Landmark Forest Adventure Park - great day out for families with children with its Treetop Trail.
- Glen Affric Forest Park - a step back in time walking through the natural trees of Scotland in The Great Wood of Caledon - a chance to see deer, buzzards, pine marten and an abundance of other wildlife.
- Cairngorm Mountain - with its funicular railway and also Aonach Mor with gondola cars to whisk you up the mountain.
- Brodie Country Fare - for that Highland shopping experience - food and drink, clothing boutique, male and female, gifts, souvenirs, restaurant.
- Dolphin Watching, at Chanonry Point, on the Black Isle - one of the very few resident populations of bottle-nosed dolphins in the UK.
- Rothiemurchus - offering stunning scenery and outdoor activities for individuals, families, groups and corporate parties to enjoy.
Within two hours of Loch Ness:
- Dunrobin Castle - home of the Duke of Sutherland - magnificent fairy-tale castle, with stunning tapestries, paintings and silver collections.
- Inverewe Gardens - renowned for its exotic plants, the estate was established by the sea on the West Coast and close to the Gulf Stream - spectacular setting.
- Glenfiddich Distillery - along the Whisky Trail there are many distilleries to visit - Glenfiddich is probably the most famous.
- Harry Potter viaduct, at Glenfinnan - on the Road to the Isles and also where you can view the monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie and visit the National Trust Visitor Centre.
- Eilean Donan Castle - made famous in the movie Highlander, and also James Bond’s The World Is Not Enough. One of the most photographed castles in Scotland - visitor centre and restaurant.
- Findhorn Centre - eco-friendly arts and crafts village established as an alternative community over 50 years ago. People come from all over the globe. If you are interested in wellbeing, mindfullness and alternative lifestyle, this is for you.
- Johnstons of Elgin, Cashmere Heritage Centre - fabulous sweaters and luxury fibre jackets, suits, cardigans and accessories, retail shop and restaurant.
- Elgol in Skye - another step back in time, with cruises into Loch Coruisk and magnificent views of the Cuillin Mountains, then a trip to Talisker Distillery and the rest of Skye.
- Knockan Crag, North of Ullapool - free visitor centre, with fascinating story of the geological features of this area, and magnificent views west.
- Bealach Na Ba road to Applecross - you can start at the bottom in glorious sunshine and, when you arrive at the top, there can be snow. Then down to the superb Applecross Inn for the finest of West Coast shellfish and seafood.
- The Ice Factor, Kinlochleven - just before magnificent Glencoe, which you should visit afterwards. Try your hand at ice climbing on this amazing wall with all the difficulties of the great outdoors - imagine you are on Everest.
- Highland Folk Museum, Newtonmore - a history of the way the people of the Highlands lived throughout the ages - a unique experience and a step back in time with all the different buildings that have been preserved. Fascinating.
- Timespan, in Helmsdale - explore the Virtual World of Caen, learn about the past, discover exhibitions by contemporary artists - in a quaint village where the late Barbara Cartland, the novelist grandmother of Princess Diana, had a summer house.
- Gordon Castle, Fochabers - a wonderful walled garden, restaurant and shop with their own gardens and provisions. Provides their own gin and cider. For those who wish for “The Good Life” this is where it’s found.
Within three hours of Loch Ness:
- South to Perth. North to Thurso. West to the far side of Skye. East to Aberdeen and Dundee.
- The Castle and Gardens of Mey - the Highland home of the late Queen Mother and now a visitor centre with restaurant and shop in a magnificent setting on the North Coast.
- John O' Groats - last point on the UK mainland and a bucket list place to visit. Also Duncansby Stacks, rock pinnacles to the immediate south of Duncansby Head.
- Castle trail, in Aberdeenshire - Fraser Castle, Drum Castle, and Crathes Castle - National Trust properties.
- Balmoral and Royal Deeside and next door Royal Lochnagar Distillery – with a great tour.
- Kilt Rock, north of Portree, on the Isle of Skye - made of basalt columns, was once joined to the Giant’s Causeway, in the north of Ireland - amazing natural feature and great viewing area.
- House of Bruar - one of Scotland’s great shopping experiences - a must visit and excellent restaurant. You can spend half a day here and it oozes quality.
- Blair Castle and Falls of Bruar - next door to House of Bruar, a must see when here.
- Four world-class distilleries in this area - Edradour, The Famous Grouse, Dewar’s World of Whisky and, on your way in either direction, a stop at Dalwhinnie, highest distillery in Scotland with its pagoda style chimneys. A lovely ladies whisky - 15-year-old Dalwhinnie.
- British Golf Museum, St Andrews, in Fife - a must for anyone interested in this magnificent game here in Scotland at the home of golf. The whole history of the game unfolds before you. Maybe time for a round as well.
- Glamis Castle, in Angus - a great example of a 14th century keep, large park, nature trail and Italian style gardens - once seen never forgotten.
- Stirling Castle, often associated with Mary Queen of Scots - prominent position overlooking the valley and over to the Wallace Monument and the Battlefield of Bannockburn. The film premier of Braveheart was held here and The Great Hall is a sought-after function and event space - a must see.
- A trip to Orkney to Skara Brae - a historic sight of the utmost importance - a sand storm uncovered a Neolithic village inhabited between 3200BC and 2200BC - the best group of Stone Age houses in Western Europe.
These are a few suggestions of things to do and places to visit from Loch Ness, encompassing castles, distilleries, heritage sites, shopping experiences, view points, cultural and historical buildings. Along with Loch Ness by Jacobite, they will immerse you in a sense of what is Scotland and, in particular, the Highlands.
Enjoy the experience.