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There are many things to do in Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn, but here are the top 10.
Probably the world’s most famous loch-dwelling monster, the elusive Nessie has fascinated locals and visitors for many years. The best way to spot the mythical creature is to take a cruise, starting from Drumnadrochit, Fort Augustus or Inverness. Hear the area’s fascinating history as you cruise through the beautiful waters – all the while keeping your eyes peeled for a possible sighting.
Soak up the area’s rich history by visiting some of the myriad evocative ruins and castles. Urquhart Castle on the banks on Loch Ness is one of Scotland’s most iconic and dramatic ruins. And Cawdor Castle, situated between Inverness and Nairn, was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor in the late 14th century.
Discover the traditions of the Highlands at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Situated in the historic centre of the city at the foot of the Castle hill, the museum is a treasure trove of artefacts relating to the history of Highland Scotland. The exhibitions begin on the ground floor with geology and natural history as well as the rich archaeological heritage of the Highlands. Continue upstairs to discover the more recent history of the Highlands.
When in Scotland, the home of golf, it would be rude not to swing a club or two. Inverness is home to several courses, including Castle Stuart Golf Links, a Championships links course that has played host to the Scottish Open. Nairn has two quality links courses – the Nairn Golf Club and Nairn Dunbar Championship Golf Course, ranked 9th in the North of Scotland Top 100 Golf Courses.
Visit the poignant site of the final Jacobite Rising on Culloden Moor, the last pitched battle fought on British soil. Brutal and bloody, the 1746 battle saw heavy Jacobite losses and the site is now a powerful and moving memorial. The interactive visitor centre hosts fascinating artefacts and an immersive surround cinema.
Haggis, the national dish of Scotland, is a spicy meat pudding traditionally served with mashed neeps and tatties – washed down with a dram, of course. Legend has it that the mythical haggis is a small four-legged creature that has two legs shorter than the others so it can run around the mountains without falling over. Catch one if you can!
Backed by dunes, Nairn’s beautiful sandy beaches make for a fabulous day out. Benefiting from its own micro-climate, Nairn is one of the sunnier parts of Scotland, so braver visitors can even enjoy a dip in the chilly waters of the Moray Firth.
Called the ‘water of life’, whisky is more than just a drink to the Scots. A stay in this part of Scotland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the many local distilleries. Try the famous Glenmorangie some 35 miles north of Inverness or Glen Moray over to the east to learn more about this ancient industry – and sample a wee dram or too, of course.
With so much natural beauty on the doorstep, it’s a crime not to enjoy the breathtaking scenery. But if you’re not able to get out and walk – don’t worry. Even from a car, you’re surrounded by dramatic mountainous landscapes and windswept sandy beaches.
Whether you enjoy boating, walking, running, cycling or fishing, the Caledonian Canal has something for everyone. Running 60 miles along the Great Glen from Fort William to Inverness, the canal was engineered by Thomas Telford and opened in 1822. Visit the Caledonian Canal Centre at the locks at Fort Augustus for more.
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