How to spend 48 hours in Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

With so much to see and do in Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn, it can be hard to decide what pack to into 48 hours. Which is why we’ve picked out a few highlights – from art to outdoor adventures and culture to craft beers.

Day one

If you’re waking up in Inverness, let’s start with one of the most iconic things to do – a boat trip on Loch Ness. You could try Loch Ness by Jacobite or Cruise Loch Ness – but there are plenty of boat trip companies available. The guided tours will give you a fascinating insight into the history of the area as you keep your eyes peeled for Nessie. It’s a good idea to choose a trip with a stop at the stunningly situated ruins of Urquhart Castle, which has seen some of the most dramatic events in the Highlands’ story.

Jacobite Cruises 48 hours in Inverness and Loch Ness

Enjoy a cruise around Loch Ness with Jacobite Cruises

Climb to the top of Grant Tower with breathtaking loch views, peer into a prison cell, and check out the great hall. Afterwards, you’re bound to be ready for a spot of lunch. Take a short drive to the Dores Inn, beautifully situated on the banks of Loch Ness, and enjoy some fresh local fare. The Inn has plenty of picnic tables overlooking the loch, and even an outside bar in the summer time.

Next up, head the few miles back into Inverness for a stroll around Ness Islands on the River Ness. Planted with mature Scots pine, fir, beech and sycamore, this series of islands is within easy walking distance of the city centre. You might be lucky enough to spot an angler, chest-deep in the river, catching a mighty salmon. And look out for Inverness Cathedral and the Inverness War Memorial as you walk to and from the islands.

You’ll be spoilt for choice for dinner, but if you’re in the mood for delicious wood-fired pizzas and a wide selection of craft beers, organic wine and whiskies, then try out Black Isle Bar and Rooms which is deservedly popular with locals and tourists alike.

No visit to the Highlands would be complete without a bit of traditional music, so why not round off your night with a visit to Hootananny, where there’s likely to be some traditional music or even a lively ceilidh for a true Scottish experience?

Take a short drive to the Dores Inn, beautifully situated on the banks of Loch Ness, and enjoy some fresh local fare

Day two

Today will take you slowly from Inverness to Nairn and the surrounding area. First, stop in at Culloden Battlefield, the site of the final Jacobite Rising on Culloden Moor, the last battle fought on British soil.

After learning more about this brutal battle, head to the mighty Fort George, built after the Battle of Culloden as a defence against further unrest. Its garrison buildings, artillery defences and collection of arms provide a fascinating insight into 18th-century military life.

Fort George 48 hours in Inverness and Loch Ness

Take a trip to historical Fort George near Ardersier

After all that history, you might want a bit of retail therapy – and we know just the place. A few miles past Nairn, you’ll find Brodie Countryfare, which stocks a host of quality deli food and drinks, gorgeous home interiors and top fashion choices – and it’s also a great place for a tasty lunch.

You can’t spend 48 hours in the region and not visit a distillery – so next up is a visit to Benromach Distillery, where they’ve been making whisky since 1898. See the distillers at work and enjoy a tasting of this classic Speyside single malt whisky.

Now it’s time to head the few miles back into Nairn, where you can walk off those drams with a stroll around the pretty harbour. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you could dine at the Sun Dancer, where you can enjoy favourites such as mussels, scallops or duck with incredible sea views.

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Image credits: ©Black Isle Brewing Co; Lowsun/; Sweet Ice Cream Photography/Tatiana Rodriguez/Unsplash

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