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Best Ways To Spend Your Day in Loch Ness

Best Ways To Spend Your Day in Loch Ness

In the heart of the Scottish Highlands lies Loch Ness, an iconic destination offering an array of captivating experiences. While you may not spot the elusive Loch Ness Monster – or Nessie to us locals – you’ll still find plenty to explore!

From scenic boat tours to tranquil walks along the shores, Loch Ness enchants visitors with its breathtaking landscapes. In this guide, we’ll uncover the best ways to make the most of your day in this quintessential Scottish spot.

Visit the Loch Ness Centre

Venue: The Loch Ness Centre


Address: Drumnadrochit, Inverness IV63 6TU, United Kingdom

Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 9:30 AM–5 PM

Contact Details: +44 1456 450573

Facilities: Full Disabled Access, Toilets, Baby Changing Facilities, Complimentary On-Site Parking, Motorcycle Bays

Price: Adult

Online Tickets: £14.35

Walk-up Tickets: £15.95

Flexi Tickets: £17.95

Child (5 to 15 yo)

Online Tickets: £11.65

Walk-up Tickets: £12.95

Flexi Tickets: £14.95

Child Below 5: Free

We recommend you visit the Loch Ness Centre, located in the picturesque village of Drumnadrochit. This one-of-a-kind destination aims to shed light on the mysteries of the world’s most famous lake while preserving its enigmatic allure.

Step into a world where the Loch Ness legend comes to life through an immersive 45-minute guided tour, blending theatre, real tools, and archival footage spanning four decades of research. Along the way, you’ll also see authentic objects and artifacts.

At the Loch Ness Centre, you’re not just a spectator; you’re a participant in the age-old tale of Nessie. 

Pro tip:
For your convenience, do note that the Loch Ness Centre operates on a fully cashless basis. They’re unable to process any cash transactions, so prepare for your trip here by carrying cash.

Explore the Urquhart Castle ruins

Urquhart Castle ruins
Image by Daily Record

Venue: Urquhart Castle


Address: Drumnadrochit, Inverness IV63 6XJ, United Kingdom

Operating Hours: Monday, Fri-Sun: 9:30 AM–8 PM

                   Tue-Thurs: 9:30 AM–6 PM

Contact Details: +44 1456 450551

Facilities: Tarmac-Surface Car Park With Accessible Bays, Shop, Café, Adapted Toilets

Price: Adult (Aged 16-64): £13.00

Concession (Aged 65+): £10.40

Child (Aged 7-15): £7.80

Child Under 7 (Aged 0-6): Free

Historic Scotland Member (Valid membership card required): Free

Family Ticket 1 (1 Adult and 2 Children aged 7-15): £25.50

Family Ticket 2 (2 Adults and 2 Children aged 7-15): £37.50

Family Ticket 3 (2 Adults and 3 Children aged 7-15): £44.50

We think you should definitely discover the grandeur of Urquhart Castle – one of Scotland’s most frequented castles. This iconic castle boasts a strategic location on a rocky promontory, offering sweeping vistas of the famous loch. 

Visitors can delve into the past within the gloomy prison cell, rumored to have confined Gaelic bard Dòmhnall Donn. You can also explore the Grant Tower, and the grand hall or check out medieval relics like the Urquhart Ewer. 

Featuring historical artifacts, a fully operational trebuchet, and a modern visitor center, it’s no wonder Urquhart Castle draws over half a million visitors annually.

Pro tip:
In order to guarantee your entry to Urquhart Castle and enjoy the best available price, we highly recommend booking your tickets online in advance. This allows you to make the most of your visit with peace of mind.

Take a Loch Ness cruise

Tour Operator: Jacobite 


Address: Harbour, Clansman, Inverness IV3 8AU, United Kingdom

Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 8:30AM–4:30PM

Contact Details: +44 1463 233999

Price: From £20 per person up

Inclusions: Round-Trip Cruise, Wi-Fi

For over four decades, Jacobite’s Loch Ness cruise has been the gateway to unlocking the mysteries of the world-famous spot. Their seasoned crew, who entertains nearly 300,000 visitors annually, provides a variety of cruises and tours.

One can choose from a range of Jacobite experiences, whether you have 60 minutes or a full seven hours to spare. Loch Ness stretches 23 miles through the majestic Great Glen in the Scottish Highlands, offering an unparalleled aquatic adventure. 

Pro tip:
Be sure to dress warmly and bring layers as the Loch’s temperatures can be quite chilly, especially if you plan to spend an extended time on the water. Do note that the weather around Loch Ness can be unpredictable.

Hang out at Dores Beach

Venue: Dores Beach


Address: By the B862, Dores Village Centre

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Facilities: Tap For Drinking Water, Toilet Facilities Next To The Dores Inn, Street Parking

Dores Beach resides in Dores, a mere 20-minute drive from Inverness, on Loch Ness’s southern shore. This picturesque spot not only offers the closest vantage point to gaze upon Loch Ness but is also renowned for Nessie sightings. 

As you stand on the shore, you’re treated to an unobstructed view of the world-famous loch, framed by majestic hills. It’s an ideal locale for a delightful picnic on sunny days or a serene sunset rendezvous with friends.

Adventure seekers also flock to this beach, as it’s a hub for water sports. Shallow, tranquil waters near the shore beckon wild swimmers, offering a refreshing aquatic experience.

Pro tip:
For those who love the outdoors, consider wild camping in Dores Beach’s adjacent wooded area. However, remember to follow responsible camping practices to leave this natural haven undisturbed for future adventurers.

Check out the The Falls of Foyers

Venue: The Falls of Foyers


Address: B852, Inverness IV2 6XX, United Kingdom

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Details: +44 1456 486233

Facilities: Parking

Price: Free

The Falls of Foyers is another gorgeous natural wonder on the southern shores of Loch Ness, along the picturesque Loch Ness 360° Trail. At the upper vantage point, the falls reveal their full grandeur, offering year-round photo opportunities. 

For the more adventurous, we recommend venturing down to the lower viewpoint or following the path along the gorge to the shores of Loch Ness. The falls’ flow varies with the seasons, providing a dynamic spectacle amid the changing landscape. 

Parking is conveniently available, and the falls are free to visit, welcoming explorers year-round.

Pro tip:
While exploring the Falls of Foyers, be on the lookout for elusive red squirrels. You should also follow the scenic path through the woodlands and descend steep steps to reach the first of two breathtaking viewpoints.

Ride a bike along the Loch Ness 360° Trail

Loch Ness 360° Trail
Image by BikeRadar

Venue: Loch Ness 360° Trail


Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Price: Free

For those with a passion for biking, we suggest going on an unforgettable cycling adventure along the Loch Ness 360° Trail. It’s a scenic 129 km off-road path that encircles the legendary Loch Ness. 

Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or a leisure rider, this challenging gravel bike route offers a thrilling circumnavigation of the loch. It also allows you to soak in the stunning Scottish landscapes. 

While dedicated cyclists might conquer it in two to three days, the trail welcomes walkers, runners, and horse riders too, making it a versatile outdoor experience. 

Pro tip:
Remember that certain stretches can be quite remote, far from roads and services, often with unreliable mobile phone signals. Therefore, honing your map reading skills is essential to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey along this scenic path.

Dine at The Kitchen Brasserie

The Kitchen Brasserie
Image by The Kitchen

Venue: The Kitchen Brasserie


Address: 15 Huntly St, Inverness IV3 5PR, United Kingdom

Operating Hours: Mon-Fri: 4:30 PM–9 PM

                    Sat-Sun: 12 PM–2 PM, 5–9 PM

Contact Details: +44 1463 259119

Cuisines: European, British, Scottish

Special Diets: Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options

Price: Meal for two, including drinks and service: £80

If you’re feeling a bit peckish, hop on over to The Kitchen Brasserie. With its contemporary glass architecture, the restaurant spans three floors, each offering a unique view of the historic Castle and the tranquil river. 

For an immersive culinary experience, you can reserve a table adjacent to the kitchen, where you can witness the talented chefs craft their dishes. The Kitchen’s philosophy revolves around delivering superb food, impeccable service, and exceptional value. Their menu showcases inventive creations like long-braised beef cheeks in a luscious seafood bisque, a surprising surf and turf combination that tantalizes the taste buds. Don’t forget to save room for their indulgent Orkney fudge cheesecake!

Pro tip:
Meat lovers won’t want to miss the perfectly cooked slices of venison at The Kitchen Brasserie, exquisitely tender and rosy at the center. This delicious dish is accompanied by scrumptious roast potatoes on the side. 

Enjoy a themed evening at Downright Gabbler

Venue: Downright Gabbler


Address: High St, Beauly IV4 7BT, United Kingdom

Operating Hours: Wed-Thurs: 10 AM-4 PM

         Fri-Sat: 10 AM-10 PM

Contact Details: +44 1463 782800

Loch Ness visitors can also experience Scotland’s rich history and culture through Downright Gabbler’s award-winning food and drink events. 

They can explore 12,000 years of heritage with a one-of-a-kind 7-course Highland Banquet. Or, they can delve into the global phenomenon of Scotch whisky while enjoying a sumptuous four-course dinner. 

If you’re a fan of storytelling, don’t miss A Write Good Night, celebrating Scotland’s literary luminaries over a delightful four-course dinner. Here, guests can hear tales of triumph and tragedy at the Super Scots Supper, paired with a three-course meal. 

Pro tip:
For those who love tea, indulge in tipsy afternoon tea at Downright Gabbler. You can savor Scottish delicacies and learn how tea, coffee, and chocolate played pivotal roles in historical transformations. 

Go on a peaceful hike

If you’re looking to stretch your legs, Loch Ness would be the ideal place. Whether you embark on a multi-day adventure along the Great Glen Way or opt for shorter day hikes, the serene natural surroundings provide a perfect escape. 

For those seeking panoramic vistas, summiting Meall Fuar Mhonaidh, Loch Ness’s highest hill, rewards with sweeping views stretching to Fort William. 

Alternatively, you could choose the well-marked paths in Abriachan Forest, winding through picturesque woodland. You could also follow the enchanting River Oich Walk through pine-laden landscapes starting from Fort Augustus.

Pro tip:
Loch Ness and its surroundings are a haven for wildlife, so keep noise levels down, avoid disturbing animals, and follow the “Leave No Trace” principles. Also, respect local flora and fauna by staying on marked trails.

Join a Singleton Distillery Tour

Activity: Singleton Distillery Tour


Address: A832, Muir of Ord IV6 7UJ, United Kingdom

Contact details: +44 1463 872004

Tour Size: 1-16 guests per booking

Duration: 1.25 hours

Price: £20/person

Enjoy a whisky journey with The Singleton Distillery Tour, where the art of whisky-making and the meticulous craft of distillation take center stage. It prides itself on the ‘Slow Craft’ process, designed to produce a malt that stands above the rest.

This immersive tour provides insights into the intricacies of The Singleton’s signature methods, offering a deep understanding of why they result in such a superior malt. 

Of course, the true essence lies in the tasting, with the opportunity to savor three distinct whisky expressions. To complement this experience, a delightful gluten-free macaron, featuring almond flour, adds an elegant touch.

Pro tip:
To secure your spot on this popular tour, it’s advisable to book in advance. The Singleton Distillery Tour is a sought-after experience, and reserving your spot ahead of time ensures you won’t miss out on this whisky adventure. 
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