Unspoiled and uncrowded, Scotland’s 790+ islands are steeped in tradition, with many containing remnants of ancient cultures and civilizations. Thanks to the country’s compact size, it’s possible to reach more than one archipelago from Inverness. Here are the top Scottish islands tour options.
Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition is spread across seven themed areas, each offering high-tech multimedia presentations focusing on Scotland’s most storied loch. Visitors can review the evidence regarding Nessie’s existence with exhibits that help separate fact from fiction. Organized tours from Inverness often combine a visit to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition with a cruise on the lake itself, and—on some tours—a trip to the ruins of Urquhart Castle, an atmospheric medieval fortress set on the banks of Loch Ness.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition is a must-see for those who want to delve into the Loch Ness Monster mystery.
Travel light. The center has no left luggage facilities so avoid bringing anything bigger than a backpack.
A coffee shop serving drinks and casual meals can be found at the center, as can a gift shop selling Nessie-themed souvenirs.
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition is located in Drumnadrochit, 14.5 miles (23 kilometers) south of Inverness. Public transport (bus lines 17,19, 119, and 919) connect Inverness to Drumnadrochit, but departures can be infrequent at times. The easiest way for car-free travelers to go is by organized tour.
When to Get There
The center is open year-round, and is at its quietest first thing in the morning and at last entry. For visitors who want to combine a trip to the center with a cruise on Loch Ness, note that some operators only offer boat cruises between Easter and October.
Key Events in the Nessie Timeline
At the center, visitors can learn all about the important Nessie sightings and research expeditions that have taken place over the years. Among the most famous monster hunt expeditions was that involving the tiny Machan submarine in the 1970s (the submarine is on show here at the center) and Operation Deepscan in 1987, which utilized cutting-edge sonar equipment to trawl the vast loch.
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- Urquhart Castle (Caisteal na Sròine)
- Loch Ness
- Whin Park
- Inverness Botanic Gardens (Floral Hall)
- Tomnahurich (Fairy Hill)
- Glen Ord Distillery
- Eden Court Theatre and Cinema
- River Ness (Abhainn Nis)
- Inverness Castle
- Old High Church (Old High St. Stephen’s)
- Merkinch Local Nature Reserve
- Fort Augustus
- Caledonian Canal
- Culloden Battlefield