For a Great Day Out From Inverness – Visit Rothiemurchus

rothiemurchus

For a great day out from Inverness here’s an idea – visit Rothiemurchus in the Scottish Highlands.  It’s just south of Aviemore and about 45 minutes drive from Inverness.

For centuries nature and people have lived in harmony in Rothiemurchus.  At its heart lies one of the largest areas of natural forest in Britain with an extraordinary variety of wildlife that depends on it for survival.  Eighteen generations of Grants of Rothiemurchus and other families who have put love and care into maintaining the land for over 450 years, mean we can enjoy this unique environment today.

By enjoying Rothiemurchus you can help:  profits from activities, car parking, shops and other commercial activities are ploughed back into the care of this family  owned estate to enable sustainable stewardship of the forest and for wildlife  to thrive.

You can go there simply to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and countryside, take a picnic and make the most of the great outdoors.  Or you may want to take part in the activities available both on land or on the water – canoeing, rafting, photography, pony trekking or archery are just a few examples.

If that sounds way too energetic you can also take in the farm shop and deli, full of local produce and the gift shop to browse.  Plus there’s also the Druie Restaurant Cafe for when you’re ready to rest and enjoy a delicious meal.

It seems quite possible that you will fall in love with this place when you visit, so you’ll be pleased to know you can also book private events here too.  Weddings can be held in the Victorian shooting lodge, set right in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and featuring it’s own private picturesque loch.

So I hope you’ll be making a plan to see this stunning setting for yourself for yourself.

 

5 Favourite Beaches on the Moray Firth

We are very fortunate to have some beautiful beaches in Scotland and here I’ve picked my 5 favourite beaches on the Moray Firth.  The furthest is about an hour and a quarter’s drive.  Since our weather is frequently described as ‘changeable’ these are not the kind of beaches you’ll find rows of sunloungers for tourists to top up their golden tans even in the height of the summer.  But most of these beaches have fine, golden sand and offer stunning views all around and a great opportunity to stretch your legs and possibly stick a toe in the water if you’re feeling brave.

Nairn Beach

.nairn beachNairn is about half an hour’s drive from here along the Moray coast.  It has been a popular seaside town since Victorian times and recently came 10th in a poll of Britain’s best beaches.  Nairn Beach enjoys one of the sunniest climates in the country and has amazing views across the Moray Firth to the Black Isles and the coastline is home to a resident school of dolphins

 

Lossiemouth – East and West

east beach lossiemouth

East Beach at Lossiemouth

With a choice of two beautiful beaches Lossiemouth is a lovely little town.  Situated on the Moray coast, just over an hour’s drive from here and about 5 miles from Elgin the county town of Moray, Lossiemouth is home to the Royal Air Force and seaside amenities.  The east beach is the first beach you see as you enter the town and is accessed by a wooden pedestrian beach.  The west beach is at the other side of town overlooked by the golf course and caravan park.  If you’re lucky you’ll get a great view of air force jets taking off from the air base.

 

 

 

 

Dornoch

dornoch beach

Dogs love a walk on Dornoch beach

The Royal Burgh of Dornoch is an historic small town on the edge of the Dornoch Firth and just over an hour’s drive from Inverness.  Dornoch beach is an officially designated E.C. Bathing Beach and has been given rural ‘Seaside Award’ Status 2012 as a clean bathing beach. Miles of golden sand stretch from Dornoch Point heading past Embo beach to the mouth of Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve.

 

 Rosemarkie

 

rosemarkie beachRosemarkie fronts on a wide, picturesque bay, with views of Fort George and the Moray coastline across the Moray Firth. Rosemarkie has one of the finest beaches on the Moray Firth Coast Line. At the southern end of the beach is Chanonry Point, reputed to be the best location on the United Kingdom mainland from which to see dolphins.

 

 

 

Loch Ness at Dores Village

mum

Loch Ness at the Dores Inn

Strictly speak this isn’t a beach but it’s still a favourite shore to walk the dog.  If you park your car at the Dores Inn, you’ll find yourself at the edge of Loch Ness with stunning views in front of you.  The shoreline is stones, rather than sand, but it’s a great place for a walk before or after lunch at the lovely pub, the Dores Inn.  After a bracing walk it’s always nice to warm yourself next to the log burning stove.

Eden Court Theatre is a real gem of a theatre and is only a stone’s throw away from here.  As an all in one venue serving not only Inverness but the whole of the Highlands, it’s a community theatre, arts centre and cinema.  With it’s striking modern building situated on the banks of the River Ness, people come from far and wide to see a huge range of shows, from comedy to drama to music and dance.

eden court

Eden Court Theatre

It originally opened in 1976, with an 80-foot wide stage with a motorised centre which can be adapted for different performances or moved back to reveal an orchestra pit for 60 musicians. The horseshoe shaped auditorium comfortably seats 830 or for smaller scale performances, with the upper tiers dark, it has the feel of a more intimate theatre.  The theatre is sited in the grounds of what had been the official residence of the Bishops of Moray. Built in the nineteenth century for Bishop Robert Eden, the house was incorporated into the new arts centre.By the turn of the century it was apparent that the existing buildings were no longer adequate. Eden Court was successfully attracting visitors from all over the region not just to watch but also to take part in community events and the arts education activities on offer. Following a major appeal and two years of closure Eden Court reopened in November 2007 as the one of the best equipped arts centres in the country. The Victorian Bishop’s Palace and 1976 theatre, both Grade A Listed, were retained and two new extensions added providing a second theatre, two new cinemas, two dance and drama studios and three floors of purpose built dressing rooms, into what is now the biggest arts centre in Scotland.

Whatever your taste in arts, you’ll find something of interest at Eden Court Theatre.  In the last few years I’ve enjoyed the ballet, cinema, concerts and comedy acts.  In one year I managed to see performances by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Proclaimers, Michael Macintyre and a number of great films.  It’s also a great spot for meeting people, with a comfortable cafe overlooking the riverside open all day.

 

Take a Full on Adventure

To make your holiday in Scotland trully memorable, Full on Adventure is a great suggestion for a unique experience.  Full on Adventure is a company less than 45 minutes drive from here, who are innovators of adventure in the Highlands of Scotland.  Based in Aviemore, at the hub of the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands, they have a passion for outdoor adventures and wild experiences.

They work throughout Scotland, the UK and beyond. Whether it’s White Water Adventure River Tubing, Rafting, Canyoning, Mountain Biking, Climbing, Scrambling, adventure sports coaching or guiding – whether it’s fun, the thrill of adventure or a physical challenge you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone.

Full on Adventure

Kayaking on the River Spey

Excellent Coaching

For all Adventure activities, training courses and tours you’ll receive excellent coaching and guiding from the experienced and qualified team. The best quality equipment is provided as well.  By travelling widely they have collected great ideas from overseas and adapted them for Scotland. Very often this involves adding thick wetsuits and the best quality warm kit to ensure the activities work in our variable climate.

For the passed 5 years Full On Adventure have teamed up with Rothiemurchus estate to offer a range of watersports activities on the local estate. Families and groups that visit Rothiemurchus can now take part in exciting activities only 5 minutes out of Aviemore. In 2012 they opened a new base and heated indoor changing rooms on Rothiemurchus at Inverdruie. This base is on the ski road just minutes from Aviemore centre, next to the tennis club and over the road from Tree Zone.

You can see for yourself there are plenty of 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor from families and adult groups and so you can see how popular these awesome activities are with the best instructors and the highest quality equipment. Now Aviemore is really exploding as the real adventure hub of the Scottish highlands, with so much to do in the area this really is a great place to visit on your adventures.

Exploring Caithness & Sutherland

If you use Inverness as a base for your holiday, exploring Caithness & Sutherland is one of the things you should do whilst staying here.  The wide expanses of the north Highlands offer a sense of space and tranquility unlike that found anywhere else.  The area includes three National Scenic Areas – Scotland’s finest landscapes.

Three dramatically different coasts await you.  The east cost entices with glittering estuaries, salmon rivers, historical fishing villages and lovely woodlands.  The rugged splendour of north west Sutherland inspires world class geology, breath-taking mountains and a rich natural environment.  As you travel across the top coast, the landscape becomes gentler and gives way to fertile farmlands and the rich archeological hertitage of Caithness, where you will find the most northly point on the British mainland and stunning sea views.

Spring or early summer are the best time for nesting seabirds and abundant wildflowers.  Summer brings a chance to see ospreys fishing and seal pups sunning themselves on sand banks.  Stags in the rut and spectacular colours of woodlands and hillside are a treat for the autumn, while crisp beautiful sunny days and impressive crashing sotrms make a visit in the winter a real pleasure to be savoured roun the fire at nights.

Many visitors have looked at our map of the north of Scotlands whilst staying here and thought they could drive north, across the top, down the west coast and across country back to Inverness in one day.  But unless you want to spend the entire day driving, and through some challenging roads, it’s way too much to do in one day.  There are so many places to visit, here’s just a few:

Dunrobin Castle – on of the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses, Dunrobin Castle dates back to the early 1300s.  Home to the Earls and later the Dukes of Sutherland, the castle is perched on a high terrace with beautiful walled gardens.  Daily falconry displays take place on the lawns. Open April – October.

Dunnet Head – Dunnet Head is the most northerly point on the UK mainland.  The few miles between the village to the lighthouse offer magnificent cliff-top views of Orkney.  In early summer, the cliffs are alive with seabirds such as fulmar and puffins.  Dunnet Head is managed by the RSPB.

Stacks of Duncansby – Duncansby offers a dramatic experience.  These imposing pyramidal stacks have been isolated by the retreat of the cliffs.  Superb views can be had from the coastal path where the best views of huge seabird colonies can be gained.

Scottish Natural Heritage provide a great deal of information on Scotland’s nature and how you can enjoy the great outdoors.

Exploring Caithness and Sutherland

Enjoy the Scottish Landscape

Inverness Half Marathon Accommodation in a Perfect Location

If you’re still looking for bed and breakfast accommodation for the Inverness Half Marathon on 9th March 2014, then Bannerman Bed and Breakfast is just what you’re looking for.   With both the start and the finish of the race only a few minutes walk away, then this is a great base for you to prepare for and recuperate from the race.

Inverness Marathon

The race start is in the Bught Park at 12.30 on 9th and the finish is in the Queen’s Park Stadium in the Inverness Sports Centre both of which are a short walk from here.  In addition to the Half Marathon there’s also a 5K fun race for all the family and the 5K team attack.

 

 

 

Bannerman Bed and Breakfast is a small, stylish bed and breakfast with 4 comfortable bedrooms.  Each room has ensuite facilities, flat-screen TV with DVD player, clock/radio/ipod dock, hairdryer, tea/coffee and free wifi.  Free off-road parking is available.  We are walking distance from the town centre as well as a perfect location for the marathon.

A healthy start to the day

A healthy start to the day 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we frequently welcome runners here, we are accustomed to encouraging nervous runners on race day and provide a nutritious breakfast including a filling bowl of porridge to help get you round the route.

The Global Energy Inverness ½ Marathon starts along the banks of the River Ness near the centre of Inverness, the Highland capital.  It then follows the river, running beneath the dramatic outline of Inverness Castle. A warm welcome finally awaits all runners as they approach the finish line on entering the city’s Queen’s Park Stadium – achieved by over 3400 runners in 2013 and many others over the decades it has been staged.  So the challenge is there: a beautiful run over a course suitable for all levels of ability. We invite you to take your place on the start line on Sunday 9th March in 2014 – so why don’t you come along and join in the fun!

Escape the Winter Weather

Sick of the rain and floods?  Fed up with wearing wellies?  Then head north to Inverness and escape the floods.  Believe it or not the Highlands are experiencing great weather for the time of year.  Yes of course there’s the odd shower of rain… or windy day but on the whole the snow is where we like it to be, in the mountains.  Last week I cut the grass here at Bannerman Bed and Breakfast, at least a month earlier than normal and in January the north of Scotland experienced less than average rainfall.

A Walk round the Ness Islands

Here’s Barney enjoying a beautiful walk through the Bught Park and then around the Ness Islands, only a short walk from Bannerman Bed and Breakfast.
Barney on the Ness Islands Barney in the Bught
If you’re tired of staying indoors because the weather is so bad and the news is full of doom and gloom, there are places in the UK where you can get away from it all.  Our thoughts are with those affected by the terrible weather and we hope everyone keeps safe but the whole of the UK is not affected by the storms and the conditions in the north of the country are much better.   There are great skiing conditions in the Cairngorms and the Nevis Mountain Range.  The salmon fishing season is already underway and we’ve seen fisherman in the River Ness waist deep in the water in the last couple of weeks.
Of course you don’t have to be enjoying the outdoors.  If that’s not for you, there’s plenty in the area that can be enjoyed from inside.  Inverness has a fantastic choice of restaurants and bars and a selection of shops to meet every budget.  With Eden Court Theatre only a few minutes walk from here and a number of pubs featuring live music, there’s entertainment for all.
Need I say more, head for the A9…

Valentines Weekend is coming soon – 14th February 2014

Where better to treat your loved one, than to whisk them away for a Valentines weekend break in Inverness and the stunning Scottish Highlands.  There’s still time to get organised and plan something special for a romantic get away.

Romantic walks in the glen

photo34 We’re surrounded by beautiful walks whether it’s a stroll along the sands of Dornoch or Lossiemouth beaches or treking the Great Glen Way.  About an hour’s drive from Inverness is Glen Affric where you’ll find panoramic views of the countryside with organised walks for all abilities.  And then there’s the Ness Islands, a short stroll from the town centre of Inverness.

 

 

Monster Hunting

photo3It may not sound like a romantic option but a cruise on Loch Ness is a great way to take in the beautiful setting of the most talked about loch in Scotland.  Jacobite Cruises run several tours a day, including the option of visiting Urquhart Castle.

 

 

 

Whisky Tasting

iStock_000001904344XSmallYou don’t have to go too far anywhere in Scotland to find a distillery worth visiting.  It’s a fascinating tour whether you’ve never tried whisky before of if you have a favourite malt you’d like to know more about.  And of course at the end of a tour there’s the opportunity to sample the goods and identify your fabourite.  Near Inverness there’s Tomatin, Glen Ord and Glenmorangie and we’re just over an hour’s drive to the whisky trail on Speyside.

Table for Two

photo26photo25

 

There’s a vast choice of restaurants in Inverness.  The Dores Inn is set in the most stunning setting on the shores of Loch Ness 8 miles from Inverness.  It offers the atmosphere of a traditional country pub complete with log-burner and sofas as well as an excellent menu filled with local produce.  Or how about starting the evening with cocktails in the Rocpool Reserve Hotel, not to be confused with one of our favourites the Rocpool Restaurant.  There’s also a new Prosecco and Tapas Bar in the town centre as well as other favourites like the Mustard Seed, the Kitchen and Cafe 1.  We’re very happy to make recommendations and reservations for you.

This year Valentines Day falls on a Friday, so this year a weekend away will fit in nicely.  Whatever you decide to do, let us know if we can help with your accommodation needs in Inverness.

 

 

 

 

If you’re planning a vacation in the Scottish Highlands, then a great start to planning your holiday would be to base yourself in the Highland capital, Inverness.  From here you can access the beauty of the nearby scenic countryside in every direction and enjoy the culture and history of a vibrant and attractive city.

Travel to the Highlands

There are many ways to travel to the Highlands. If you’re travelling from outside the UK there are a few international flights arriving at Inverness airport, a short 7 mile trip from the city and many domestic flights from other parts of the UK including London, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham..  You can also fly on from Inverness to a number of Scottish islands like Shetland and Benbecula.  Many people opt to fly to Edinburgh or Glasgow International Airports and either hire a car or take the train enjoying the fantastic scenery on the journey to Inverness.   Of course you can also spend some time in these bustling cities full of life and Scottish heritage and in sharp contrast to the peaceful Highlands.

Inverness Accommodation

Inverness has every option on accommodation whether you’re backpacking on a budget or ready to push the boat out on a 5* hotel.  For a more personal approach there is a great selection of bed and breakfasts and guest houses competitively priced and offering excellent service.   You’ll find exceptional attention to detail and a host glad to offer recommendations for days out.

What to see in the Highlands

There’s so many things to d0 and see in the Scottish Highlands, many guests return again and again.  Whether you’re here to research your ancestry, take in the great outdoors, or visit the many local attractions there’s something for everyone.  A must-see for most guests is of course Loch Ness and it’s famous inhabitant, Nessie.  On the north side you can travel to Drumnadrochit which is 15 miles away and features the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre and the fascinating Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness.  The south side of Loch Ness is a quieter route with some beautiful walks including Foyers falls and who can resist a trip to the Dores Inn, a wonderful country pub on the shores of Loch Ness.  From Inverness you can do day trips to Orkney, the Isle of Skye or Fort William.  You can also travel north to John O’Groats and reach the top of mainland Scotland by car or to Ullapool and the stunning scenery the west coast has to offer.  Nearer to the city there’s Culloden Battlefield, the site of the last battle between England and Scotland, Cawdor Castle and dolphin-spotting on the Black Isle.  For whisky lovers you don’t need to go too far for distilleries or you can make a whole holiday of distillery visiting.  Glenmorangie, Glenmoray and Glangrant are not too far and you can find out more about Scottish produce at Johnstons of Elgin and Baxters of Speyside.

2014 is going to be an exciting year for Scotland with the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and the Year of Homecoming so time to start planning your Highland vacation now.

A Highland cow.

A Highland cow.

.Castle at Inverness in Scotland

Great accommodation on the Great Glen Way

Walkers on the Great Glen

 

 

Christmas shopping in Inverness is the way to tackle the challenge that comes round fast every year.  To ensure you have everything you need for the holidays,  there’s no better place to find your festive must-haves than in Inverness.  Consumers wanting to “Shop Inverness” before Christmas comes have a range of options open to them, with something to suit all shopping styles!

Night time illuminations on the River Ness

Largest Shopping Centre in the Highlands

Head to the city’s Eastgate Centre – the Highlands largest shopping venue with more than 60 stores offering everything from toys to clothes and jewellery to electricals.  There are also a selection of retail parks outside of the city centre, providing additional shopping opportunities, as well as ample parking and exciting leisure facilities allowing you to make last minute chores a day out for all the family.

Unique Shopping Experience in Inverness

For alternative and independent stores, why not try the Victorian Market, under cover shopping in a unique environment, with fun stores with interesting and unique items for your stocking – you can even stop for refreshments in one of a selection of cafes and coffee shops!

VIX

One of the latest additions to the Inverness shopping experience is The Village in Union Street. This exciting venture sees a selection of service providers and retailers coming together under one roof to create a unique city shopping experience.

Shop Inverness Online with Click and Collect

Of course, many people prefer to select their shopping from the comfort of their own sofa – and this year Inverness is even offering that option, with traders across the city having signed up to a unique Click and Collect service.

The Inverness Shop Local service, which is being run in conjunction with Inverness BID offers products from Castle Gallery, Harry Gow, Highland House of Fraser, Highland Schoolwear, Iolaire, Judith Glue, Oil and Vinegar, Ramada Encore, Robertsons the Larder Farm Shop, Spin a Yarn, The Flower Company, Uppercut Gifts and Wine Time, which online shoppers can reserve from the calm of their living room to pay for and pick up at an arranged time that suits their schedule.

Whatever your shopping style, you can be sure Inverness has something to suit your last minute shopping needs – and we all know there’s no better place to be than in the heart of the Highlands for the holidays!