dores inn loch ness

Inverness from the CastleIf you’re wondering why stay in Inverness, here’s just a few ideas to help you decide why it’s an essential stop.  From talking to many guests who come to stay in Inverness I’ve realised people have all sorts of ideas about Inverness before they get here.  The majority love it and and would say it’s an essential place to see whilst on holiday in Scotland.  It has so many places of interest, history, culture, there’s really something for everyone.  It is a perfect base for exploring the rest of the Highlands.  From here you can travel to the Isle of Skye or take a day trip to Orkney.  You don’t need to go as far as that, we are surrounded by beautiful landscapes, castles, gardens, beaches, golf courses …

The Famous Sights

You couldn’t possibly visit Inverness without taking in the iconic Loch Ness, just a couple of miles from here.  You can go monster hunting via a boat trip on a Jacobite cruise.  Or take in the fascinating Urquhart Castle and the other sights around Drumnadrochit.  Culloden Battlefield is also just a few miles away and offers an insight into the background of Scotland’s history and culture. Going north the Black Isle has a selection of beautiful little fishing villages, marinas and beaches.  There’s an excellent chance to see wildlife including dolphins too.  For whisky lovers we have plenty of distilleries nearby – Glen Ord, Tomatin and Glenmorangie are all a short drive from here.

Vibrant and Fascinating

But lets dispel some misconceptions.  Inverness is not an Outlander theme park or a wee quiet village in the north.  It’s a vibrant, fascinating city that’s been welcoming tourists for centuries.  Inverness has a population of around 70,000 people which increases by several thousand as we welcome visitors from around the world for most of the year.  Unlike the larger cities in Scotland, you can walk easily from one side of town to the other, although there’s also a hop-on, hop-off bus too.

There’s a wonderful selection of restaurants and bars, many offering traditional Scottish food as well as our famous whisky and ales.  We have plenty of retail opportunities, whether it’s souvenirs, outdoor clothing or Scottish produce.  You can even pick up your own kilt with all the accompanying regalia.  Music lovers will be impressed with the choice available.  There’s more formal entertainment at Eden Court Theatre or the Ironworks.  Many love the relaxed atmosphere of live traditional music in several city centre pubs.

Peace and Tranquility

Within this amazing city, there’s still the chance for peace and tranquility.  You’ll love to wander along the banks of the River Ness on the way back from a delicious dinner in town.  The bridges and trees are lit up in a quite unique setting.  The place we never get tired of visiting are the Ness Islands.  A collection of little islands in the middle of the river are connected by a series of bridges.  For a calm and peaceful spot full of ancient trees and wildlife, it’s unbeatable.

Still thinking  why stay in Inverness? Need some help planning your trip?  Please get in touch.

Eating Places in Inverness

 

 

Eden Court Theatre

eilean donan castle scotland

    Eilean Donan Castle by Brian A Jackson on Envato

A bed and breakfast owner’s top tips for choosing your holiday accommodation.

As the season is hotting up and visitor numbers are increasing it can be difficult to find suitable accommodation in Inverness.  Particularly when there’s an event or concert taking place demand can be very high.  Wherever you opt to stay here’s my top tips for selecting the right venue at the right price.  Once it’s all booked, you can relax and start looking forward to your holiday.

Location, location, location

So what kind of location are you looking for?  City, rural, suburban, near an event location.  You might want to be in the heart of the action and it might be handy to be near shops, bars, restaurants but will you be disturbed by noise by late-night revellers.  Being on a main road, your b&b will be easy to find but will traffic noise keep you awake.  If you prefer somewhere rural and secluded are you happy to take a drive for the nearest restaurant or shop?

Flexible Dates

If you’re dates are fixed there’s not much to consider but if you have flexibility it’s worth checking what’s going on in the area.  For example, a big event taking place on your first choice of dates could mean a shortage of available rooms and the prices jump up.  Looking at dates nearby could give you a considerable saving and more choice.  You’ll find hotels are more likely to increase their room rates during high demand so they can fluctuate dramatically in the same week.   Whereas if you choose a bed and breakfast or guest house the rates are more consistent.

Hotel or Bed and Breakfast Holiday Accommodation

What kind of place do you want to stay in?  Here in Inverness we have the complete range of places to stay from hostels to 5 star hotels.  Consider what’s important to you – room service, bar, restaurant and leisure facilites in a hotel or the more personal service and recommendations in a guest house.  Maybe you just want somewhere to sleep if you’re going to a special event, so maybe a budget hotel would suit best.

So now it’s time for a little research.  There are so many on-line travel agents to help you find a place to stay, just google your destination and they will come up first.  They are great to give you an idea of what’s available and at the click of a button you can find out what’s available on your chosen dates with a price comparison.  You can find out what other travellers think by reading the reviews.  Maybe they’ll highlight features you hadn’t thought about, like access to public transport.   But did you know that they charge hotels a minimum of 15% commission for each booking they receive?  Many hotels pay a higher than 15% commission rate to be ranked higher in the list of available venues.

My advice is to use Booking.com or Expedia or any of these sites to find out what’s available and then check the hotel or guest house’s website direct. You will often find the same room is available at a cheaper price or there is more availability of different types of rooms.  If you’re booking for a group it’s always worth contacting the hotel direct and asking for their best price.

Still struggling to find what you’re looking for.  The tourist office provides a great resource and often lists small properties that don’t have their own website.  In Scotland, VisitScotland‘s website is a great one-stop shop.  You can search availability on your chosen dates and refine your search to suit your needs.  Whether it’s Accessibility or Pet Friendly options you’re looking for, this site will help you filter the right venue.

Happy Holidays x

 

Inverness Highland Games

Inverness Marathon

What’s On In Inverness This Summer

As usual we’re expecting a busy summer in the Highland capital, Inverness.  The clocks have changed and the days are noticeably longer.  Tourist attractions have dusted off their summer timetables and Scottish castles get ready to open their doors for the summer season.  We are lucky to have a great number of varied events and festivals taking place throughout the Highlands and therefore tourists flock to our shores.  Because there seems to be something for all tastes and many events are free.

Here are just a few of the main events taking place.  So which will you be attending?

2018 Dates

7th April Whisky and Gin Festival, Bogbain Farm, Inverness

27th April Inverness Science Festival

29th April Etape Loch Ness – competitive cycle round Loch Ness

5th May Bandstand Beer and Music Festival, Nairn

7th May The Scottish 6 Day Motorcylce Trials, Fort William

27th May Race for Life, Bught Park, Inverness

31st May Tony Christie, Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

15th and 16th June Inverness Provincial Mod, Eden Court Theatre

24th June Billy Ocean, Inverness Leisure Centre

26th – 30th June Sunshine on Leith, Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

21st July Inverness Highland Games

29th July Little Mix, Bught Park, Inverness

1-2nd August Black Isle Show, Muir of Ord

2-4th August Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Beauly

8th September Simple Minds, Chrissie Hinds and KT Tunstall, Bught Park, Inverness

17th September Joe Lycett, Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

23rd September Loch Ness Marathon

31st October and 1st November Jason Manford, Eden Court Theatre, Inverness

23 November The Proclaimers, Inverness Leisure Centre

31st December – The Red Hot Highland Fling, Inverness

This is just a flavour of  what’s on in the Highlands this summer.  Keep an eye out for additional events.  We’re very excited for a fun-packed schedule once again this season.

Baxters Loch Ness Marathon

Inverness Highland Games

Inverness Highland Games

Eden Court Theatre

 

 

dog-walking-inverness

Dog Walks around Inverness

As a lucky dog owner we are very fortunate to live in an area surrounded by beautiful scenery and a tremendous choice of dog walks around Inverness.  Our Highland dog, Hector, enjoys regular trips to the Ness Islands, Inverness, which is just a few minutes walk from here.  He also loves the beach and has several favourites.  We also like walks in the woods along trail paths, always better if there’s a bit of water nearby for a quick dip.  Best of all is when we walk with friends and their pooches, it’s great to sniff the Highland air with your chums around.

The Ness Islands

A fabulous, safe environment for dogs and children to walk and play.  The Ness Islands are a collection of small islands in the middle of the River Ness, connected by pedestrian bridges.  There are plenty of places to paddle in the river and you’re bound to meet other 4 legged friends there.  Even without a dog it’s a must see for visitors to Inverness.  It’s very close to the town centre yet it’s tranquil with some huge old trees and wildlife to see.

Beaches

Our favourites are Dornoch, Rosemarkie and Nairn.  Each is a car ride away but worth the trip.  A good stretch of the legs on the beach can be followed up with coffee and cake at the Rosemarkie Beach Cafe for the dog owners whilst the cafe thoughtfully provides water bowls and dog biscuits for our charges.

Walks in the Woods around Inverness

To get away from it all we like to walk in the woods around Inverness.  Craig Phadraic is within Inverness and gives a terrific view of the city from one of the highest points.  Ord Hill is just over the Moray Firth on the Black Isle and one of our favourites is Aldourie woods near the village of Dores.  It backs on to the shore of Loch Ness  so it gives the dogs a chance to cool their paws in the water.

Dog Walks around Inverness

Hector with Ellie, Charlie, Reuben, Penny, Sophie, Alfie and Kali at Ord Hill overlooking the Moray Firth

Here’s a selection of Hector’s dog walks around Inverness with some of his paw pals.  if you’re wondering how we get the dogs to sit so beautifully for the photos, there’s a great deal of shouting going on in the background!

 

Dog walks around Inverness

Hector, Alfie, Maisy and Kali at Aldourie woods overlooking Loch Ness

Dog Walks around Inverness

Hector and Gordon Kanyewestie

Dog walks around Inverness

Hector and Alfie at the beach near Nairn

Dog Walks around Inverness

Hector with Reuben, Ellie, Maisy, Kali and Alfie

 

Eating Places in Inverness
Eating Places in Inverness

Dinner at the Rocpool

As I have lived over a decade in Inverness, it’s been a struggle to pick 10 favourite eating places in Inverness, as I could easily have suggested another 10.  Admittedly a couple are just outside Inverness but well worth the journey and clearly we are spoilt for choice.

1. Rocpool Restaurant – it remains my favourite of all since it never disappoints.  It’s a modern Inverness brasserie on the banks of the River Ness with a lively atmosphere, exceptional food and attentive service.  Reservations are recommended.

The Dores Inn on the south side of Loch Ness

The Dores Inn on the south side of Loch Ness

2. Dores Inn – 10 miles outside Inverness on the banks of Loch Ness, the setting for this delightful pub is stunning.  Whatever time of year you go the scenery is wonderful.  This traditional inn with slate floor and wood-burning stove is comfortable and welcoming and the choice of local food and drink is extensive.

 

 

 

3. Mustard Seed – a very well-known Inverness restaurant with a lively atmosphere.  The building on the riverside was originally a church and then a book shop and has been transformed into a modern restaurant serving a European menu with Highland influences and in-season ingredients.

4. The Kitchen – in the same theme the Kitchen is owned by the same group as the Mustard Seed and has a similar menu and equally good standards.  It is set in a modern glass fronted building on the other side of the river.  It has a brasserie style and includes a pasta and pizza section.

5. Castle Tavern – my favourite pub in Inverness.  This traditional tavern overlooks Inverness Castle and features a beer garden, friendly banter and a great atmosphere.  It’s a small well-run hostelry and has a varied menu from snacks to full meals and an extensive choice of beers and whiskys.

6. Girvans Restaurant and Patisserie – an old-fashioned cafe style restaurant in the heart of the city centre.  Sometimes there is a queue to get a table in Girvans at peak times but it’s not for long and it’s worth the wait.  It has an extensive menu offering good value and it’s open all day.  Perfect for a coffee and a strawberry tart while you take a break from retail therapy.

7. The Fig and Thistle – in a central location next door to Girvans, this is a really friendly restaurant serving excellent lunches and dinners and includes traditional Scottish fayre.

8. Riva Restaurant – an Italian restaurant serving fine food and drink.  With superb fresh ingredients this is a great restaurant in a handy location with views of the castle.

9. Urquharts Restaurant – this is a family run city centre restaurant on a first floor.  They serve huge portions of delicious, hearty food.

10. Oakwood Restaurant – about 4 miles outside Inverness on the road to Loch Ness and Fort William.  This friendly restaurant with a delicious menu also has a gift shop.  It does not have an alcohol licence but they are happy for you to bring your own bottle and do not charge corkage.

And if you are looking for a place to stay in Inverness, here is my Bed and Breakfast.