Things to do in Scotland – top ten things to do in Loch Ness
Explore the history, scenery and natural heritage of Loch Ness with our guide to the top ten things to do in the Loch Ness region. For history and heritage updates, sign up for our free e-newsletter.
1 Caledonian Canal
A sixty-mile stretch of water built to connect Loch Ness to Inverness. The canal engineer was designed by Thomas Telford and opened in 1822, originally used largely by trade ships hoping to avoid the threat of pirates on the open sea. The Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre at Fort Augustus offers an introduction to explore the canal’s history and learn how boats travel through the locks.
Caledonian Canal Visitor Centre, Ardchattan House, Canalside, Fort Augustus PH32 4BA; tel: 01320 366493.
2 Clansman Centre
A unique living history attraction which has re-created the interior of a Highlands turf house to show what life was like in the area in the seventeenth century. There are regular demonstrations including sword fighting and costume and clothing.
Clansman Centre, Fort Augustus, Loch Ness PH32 4BD; tel: 01320 366444.
A small village (right) which is home to the famous Loch Ness Exhibition, as well as a model village featuring visitor attractions including nearby Urquhart Castle.
Drumnadrochit, west shore of Loch Ness.
4 Fall of Foyers
A 140-foot waterfall immortalised in the Rabbie Burns poem: ‘Among the heathy hills and ragged woods, The roaring Foyers pours his mossy floods; Till full he dashes on the rocky mounds’.
The River Foyers drops dramatically into the Fall, a gorge which leads down to Loch Ness. Along the waymarked trail visitors can learn about the Fall’s history and its popularity during the Victorian era.
Fall of Foyers, South Loch Ness, grid reference: NH497203
5 Fort Augustus
A village (left) known as the ‘gateway to Loch Ness’, Fort Augustus was named after the son of King George II and built during the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, when the government feared for its troops in the region. Several boat tours of Loch Ness leave from Fort Augustus and you can also access the Caledonian Canal and the Great Glen Way here.
6 Glen Affric
Fifteen miles to the west of Loch Ness is Glen Affric, a Highland glen which is classed as a National Nature Reserve. Explore the remains of an ancient pine forest, walk quiet woodland tracks enjoy crafts and music in the village of Strathglass.
7 Highland Archive Centre
If you’d like to take a break from outdoor activities, the Highland Archive Centre is the main venue for finding out more about Highland ancestors. Here, you can explore paper-based resources such as censuses, street directories and Old Parish Registers. You can also access the holdings of the ScotlandsPeople Centre at one of the centre’s four computers.
Highland Archive Centre, Bught Road, Inverness IV3 5SS; tel: 01463 256444.
8 Loch Ness Visitor Centre & Exhibition
With seven themed areas covering 500 million years of history, the Loch Ness Visitor Centre (right) tells the story of the loch and explores Loch Ness sightings from over the centuries. Discover how natural phenomena can produce the perfect conditions for false sightings of Nessie, and find out why the monster continues to elude discovery.
Loch Ness Visitor Centre, Drumnadrochit IV63 6TU; tel: 01456 450573.
9 Trail of the Seven Lochs
A fifty miles walking trail of seven lochs including Loch Ness: Loch Mhor, Loch Ashie, Loch Ceo Glais, Loch a Choire, Loch Duntelchaig and Loch Bunachton. The trail can be tackled in separate sections, with the Loch Ness section beginning at Inverfarigaig.
South Loch Ness Access Group has created a map of the route and a written description, which you can access on their website.
10 Urquhart Castle
A medieval castle spectacularly sited on a rocky outlet overlooking Loch Ness. This strategic site has witnessed over 1,000 years of history, from a visit by St Columba in the sixth century, through to clan warfare and the deliberate destruction of the castle by gunpowder as government troops left in 1692. There are still substantial ruins for today’s visitors to explore, including a substantial tower house.
Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness, IV63 6XJ; tel: 01456 450551.