- Highlands of Scotland
The Highlands of Scotland have so much to offer the visitor, snow capped mountains surrounded by Scots pine forest, winding rivers, scenic lochs and spectacular coastal scenery. This environment sustains a wide variety of wildlife including roe deer, wildcat, golden eagle, osprey, mountain hare, otter and dolphin.
Inverness, the administrative centre of the Highlands, and offers a range of holiday options. Whether your looking for a quiet break, an activity holiday, a little culture or family fun you're sure to find something of interest in the area. Attractions in Inverness itself include its museum and art gallery, Inverness Castle (with the Castle Garrison Encounter Exhibition) and St. Andrew's Cathedral, built in the 1860's.
Loch Ness, famous for its legendary monster, is to the south of Inverness. The loch is twenty four miles long and, if you want to go monster spotting, its banks can be explored by car, cycle or by taking a coach tour. A trip around Loch Ness will take you to many interesting tourist locations including a choice of two Loch Ness exhibition centres at Drumnadrochit, the picturesque ruins of Urquhart Castle and the sleepy village of Fort Augustus. To the east of Inverness is the pretty village of Cawdor with its castle and the seaside resort of Nairn, boasting long sandy beaches.
The Great Glen, which runs from Inverness in the north down to Fort William, is set amongst some of Britain's most spectacular mountains including Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain at over 4400 feet.
The Cairngorm area is the ideal place for outdoor activities. Popular activities include climbing, hiking, shooting, fishing, camping, canoeing and, in winter, skiing. There are also watersports available on Loch Morlich and Loch Insh and many good golf courses. The Cairngorm mountain range stretches for 50 miles and rises to over 4000 feet high. The landscape is a beautiful and dramatic mix of mountains, rivers and forests and is home to some of Scotland's rarest wildlife. Aviemore is the main tourist resort in the Cairngorms.
The Isle of Skye and land of Lochalsh, to the west of the Scottish Highlands, attractions include historic castles, old croft museums and heritage exhibitions. The landscape comprises mountains, moorland and waterfalls.
The Northern Highlands (Wester Ross, Torridon, Caithness and Sutherland) boast some of the most dramatic and spectacular landscapes in Europe. Highlights include the historic fishing villages of Caithness the beaches of Sutherland and the mountains of Wester Ross. At Poolewe see the sub-tropical Inverewe Gardens and visit the beautiful Strath of Kildonan.
To the north of the Scottish mainland is the island of Orkney. in fact, there are about 70 islands within the Orkney archipeligo although only 17 are inhabited. The islands have an ancient history as is evident from the Neolithic remains.
Highlands Tourist AttractionsJames Pringle Weavers of Inverness Dores Road, Inverness
Features a "Story of Tartan" exhibition showing you the history of weaving and the manufacturing process and offers you the chance to weave your own cloth. The Mill Shop has a great range of tartans and knitwear souvenirs.
Tel: 01463 223311
The Official Loch Ness 2000 Monster Exhibition Centre/Original Loch Ness Monster Visitor Centre Drumnadrochit
These are two separate exhibitions, both in the town of Drumnadrochit 15 miles from Inverness. Loch Ness 2000 is the Highlands most popular visitor attraction.
Both open all year. Official Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Tel: 01456 450573. Original Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centre Tel: 01456 450342
Culloden Moor Visitors Centre 5 miles east of Inverness
Learn all about the history and events at Culloden Moor and walk the famous historic battlefield.
Tel: 01463 790607
Dolphins and Seals of the Moray Firth Visitor Centre North Kessock, Inverness
Offers a magnificent view of the Moray Firth and the chance to observe the seals and dolphins. Learn about the marine environment of the seals and dolphins and the impact of human activities on that environment.
Tel: 01463 731866
The Cairngorm Reindeer Centre Glenmore, Aviemore
Join the guided tours onto the hill and find out about the reindeer, their natural history, world distribution and, of course, their association with Father Christmas. These extremely friendly reindeer willingly hand feed, are happy to be stroked and you will have more than ample opportunity to take photographs.
Visits to the herd leave daily at 11.00am and, May-Oct, also 2.30pm. Tel: 01479 861228
The most northerly of Scotland's Great Houses and the home of the Earls of Sutherland. Includes many military and ceremonial exhibits and magnificent formal gardens.
Open: Apr-Oct, Mon-Sat from 10.30am, Sun from 12.00noon. Winter, open at all times for pre-booked parties only. Tel: 01408 633177
Loch Garten Osprey Centre Between Boat of Garten and Nethybridge
Centre overlooks the nest of Ospreys, the spectacular fish-eating birds of prey. Includes video presentations.
Tel: 01479 831694
Highland Wildlife Park Kincraig, Kingussie
Drive around the huge reserve and discover an amazing variety of native Scottish wildlife. The Highland Wildlife Park specialises in Scottish wildlife past and present; animals from our past include wolves, and the Wolf Territory shows off these magnificent animals very well. There are habitat areas with creatures such as Scotlands largest and rarest grouse the capercaillie, the otter and many more.
Opens: Daily at 10.00am. Closes Apr-Oct 6.00pm. June-Aug 7.00pm. Nov-Mar 4.00pm. Last entry is two hours before closing time. Tel: 01540 651270
Highlands Tourist Information CentresAviemore Tourist Information Centre
Grampian Road, Aviemore, Inverness-shire, PH22 1PP. Tel: 01479 810363
Fort William Tourist Information Centre
Cameron Centre, Cameron Square, Fort William, Inverness-shire, PH33 6AJ. Tel: 01397 703781
John O'Groats Tourist Information Centre
County Road, John O'Groats, Caithness, KW1 4YR. Tel: 01955 611373
Kyle of Lochalsh Tourist Information Centre
Car Park, Kyle of Lochalsh, Ross-shire, IV40 8AQ. Tel: 01599 534276
Spean Bridge Tourist Information Centre
Spean Bridge, Inverness-shire, PH34 4EP. Tel: 01397 712576
Ullapool Tourist Information Centre
Argyle Street, Ullapool, Ross-shire, IV26 2UB. Tel: 01854 612135
Inverness Tourist Information Centre
Castle Wynd, Inverness, IV2 3BJ. Tel: 01463 234353
North Kessock Tourist Information Centre
Picnic Site, North Kessock, Ross-shire, IV1 1XB. Tel: 01463 731505
Nairn Tourist Information Centre
62 King Street, Nairn, Inverness-shire, IV12 4DN. Tel: 01667 452753
Fort Augustus Tourist Information Centre
Car Park, Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, PH32 4DD. Tel: 01320 366367