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10 Unmissable Day Trips and Tours from Inverness

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Ever had the desire to take a trip to the Scottish Highlands but worried you might not have enough time to fit everything in? Fear not! We’ve put together a list of 10 unmissable day trips and tours for you to cherry pick from to help plan the perfect mini Highlands trip!

1. Loch Ness 360° Trail

No trip to the Scottish Highlands would be complete without heading to Loch Ness. Explore the very best of Scotland’s natural bounty by taking on the epic Loch Ness 360° Trail. The trail which connects the Great Glen Way and the South Loch Ness Trail is the perfect place to soak up the sights and sounds of the Highlands, and with the new walking and bike trail open to the public, there has never been a better time to embrace the Scottish outdoors! Push yourself to the limit and take on the Loch Ness 360° Trail Challenge – Scotland’s newest long-distance trail. Pick between the Ultra Marathon, 3 Marathons, 3 Days and the Mountain Bike Challenge to test your stamina and strength, or take things at a more leisurely pace by visiting an attraction or two along the way. Explore and learn more about the rich history of Urquhart Castle with a boat trip to out onto the water. Or why not delve into the mystery of the Loch Ness monster and have a great day out with the whole family by visiting the educational and interactive Nessieland Adventure Playground – the little ones are sure to love this one! Whether you decide to start and finish the trail off in Inverness or simply join at any point of the route, the natural beauty of the Highlands will entice you to come back and visit again and again.

2. Dolphin watching at the Scottish Dolphin Centre

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Our amazing partner @animalfriendsinsurance have donated a whopping £50k over the last 4 years to support our work to keep whales and dolphins safe and free. To celebrate, we invited Ben and Catrin from Animal Friends to meet our Scottish Dolphin Centre team @wdcscottishdolphincentre & our wonderful #Shorewatch volunteers to see some of the vital work they are supporting first-hand. Did they spot any dolphins on their trip? Of course! They found a pod of dolphins heading towards Spey Bay, passing WDC’s Scottish Dolphin Centre, and even saw some dolphins playing with seaweed, throwing it out of the water. #ByPetPeopleForPetPeople #AnimalFriends #PetInsurance #Dolphin #Dolphins #dolphinbaby #DolphinLove #DolphinsOfInstagram #BottlenoseDolphins #Seals #SpeyBay #Scotland #WhaleandDolphinConservation #Charity #Support #WDC #ScottishDolphinCentre #RudeToIntrude #WildLife #Photography

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Not only are the Highlands recognised for its stunning natural landscape, but it is also home to many different species of wildlife!  Take a trip to the Scottish Dolphin Centre and see some of the largest bottlenose dolphins in the world. You never know, you may be lucky enough to catch a seal or osprey too! If that’s not enough, make sure to check out the interactive displays that are on show including the Dolphin and River camera to get a birdseye view of these beautiful mammals right in the very comfort of the visitor centre. Listen to the sounds of the sea in the acoustic exhibit or take yourself and the whole family for a wild adventure by hiring binoculars and backpacks and exploring more of what the area has to offer. Whatever you decide to do, there are hours of fun to be had!

3. Dornoch

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Dunrobin Castle 📍 Highlands 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland. The land of Sutherland were acquired before 1211 .The castle may have been built on this site of an early medieval fort The castle is first mentioned in 1401 🍃🍃🍃🌱🍃🍃🍃🌱🍃🍃🍃🌱🍃🍃🍃🌱🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🍃🍃🍃🌱🍃 ________________________________ ________________________________ #dunrobincastle #highlandsofscotland #scotland #visitscotland #scotland_ig #scotlandtravel #scotland_lover #scotland_insta #scotlandphotography #photosofbritain #visitscotland #highlands #europestyle_ #kings_villages #lovegreatbritain #instabritain #weloveengland #britain24x7 #houses_phototrip #riyets #alluring_villages #divinevillages #explore_britain_ #getoutside #earth_pix #earth_shots #livingeurope #living_destinations #europestyle_uk @visitscotland @scotland.shots @scotland.explored @love.scotland @scotlandisnow @scenery.scotland @photosofbritain @instabritain @alluring_world_ @divine_villages @kings_hdr @earthpics @living_europeofficial @living_destinations @where_to_gonext @truehighlands @igscotland @ig_scotland @loves_scotland @gloriousbritain @gloriouseurope @castles_oftheworld @alluring_world_ @traveling_uk @lovegreatbritain

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Just over an hour’s drive from Inverness, feel a sense of escapism as you explore some of the hidden gems situated in the historic town of Dornoch. Have the ultimate fairytale experience by visiting Dunrobin Castle. See the castle in all its glory as you delve into its historic past where it was once used as a naval hospital during the First World War and as a boys boarding school from the mid 60’s to early 70’s. During your visit, make sure to explore the castle gardens, whose design was inspired by the Palace of Versailles in Paris, with new plants being introduced for each season. For the history buffs, the 5-star HistoryLinks Museum transports you back in time to the world of the Picts and Vikings on their overall impact on Scottish history and the shameful burning of Scotland’s last condemned. For the keen golfers out there, come along to the golf professional’s workshop where Donald Ross once honed his skills, plus you are never too far away to play a round of golf with Dornoch being home to the Championship Course, currently ranked 5th best in the world. Why not make a whole day out of it by sitting back and enjoying the culinary delights which their clubhouse has to offer, or if you want to continue on your golfing adventure why not head out to Golspie, Tain and Bonar Bridge? Dornoch’s outdoor pursuits don’t end there with the town boasting an excellent range of cycling routes including Dornoch to Spinningdale passing through some of the Highland’s most beautiful scenery. Make sure to take a stroll along Dornoch’s sandy beaches, and during the warmer weather, why not dip your toe in the water or go for a paddle or swim in the sea?

4. Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye

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Built on a rock in an idyllic loch side setting on the Isle of Skye, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years. ▫️ On display within Dunvegan are many fine oil paintings and clan treasures, the most famous of which is the Fairy Flag. Legend has it that this sacred banner has miraculous powers and when unfurled in battle, the Clan MacLeod would invariably defeat their enemies. ▫️ Another of the castle's great treasures is the Dunvegan Cup, a unique 'mazer' dating back to the Middle Ages. It was gifted by the O'Neils of Ulster as a token of thanks to one of our most celebrated Chiefs, Sir Rory Mor, for his support of their cause against the marauding forces of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1595. ▫️ There is also a small collection of Bonnie Prince Charlie related items on display including: one of the Prince’s waistcoats, a Jacobite amen glass, and a lock of the Prince’s hair. ▫️ Image by @nichbrand ——————————————————— #scottish #lovescotland #scotland #historicscotland #isleofskye #visitscotland #beautifuldestinations #travelinggram #mytinyatlas #thisisscotland #scotspirit #folkscenery #modernoutdoors #master_shots #scotland_insta #ig_worldclub #igersscotland #goexplore #castle #discoverglobe #discoverearth #roamtheplanet #history #castlesofscotland #scotlandsbeauty #passionpassport #discoverscotland #hiddenscotland #greatnorthcollective #scotland_greatshots

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Step back in time and discover the family loom of Clan MacLeod as you wind your way through Dunvegan Castle’s historic past. Be in awe as you explore the beautiful formal gardens dating back to the 18th century and get lost in the wonders of the castle’s three beautiful gardens where you can feel a real sense of escapism with its tranquil setting. So, sit back and watch the world go by.

5. Cairngorms National Park

Twice the size of the Lake District and bigger than the whole of Luxembourg, discover a whole world of possibilities at Cairngorms National Park. There is an extraordinary amount of things to see and do to make the most out of your day in the Highlands. Take to the slopes and enjoy a day of skiing or snowboarding with the whole family. Whether you are a beginner or advanced, the 30km pisted runs and freestyle park gives you the perfect opportunity to hone your skills and most importantly have fun!  Why not bag a Munro? With 55 Munros located here, there really is no better place to kick start your Munro bagging quest! Hillwalkers and rock-climbers will be in their element with the park boasting a wide range of routes to try. If you’re not really the adventurous type, enjoy a leisurely stroll around the park or discover and enhance your knowledge on Scotland’s National drink by following the Malt Whisky Trail. It’s never too early to get into the festive spirit. Visit the UK’s only free-grazing reindeer herd at Glen More or have a snowball fight during the summer months with the Cairngorm plateau known as being the highest, coldest and snowiest plateau in Britain.

6. Culloden Battlefield

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Culloden, Part Three.

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Take a piece of history home with you when you visit Culloden Battlefield where the 1745 Jacobite Rising came to a tragic end. Feel like you are right in the very heart of the action as you watch the battle unfold at the visitor centre’s 360-degree battle immersion theatre. Delve deeper into the history of the 1745 rising from both the Jacobite and government perspectives in the brand-new accredited museum where you will be able to browse through unique artefacts on display. Or if you prefer, why not go on a guided tour where an expert will lead the way on where all the action took place at Culloden Moor, as well as visiting the gravestones of the 1,500 Jacobite soldiers who lost their lives? After visiting the museum, make sure to browse around the gift shop and buy a memento from your trip, with items including jewellery crafted from the flowers of the battlefield and Culloden whisky.

7. SnowRoads Scenic Route

Hit the road as you embark on an epic 90 mile journey taking you from the picturesque market town of Blairgowrie to the traditional Highland town of Grantown-on-Spey. Capture the stunning beauty of the Scottish Highlands and explore its wild and beautiful landscapes en-route, with road links to Braemar, Ballater, Tomintoul and more. Get involved in the range of natural and cultural attractions you can visit and also get the chance to see amazing art installations along the way including The Watchers by John Kennedy at Corgarff and Still by Angus Ritchie near Tomintoul. It’s not just its stunning scenery that the Highlands is renowned for but there are also plenty of fantastic opportunities to stop off at an attraction or two. If you are one of the lucky ones who are not driving, make sure to sample Caorunn Gin at Balmenach Distillery or have a taste of some exclusive whiskies at the 4-star Royal Lochnagar Distillery & Visitor Centre and whether you have been picked to be the designated driver for this trip, the knowledgeable and passionate guides who work here will no doubt leave you in high spirits! If you can’t get enough of the Highlands scenery, make sure to stop off at Muir of Dinnet National Nature Reserve. Take a wander through Deeside’s prettiest woodlands and if you keep your eyes peeled, you may even spot a woodland creature or two. Feel as though your Instagram is lacking at the moment? Make your followers jealous by filling their feed with perfect shots of the SnowRoads too.

8. Moray Coast Trail

Stunning coastline? Check. Sandy beaches? Check. Dramatic cliffs? Check. Moray simply ticks all the boxes and there is no better way to explore its natural beauty than by taking on the Moray Coast Trail. Known as one of Scotland’s Great Trails, it offers a wide variety of scenery and wildlife with great views over the Moray Firth, a perfect place to spot some bottlenose dolphins! Explore the nooks and crannies of the area’s charming villages. Visit the Findhorn Heritage Centre to learn more about the fascinating history of Findhorn and the salmon fishing industry, or head to Burghead Headland Visitor Centre where you will be transported back in time to discover the history of the Picts, from 400AD to present day. Get up close and see Bow Fiddle Rock in all its glory. Situated just off the coast at Portknockie, this beautifully sculpted landmark, formed by the sheer force of waves, makes it a great photo opportunity for you to show off to your friends and family when you get back home. Feel like you need a place to stay after your jam-packed day out? Moray has got you covered! With a whole range of guest houses, B&B’s and hotels, there truly is something for everyone covering all tastes and budgets.

9. Ullapool and Wester Ross

For your next trip to Scotland, why not consider visiting the picturesque fishing town of Ullapool? Described as an outdoor paradise, you will never be short of ideas on what to do here. There are a great variety of walks to venture on, and for all the animal lovers out there, the Inverpolly National Nature Reserve is a great place to catch a glimpse of some of Scotland’s most stunning wildlife including wildcats, buzzards and golden eagles. Make sure to keep your wits about you as you take on the dizzying depths of Corrieshalloch Gorge and the Falls of Measach – a must-see for all. Wester Ross is definitely not short of breath-taking landscapes and lochs. Its stunning scenery will leave you in awe as you drive through its long stretching roads and communities giving you a glimpse of its vibrant culture dating back thousands of years to the Neolithic Ages.

10. Nairn

Just 30 minutes outside of Inverness, this small but thriving seaside town is a great pit stop for your Highland adventure! Enjoy long walks along the beautiful sandy beaches and promenade with spectacular views over the Moray Firth. Swing by and play a round of golf on two of the town’s championship golf courses plus there is a wide selection of restaurants to choose from, offering mouth-watering dishes that will be sure to whet your appetite. Nairn is also a great base to get out and explore the Scottish Highlands in more depth. History buffs will be in their element with Cawdor Castle, Brodie Castle and Loch Ness all en-route.

We hope that we have given you lots of ideas to start planning your perfect day out in and around Inverness. Fancy going elsewhere? Take a look at our wide range of itineraries which covers a whole spectrum of themes and destinations, from wellness breaks to A Weekend in Edinburgh.  Scotland will certainly not leave you disappointed when it comes to new experiences, making sure you have checked everything off your bucket list before you leave!

 

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