Legendary Loch Ness, as well as being one of the most famous bodies of water in the world, is the deepest of the Scottish lakes (or lochs) and the second largest by surface area. It stretches from Inverness in the north, for 23 miles to Fort Augustus at the southern tip of the loch. It is surrounded by stunning highland scenery, speckled with ancient castles, hiking and mountain biking trails, rivers and streams, and pretty villages with award winning restaurants, gorgeous holiday cottages and cabins to rent, and cosy country pubs. And we’ve not even mentioned Nessie..!
Where to Stay at Loch Ness
There are a scattering of picturesque villages along the shores of the loch, from Fort Augustus with its view of the Caledonian Canal to Invermoriston, which is steeped in local history and a great place to book a cottage or bed and breakfast. If you are looking for something more rural, check out Wimdu’s range of self-catering cabins a little further outside. The Wimdu website makes it straightforward to search for exactly what you want, whether that is accommodation with extra bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms suitable for a family holiday, or a cosy guest house for a romantic break. Whatever your perfect holiday home, you’ll find it at Wimdu!
Fun Facts about Loch Ness
- Loch Ness contains more water than all the freshwater lakes in England and Wales combined!
- The first recorded sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was in the seventh century, but it took another thirteen centuries before a man named George Spicer reported seeing the monster crossing the road in front of his car!
- In 1966, Brenda Sherratt became the first person ever to swim the entire length of Loch Ness. It took her 31 hours and 27 minutes!
Things to See and Do
Don’t miss out on a visit to the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, situated half way up the west coast of the loch. It gives a great overview of the history of the loch, and of course the story of the Loch Ness Monster! It’s a great place for kids, packed full of digital projections, laser shows and special effects. If you are in the area in June, book some tickets for RockNess, a music festival with the bonus of the stunning backdrop of the loch and the highlands. Headliners have included Fatboy Slim, The Flaming Lip and Basement Jaxx.
The Legend of the Loch Ness Monster
Of course no guide to Loch Ness would be complete with a paragraph on its most famous resident! The earliest recorded mention of the Loch Ness Monster is in Life of St Columba, which was written in the 7th century. Apparently St Columba came across some locals burying a man who had been attacked by a “water beast”. At this point, St Columba sent one of his followers to swim across the river, which caused the beast to follow, but St Columba made the sign of the cross and the beast fled in terror. There were then no sightings until the 1930s when a local couple, the Spicers, claimed to see the monster cross the road in front of their car. Sightings then increased when a road was built down the side of the loch. Nobody knows whether the Loch Ness Monster is real… but keep an eye out when you’re visiting! You never know!
Take a day trip to Inverness
The attractive city of Inverness lies at the northern end of Loch Ness, on the banks of the River Ness. Known as the Gateway to the Highlands, it is a lovely place to spend a day wandering and exploring. If you want to stretch your legs, there is a good circular route to follow from Inverness Castle which towers over the city, down the river and past St Andrew’s Cathedral, and over to the Ness Islands. Wimdu have a great range of apartments in the city as well, so you could always arrange a “holiday within a holiday” and spend a few days to get the most out of your trip!
Eating and Drinking
As you would expect from such a major tourist destination, there are no shortage of places to get a good meal around Loch Ness! Make sure you set the day up right with a full Scottish breakfast - even more reason to book yourself into bed and breakfast accommodation! There are various hotels and restaurants around the loch, so where you go will be partly decided by where your cottage is, but we recommend checking out The Loch Ness Inn near Drumnadrochit and the Dores Inn near Dores which has a cosy log fire and a menu that includes locally caught lobsters.
Inverness Airport is the nearest place to fly in, and you can then get to all points around the loch by road. Public transport is patchy, and restricted to the main roads, so in order to really explore the area, a car is ideal. You can also take part in an organised coach tour, which will stop off at various places en route.