village in Inverness-shire, Highland, Scotland, UK

Drumnadrochit is a village in the Great Glen, the fault line that traverses the Scottish Highlands. With a population of 1130 in 2020, it stands on the west shore of Loch Ness at the outlet of the River Enrick. This was difficult to ford in spate so Thomas Telford built a bridge in 1811, hence Druim na Drochaid, "the ridge of the bridge". The impressive ruins of Urquhart Castle stand nearby, but the town makes its living from the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, and every coach tour of the Highlands calls here.

Get in edit

The village is on the A82 between Inverness and Fort William. The usual approach is by road from Inverness, 15 miles north, which has an airport and rail services.

Citylink buses from Inverness take 30 min via Dochgarroch at the north tip of the loch and continue south past Castle Urquhart to Invermoriston. Bus 919 continues on A82 to Fort Augustus, Laggan, Spean Bridge and Fort William, running four times M-Sa and twice on Sunday. Bus 917 branches west on A87 towards Kyle of Lochalsh and Portree on Skye. This runs twice daily.

Stagecoach Bus 17 runs from Inverness Raigmore Hospital and bus station to Drumnadrochit, then heads into the hills along A831 to Corrimony, Cannich and Tomich, so it doesn't run past the castle. There are five M-F and three on Saturday.

Get around edit

The core of Drumnadrochit is around the junction of A82 and A831. The south end is nominally the separate village of Lewiston. It's all walkable.

The A82 between village and castle is busy but there's a sidewalk. Buses 917 and 919 stop at castle and village.

See edit

  • 1 Loch Ness Centre, Drumnadrochit IV63 6TU, +44 1456 450573. Daily 10AM-5PM. The serious version: Loch Ness really is a remarkable place, without all the Nessie hokum. This exhibition describes the natural history of the loch, and puts the legend in context. Cruises also tour the loch April-Oct. Adults £16, child £13, card only.
  • Nessie (pictured above) basks in the pond outside the Centre, no charge to view. Frankly it resembles the corpse of a swan: did it eat something it shouldn't?
  • 2 Nessieland, IV63 6TU (jcn of A82 & A831), +44 1456 450342. Daily 10:00-17:00. The theme park version: explore Nessie's caves, Nessie's castle, Nessie's summerhouse.... Nessie even has a miniature railway, who knew? Adult £8, child £6.
  • 3 Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit IV63 6XJ (Bus 917 / 919), +44 1456 450551. Daily: Apr May Sep 9:30AM-6PM, Jun-Aug 9:30AM-8PM, Oct 9:30AM-5PM, Nov-Mar 9:30AM-4:30PM. Impressive ruins of 13th- to 16th-century castle sited on Strone Point overlooking Loch Ness. There was a time when if you traversed the Highlands then you had to pass this way. St Columba (6th century) worked a healing miracle here, and soon afterwards had the first recorded encounter with the Monster, in the river near Inverness. Everyone else brought an army and tried to capture or wreck the place: the English, the Scots, more English, more Scots under Robert the Bruce, then raiders from the Lord of the Isles, and more raiders. After the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 it was garrisoned against the Jacobites and held out against a siege. The garrison left in 1695 and blew it up to prevent the Jacobites using it, and that was the end of the castle. The Jacobites returned the compliment in 1746 when they abandoned and blew up Inverness Castle. Online: adult £13, child (5-15) £7.80, conc (65+) £10.40; £1 more at the gate.    

Do edit

 
Nessie the Monster
  • Craig Monie is the wooded hill by the village, carpeted with bluebells late spring.
  • Boat trips: Loch Ness Cruises sail April-Oct.
  • Horse riding: Highland Riding Centre is at Borlum Farm, off A82 south of village.
  • Walk or cycle the Great Glen Way and other trails.
  • Glenurquhart Highland Games are held in August in Blairbeg Park, with the next probably on Sa 24 Aug 2024, tbc.

Buy edit

Scotmid Coop south side of the village is open M-F 6:30AM-10PM, Sa Su 7:30AM-10PM. Fuel is available at Esso nearby.

Gift shops stock all the Nessie kitsch you could ever want.

Eat edit

 
Urquhart Castle
  • 1 Fiddler's Highland Restaurant, The Green IV63 6TU, +44 1456 450678. Daily 12:30-9PM. Traditional Scots fare and great selection of whisky. With accommodation here and next door in Oakdale B&B.
  • The Italian Job is a pizzeria behind the Co-op, open Tu-Sa 4:30-7:30PM.
  • Shack's Fish and Chips next to the Italian Job is open daily 4-10PM.
  • Taste of China 100 yards north of the Co-op is open Tu-Su 4-10PM.
  • Nessie's Gelato Cabin behind the Loch Ness Drumnadrochit Hotel is open daily 11AM-5PM.

Drink edit

  • All the hotels have well-stocked public bars.
  • Great Glen Distillery within the Loch Ness Centre makes gin.

Sleep edit

  • 1 Loch Ness Bay Camping, Borlum Farm IV63 6XN, +44 1456 450544. Large campsite on mown field, open April-Oct, insufficient facilities when it gets busy. They also have two self-catering cottages. Pitch £27 for two, hook-up £35.
  • 2 Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge, Coiltie Farmhouse, East Lewiston IV63 6UN, +44 1456 450807. Friendly clean hostel in an 18th-century farmhouse. Tiny rooms, thin walls and it's difficult to get stuff dry. Dorm £20 ppn, doubles from £50.
  • Aslaich, East Lewiston IV63 6UJ (behind Backpackers Lodge), +44 7813 804969. Clean friendly B&B. B&B double £90.
  • Greenlea, Village Green IV63 6TX, +44 1456 450645. Friendly central B&B with four rooms en suite.
  • Morlea is a cosy B&B on Village Green.
  • 3 The Benleva, Kilmore Road IV63 6UH, +44 1456 450080. Hotel in an 18th-century manse with 11 rooms en suite, open all year. Good breakfast, dinner erratic. They brew their own beer, "Hanging Tree". B&B double £150.
  • OYO Loch Ness Drumnadrochit Hotel, Drumnadrochit IV63 6TU (main road next to exhibition centre), +44 1456 450218. Basic hotel with 29 rooms, open mid-Mar to Oct. B&B doubles £130.
  • Loch Ness Lodge Hotel next to Nessieland is a fine Victorian Italianate building, but the hotel is sad and run-down.

Connect edit

 
The hoax photo of 1934

As of July 2023, Drumnadrochit has 4G from all UK carriers but with many dead spots on the approach roads. 5G has not yet reached this area.

Go next edit

  • For a scenic loop take A831, which runs west into the hills to the tiny village of Cannich in Glen Affric; it then follows the glen north towards Inverness.
  • Follow A82 south to Invermoriston, where A887 branches off over the hills to join A87, for Kyle of Lochalsh and the bridge to Skye.
  • South end of the loch is Fort Augustus, where the Caledonian Canal ascends by a flight of locks.
  • North of the loch is Inverness, a pleasant Victorian town.
Routes through Drumnadrochit
Fort WilliamFort Augustus  SW   NE  Inverness



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