With lockdown measures being eased throughout the UK, many people’s thoughts are turning to holidays. With travel abroad still out of reach for now, staycation is again the buzz word, and quite right too we say! There has never been a better opportunity to come up and explore our magnificent homeland, and we can’t wait to share the very best of the Scottish Highlands with you.
Whilst it is still unclear which businesses will be operating, and from when, we thought it would be useful to provide some recommendations based on local knowledge, and our experiences of the tourism sector here during similar operating conditions last year. These recommendations are based on departing from London and spending a long weekend in Inverness, in June. We have assumed that you will not have access to your own vehicle whilst you are here.
EasyJet operates from Gatwick and Luton and are currently offering really good value fares (e.g. for just £47 return you can fly out from Gatwick on the evening of Friday 11th June and return on Monday afternoon, for the same dates from Luton it costs £68). There are 1 – 2 flights per day from each of the airports, and most flights in June are around these prices.
If you wish to fly from Heathrow then you can travel with BA, who are also offering competitive fares at the moment, particularly when compared with pre-COVID times. They are currently offering fares for £90 return, departing Heathrow on Friday 11th June at lunchtime and returning on Monday morning.
You can find out about other travel options here but, given the competitive nature of the fares being offered by both BA and EasyJet this summer, we feel that flying is the best option.
When you arrive at Inverness Airport you are about 25 minutes from the centre of the city. You can either hop in a taxi (approx. £20 one way) or take the number 11 bus (approx. £3.10 one way). Both can be easily found outside the terminal building.
Self-catering properties are the popular choice at the moment, and there are certainly plenty of options for these in and around Inverness. However, there are also a plethora of good hotels and guesthouses in the city. We feel that these establishments really deserve our support at the moment so you can find a list of our recommendations here.
If you are looking for a treat The 4 star Kingsmills Hotel has double rooms for £250 per night, room only, during the weekend of 11th June). Alternatively, 3-star rated The Palace Hotel & Spa is ideally situated by the river in the centre of the city and is currently offering three nights for the price of two, so for three nights during the weekend of 11th June it will cost you around £548.
There are a few places that most visitors are keen to see when they come to Inverness, so we’ve focused on the best ways to see these key sights this summer.
Inverness is a beautiful historic city, boasting a cathedral, the River Ness, a castle and many noteworthy historic buildings. As the city centre is so compact, yet so rich in historic buildings, the best way to see it is on foot.
WOW Scotland offers a number of 1 – 2 hour walking tours on a private and scheduled basis, and you can read more about these here.
Many visitors to Inverness use it as a base for visiting other parts of the Highlands, with Skye being by far the most sought after location. To drive to the island from Inverness takes around 2 ½ hours each way, with quite a bit of driving on the island itself to get up to the must-see sights such as the Trotternish Peninsula, Kilt Rock, The Cuillin Mountains, The Fairy Pools and Portree. To make the most out of your day we would really recommend joining a tour (there are so many beautiful places to stop that you will find it very tricky to manage your time otherwise!)
WOW Scotland offers an Ultimate Isle of Skye Tour on Saturdays. As the top-rated company on TripAdvisor (out of more than 90 tour companies in Inverness) we are pretty confident that you will have a top notch day! We offer pick-up from most Inverness hotels, as well as a number of guest houses and other locations in the city.
If you only have a weekend in Scotland, you will want to make the most of it! We’d recommend spending Sunday on an epic adventure to experience four of the country’s must-see sights; Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, Glencoe and Glenfinnan Viaduct.
WOW Scotland’s Big Four Tour lets you: Watch the famous Harry Potter steam train cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct; enjoy views of Ben Nevis; take a short hike at Glencoe; and round off the day with a cruise on the world-famous Loch Ness. The tour departs at 7.45am and returns at 7.45pm, with hotel pick-up and drop-off being available.
Culloden Battlefield is a must-see destination, and is only seven miles from the centre of Inverness (10 minutes in a taxi), so a great choice for a morning activity. The battlefield should be open in June, but we do not know if the visitor centre will be open (in 2020 it did not open), which means that there may not be any interpretation of the site available. If this is the case, we will be offering one hour guided walking tours of the battlefield throughout the summer – just contact us for further information.
Situated less than two miles from Culloden, Clava Cairns is an exceptionally well-preserved group of prehistoric burial cairns which were built around 4000 years ago. For fans of Outlander you will recognise the split stone which changed Claire’s life..beware! You can either walk here from Culloden, or order a taxi and ask it to pick you up again later.
If you have time, head to one of Inverness’s many excellent restaurants or bars for a quick lunch before heading back to the airport. After a wonderful weekend, we are sure you will be keen to return to the Highlands again…haste ye back!
As many visitors are still uncertain about the different rules and restrictions in the devolved nations, you can find further details about the current situation on the Scottish Government’s website.
With a plethora of historic sights, world-class scenery, endless activities and (most importantly for everyone after we have been cooped up for months!) big wide open spaces to roam in, we hope that you will visit, and look forward to showing you the extraordinary beauty of the Scottish Highlands soon!