10 Things to do with Kids within a one hour drive of Loch Ness

The whole family recently spent a full week in Scotland based at Loch Ness in a very beautiful lodge on the shores of Loch Ness. As well as the amazing views on the six-hour drive from Newcastle we also saw some amazing places on our travels on both the East and West coast of Scotland. 

The Highlands has so much to offer visitors. Here are our top 10 things to do in Scotland with kids that are within a one-hour drive time of Loch Ness.

10 Things to do in Scotland with Kids within a one hour drive of Loch Ness

We were staying at the Loch Ness Highland Lodges near Invermosriston and distances and times are from there.

1. Spot Nessie from a Jacobite Cruise

19 Miles / 31 Minutes
Explore Loch Ness by Jacobite, by sailing on its legendary waters hopefully discovering all about the monster, Scottish history and more. For over 40 years, Jacobite Cruises have been helping customers to experience the mysteries and myths of the world famous Loch Ness The Jacobite Inspiration Cruise is a one hour trip from the Clansman Harbour down to Urquhart Castle. There is also an option to combine a cruise with a castle visit in which case you depart for one hour and then are picked up the next boat. Urquhart Castle is stunning. The location on the loch side is just lovely.

2. Learn about Nessie at the Loch Ness Exhibition and Centre

13 Miles / 21 Minutes
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition is in Drumnadrochit. This is an interactive attraction taking you through the story of the Loch Ness monster. It explained about the plausible reasons for people thinking they had seen something and also some of the scams and fake sightings. At the centre, there are seven themed areas exploring Loch Ness from its beginning to present day, and in each section, a video plays explaining a different part of the Nessie mystery, which you stop to watch before moving on as a group. At the end, there are lots of memorabilia including newspaper articles reporting sightings. 

3. Rope Swing at Dores

32 Miles / 58 Minutes
The village of Dores is at the top end of Loch Ness. Dores beach is a pebble beach that stretches across Loch Ness from the village of Dores and the Dores Inn to Torr Point and has some of the most iconic views of Loch Ness. Here you will find not only a beach but also the legendary Nessie Hunter. Dores Inn is the only pub & restaurant spectacularly situated on the shores of South Loch Ness. As well as the beach you can also enjoy home made food, ice cream and there is rope swing over the stream which is so much fun.

4. Explore waterfalls at Foyers & Invermoriston

20 Miles / 40 Minutes
There are waterfalls on both the north and south side of Loch Ness. Follow the South Loch Ness Trail to Foyers for the short walk down to the beautiful Falls of Foyers. It's only a 200m walk to the higher viewing platform and 300m to the lower platform. From where you get stunning views. 

On the north side at Invermoriston another short circular walk through the trees takes you to Invermoriston Falls. The walk itself starts behind the village hall, it's circular and takes you through the woods, down past the falls on to the summer house from where there are just breath taking views and then returns past some of the best tree shapes, some perfect for climbing and there were still bluebells in bloom that made this walk even more beautiful.

5. Have a History Lesson at Culloden battlefield

35 Miles / 59 Minutes
Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre is close to Inverness. This is a National Trust Scotland property and a powerfully moving site where the 1745 Jacobite Rising came to its tragic end. This centre opened ten years ago and tells the whole Battle of Culloden story in an innovative and interactive way which appeals to all the family. In the Battlezone, you can experience first-hand what it was like to be in the middle of the action at the Battle of Culloden.

6. Eat Fish and chips in Fort Augustus

7 Miles / 13 Minutes
Lying on the impressive 60 miles long Caledonian Canal, halfway between Inverness and Fort William, is Fort Augustus. Although the town only boasts a modest population of around 400 people it is a popular and busy tourist destination. It offers spectacular views down Loch Ness and you can also sit and watch the boats navigating the locks whilst eating fish and chips.

7. Follow the Harry Potter Train from Fort William

38 Miles / 59 Minutes
Less than an hour south west, on the A82, is Fort William. From here you can either travel on The Jacobite Express train or as we did follow the Hogwarts Train through the Highlands on its journey north to Mallaig. From Fort William head to Glenfinnan where there is the National Monument and the Viaduct. The Jacobite crosses the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous in the Harry Potter films, which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument. The viaduct is 380 metres long and 31 metres high, and the train crosses twice a day between April and October, with the best viewing times of between 10.45am - 11 am and then again from 3.05pm - 3.20pm. If you time it right in Mallaig you can wander along the station platform and see the train. Don’t miss the fantastic white sands too on the coastal route back.

8. Photograph Eilean Donan Castle

43 Miles / 58 Minutes
The 13th-century castle is one of the most iconic images of Scotland. It’s THE castle on a lake. It is recognised around the world and has appeared in many films including Highlander. It is located on an island where three sea lochs (Duich, Long & Alsh) meet and is surrounded by amazing scenery and picturesque villages. Although less than an hour away it’s actually on the other side of Scotland, you are very nearly on the Isle of Skye when you arrive there – and can see it in the distance. Just 20 minute further on and you can spend some time in the beautiful Plockton also known as the ‘Jewel of the Highlands’ and make sure you take a picnic as the view over Loch Carron from the picnic spot is very hard to beat.

9. See Dolphins from Land and at Sea

29 Miles / 49 Minutes
From Inverness marina take a trip on the Dolphin Spirit Wildlife Cruise which offers a comfortable, family friendly, easy access, trip around the Inner Moray Firth. On the trip, you are accompanied by a specialist guide giving full commentary. The dolphins in the Moray Firth are common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus). They live in groups of between 10 and 30 individuals called pods.

A 20-minute drive further on and you can be at Chanonry Point. Apparently, the place where it is easiest to spot dolphins in the UK - and in the 10 minutes, that we were there enjoying an ice cream we spotted a couple of dolphins too and a crab. Dolphins at Chanonry Point can be seen at any time (and not at all!) but the best time to see them is usually on a rising tide. From around 1 hour after low tide, the tide turns and dolphins start to chase fish in. Drive through the golf course and at the end is a small car park.

10. View Ben Nevis then travel on to Glen Coe

28 Miles / 43 Minutes
Make your way along the Great Glen Way through Fort Augustus, past Loch Oich and Loch Lochy and stop at the amazing viewpoint by the Commander Memorial just before Spean Bridge, from where you have uninterrupted views of Ben Nevis and the Nevis Range. 

Another 20-30 minute drive and you’ll arrive at Glen Coe. This is a place that is stunning. No description can re-create the impact of seeing Glen Coe for the first time. Beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring are all words that don’t even do it justice! Thousands of visitors head here every year and many have seen it on film before they arrive too. Filming for some of the third Harry Potter film took place on location in Glen Coe too. 

Have you been to Loch Ness? What did you do there?

Deb x


  1. With kids, without kids - loved this post! I'm going to visit Scotland later this year & Loch Ness is a must see :-)

  2. I'm so intrigued about seeing dolphins! I had no idea you could see them this close to home!

  3. This is amazing. We keep saying about visiting Scotland, it looks so idyllic.

  4. Great informative post. Il have to refer back to this if I'm ever in the area x

  5. You make me really want to visit, it all looks so amazing. Shame it's at the other end of the country for us.

  6. Wonderful pictures in your post and great ideas. I've never visited the highlands but always wanted to.

  7. Wow what beautiful views! This is somewhere I'd love to visit! Looks beautiful too!

  8. Wow, so much to do. This is definitely a trip I would like to do in the future so it's great to know there are so many things to do x

  9. Oh wow. I went to Loch Ness when I was 10 (1991) and visited the Nessy Centre - chasing the Harry Potter train and that beautiful waterfall are now on my list. Thanks for linking up. Sarah #explorerkids

  10. Really interesting idea for a post! Eating fish and chips is my personal favourite (of course! ;) ). Spotting dolphins comes a close second - we have never seen a single dolphin, and were very excited recently to spot a few porpoises off the coast of Norway. #ExplorerKids

  11. Oh Wow! This is brillant! My boy is cray about dinosaur and really want to go to visit Loch Ness one day. The Rope Swing at Dores is really a heart stopping point isn't it. Eilean Donan Castle is so beautiful. I think my kids would enjoy that too. I still need to take my kids to a castle this summer yet. I must! I must!

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #ExplorerKids Linky. I hope you have enjoyed the readings this week and we’ll hope you come back and join us next week too. We love to hear what you’ve been up too. 🙂 x

  12. We love Loch Ness and the surrounding areas, it's so pretty! #explorerlinky

  13. Oh we really need to visit Scotland, it looks absolutely beautiful. Such a wonderful informative post, thank you for sharing with us at #ThePlacesWeWillGoLinky xx

  14. This is really helpful for us, as we're going to be visiting Scotland more in the future. Glen Coe is stunning - your pictures are incredible. #MondayEscapes

  15. This is brilliant and I love the way you'v included the google map with the markers on too. I have wanted to do the HP train for ages and fancy the boat too. Thanks for linking up to #mondayescapes

  16. Great Blog! Love Loch Ness

  17. Nope, I've never been to Loch Ness and if fact have rarely even been to Scotland! I did however climb Ben Nevis once but I do keep thinking that I really need to explore Scotland more.

  18. ooh this looks so amazing I so want to visit Loch Ness and the Harry Potter trail looks amazing, the views are openness is just so special in Scotland thanks so much for linking up #MondayEscpaes x

  19. There is some beautiful scenery here. I really must take my toddler on a trip to Scotland #ThePlacesWeWillGoLinky