Loch Ness




Loch Ness

General Info:

While not the largest of the lochs, Loch Ness is perhaps the most famous due to the legend of Nessie, the mysterious hidden sea monster that have some have spied living in the lake. Our kids love Nessie. There is a Disney short film called “The Ballad of Nessie” that they love, so when we mentioned that we might go see where she lived, they were totally excited. When they learned that you had to look really hard with binoculars and nobody EVER sees her but maybe we will? Then they were definitely hooked.

How to Get There

Rental Car: So this is actually how we got there – we rented a car from the Edinburgh airport (EDI) and driving around for a day. It’s about a 4 hour drive (one-way) from Edinburgh. Not the easiest day, but we really wanted the flexibility to drive where we wanted to drive, stop where we wanted to stop, eat where we wanted to eat, etc. In order to fit our kids, we got a small SUV and made sure to rent car seats from the car rental place. Remember that they drive on the left side of the road here. It was quite the adventure. We used Google Maps and printed out directions in the hotel; the car came with GPS; perhaps I’m an old school Dad (or just remember too keenly the scene from the Office where Michael Scott drives his car into a lake) but I wanted to make sure I had printed directions.

Tour Bus: This is how I would recommend doing this trip for all but the most adventuresome families. Sit back, relax, and avoid the stress. You’ll save money by the time you pay for a large enough rental car, car seats, and gas. You can get itineraries that take you through the breathtaking Glencoe valley. The main point for these tours is Urquhart Castle, this awesome old ruined castle. Bring your preferred method for keeping kids occupied while traveling (coloring books, books, journals, electronic devices, etc.)

Boat: There are also tours that take you on the Loch itself.


Urquhart Castle

Image result for urquhart castle

This was the main destination of our road trip, and most of the tour bus / boat itineraries will include a stop here. Old ruined castles are perhaps my favorite thing in the world, and on the shore of Loch Ness? Totally cool.

Days / Hours:

1 April to 30 September:
Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 6pm
1 October to 31 October:
Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5pm
1 November to 31 March:
Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 4.30pm
New Year’s Day (1 January): 11am to 4.30pm
Last entry is 45 minutes before closing. Closed 24 and 25 December.

Adult Cost (16-59 yrs) : £9.00

Child Cost (5 – 15 yrs): £5.40 (Children under 5 are FREE)

Tips – Admission/Free Days/Line: Lines aren’t bad, depending on if you get behind a big tour bus. Usually admission is not included in the price of the tour but that will depend on which tour you book.

Free Wifi? I couldn’t find any when we were there in the summer of 2017.

Bathrooms – Yes, free.

Strollers – Parking? Easy of use? Allowed inside? Ehh. I’d go with a baby-carrier if you have a really small one. It’s not that far to walk from the parking lot to the castle, and after a long car/bus ride it’s nice to stretch the legs and work out some energy.

Outside food allowed inside? Nearby food options: A picnic would be perfect here, but you’ll have to come prepared, there’s not really any options nearby.

Is it worth it? Probably, depending on age of kids, how much they are into castles, if they like Nessie. It’s a full day trip from Edinburgh, with most of it spent sitting down/relaxing, so it’s actually a nice relaxing day, which might be a good break if the rest of your itinerary has been go go go.

Can you swim in Loch Ness?

No, not really. The water is freezing. It’s fun to dip your toe in, though.

How to Get Kids Excited (books/movies/activities):

I mentioned “The Ballad of Nessie”, earlier.

💡 Things to mention so your family thinks you’re smart: