Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn

Charming historical villages, scenic walks and excellent shopping...

Inverness, Capital of the Highlands lies at the north end of the Great Glen, where the River Ness flows into the Moray Firth. With its suspension bridges across the River Ness and old stone buildings, it is a pretty place which is well-known for its floral displays.

The River Ness provides a key focus within the city, and attractions like the castle, Inverness Cathedral and the Eden Court Theatre can all be found on its banks; together with some of the city's many shops and restaurants.

Follow the River Ness for long enough and you will end up by the shores of the best known loch in Scotland - Loch Ness. Thanks to its famous resident - Nessie, the friendly Loch Ness monster it has become one of the most popular areas for tourists to visit. Explore the visitors centre by the shore and learn the history of this legend. You might even spot this illusive creature for yourself as you stroll the area.

To the East of Inverness is Nairn, rated second in a list of top desirable destinations for 2010! But its not surprising because with its long, sandy, Blue Flag beaches and promenades it competes with some of the popular tourist beaches in the south of England. Its unique micro-climate also helps to ensure that it has more hours of sunshine and less rainfall than towns just 15 miles away.

Off shore The Moray Firth is home to one of only two colonies of dolphins in the UK and they are often spotted from viewpoints along Nairn's shore. The seafront also hosts an active harbour, with boat owners offering trips to see the resident bottle-nose dolphins or simply to view Nairn from a different angle.

Areas of outstanding natural beauty such as Culbin Forest and Culbin Sands Nature Reserve can be observed inland. Enjoy spotting many species of flora and fauna, as well as birds and migratory flocks. And for those who enjoy the invigorating sea air, there are magnificent views across the Moray Firth.

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