Please sign in to post.

Best Loch Ness Day Trip for Kids?

We will travel with our 3 Teen/Pre-Teen kids to Edinburgh the end of February. We tried to discourage interest in Loch Ness (in favor of a closer, less touristed lake!) but our kids are dedicated to the legend and would really like to head to Inverness. (We will not be doing a boat tour.) We will not have a car, also we would like to take a Tour.

Which tour would be best for squirrely kids? They love history (and have read many books about Scotland) and would really enjoy plenty of juicy stories by the tour guide. But we also would like ample time to romp around on stops--we would really like to feel like we "visited the Highlands"--I know that on a quick bus stop we can't do justice to the Highlands.....but we welcome suggestions for the BEST tour to take that includes lots of wiggle time (versus a tour that does more pointing out the window). We would trade having MANY stops for having longer, better stops.

Any other suggestions for taking a tour with kids (cool things to look for, etc) are appreciated.

P.S.--our kids really want to pat a "Hairy Coo" (the Highland cows). If you know of a tour that includes a petting opportunity, let me know. I contacted a tour group called "The Hairy Coo", which said they don't know if they will be stopping for that.
Thank you!

Posted by
2926 posts

I can recommend what is not a tour, but a self-drive, self-guided day out from Inverness. If you rented a car for a day you could easily do this.

Visit both Urquhart Castle, which has walking tours and costumed interpreters so you get the feel of a "tour," and the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. The latter is a fairly fact-based immersion in the history and science of "Nessie" sightings; takes about an hour to go through. At Urquhart Castle you'll be outdoors almost the entire time, so dress for the weather. Both of these are near each other and out in the country, so you could probably ramble down a side road and stop for a picnic or some walking about.

To the east of Inverness is Cawdor Castle, which has a herd of highland "coos" in the pasture right near the castle entrance. I'm not sure I would try to pet one as they could be dangerous, especially the cows protecting calves!

You could do all of the above in one day with a rental car.

Inverness is a fair distance away from Edinburgh. If you are committed to Nessie, add Culloden battlefield and Clava cairns ( forgive spelling) to the list. Have your kids read about Bonnie Prince Charlie. Inverness is a long way to go to stand on the shore of a lake and see a "tacky" (sorry, Scotland) Nessie museum and not take a boat trip. If your kids like Harry Potter - a Rabbie's day tour to Alnwick castle in North England would be a far better choice. Perhaps, visiting Brittania in Edinburgh would spark some interest. In other words, go to Inverness for the sake of Inverness. Otherwise, look for an alternative for the kids. Don't go all the way to Inverness just to stand on the side of Loch Ness and see a "museum."