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Inverness vs. Aberdeen, if only one, which?

We will be traveling from Skye to Aberdeen to catch ferry to Shetland Islands, We have a couple of nights and I was thinking of driving to Inverness and staying there - kind of a half way point. Or, we could drive straight through to Aberdeen and just spend two nights there. The question to those who have been to both is, if you could only return to one city of the two, which one would you choose? Thanks for any help!

Posted by
5668 posts

iI tried to stay in Aberdeen one trip, but the hotel rates mid-week when I was traveling were too high for me. So if you do decide to visit Aberdeen, but in advance!

So, my rooting for Inverness is strictly from its positives. I like the cities options for food, music and general central location. For food there are wonderful high end restaurants, but also some great pubs. Hootenanny has music every night--traditional and other options. And then there are other music options. I like the location because you can get north, south, east or west from here. Locally, there is the Battlefield, Fort George, Clava Cairns, Cawdor Castle, boat trips on the Moray Firth to name a few. You can easily drive east to visit Elgin. To the south is Aviemore and the Cairngorms, or over by Kingussie is the Highland Folk Museum. To the North, you visit Dornoch and Dunrobin Castle. There is even a broch--but you will see a much bigger one the Shetlands. To the west is Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle.

I don't know the city of Aberdeen. But you can reach a lot of wonderful castles. If you want to really up your castle quotient, then maybe Aberdeen is for you.

Pam

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you, Pamela. I never tire of castles but my wife, on the other hand, ... ;) I just wanted to make sure we didn't miss out on anything in Aberdeen.

Posted by
428 posts

We really enjoyed Inverness, and I think a big part of that was where we stayed. I highly recommend the Strathness House. http://www.strathnesshouse.com/
The rooms are modest, but well equipped with modern bathrooms, armoires and clean bedding. There is a nice lounge with a view of the river where you can sit and plan. Breakfast is included and is cooked just for you. The location is superb. It is right along the river promenade, and just steps from a great pub.
We also highly recommend the Castle Tavern which is just across the river. I think Inverness is also a good location for using public transport. If you read any of the Outlander books be sure and visit the church in town.

Posted by
7423 posts

What time of year, Dave?

We were in both last summer. Inverness is smaller and more charming for being right there and strolling around; Pamela mentions the Hootenanny if you want to experience some great live music!

We had a wonderful wonderful time staying just outside Aberdeen last summer at the Mercure Ardoe House Hotel. I must say that the castle options in Aberdeenshire are superb. We had one day where we did contrasts: the very fixed-up and maintained and curated Craigievar Castle which you visit by guided tour and learn about the castle and its owners and the family history, and then (with a stop at an absolutely fabulous restaurant, the Cowshed not too far out of Craigievar) via Banchory and a quick stop at the Falls of Feugh and the footbridge there) back to Stonehaven and the ruins of Dunnottar Castle, which you visit on your own and wander around with the magnificent North Sea all around. It made for a spectacular day.

If you're a beer fan, Brewdog originates out of Aberdeen and has a couple of pubs there.

I don't know that I'd absolutely LOVE staying in the city center, and yes during the week hotel prices are high because of business. Check out the Mercure if you have a car. There are other hotels there along the River Dee on the way out of Aberdeen. It's just a few minutes away, but feels out in the country.

http://www.mercure.com/gb/hotel-6626-mercure-aberdeen-ardoe-house-hotel-spa/index.shtml

http://www.nts.org.uk/Property/Craigievar-Castle/

https://www.dunnottarcastle.co.uk/

https://www.visitscotland.com/info/towns-villages/falls-of-feugh-p255171

p.s. if you eat beef, of course the steaks in Aberdeen are fabulous! Aberdeen Angus!

Posted by
18 posts

This is such a great forum! I love this topic about Inverness. So many great ideas. We're staying in a cottage a little north on the Black Isle for a week, and have lots of plans.
Deb

Posted by
5668 posts

Debfloet,

Enjoy the Black Isle! It love it. Are you staying near Fortrose? If so, check out The Anderson. They have great food and a lovely whisky bar. Check it out.

Pam

Posted by
7423 posts

p.s. if you do end up going to Aberdeen and staying at the Ardoe House, do NOT eat dinner or lunch there! (unless they've changed the menu). You can't even find their menu on line, then I had them send it to me and it was soooooo expensive and there were complaints on TripAdvisor. And there was no cheaper bar menu as one would assume! I loved the hotel, but the dining was lacking.

Posted by
4 posts

Hi Kim: Time frame is spring: May. Aberdeen just seems too industrial. I think we'll use Inverness as a stop over. I appreciate the help!

Posted by
183 posts

You don't have to stay in Inverness or Aberdeen.

There are many places nearby where you could stay and see something of the countryside before driving to Aberdeen to catch the ferry. Grantown on Spey, Royal Deeside, Dufftown, Stonehaven are all within an easy drive of Aberdeen.