Travel Report: Drumnadrochit Village, Loch Ness.
July 2019. There are a whole host of picturesque little villages to choose from if one wants to bed down for a couple of nights by Loch Ness. Having done our research online, Spackles and I opted for Drumnadrochit Village, a postcard-perfect community nestled on the western shore of Scotland’s world famous loch.
Drumnadrochit might just be the most Scottish sounding word ever. Moreover, it’s necessary to try and roll your r’s as you say it for maximum comic effect. Actually, the village’s name comes from an old Gaelic phrase that means ridge of the bridge. Fittingly, the town grew around an ancient stone bridge spanning The River Enrick. It’s not clear whether The Enrick Bridge visitors see today is the same one, but I like to think that it is.
With its stone’s-throw location from Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit thrives with a wide selection of gorgeous hotels and bed and breakfasts. However, availability can be scarce in the height of the summer and you’ll certainly have to shop around if you’re on a budget. In most cases you’ll get to stay in lovely 18th and 19th buildings dripping with atmosphere and history. Take Morlea Bed & Breakfast for example, with its prime spot right on the village green.
Drumnadrochit Village, Loch Ness.
Should you want something a little grander, why not consider a stay at The Loch Ness Lodge Hotel. Elevated on a platform of woodland, the building dates back to 1740. Rooms offer up a mix of modern and traditional, while some have valley views.
Ever thrifty, Spackles and I decided to shop around before finding an excellent deal in the form of Ardwell House. You can find this modest, cosy residence through Airbnb. Moreover, it has a great location just a ten minute walk from the village green.
Ardwell House offers simple accommodation, but super clean with lots of thoughtful touches throughout. In fact, our bedroom was one of the coo-test I’ve seen during my Scottish travels. #sorry
Ardwell House, Drumnadrochit.
Two Polish sisters run the place and they really have gone above and beyond to make sure people have a great stay. The beds are comfy, the wifi is solid and there’s a complimentary buffet breakfast in the downstairs breakfast room running off the kitchen. Furthermore, you can go and sit in the garden if the famously temperamental Scottish weather allows.
Housed in a 160-year-old building, The Lewiston Restaurant channels an authentic olde-worlde feel. So drink in the stone walls, wooden tables, antique fixtures and framed artwork of Loch Ness and the verdant Scottish landscape.
Spackles and I found ourselves mightily impressed with our dinner here. I love Scottish food and between us, we mopped up a range of delicious, freshly-prepared dishes. Including Scotch broth, haggis and a Scottish smoked salmon salad.
We also popped into the tiny Brewery Bar at the back of the inn, where a pair of grizzled locals sat in deep discussion.
“Another Guinness, Donald?”
For those on a budget, or perhaps less fussed about airs and graces, I overheard a few locals swearing by the no-nonsense Drum Takeaway. This is prime guilty pleasure territory, from pies, pizza, burgers and fries, to kebabs, fried chicken, haggis and sausages. Go on, you know you want to…
Aside from being fed and watered, the village has a few major attractions. One of these is the somewhat kitschy Nessieland. Largely aimed at kids, this place claims to be “the only attraction that believes in the legend of Loch Ness”. Expect lots of models, giant soft toys, some spooky caves and an actual viewing platform out over the loch itself. After a brief investigation, Spackles and I decided our hard earned cash was better spent at the nearby Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition.
Much more discreet than the Loch Ness Monster sights, visitors can also take a stroll around Drum Farm Courtyard and its collection of small businesses operating out of old 19th century farmhouse buildings.
Drumnadrochit Village, Loch Ness.
The courtyard is home to a cosy cafe, a pet supplies store, a traditional sweets shop and a computer workshop that does repairs and sells various electronic gadgets. The entire courtyard is delightfully sleepy.
Fiddler’s Highland Restaurant runs along the narrow alleyway leading to Drum Farm Courtyard. If you’re looking for “a wee dram”, this is probably your best bet thanks to their range of award-winning malt whiskies. Five times voted SLTN Whisky Bar of the year according to their website.
No matter where I am in the world, I seem unable to stop myself from exploring the local church. And Drumnadrochit was no different. Hence I headed right on through the open gate of Urquhart & Glenmoriston Church for a late afternoon look.
Unfortunately, the interior was shut. Thus I made do with a brief stroll around the well-kept graveyard in the fading light. It was an appropriately gently conclusion to a laid-back couple of days in this leafy Scottish village.
For more on the sights, sounds and smells of the region, have a leaf through more of my reports from Loch Ness.
And I’ve written plenty more articles from across The Scottish Highlands.
To delve further afield, take a look at my travel articles from all around Scotland.
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