As we were visited so many rural areas within Scotland, we thought we might as well stay in Inverness, the capital of the Highlands! The drive from the Cairngorms wasn’t too bad, it was a pretty scenic road and once you are out the national park itself, the roads become dual carriageways.
The name Inverness literally means ‘Mouth of the River Ness’, which is pretty suitable as it sits on the river of the same name. The northernmost city of Britain has regularly been voted the happiest place in Scotland, and ranks 2nd in the best places to live in Britain. The lifestyle up here is much more laid back than down in the south east of England, the city is completely surrounded by beautiful countryside, as well as being the gateway to Loch Ness, a loch so large it contains more water than all the rivers and lakes in England and Wales combined… That’s a lot of water!!
Compared to cities I usually visit, Inverness is relatively small, and therefore easy to get around on foot or by car. Funnily enough we didn’t experience any traffic jams. We arrived at Kingsmills Hotel which is situated on the edge of the city, close enough to walk if you fancy a stroll, but meaning there was enough space to add an array of facilities to the hotel.
The Kingsmills Hotel is split into two parts and is a luxurious four star property. In the 18th Century this was once a grand home to William Inglis, Provost of Inverness, who played a large part in the development of the town. In 1946 the property was converted into a privately run hotel by the MacLeod family.
We checked in and headed over to our room in the Kingsclub section of the hotel, a separate residence in the grounds of the main hotel offering fabulous views over the golf course. Guests staying in the Kingsclub are greeted with a refreshing drink on arrival, and have access into the exclusive lounge where you are met with an array of magazines and complimentary hot drinks! Needed on those chillier days…
We unpacked our things in our Retreat Room and admired the view from our small terrace, before heading out into Inverness itself!
It took us around ten minutes (if that) to drive into town and park. The shopping in the city centre is good, with an array of both independent and chain restaurants. We enjoyed a walk around the town, and then headed over to the castle and river. Inverness Castle is an imposing structure overlooking the city and the river, offering some of the best views, even across to the mountains of the Highlands. Unfortunately the castle is not open to the public as it is a working court, but it is worth walking up to, to appreciate the view.
A walk down the river itself is also recommended, passing some pretty houses and bridges along the way. If you walk upstream you can get a great view of the city with the castle in the foreground.
Unfortunately we didn’t have too much time to explore, so we went back to our hotel and enjoyed a delicious steak dinner in the Conservatory Restaurant. The Conservatory Restaurant is in a beautiful, bright and spacious setting and offers high quality and locally sourced a la carte dining to hotel guests and visitors from outside the premises.
We were pretty tired already so headed back to our room where we relaxed in our sitting area and did some work, watched some tv, then slept! We woke up early the next morning as we wanted to experience the most we could out of Loch Ness so knew we needed to dedicate all day to it. We chomped down our breakfast and headed of towards the loch….
If you are interested in staying at the Kingsmills Hotel or dining in any of their restaurants, please click here.