Our Loch Ness Tour from Invergordon Port is the ultimate day tour for cruise passengers who wish to experience the best of Highland history, scenery and culture as part of a shore excursion. Your friendly, local driver and guide will share their insight and local knowledge with you as they escort you on your own private tour from Invergordon to Loch Ness and beyond.
From your cruise ship’s berth at Invergordon, visit the beautiful town of Beauly and the historic Beauly Priory. See Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit and the brooding Urquhart Castle perched above the loch side. Visit the famous Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre, before moving onto the nearby Clava Cairns. Soak in Cawdor Castle, Gardens and Grounds, before passing through Inverness on our way back to Invergordon cruise port in good time to re-join your ship.
Beauly Priory was founded around 1230 by monks of the Valliscaulian order. Visit this pretty, and largely intact abbey.
Loch Ness is a large, deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands best known for alleged sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.
Drumnadrochit & Urquhart Castle
Once one of Scotland’s largest castles, Urquhart saw great conflict during its 500 years as a medieval fortress.
Culloden Battlefield & Culloden House
Site of bloody last battle of Jacobite Rising, with visitor centre and interactive exhibition.
Clava Cairns is an exceptionally well-preserved bronze-age cemetery, featuring a number of prominent standing stones and large stone “passage cairns.”
Cawdor Castle was built around a 15th-century tower house, with substantial additions in later centuries.
A Note To Remember:
We want you to have the best experience of the Highlands, which is why our tours are flexible and 100% customisable. All of the locations listed on our tours are intended to be optional, and you can choose whether to add, remove or extend locations based on your own personal preference. Contact us if you have any questions or special tour requests.
Pick Up & Drop Off Information
We want you to get the very best out of your tour, which is why all of our tours are flexible, customisable and tailored to you. We don’t rush you along — instead, we always make sure you get to experience your Highland tour on your own terms.
Your friendly local driver and guide Jim will pick you up from the ferry port at Invergordon or from a pick-up point that you nominate. There will be plenty of time to discuss the tour, route, and attractions prior to departing.
The tour will last approximately 6 hours, after which you will be dropped off at the port in good time to re-join your ship.
Full Tour Description
From Invergordon we travel South-West, crossing the Cromarty Firth towards the town of Beauly and its Priory. The town and Priory get their names from the French for ‘beautiful place,’ and are just as gorgeous as the name suggests. Dating back to 1230, the Priory once hosted a Valliscaulian monastic order, who travelled from France to make Beauly their homes.
Although in ruins today, the Priory still holds a number of intriguing discoveries. Many prominent members of the Mackenzie clan are buried here, and the area is popular with visitors who wish to learn more about their Scottish ancestry. The Priory maintains a very tranquil atmosphere – It is well worth a stop and a step back in time.
Optionally you may wish to visit the historic town of Inverness, known as the Capital of the Highlands. Your guide will be pleased to show you the various local landmarks on request.
We then travel south from Inverness until we reach Loch Ness. The Loch is perhaps the most famous in the world, not least for the legends surrounding the Loch Ness monster or “Nessie.” Loch Ness is surrounded by large hills pushed up by the Great Glen Fault, a massive geological fault that spans the width of northern Scotland into Ireland. The sheer depth and size of Loch Ness make it the largest by volume in the British Isles.
You may see a number of small boats on the water making the journey from the north tip of the Loch to the south point at Fort Augustus. There are a number of beauty-spots, perfect for taking some shots of the Loch and its’ surrounding scenery. Be sure to have your camera at the ready just in case you see “something else” in the water!
Drumnadrochit & Urquhart Castle
As we travel further south we reach the village of Drumnadrochit, a very popular area with visitors owing to its proximity to Urquhart Castle. There are a number of natural attractions such as waterfalls and forest walks near Drumnadrochit, as well as popular cafes and restaurants that serve good food to those that make the journey.
From Drumnadrochit, it’s a short journey to Urquhart Castle, perhaps one of the recognisable sights on the Loch if not the whole of the Scottish Highlands. The castle has a turbulent past — starting life as a medieval fortress over 500 years ago, Urquhart castle has been captured and recaptured many times by the Scots and the English, most notably during the Wars of Independence. The last time Government forces garrisoned the castle during the Jacobite Risings they used explosives to destroy it, preventing the Scots from using it as a defensive position.
Today the ruins of Urquhart Castle paint a brooding silhouette on the landscape of Loch Ness, Grant Tower being the last most recognisable part of the castle perched above the dark waters. There is much to learn and explore about the history of the castle and its’ surrounding area, a detailed history can be found at the visitor centre where exhibitions, artefacts and expert historical research is made available to those who wish to learn more.
The Jacobite uprising of 1745 led to one of the most brutal battles to be fought on British soil and placed Culloden Moor at the centre of a conflict that would see the Highland way of life forever changed.
At Culloden Battlefield you will learn what happened at Culloden, be able to see where both armies stood and charged, and learn much more about the history, events and aftermath of the battle at the visitor centre. Take some time to view the artefacts on display, speak to local expert historians and try the immersive 360-degree Battle of Culloden experience.
Culloden Moor, where the battle took place, is home to a number of hidden historical gems. Leanach Cottage is a preserved 18th-century house that would have stood during the battle and is popular with visitors wishing to get a sense of how Highland people used to live. A number of grave markers and a large memorial cairn litter the Moor, commemorating the place where members of various clans fell. Your guide Jim will be happy to use his local and historical knowledge to answer any questions you may have during your visit to Culloden Battlefield.
Culloden House, now a hotel, is where Bonnie Prince Charlie is known to have headquartered in the days before the Battle of Culloden.
This beautiful historic mansion was sadly nearly destroyed after the events of the battle, but has been rebuilt and stands as a fine example of Georgian architecture. Originally the building was more akin to a castle, having been built in the 16th century — parts of the house still date back to this time.
We then move from Culloden House and Culloden Battlefield to Clava Cairns, the famous standing stones near Culloden. Clava Cairns is an exceptionally well-preserved bronze-age cemetery, featuring a number of prominent standing stones and large stone “passage cairns.”
The positioning of the Clava Cairns standing stones are thought to have been placed with astronomical alignments in mind — the stones and the entranceways to the passage graves correspond to the winter sun’s setting position. The site has a very calm and mysterious atmosphere no matter what season you visit in.
Ancient people used this site over and over again, suggesting a deep significance that has sadly been all but lost to time, however, historians and archaeologists have pieced together a great deal, which you can learn more about at the site.
We move away from Culloden towards Cawdor, a beautiful, historic and picturesque village nestled just inland of the Moray Firth and surrounded by Scottish countryside.
Cawdor Castle and Gardens is situated just outside the village and is very popular with visitors to the area, not least because of its rich history and links to the Shakespeare play Macbeth. The castle itself has been expanded over hundreds of years, the oldest part being the tower house, built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor, which dates back to the 15th-century.
Cawdor Castle is famous for its beautiful and expansive gardens and surroundings woodlands. Visitors can visit the Walled Garden which dates back to the 17th-century, the Flower Garden and the Wild Garden, incorporating many rare species from as far away as Tibet.
Within the castle are many unique and historic pieces including furniture, portraits, tapestries and curiosities. Guests may take a tour through the many expansive rooms including the Tapestry Bedroom, The Dining Room and The Old Kitchen — please let us know if this is something you would like to do during your time with us and we will do our best to accommodate you.
On the way back to Invergordon we will travel through Inverness, the capital of the Highlands — if time allows you may wish to see one of the many attractions in the city — be sure to speak to us prior to the Tour’s commencement if this is an option you wish to explore.
Terms & Conditions, Cancellations
Terms & Conditions
These terms and conditions together with any written information, brought to your attention before we confirm your booking. By making the booking the lead passenger specified in the booking will be deemed to have accepted these conditions on behalf of all the passengers named in the booking. Please click here to view our full terms & conditions.
Changes By Us
While the company shall do everything reasonably possible to provide your tour itinerary, we reserve the right to make any changes i.e if the vehicle is not available, we will supply a replacement vehicle and tour guide for your party. In the unlikely case of a breakdown, we will endeavour to get you back to your destination.
Changes By You, The Client
If you wish to change any part of your confirmed booking, you must inform us as soon as possible in writing, this should be done by the lead passenger named on the booking form. Whilst we do our best to assist you we cannot guarantee that we will be able to meet your request.
Cancellation By Us, Your Tour Provider
We will only cancel a tour due to unavoidable circumstances which are out of our control or which might jeopardize your safety. If we cancel your tour we will notify you as soon as possible and will refund you in full.