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Visiting Invernessie

Inverness was never high on our list of places to visit, but we decided to go when friends invited us for a weekend of whiskey distillery touring. We were blown away by the scenery -- photos can't caputre the natural beauty in the Scottish Highlands. Add in good whiskey, live music and great company, and the result was one of our best weekend trips so far.

Day by Day

Friday 13 November

We rented an Airbnb and two cars for the weekend. This was probably the only Airbnb in Inverness that could accommodate eight people, and while it was sufficient, it certainly had its quirks (ie, no heat in the middle of the night in freezing temperatures and interesting decor)

When we arrived late Friday night, our top priority was getting food and drink for the weekend. We found a giant Tesco that’s open 24 hours, and we were like kids in a candy store, not having seen an American-sized grocery store since we were in the States. As we were filling up our cart, a store manager informed us that you can only buy booze in Scotland until 10pm. Being 10:15, he threw a real wrinkle in our night.

67 Church St, Inverness, Inverness-Shire IV1 1ES

With no booze at the house, we immediately went in search for the local pub. We met some people en route, who showed us the way to Hootananny, apparently the only place to be on a Friday night in Inverness. There were two live bands playing – folk music downstairs and rock upstairs. The place was packed and lively. Needless to say, the Hootanany was a real hoot!

26 Bank St, Inverness IV1 1QU

After the Hoot, we followed the masses over to Johnny Fox’s, Inverness’ late night spot. Here there was yet another band (cover band this time) and a room full of sailors on leave for the weekend. People in Inverness love to dance, so we joined right in and had a great night.

Saturday 14 November

WOW Whiskey Tour

Pick up around 9/9:30 and lasts 8-9 hours

We booked a private tour to take us around the whiskey distilleries. Our guide Sandy picked us up and decided we could use a dose of history to balance out all the drinking we’d be doing. Our first stop was Culloden Battlefield, where we learned about the Jacobites’ defeat by the British in 1746. The huge Outlander fans that we are, next stop was a prehistoric stone circle where we tempted fate and time travel.

Finally we were on our way to the distilleries, and the first stop was Tomatin. The tour was incredibly detailed, interesting, and interactive in a way that would never be allowed in the States (they let us stick our heads into a vat of fermenting whiskey). We then took a long and winding drive through the mountains, passing dozens of sheep and hairy coos (aka, cows).

Along the way, and stopped for lunch at The Copper Dog. It was a delicious long and leisurely pub lunch, the only issue was that we were on a tight time frame and nearly missed our window to visit Glenfiddich, everyone’s priority distillery. We only managed to grab a quick dram at the Glenfiddich tasting room before we had to move on to the next, which was a real disappointment. Our last stop was Glen Grant, where the unlimited tastings made up for the underwhelming tour. Needless to say, we slept well on the ride back to Inverness.

Sunday 15 November

Day two was dedicated to taking in the Highlands’ natural beauty. We drove along the Loch Ness to the Falls of Foyers and took a short walk down to a beautiful waterfall and view of the lake. We were prepared for an hour long hike, but the whole loop only took about 20 minutes. There appeared to be a longer trail available (several miles) but we opted for the short and sweet version.

By Loch Ness IV2 6TR

After our hike, we were ready for monster hunting. We drove down to the Dores Inn, an adorable pub right on the lake and set out to find Nessie. The views were beautiful and the food was delicious. We found a shack belonging to a man who left his life behind to hunt the monster full time and were disappointed to see that it was boarded up.



On every trip we share our rose (highlight), thorn (lowlight), and bud (what we're looking forward to).

Rose- Dores Inn (Becca), Tomatin tour (Josh)

Thorn- being cold (Becca), when Kari gave Sandy a five-star review (Josh)

Bud- our next trip with this fantastic crew! (both)


If you go…

How long should you stay? Two full days was sufficient, but if we had a third day, we would have driven out to the coast to see more of the Highlands.

What else is there to do? There are a ton of hikes and trails in the Inverness area. There are also Loch Ness cruises, which would be wonderful in warmer weather.

What should I pack? Lots of layers and sweaters! It was really cold, and our Airbnb had poor heating.

Should I watch Outlander before I go? Yes! While it is a cheesy show, it's a great way to get excited for the trip and learn a bit about the culture and history.


Have you been to the Highlands? What was your favorite part? We would love to hear your comments in the space below!



We're Becca and Josh Flyer, American ex-pats living in London, taking every opportunity to explore the world around us. We created this blog to share our adventures with our family and friends and hope it's also a useful resource for other trip planners. Thanks for joining us on our journey as we live life on the fly!


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