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Inverness-shire

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About Inverness-shire

Inverness-shire is the largest county in Scotland, encompassing the vast beauty of the Highlands, and some of the Hebrides too. Within its boundaries visitors can discover the wild beauty of Uist; the mist-shrouded hills and jagged Cuillins of Skye; the beaches of Harris; the dramatic landscape of the Great Glen, including Loch Ness and Loch Lochy; the Grampians, the Moray Firth, and Ben Nevis. Some of the accommodation options can be found in the region’s centres, like Inverness and Fort William, but this spectacular region is the playground for outdoors adventurers, so many of the best places to stay in Inverness-shire are to be found in remote and picturesque spots with incredible views.

One way to experience Inverness-shire is to drive the North Coast 500 route, a 516 mile journey along the coastline of northern Scotland, starting and ending in Inverness Castle. Another is to hop between its show-stopping attractions: Loch Ness, the Isle of Skye, the Glenfinnan Viaduct from Harry Potter, the Great Glen and Ben Nevis. But we recommend a more fluid approach that allows time to stop off in smaller towns, and scenic spots.

As well as being much loved by outdoor types, the region is great for family trips — there are endless attractions geared towards youngsters from wildlife parks to steam trains. It’s also ideal for a romantic getaway — many of the best places to stay in Inverness-shire come with top notch restaurants and impressive collections of whisky. Whatever the reason for your visit, we've a wide choice of accommodations from simple B&Bs and boutique adults-only hideaways to opulent five star castle conversions. Browse our list and start planning!

The Best Places to Stay in Inverness-shire

For the Views

  • Inverlochy Castle sits regally at the foot of Ben Nevis, overlooking the mirror-like waters of Loch Linnhe, and the castle’s own elegant grounds. Its 17 rooms and suites are seriously grand too, with antique canopied beds — or four-posters — original art, and luxurious fabrics. The restaurant is overseen by Michel Roux Jr and offers a daily changing five course dinner menu. Simply stunning.
  • Elegant and intimate, Loch Ness Lodge is a serene choice on the shores of Loch Ness. There are seven rooms, all of them individually decorated with inspiration from the incredible views that surround them. The lodge’s spa is impressive; it’s got a hot tub and sauna and a very good therapy menu. There’s no restaurant, but the lodge does offer breakfast and a fancy afternoon tea. An ideal retreat, perfect for walkers and cyclists or simply relaxing amid the glorious countryside.

For a Rural Retreat

  • The Grange is an elegant Victorian townhouse overlooking Loch Linnhe and the Ardgour Mountains on the western edge of Fort William. It’s been converted into a luxurious three room, adults-only guesthouse, and makes a wonderful place to come back to after a day of hiking or exploring. The three rooms are traditionally decorated, yet stylish, with antiques and sumptuous bathrooms.
  • Killiehuntly is a luxuriously converted farmhouse, with just six rooms and self-catering cottages, in a picturesque spot within the Cairngorms National Park. The decor has been reimagined Scandi-style, in a myriad of greys to match the exposed stone walls, with open fires and woolly throws to keep things cosy. Meals are served at a communal table, and the offering is traditional Scottish. Remote, peaceful, and ideal for getting back to nature.
  • Foyers Lodge is a carefully restored 19th century hunting lodge, in a stunning spot overlooking Loch Ness. There are six guest rooms, all of them individually designed and decorated, in a sophisticated colour palette, with a mix of Arts and Crafts, and tartan accents. Our favourite rooms are those with the best views, in this case over the neat gardens to Loch Ness beyond. Delicious dinners focus on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients.

For Romance

  • Boath House is an elegant Georgian manor conversion set in beautifully manicured grounds just outside Nairn. Its 22 rooms and suites have been individually decorated — original features are on show, and there’s a nice collection of antiques, as well as all the mod cons. If you’re planning a special occasion opt for one of the four-poster rooms, with their grand beds, artworks and impressive bathrooms. The hotel also has a spa, and a very popular restaurant. Pet friendly, but not family-friendly.

For a Mini-Break

  • Rocpool Reserve is a slick, contemporary townhouse conversion next to the river, close to the centre of Inverness. Its 11 rooms and suites are decorated with simple lines and neutral colours, creating a classic hotel feel.

For an Outdoor Adventure

  • Fort William’s The Lime Tree is a stylish and affordable base with just nine rooms, plus a great restaurant and a contemporary art gallery. There are four golf courses in the area, a coast to kayak, watersports hubs, and the Nevis Range Outdoor Activity Centre, and one of the best mountain biking centres in the Highlands. So the perfect location for a lively country escape!

For Walkers

  • Smiddy House is a five room guesthouse in the quiet village of Spean Bridge, just ten miles outside Fort William. Guests should expect traditional decor, and a charming conservatory overlooking the property's pretty garden. Popular with walkers, climbers, golfers, and mountain bikers.
  • The Cross at Kingussie is an old mill turned cosy restaurant-with-rooms, nestled in the Cairngorms National Park. There are seven rooms, all individually, and comfortably, decorated. The restaurant is award winning. You can start walking straight from the property, with relaxed strolls, or mountain hikes on your doorstep.

For Families

  • The Glenmoriston Town House Hotel sits on the River Ness riverbank, within walking distance of the centre of Inverness. Its 32 rooms and suites are comfortable, and simply decorated in both traditional, or more contemporary hotel style. Some have fantastic views, or French windows, others have self-catering facilities and living and dining space. Whether you’re opting for a room, or an apartment, you can expect a Nespreso machine and all you need to make tea or coffee, plus rain showers. The restaurant offers brasserie style dining, and is popular with locals and guests, and the Whisky and Piano Bar has around 260 whiskies to choose from, around around 50 different gins!
  • The Inch is an elegant country house on the edge of Loch Ness, just outside Fort Augustus. In addition to the pleasure your kids may get from trying to spot the Loch Ness monster, The Inch provides a calm and spacious backdrop for a family holiday, with 18 rooms and suites — a good range of family suites among them. There’s just the right amount of tartan, a cosy restaurant specialising in Scottish fare and local produce, and a very good range of whiskies.

Prefer a Private Apartment or Cottage?

  • If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Fly to Inverness Airport, which is just outside of Inverness. If you’re visiting southern Inverness-shire Glasgow Airport may also be worth considering. Inverness has the closest major train station too, with good connections from both around Scotland and a daily direct train to and from London.
  • If you want to hire a car we recommend you visit our online partner, Rentalcars.
  • Weather-wise the best time to visit Inverness-shire is during the late spring or summer months — between about May and September. It's the driest period, with long days, and thus is the busiest time to visit the Highlands and Islands. May and June are the best months as far as the midges go — they’re not out in full force yet! Winter is crisp, with an occasional dusting of snow, but you will definitely see snow on the hills and mountains, and this can be an idyllic time for walkers to visit Inverness and the surrounding area. Snowsports are on the table too.

Still not sure where to stay?

Weather

Monthly Weather in Inverness-shire

Best Hotels in Inverness-shire

  • The Lime Tree Fort William 9 rooms from £70

    Kayaking  -  The coast offers a number of paddling areas to get up close to nature
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Boutique
    Fishing  -  Excellent fishing nearby.
    RestaurantGardenPet friendly

    This stylish hotel is situated in the heart of the North West Highlands. Being the 'outdoor capital of the UK' there are a plethora of activities on offer. The in-house gallery has contemporary art on show and the award winning restaurant serves seasonal, locally sourced food. A great country escape See More

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  • Smiddy House Spean Bridge 4 rooms from £75

    Great walks  -  Fort William is at the base of Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis and is also the gateway to walks in the picturesque Glen Nevis
    Fishing  -  The surrounding areas offer excellent wild brown trout, northern pike lochs and wild Atlantic salmon rivers
    GardenParking

    Set in the quiet village of Spean Bridge just 11 miles from Fort William and close to Loch Lochy. The four rooms are comfortable and tastefully decorated in a traditional style, and the self contained cottage is ideal for small groups. The garden room offers the perfect spot for a quiet drink. See More

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  • Culdearn House Morayshire, Inverness-shire 6 rooms from £90

    Country Escape  -  A charming country house in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland.
    Birdwatching  -  Spot birds from the RSPB Loch Garten osprey observation hide at the Rothiemurchus Estate.
    Sights nearby  -  Explore historic castles in the surrounding region.
    Restrictions on children  -  Children over 10 are welcomed
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Good Hotel Guide

    A smart country house situated in a picturesque spot in the Highlands. Six individually styled rooms are bright and airy with sash windows, high ceilings and antique furniture. An award winning restaurant serves regional dishes. A cosy spot to explore this scenic corner of Britain. See More

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  • The Cross at Kingussie Kingussie, Inverness-shire 8 rooms from £110

    Great walks  -  An abundance of local walking routes, from low level strolls to strenuous mountain hikes are in striking distance of the hotel
    Back to Nature  -  The surrounding area offers mountains, forests, clear rivers and lochs, moorlands and a haven for a huge amount of wildlife
    Fishing  -  Right on the hotel's doorstep is the River Spey known as one of the finest salmon rivers
    Hideaway  -  A cosy hotel and restaurant hidden away in the midst of Scotland's wilderness
    RestaurantGardenParking
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    A cosy haven nestled in the depths of the Scottish wilderness. The old tweed mill has been lovingly renovated to offer comfortable rooms overlooking the beautiful countryside. A characterful restaurant prides itself on its affordable fine dining. The perfect country escape. See More

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  • Glenmoriston Town House Hotel Inverness 32 rooms from £120

    Local exploring  -  Ideal launchpad for exploring Inverness.
    Sights nearby  -  Ten minutes walk from Inverness Castle. Only 5 miles to Culloden.
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    RestaurantGardenParking

    A luxury boutique hotel overlooking the River Ness, located within walking distance from Inverness city centre. Offering comfortable rooms, an award-winning restaurant and Whisky and Piano bar, it’s a great spot for city-breakers, families, and business travellers. See More

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  • The Grange, Fort William Fort William 3 rooms from £130

    Views  -  Stunning views over Loch Linnhe to the Ardgour Hills
    Great walks  -  Plenty of Munros around or even attempt Ben Nevis
    Sights nearby  -  Just outside Fort William in the heart of Glencoe
    Restrictions on children  -  Adults only establishment
    GardenViews
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays

    Victorian townhouse turned luxury guesthouse on the western edge of Fort William. Stunning views over Loch Linnhe to the Ardgour Mountains and more activities in the area than you can possibly imagine. Traditional yet stylish bedrooms with sumptuous bathrooms and views to die for. See More

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  • The Inch Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire 18 rooms from £150

    Families  -  Well suited with plenty of space for little ones to run around, a laidback atmosphere, and family suites
    Back to Nature  -  Set in a secluded location right on Loch Ness, this is an idyllic escape to nature
    Great walks  -  There are a wealth of stunning walks that start right outside the frontdoor
    Restaurant  -  The restaurant serves Scottish classics with views of the Loch Ness
    RestaurantPet friendlyParking

    An elegant country house hotel located right on Loch Ness. Simply styled rooms feature tartan fabrics, contemporary furniture, and lovely views. Scottish classics are served in the cosy restaurant and the bar has a good range of whiskies. A laidback stay, ideal as a base for exploring the region. See More

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  • Loch Ness Lodge Inverness (Loch Ness-side) 7 rooms from £175

    Active Holiday  -  Active guests can try their hand at deer stalking, archery, quad biking, shooting, 4x4 off-road driving and husky sledding.
    Country Escape  -  A spectacular part of rural Scotland with dramatic views over across the water to a string of craggy mountains beyond.
    Kayaking  -  Book a two hour kayak trip to explore the lake from the hotel's private stretch of Loch Ness shoreline.
    Fishing  -  Anglers can book a fishing trip through the lodge, to catch trout and salmon further along the shores.
    SpaRestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Good Hotel Guide

    An elegant and intimate hotel in the heart of the Scottish Highlands overlooking the beautiful Loch Ness. Wonderfully warm service. Elegant rooms with antique furniture. Hearty breakfasts designed for a day outdoors. The perfect rural abode. See More

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  • Killiehuntly Kingussie, Inverness-shire 6 rooms from £240

    Active Holiday  -  With such beautiful surrounds, this is a place to come and be in the outdoors whether it be hiking, biking, fishing, or swimming
    Families  -  The self-catering cottages make a great choice for families where kids can run wild!
    Back to Nature  -  Set within the Cairngorm National Park, this is a true escape-to-nature
    Great walks  -  There is an enormous network of beautiful walking trails whether you want a gentle amble or something a little more challenging
    RestaurantGardenParking

    A luxury farmhouse hotel with the option of self-catering cottages set within Cairngorms National Park. A complete refurb means that interiors are impossibly chic with a distinct scandi-style. Chefs whip up excellent Scottish fare served on a communal table. A reinvention of a wild Scottish getaway. See More

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  • Boath House Nairn 22 rooms from £260

    Sailing  -  Keen sailors might wish to visit Ness and Moray Yacht Charters
    Sights nearby  -  The Inverness Harbour is well worth a visit
    Restrictions on children  -  This hotel does not accommodate children
    Full of character
    SpaRestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessParking
    Recommended by  -  Fodors

    This Georgian house once found itself on the "endangered' list. Now restored to its former glory by current owners, rooms decorated with original artworks, antiques and four poster beds. There is a Spa, manicured gardens and a very popular restaurant. Activities are arranged on guest preferences. See More

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  • Foyers Lodge Foyers, Inverness-shire 6 rooms from £283

    Romantic Break  -  Serene yet sexy rooms with rolltop baths & loch views will appeal to those looking to rest, recharge & reconnect with partners
    Active Holiday  -  A great base for endless outdoor activities; the area offers riding, kayaking, golfing, walking, climbing, cycling & fishing
    Back to Nature  -  A quiet & peaceful rural paradise; spend relaxing days soaking in the surrounding scenery
    Views  -  Views over Loch Ness - from rooms, living areas, garden & terrace - are unparalled
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    Beautifully restored 19th-century hunting lodge with a stunning Loch Ness-facing setting. Set within manicured gardens, amazing views compete with magazine-worthy interiors; bold tones combine with traditional Scottish country house furnishings to spectacular effect. Grown-up owner-run boutique gem. See More

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  • Inverlochy Castle Fort William 17 rooms from £335

    Families  -  Plenty of kit for the kids indoors including games rooms, DVDs, playstation plus endless outdoor activities.
    Foodies  -  This fantastic restaurant has been awarded 3 AA Rosettes- utterly delicious!
    Fishing  -  Fishing in Loch Na Marag in the Castle grounds or salmon and trout fishing further afield.
    Great walks  -  Stunning scenery to be explored starting straight from the property.
    RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Relais & Chateaux

    Elegance, romance and old-school service in sublime surroundings at the foot of Ben Nevis. Imposing rooms with heavy curtains, chintz wallpaper, antique paintings and four poster beds. The bathrooms are the height of modernity. Plus there's a fine dining restaurant. The perfect country getaway. See More

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  • Rocpool Reserve Inverness 11 rooms from £390

    Private Hot Tub  -  Two rooms feature private outdoor hot tubs
    Restaurant  -  Recommended.
    Sights nearby  -  Well located for major sights.
    Restaurant
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

    A restored Georgian mansion turned chic townhouse hotel overlooking the river in the centre of town. Slick rooms are contemporary in style with bold colour schemes in some and the best featuring private outdoor hot tubs. Complimentary drinks and canapes are served every evening. An indulgent pick. See More

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