Midweek getaways

Top distillery tours around Inverness

Top distillery tours around Inverness

Travelling in the winter means that cold weather might follow you everywhere you go.

The key to win this battle against nature is easy: warm yourselves up! And we all know that in Scotland the best way to do so is trying new whiskies whenever you can or simply having a dram of your favourite one. Although, traditions are also important and learning how to keep them alive is a vital part of our culture. There is always a way to learn and enjoy yourselves, in this case why not going on a distillery tour? Unsure of which one to visit? We have the best recommendations for you!

The Glen Ord Distillery is in Muir of Ord, a wee village near Inverness. There are few options for you, if you would like to enquire about their facilities. For a short tour, you will visit the exhibition,  watch a short video and receive a complimentary dram of Singleton, the Glen Ord special whisky. You can also go for the classic tour of the distillery, finishing off with a taste of their Singleton. Otherwise, you can get a tutored nosing and tasting of 3 different whiskeys from around Scotland or 3 different Singleton of their production – 12, 15 and 18 years old. Plenty of choices for everyone and if you want to fully enjoy this experience together, you can catch a train from Inverness to Muir of Ord, so you won’t need a designated driver!

The Tomatin Distillery is certainly one of the biggest in the area. No chance in this case to go there by train, so you will need to go by car, taxi or a guided tour. Located in Tomatin, 16 miles south of Inverness, this distillery has a separate visitor centre, so be sure to get to the right building! With a good variety of tours, with each one of them giving you a taste of a different range of whiskies, you will certainly not be disappointed.

If you are not a big whisky fan, we also recommend the Black Isle Brewery. Located only 7 miles away, you can sample amazing organic homegrown beers crafted locally, with a unique flavour and a wide selection of core, seasonal and collaboration ranges.

All these centres are open all year round, but we always suggest booking in advance, as during high season they are usually quite busy and during low season there might be adverse weather conditions making travelling difficult.

Top winter food and drink in Scotland

Top winter food and drink in Scotland

Winter is the perfect time for comfort food, especially when the wind is howling outside and you have a cosy fireplace crackling in front of you. Here you can find few tips for winter food and drink in Scotland. Stay warm!

Haggis (from the Scots word “hag” which means to chop or hew) is Scotland's national dish but take our word when we say that what haggis lacks in appearance it certainly makes up for it in taste! It’s a type of savoury pudding that combines meat with oatmeal, onions, salt and spices. Although it was traditionally cooked in a sheep’s stomach, nowadays it’s usually put in a synthetic sausage casing. It’s generally served with neeps and tatties and is usually eaten on Burns Night, but it can be served any stormy wintery night, to keep up the spirit! There is also a vegetarian version, made of vegetables, pulses, oatmeal, seeds and spices.

Cullen skink is a thick soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. It’s a speciality from Cullen, a village and former royal burgh in Moray and it’s the perfect full-flavoured, hearty, and comforting creamy soup for your winter nights. It’s often found as a starter in many restaurants, but it can also be served as a main dish and it will definitely warm you up for your day ahead.

You can’t talk about winter in Scotland without thinking of sampling a wee dram of whisky to warm you up! Whisky has been part of Scotland since 1495 and it’s usually divided by regions: the Lowlands with only 5 distilleries in operation; Speyside, The Highlands, Islay with 8 distilleries and Campbeltown once with over 30 distilleries currently has only 3 operating. Although only five regions are specifically described, any Scottish locale may be used to describe a whisky if it is distilled entirely within that place; for example a single malt whisky distilled on Orkney could be described as Orkney Single Malt Scotch Whisky instead of as an Island whisky.

With plenty of food and drink choices, you can definitely say that winter has become your new favourite season!

Historic monuments to see in Inverness area

Historic monuments to see in Inverness area

Inverness is an important historical hub in the Highlands and we would like you to experience your culture and traditions. There are a lot of sites around the city which will bring you back in time, in different centuries where the word “memory” has a deeper meaning, as it’s tainted in blood and tears, but also of unforgettable kings and clans.

Going east, next to the Inverness Airport, you can see Fort George, the mightiest fortification in Britain with its unbeatable view over Moray Firth and the North Sea. An amazing building that will give you an open view of land and water, it also provides a fascinating insight into 18th century military life. It was built in 1746 by King George II, after the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie, to prevent any further Jacobite unrest. It also has the Highlanders Museum, Scotland’s largest regimental museum outside Edinburgh.

Heading south of Inverness, there is one of the most famous lochs in Scotland. We imagine that you have probably been there before, but we think that Loch Ness is always worth another visit. The Jacobite Cruises are sailing all year round and they offer a lot of different trips. These are very informative and if you want you can include the tickets for Urquhart Castle as well, which will give you an amazing view over Loch Ness. If you start your visit to the castle from the shop, you can watch a very interesting short movie of the history of the area, it also explains what happened to the castle and how many owners it had during the past centuries. You will not believe how many times it has been sieged!

This list couldn’t exclude Culloden Battlefield. It’s an important moor for Scottish history, as this is where the Jacobites made their last stand. You can also experience the battle itself in the visitor centre’s immersion cinema and admire the Jacobite artefacts. You can choose between self-guided tours with audio guides or guided tours.

In the proximities of the battlefield, you can also find a historical site from another era, Clava Cairns, the exceptional remains of an ancient cemetery. These standing stones are about 4000 years old and what remains today would have once been part of a larger complex. Two parts of the complex, Balnuaran of Clava and Milton of Clava, are open to the public. The sites contain a range of prehistoric burial monuments and the remains of a medieval chapel.