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Beautiful places to stay in Scottish Highlands

The Scottish Highlands, known for their rugged landscapes, majestic mountains, and tranquil lochs, offer an enchanting escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. While London is often the primary entry point for international travelers to the UK, the Highlands present a stark yet captivating contrast. This guide will provide comprehensive details on how to get to the Scottish Highlands from London, where to stay, nearby cities to visit, and exciting excursions to take in the area.

How to Get to the Scottish Highlands and Where It Is Located

Geographical Location

The Scottish Highlands are located in the northern part of Scotland, stretching from the northwest coast to the northeast coast and encompassing a vast, sparsely populated region. Major towns in the Highlands include Inverness, Fort William, and Aviemore.

Scottish Highlands: Hotels, Best towns & Places to Stay map


By Air

The quickest way to get from London to the Scottish Highlands is by air. Several airports serve the Highlands:

  • Inverness Airport (INV): Located about 13 km northeast of Inverness, this airport offers flights from London airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton) and other UK cities. The flight from London to Inverness takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  • Glasgow Airport (GLA) and Edinburgh Airport (EDI): Both airports are options if you’re starting your Highland journey in the south. The flight from London to these airports takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes, followed by a drive or train journey into the Highlands.

By Train

Traveling by train is a scenic and comfortable way to reach the Highlands:

  • London to Inverness: Direct trains from London King’s Cross to Inverness take around 8 hours. The Caledonian Sleeper service is an overnight option offering a unique travel experience.
  • London to Fort William: The Caledonian Sleeper also offers a route from London Euston to Fort William, taking approximately 12 hours overnight.

By Car

Driving from London to the Highlands is an adventure in itself:

  • Route: The drive from London to Inverness is about 570 miles (917 km) and takes approximately 10-12 hours, depending on traffic and stops. The A1(M) and A9 are major roads used for this journey.

By Bus

Long-distance buses are the most budget-friendly option:

  • National Express and Megabus: Both companies offer services from London to Inverness, with journey times ranging from 12 to 14 hours.

Where to Stay in the Scottish Highlands

Accommodation in the Highlands ranges from luxurious retreats to cozy bed and breakfasts and budget hostels, catering to all types of travelers.

Luxury Hotels

  • The Torridon, Wester Ross: This five-star hotel offers stunning views of Loch Torridon, luxurious rooms, and fine dining.
  • Inverlochy Castle, Fort William: A 19th-century castle-turned-hotel offering opulent rooms, gourmet cuisine, and beautiful grounds.

Mid-Range Hotels

  • Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness: This four-star hotel provides comfortable accommodation, a spa, and excellent dining options.
  • Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club, Fort William: Located at the foot of Ben Nevis, this hotel offers a comfortable stay with leisure facilities.

Budget Options

  • Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge, Drumnadrochit: A friendly hostel near Loch Ness, perfect for budget travelers.
  • SYHA Hostelling Scotland, Inverness: A well-located hostel in Inverness offering affordable accommodation and self-catering facilities.

Famous cities and towns in the Scottish Highlands


Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, is a vibrant city with a mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. Key attractions include:

  • Inverness Castle: Overlooking the River Ness, the castle offers stunning views and historical exhibits.
  • Culloden Battlefield: The site of the last battle fought on British soil, offering a visitor center with detailed exhibitions.
  • Loch Ness: Just a short drive from Inverness, this famous loch is home to the legend of the Loch Ness Monster.

Fort William

Fort William is a hub for outdoor activities and a gateway to Ben Nevis, the UK’s highest peak. Highlights include:

  • Ben Nevis: Hiking the mountain offers breathtaking views and a sense of achievement.
  • West Highland Museum: A local museum showcasing the history and culture of the area.
  • Nevis Range Mountain Resort: Offers skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking.


Aviemore is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, located in the Cairngorms National Park. Key attractions include:

  • Cairngorm Mountain: Offers skiing in winter and hiking in summer.
  • Rothiemurchus Estate: Provides a range of activities including wildlife watching, fishing, and archery.
  • Highland Wildlife Park: Home to native Scottish wildlife and exotic animals.

Tips places to visit in the Scottish Highlands

Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye is renowned for its rugged landscapes, picturesque villages, and dramatic coastline. Key attractions include:

  • The Old Man of Storr: A famous rock formation offering stunning views after a short hike.
  • Fairy Pools: Beautiful, crystal-clear pools perfect for a refreshing swim.
  • Dunvegan Castle: The oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, home to the Clan MacLeod.

Glenfinnan Viaduct

Made famous by the Harry Potter films, the Glenfinnan Viaduct offers breathtaking views and a chance to see the Jacobite steam train. Nearby attractions include the Glenfinnan Monument and the stunning Loch Shiel.

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park

This national park offers a mix of tranquil lochs, rolling hills, and charming villages. Highlights include:

  • Loch Lomond: The largest freshwater loch in Scotland, ideal for boating and fishing.
  • Ben Lomond: A popular mountain for hiking with spectacular views.
  • Luss: A picturesque village on the west bank of Loch Lomond.

Cairngorms National Park

The Cairngorms offer diverse landscapes, wildlife, and outdoor activities. Highlights include:

  • Highland Wildlife Park: A great place to see native and exotic animals.
  • Cairngorm Mountain Railway: Offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
  • Speyside Way: A long-distance walking trail through beautiful landscapes.

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan is one of the most photographed castles in Scotland, located on a small island where three lochs meet. The castle is accessible by a footbridge and offers guided tours.


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