Best Whisky Tours To Enjoy In Inverness

Inverness has long been a fantastic place to visit and enjoy the very best of the Scottish Highlands. As the northernmost point of the UK, Inverness has always made for a fascinating journey for those wanting to catch a glimpse of such an extremity. This part of Scotland is also reported to have the highest quality of life, which makes it popular with students and visitors alike. Once you have taken the time to check out the beautiful Inverness Castle grounds and have exhausted all sight-seeing and shopping opportunities then it may well be time to go on a whisky tour!

Why is Scotland so famous for their whisky?

For so many people whisky is the symbol of Scotland and this is partially as a result of whisky being at the heart of Scotland rebelling against the English taxman. For two hundred years there were outlaw distillers working in the north of the border preparing the alcoholic beverage. From the 18th century where Scotland has 8 legal distillers and 400 illegal ones to now being an industry that is respected and worth billions of pounds, whisky’s significance in Scotland is unlikely to change any time soon.

Today there are 98 active whisky distillers in Scotland with each of them having their own twist and variety of ingredients that make their whisky special. As whisky makes up a whopping 85% of all Scottish food and drink exports, it is clear that the Scots know what they’re doing when it comes to the famous beverage.

The Glen Ord Distillery, Muir of Ord

When it comes to being a key player in the development of distillery, The Mackenzies of Ord are a very prominent group of people. In 1820 Thomas MacKenzie leased land for the distillery that still stands today to be built and helps to bring some life into the area in now stands in. The distillery worked in providing employment for the area and was powered by two water wheels – water flowing from nearby lochs would power them. The distinctive characteristics of the whisky that has made this distillery so popular stems from water being taken from the cuckoo well in the area. The Glen Ord Distillery has varied opening hours depending on the season, so be sure to check before you pay a visit.

Tomatin Distillery, Tomatin

The Tomatin Distillery has been producing whisky since 1897 and has become so famous due to its utilisation of the soft water that plays a key part in its production. The Tomatin Distillery is a more glamorous whisky tour option offers a wide range of tours and award winning malts to try. The tours here are very interactive and can involve filling your own bottle with whisky to watching a film, whisky tasting and much more!

Do I need my EHIC card to travel to Scotland?

While you will not likely need to bring your EHIC card with you when travelling to Europe from the UK, those who wish to travel to Scotland from other European countries should certainly consider applying for an EHIC renewal.

Whisky is such a prominent part of Scotland’s past, so why not invest in its future by checking out some of Inverness’s favourite whisky distilleries while you are here?

 


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Interior Designs To Make Your B&B Stand Out

Inverness has a huge choice of places to see, from ancient castles through to Loch Ness. It is the capital of the Highlands and one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. It is therefore an excellent location for a B&B, and you can easily make your property stand out to visitors by getting the interior design right. Follow these tips to spruce up the interior of your B&B.

Install An Electric Fireplace

Scotland gets cold for large parts of the year, and guests will thoroughly appreciate the intimacy of a fireplace. It’s not necessarily realistic to burn fuel in your B&B, but many electric fireplaces do an extremely good job of mimicking the real deal. Make guest rooms warm, comfortable and cosy with the addition of a fireplace – something that could be the focal point of the interior design of your rooms.

Boost Your Green Credentials

Guests are increasingly environmentally conscious, and especially so if they are travellers seeking out the natural beauty of Scotland. Asking guests to re-use towels is a good start, while opting for shower gels and shampoos with green credentials is also a good idea. Your interior design should use furniture and materials made from sustainable sources, while the exterior of your B&B should speak for sustainability by opting for low-maintenance gardens, for example.

Create Light And Airy Rooms

Older, classic building styles in Inverness can lead to rooms that seem closed and confined. Spruce up the interiors of your rooms by installing larger windows, if you can, while choosing full height window shutters to offers guests the choice of privacy. Skylights are also excellent for making a room feel lighter, though even just adding sufficient lights to a room can make all the difference.

Use Photographs And Artworks Cleverly

B&B patrons expect a more welcoming environment than the usual generic, corporate hotel room. A single shot of photography can introduce a warm, luxurious feel to a room, which otherwise won’t be there. Scenes from the surrounding nature is an especially good idea, while carefully chosen original art would quickly add an exclusive feel to the interior design of your property.

Accessorise With Restraint

Though a sparse and minimalist interior design is not ideal for a classic country lodge, you should pick your accessories with care. A cluttered look can quickly reduce a stylish room to kitsch, and though individual items can be cute, too many can be an eyesore. A design consultant can help you to find the right balance between dry and bland and overly cluttered and stifling. It is the B&Bs that get this interior design balance right that win awards – and customers.

Often, the most exceptional B&Bs are not the most luxurious ones, but the ones that get all the elements of a B&B right, and this also counts for interior design. A single out-of-place element in the interior design of your B&B can hold back even the most exclusive looks, so pay attention to detail and get feedback from your guests to point out anything you have missed.


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Wonders of Scotland

Wonders of Scotland

Scotland has been renowned worldwide for being a hub of natural beauty. The country is perfect for those scenic-loving tourists and from its rolling glens to its towering mountains, there’s something truly magnificent about the country and its beautiful landscape. Scotland has something that appeals to anyone once they take in the sights. The summer is the perfect season to explore and discover Scotland in all of its natural form. Before heading to this beautiful country, ensure that you have an EHIC card which can be applied for on this EHIC website.  With that covering any of your medical expenses, you are free to experience a new side of Scotland. The next time you pull on your walking boots and go for an amble through some of the most scenic landscapes in the country, here is what is on offer:

Corryvreckan Whirlpool

This mystical looking whirlpool is a product of the geological structure of the sea bed, which has an underground mountain! Yes, it sounds like something you will get out of Game Of Thrones, but the tides from the east and west of the north tip of Jura collide and an underwater basalt pillar, known as ‘The Old Hag’. This then forces the tidal water upwards, with the water pushed back together from the banks to create a swirling Whirlpool.

Ben Nevis 

Known by the locals as ‘The Ben’, this mountain that stands at 4,411ft (1345m) is close to the small town of Fort William in Lochaber. It is the UK’S tallest mountain and it is pretty likely that you will come across some snow on your way up there, even in the hotter seasons.  It is thought that the best time of the year to visit this wonder is between June-October, but it’s still as beautiful no matter what time you go.

Coire Gabhail

Famous for its atmospheric peaks, bloody history and being featured in the iconic film franchise James Bond, this location is a gateway to a myriad of stunning walks. Coire Gabhail is known as the Lost Valley due to its two to three hour rough and ready hike through 2.5 miles of stunning mountain scenery. Other than being easy on the eye, it has a vibrant history and is known to be where the Macdonald clan used to hide the cattle that they had rustled from their neighbours.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs

Aside from Loch Ness, this is by far one of Scotland’s most scenic and famous lochs. If you want to know why the banks of Loch Lomdon are out of this world, simply take a trip there and go for a wander in the Troassachs and you’ll soon understand what pure beauty is.

West Highland Way

The seven mile 11.km stretch from Inversnaid to Ardlui and Inverarnan in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park takes roughly seven hours to complete and is considered a hard challenge to complete. After completing this walk, you’ll need a well-deserved rest because the West Highland Way spans 96 miles between Millngavie and Fort William.


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Night Life in Inverness

Inverness is a beautiful city by the River Ness that offers so much more than you might expect. There’s beautiful scenery, rich history, fascinating culture and the nightlife is incredible. You’ll find music festivals, clubs, bars and hidden gems dotted around the city just waiting to be discovered:

Eden Court

Eden Court is Inverness’s largest venue and you’ll find an incredible range of events to please the culture lovers. Eden Court has been attracting visitors from all over the region since the 1970s that all come to see the plays, ballets, live music performances, film screenings and so much more. Every year the performances get more impressive, so grab yourself some tickets and come see the art of Inverness.

The Ironworks

In the heart of Inverness you’ll find great live music at a venue called ‘The Ironworks’. You’d be amazed to know that this venue has been the host for some incredible acts, including Biffy Clyro, Van Morison, Babyshambles, The Wombats and Kasabian. They also play host for some amazing up and coming artists as well as some classics, and every now and then they also host comedy nights. If you manage to book a ticket, a night out here is a lot of fun.

One4 Fun Casino

For those that like games there’s the one4 Fun Casino in Inverness. This little game parlour in the city centre has a great range of games to help you and your friends wind down after a long day. If you’re looking to have a party away from the clubs you can also hire one4 Fun Casino to host your event and have a Las Vegas themed bash. For those that like a bit of laid back gaming there’s the slot machines and roulette wheel, but if you’re into high stakes and want to test out some of the latest blackjack betting strategies they have blackjack, too along with a few poker tables for the especially adventurous.

Barbazza

Barbazza is the best place to give you a great, well rounded evening. During the day they serve some delicious food, so grab a bit of dinner to get your energy up. After that you’ll find everything from karaoke to live rock music. You’ll find all kinds of live music and entertainment here from Thursday to Sunday. Every now and then you might be asked to contribute some spare change, but most of the nights are normally free and everyone is welcome to join in, pick up a few cocktails and sing their heart out.

Hootananny

This particular establishment is certainly unique. This Scottish café/bar has three venues in one building. On the first floor you have the café bar itself; on the second floor you have the Mad Hatters Bar, where you can sample real, local ales; and on the top floor is the Bothy Sofa Bar where you’ll find a more intimate atmosphere. Local singers, musicians and comedians find themselves at Hootananny every now and then and showcase their talents while on other days you’ll find the bars filled with more traditional music. This is a great place to meet anyone’s needs. Start with an evening coffee, move on to rich ale and then end the night with a nice nap on a sofa. Be warned, though, that the live music can get a bit loud and so can the bars.

 

 

 


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Top 10 Music Festivals in Scotland for 2017

With the absence of two of Scotland’s largest music festivals, T in the Park and the Wickerman Festival in 2017, music fans will need to look elsewhere to get their fix. Thankfully, Scotland has an enormous range of festivals on the horizon, with interests as diverse as folk, jazz, rock and pop comfortably catered for. Read on for our run-down of the top 10 festivals north of the border in 2017.

1. Montrose Music Festival

When: 26th – 28th May 2017
Where: Montrose, Angus

Held in a variety of venues across the small town of Montrose in Angus, the Montrose Music Festival, or ‘MoFest’ as it is affectionately known, has been home to perhaps the largest musical diversity in this list since its inception in 2008. The lineup this year features West Coast old timers The Beach Boys.

2. Shetland Folk Festival

When: 27th – 30th April 2017
Where: Shetland, Northern Isles

Though by no means the only festival on the list to feature folk, Shetland Folk Festival is the most prestigious venue on the Scottish folk calendar. The journey itself will be an adventure but when you arrive you’ll be richly rewarded with some of the biggest names in both British and International folk music. Membership of the Shetland Folk Festival Society is a must to make the most of your trip.

3. Doune the Rabbit Hole

When: 18th – 20th August 2017
Where: Cardross Estate, Stirlingshire

A small, independent affair, Doune the Rabbit Hole has been a must visit for anyone who likes their music with a side of the arts since it began in 2010. Theatre, DIY arts and spoken word are all well represented.

4. Party at the Palace

When: 12th – 13th August 2017
Where: Linlithgow, West Lothian

Looking down over the stunning Linlithgow Loch and its namesake palace, Party at the Palace attracts some big names in rock and pop. 2016 saw The Proclaimers headline, with Erasure and Big Country also playing.

5. Solas Festival

When: 23rd – 25th June 2017
Where: The Bield, Perthshire

One of Scotland’s most open and inclusive festivals, Solas has something for everyone, particular those with an open mind – spoken word events include poetry, philosophy and politics. Why not hire a yurt to take your festival experience to the next level?

6. Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

When: 14th – 23rd July 2017
Where: Edinburgh

Of the multiple jazz festivals that have arrived on the Scottish music scene in recent years, Edinburgh is still by far the biggest. Held across the city and featuring some of the world’s finest it really is not to be missed.

7. Hebridean Celtic Festival

When: 19th – 22nd July 2017
Where: Stornoway, Outer Hebrides

The biggest event of the year in the Hebrides never fails to disappoint. Held on the island of Lewis, ‘HebCelt’ is in touch with the essence of what it means to be Scottish, and their diverse array of rock, indie-folk and world music clearly show that.

8. Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival

When: 3rd – 5th August 2017
Where: Belladrum Estate, Inverness-shire

Proud to be Scottish to their core, Tartan Heart is a unique experience in the wilds of the Highlands. The 3-day festival is surrounded by two weeks of fringe events that provide a truly immersive experience into Scottish culture.

9. Eden Festival

When: 8th – 11th June 2017
Where: Raehills meadows, Dumfries and Calloway

Once named as one of the top 10 festivals in Europe by Lonely Planet, Eden have carved out a unique, boutique niche in the Scottish festival scene. The Kids Arena and Drive-In Cinema offer experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

10. Kelburn Garden Party

When: 30th June – 3rd July 2017
Where: Kelburn Castle and Estate, North Ayrshire

If you want to do something different this summer – go to the Kelburn Garden Party. Hosted in and around the spectacularly painted Kelburn Castle, something different hides in every nook. A fantastic blend of local acts and bigger names lets you mix it up.

Accommodation for these events can be booked here on the Inverness Guest House Association website for accommodation in the Highlands and Private House Stays for all other Scotland accommodation.


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