This year’s summer holiday is set to be much like last year’s – rediscovering places I haven’t been in years and finding new ones along the way.
With a staycation on many people’s minds again this year, I, like many others, had been thinking about where I could go that was something a little bit different to what I was used to.
So I packed up the car and headed to Inverness for a two-night trip. From Aberdeen, it took around two and a half hours without stopping – although there’s plenty to see on the way if you want.
Out and about in Inverness
On arriving, we decided to spend our first afternoon in Inverness city centre, somewhere I hadn’t been since I was a child.
We began having a look around the outside of Inverness Castle, which is currently shut as it’s being done up, but you can still walk around the outside and read some information about the history of the area. It boasts a beautiful view and some benches where you can sit and watch the world go by.
But determined to see more, and just a short walk down the hill, we opted for the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, which is free to enter and contains a lot of interesting information about how people in the area lived in the past.
After having a look around the shops, including the second-hand Leakey’s Bookstore and a stop for lunch, we decided to make our way to the hotel.
Modern and stylish hotel
Staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Inverness Airport, the four-star hotel is ideally placed a stone’s throw from the airport itself, perfect for those travelling by plane.
Despite not jetsetting off anywhere, it’s only around a 15-minute drive into Inverness itself which is handy for shopping, eating out or general sightseeing.
It’s also a short drive to Culloden Battlefield and Fort George if history is your thing, or if you’re after a sportier kind of short break, it’s ideally placed for the Castle Stuart Golf Links.
It features a business centre and a gym and has parking on site for a small fee.
Our room, which the hotel kindly upgraded, was a superior king, with a huge comfy bed, a big sofa and a view out on to the airport itself.
It was clean and spacious, as well as being quiet, which is something I was worried about with it being so close to the airport, but there was really no need to worry.
On the first night we dined in the hotel’s restaurant, tucked in the corner of the hotel with a view of the airport – also perfect if you’re a person who likes plane spotting.
All Covid-19 restrictions were followed and a booking system is in place to ensure areas didn’t get too busy.
We opted for a pizza and a burger and chips, both of which were tasty and reasonably priced.
Next to the reception there is also a small snack bar offering drinks, both soft and alcoholic, and snacks such as ice cream, popcorn, crisps and pot noodles.
The next morning we opted to go for breakfast, also available via booking, where a continental spread was served.
As well as a choice of teas, coffees and fruit juices, you could pick from items such as toast, cereal, croissants, fruit and a cooked breakfast.
A day of sightseeing
After our fill of cereal and a cooked breakfast, we jumped back in the car and headed off for a drive around Loch Ness – a must-do if you’re in the area. From the hotel, it was around a 45-minute drive to Drumnadrochit where we began our vist.
Although you can’t get down to the water itself, there are numerous points where you can pull up and admire the scenery. Unfortunately for us, both Nessieland and the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition were closed, so we decided to go for a Sunday drive around the loch itself.
Fort Augustus was one of the places we drove through – well worth a visit – but we ultimately decided to stop in Foyers, to go for a walk around the Falls of Foyers.
A word of warning, the roads are mostly single track with passing places, but it’s well worth it for the beautiful views.
There are a few different trails to choose from at the Falls of Foyers depending on how long you’d like to walk, but the area is beautiful and was a good way to pass our afternoon.
We then stopped by at Cameron’s Tea Room for some coffee and cake to refuel after walking, before making our way back to the hotel.
We opted to order some room service instead of going out for dinner, which uses the same menu as the restaurant. The food was as good as it was the night before, but my one criticism is that it isn’t actually room service and you have to go down to the restaurant to pick it up, rather than it being brought to you.
In all, we really enjoyed our trip and would definitely return. The hotel was lovely, and it would be an ideal location for the airport, but also if you want to stay outside Inverness itself.
Courtyard By Marriott Inverness Airport
Fresson Circle, Dalcross, Inverness IV2 7BL
Phone: 01463 423111