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The National Trust for Scotland

Holm Mills in Inverness

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Calanais Standing Stones

Highland Beach

Loch Ness

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The Highlands and Islands have stunning scenery – mountains, glens, rivers, lochs and sandy beaches.  On the west coast there are sandy beaches and
palm trees and beautiful gardens, thanks to the warm Gulf Stream.

The North and West Highlands
Inverness is the capital of the Highlands.  North of Inverness is the village of Beauly, where you should visit Beauly Priory, a romanti ruin.  To the south, is the Glenmore Visitor Centre, near Aviemore; in the heart of the Cairngorms, by Loch Morlich, an inland loch with a beach..But before you leave Inverness, visit the Simply the Best visitor centre where you can buy woollens and tweeds of a high quality and watch a video presentation on how the kilt is made.  If you belong to a clan, buy a scarf and flaunt your Scottishness!

Loch Ness – Is this the home of Nessie?  Visit Historic Scotland's Urquhart Castle and make your way down to the shores of the Loch.  Even if you don't see Nessie, you'll enjoy the castle and the story of its turbulent history of warfare and siege.  Have a meal in its restaurant before you ocntinue on your touring holiday.. .

On the west coast, south of Ullapool, is Gairloch, a fishing village;  with boat trips round the bay to spot dolphins and seals and perhaps whales.  Ullapool on the shores of Loch Broom is where the CalMac ferries sail to the Outer Hebrides, including Lewis and the town of Stornoway.

The Outer Hebrides  You get the the islands by ferry from UllapoolThe main island has two parts: Lewis and Harris. The contrast between the two is clear – on Lewis the scenery is wild and rugged, whilst Harris is greener, with golden beaches and azure seas. Visit the Black House to find out about the crofting life of the past. Dating from even further back are the Calanais Standing Stones,, Scotland's answer to Stonehenge, but without the crowds!

The Southern Highlands
On the Road to the Isles, from Fort William to Mallaig there is a must-do stop, (drop in at the Ben Nevis Highland Centre for a snack and check out their woollens and tweeds and their Malt of the Month);  this is the  Glenfinnan Monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie and, close by is,the Glenfinnan Viaduct, make famous by the Harry Potter films.  South of Fort William is Oban -  plenty to explore around here;  Dunstaffnage Castle to the north and making the Oban area your centre is a good idea. On te shores of Loch Fyne is Inveraray,, a beautifully laid-out village where everything is within walkin distance, including the Simply the Best visitor centre, in what used to be the blacksmith's forge and workshop - but now there are lovely woollens and tweeds and a rather good coffee shop (call The Anvil)..  The road to Loch Lomond from Inveraray is one of the msot beautufl in Scotland.

On the way from Inverness to Fort William, at Spean Bridge, is the imposing monument to the Commandos, who trained in this area before going to fight in World War II and in the hamlet nearby is a Simply The Best visitor centre where you can watch the weaver, Mary-Carol, at work and learn the history of this traditional craft (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

For ideas on what to see and where to go, talk with staff at the caravan parks (the locals know best!).  But first of all visit this page to see which Thistle Holiday Parks are in this area
View the Thistle Holiday Parks in the Highlands and Islands


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