Yay, we went to Inverness in the Highlands!
Inverness known as “the city in the Highlands” is the capital of the Highlands and of course, the home of that most iconic female – Loch Ness.
I had booked a coach (bus) to take us from Edinburgh to Inverness. We were going with a transport company called – megabus. The last time, we came to Scotland, we used their services and they were cheap, cheerful and got you to where you wanted to be. According to their website, megabus goes to the US, Canada and Europe and is “a low cost inter city travel” company working with other transport partners. Well, they certainly do what it says on the tin.
In order to get budget prices, booking online is recommended, but it wasn’t easy. I kept getting different prices and expensive ones too. Within minutes, the price for a child was £35.00 but £5.00 for an adult. Hmm!
After almost two hours and very fast fingers. I got three ADULT tickets £6.50, £5.00, and £2.00 travelling from Edinburgh Bus Station to Inverness Bus Station – a journey of 4 hours and 35 minutes. A total of £13.50. The driver was polite, we could eat our sandwiches on the bus and if I remember, there was even WIFI.
Not too shabby!
We arrived in the early evening and proceeded to find our bed and breakfast or B&B. I do love a good B&B but you know what, I always seem to have problems with them.
In 2008, when we went to the Isle of Skye, our hostel booking was accidentally cancelled by their management, so we had to sleep in their office!
When we first went to Inverness, our B&B had disappeared.
Along with my first night payment!
We had to BEG another B&B to take us in, at the summer height of August, for an added cost of £55.00!
This time around, I had emailed our requirements and the owner seemed quite nice and friendly but when we arrived he had forgotten that there were three of us. I had mentioned that “The Tall Young Gentleman” was an 11 year old……
… but perhaps he thought he was a baby.
We were only put in a double room.
If you’ve ever been to a British B&B, you’d know that my home nation has everything you could ever need as a tourist, except for bedroom space. You know that saying “no room to swing a cat.” Well, we had no room…..
….for the cat!
My poor boy, who will be taller than I come Christmas, had to sleep on a child’s camping bed which was jammed against the bedroom door, jammed against the bathroom door, and jammed against our bed!
Anyway, we checked in and quickly began to look for somewhere to eat. In my last post: Haggis, Tatties & Neeps: 10 Things to do in Edinburgh , I told you that finding places to eat with children in Edinburgh was problematic. Inverness was even worse and it was 7p.m. So, we went to the most British of places for dinner – an Indian restaurant!
Our restaurant called “Indian Ocean” was great. They were so nice and the service was prompt and efficient so much so, that we were still there by 10p.m. You can tell that our son has done a lot of travelling ‘cos the first thing he said on sitting down was “What’s the budget?” Suffice to say, we had a very good meal for three, with popadom and chutney starters, all washed down with Indian cobra beer, at a lovely cost of £62.70 including the tip.
The next day I had planned to take my family on my personal self-made walking tour of Inverness but it was not to be, as it rained and rained and rained.
What do you do when you’re in Scotland and it’s too wet to do outdoor stuff? Why, go to a whisky distillery of course!
In order to get up-to-date information, we went to the Inverness Visit Scotland tourist information office on the opposite side of Inverness Castle. They were ever so helpful and made many suggestions of where we could go. They even made a couple of calls on our behalf and it was a good thing they did as some of the distilleries were either closed being low season, had started the tour already or were not family-friendly. In the end, we opted for the Benromach Distillery & Malt Whisky Centre in Moray.
In order to get to Benromach, we had to take the train to Forres which was leaving 40 minutes later! It leaves once an hour. We rushed to the Inverness Train Station and bought a family day ticket for two adults and one child. Cost: A beautiful £17.80.
We travelled with ScotsRail – Scotland’s national railway. The journey was comfortable and WIFI was available. We even had some time to look around.
Forres is such a lovely quaint ancient market town with a wealth of historic attractions. It is also one of Scotland’s oldest small towns and is considered to be over 1,100 years old!
We only had about 30 minutes to look around but we saw lovely cottages surrounded by roses, leafy streets, the river, the impressive parks and gardens, the old church of St. Lawrence, the war memorials from what is known in Britain as the Big War (World War I) and one of the only two malt whiskey distilleries in the area.
We arrived at a large, very white building where the tour guide was waiting for us. “The Tall Young Gentleman” opted to play his Nintendo rather than come with us so he was kept company by another employee in the distillery shop.
The tour guide was a jolly fellow and was pleased to get tourists from Germany. Benromach is a 100 year old family business and one of the smallest distilleries hand-crafted by just two distillers and one of them was Keith Cruickshank.
Keith was not only the distillery manager, but also our tour guide. He showed us how the malt whisky is hand-crafted using only Scottish barley and Scottish spring water to give it that distinct taste, and filled into oak casks and left to mature for years. He even showed us a 1998 cask signed by Prince Charles himself!
The tour took about an hour and was finalised with a session of whisky tasting. I think Keith really liked us ‘cos we “tasted” at least five or six different varieties of whisky by which time we all began to look and feel really warm. There were two kids in our group and they had juice!
We bought two bottles of Benromach 10 Years Old sherry exotic flavoured whisky, and a box of whisky fudge! Cost: £70.63. However, if memory serves me right, if you buy whisky of at least £25, you get the price of admission back. Thus, we paid only £60.63.
If you’re going to the Highlands then Inverness is the place to be.
Information about megabus can be found on: http://uk.megabus.com/. Prices vary. I recommend checking the prices for children and if they don’t match, put in “adult”.
The Indian Ocean restaurant can be found very near the Inverness bus station, Inverness railway station and the Victorian Market: http://www.indianoceaninverness.co.uk/index.html. Prices are reasonable and children are welcome.
Information about ScotsRail can be found on: http://www.scotrail.co.uk/. For day tickets any time at the weekend and off-peak from Monday to Friday, all over Scotland. At least two children (ages 5-15) with an adult each, can travel for free. These tickets also entitle one child free entry to attractions such as the Edinburgh Dungeon and the Loch Ness Centre.
Information about the Benromach Distillery & Malt Whiskey Centre in Moray can be found on: http://www.benromach.com/benromach.html. Adults £5.00. Children are welcome. If merchandise is bought at a cost of at least £25.00, then the cost of admission is refundable.
This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my absolute own.
You can’t go to Scotland without tasting some whisky. Would you like to go to a whisky distillery? Have you been to a distillery and if so, where? Have your say!
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