We are definitely visiting Loch Ness because we will be driving through from Speyside to Isle of Skye. We will try not to part with all our money there, but we must take a boat ride!
Many moons ago I took a bus tour from Inverness to Loch Ness. It rated as one of the highlights to my visit to that part of Scotland, no I didn't see 'Nessy', but spent the day being entertained by the crazy? tales our tour guide told, and finished with a trip to a whisky distillery. The day was great fun, the weather was wet and dreary but it didn't matter, we were warm and dry and laughing so hard our tummies hurt!
I would recommend stopping at Urquhart Castle, I have been there a few time when family and friends visiting. If you head straight to Drumnadochit you can book an hour boat tour at the car park next to the post office and opposite of the pub, it was quite enjoyable.
I would recommend staying in Inverness and doing a tour from there. Why stay in the industrial central belt of Scotland when all the best scenery is accessible from Inverness.
As for Loch Ness, it is unique. It is 23 miles long, a mile wide and over 750 feet deep. It contains more water than all the lakes, rivers and reservoirs of England and Wales combined, including the English Lake District. It is not pretty, but is majestically impressive. It is also unspoilt and the tourist attractions are, unlike Loch Lomond, with one exception in villages away from the loch.
In the same day as seeing Loch Ness from Inverness you can also visit the Isle of Skye or the stunning Caledonian Forest of Glen Affric.
If you can't come up and visit the Highlands from Inverness then better leave it until another year rather than do it on one of the day trips from Edinburgh in my opinion.
[It is also unspoilt and the tourist attractions are, unlike Loch Lomond, with one exception in villages away from the loch.]
Is this a joke? Loch Ness should not be mentioned in the same breath as Loch Lomond and the National Park. We have some of the best scenery in the world and I am not sure where the "industrial central belt" came from?
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It is disappointing to see your questions answered by people trying to push you to other locations. Your question is quite specific and should be respected.
Firstly Loch Ness is part of a wider experience in the Highlands and if you are going to visit it then this is far better done from Inverness rather than on a "pedal to the metal" tour from the Capital involving up to a 400 mile round trip.
You can get to Inverness very inexpensively by MegaBus or using a ScotRail pass and accommodation in the Highlands is significantly cheaper than in Edinburgh. Once in the Highlands you have a number of options to see Loch Ness either on an organised bus and boat trip or in more detail with a private tour. Google "tours to loch ness from inverness" and don't get side-tracked by the paid ads at the top. Alternatively you can walk the Great Glen Way along the hills to the north or the South Loch Ness Trail or hire mountain bikes. Don't miss nearby Glen Affric.
If you do decide to do a bus trip from Edinburgh, be sure it is at least two days or you really will experience very little of our wonderful Highlands, and that primarily from the inside of a crowded minibus. Far better to skip Loch Ness on this trip and come back another time. The Highlands deserves more respect than an out-and-back tour from the central belt can provide.
So fine on your own, but best done from an Inverness base avoiding one-day out and back tours from the highly populated south.
Your comment about the Nessie myth is interesting. Try Googling the Loch Ness Understood or the Loch Ness Nessie and Me books to get the full story. They also contain a guide to visiting the loch.
The VisitLochNess.com website is also a useful resource.
Tony, your post would have been more credible had you not been on a self promotion trip. Disappointing.
(Oh and by the way, there is no monster in Loch Ness no matter how you paint it.)