Welcome to the heart of the Scottish Highlands, where myths and legends come to life at the fascinating Loch Ness Centre. This superb attraction not only dives into the famous myth of the Loch Ness monster, but also the rich history, geology, and wildlife of the surrounding area.
Whether you’re a die-hard Nessie believer, a curious sceptic, or a history enthusiast, this captivating attraction promises a journey of discovery that will leave you questioning what really lurks in the depths of Scotland’s most mysterious loch.
|Opening Hours:||Open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas Day)
April - October 10.00 - Last entry: 17.00
November - March 10.00 - Last entry 15.00
|Admission Price:||Adult £8.95
Child 6-15 £4.95
Children under 6 free
Family (2 adults and up to 2 children) £24.95
|Parking:||Free car park on-site|
|Contact:||+44 (0) 1456 450573|
|Facilities:||Toilets, gift shop, disabled access, cafe, baby changing, ATM|
The Loch Ness Centre is an ideal stop-off point after a busy day exploring Loch Ness, especially if you want to know more about the surrounding area because this attraction aims to explain the geology of the loch as well as debunk some of the myths that surround the legend of the monster.
It’s a well-known fact that Loch Ness is the largest body of fresh water in the UK and it’s not really surprising that countless stories of mysterious monster sightings have surfaced over the years from its dark, peat-stained depths.
You might be surprised to learn that the very first sighting of Nessie goes all the way back to the 6th century when St. Columba wrote an account of a man who’d been dragged underwater by a strange creature.
While there were a few sporadic tales afterwards, it wasn’t until 1933 that the first photo of Nessie was taken and subsequently published in a national newspaper. After that, visitors from far and wide started to visit Loch Ness to try to spot the monster for themselves, and occasional sightings to this very day still ignite a fascination with the loch and its mysterious underwater inhabitant.
You can learn all about the history of the loch and its monster in this article: Is The Loch Ness Monster Real?
The Loch Ness Centre features a collection of displays and artefacts that discuss everything you could want to know about Scotland’s most famous loch. The attraction is fascinating and I loved the fact that it hasn’t gone all-in on presenting the legend of Nessie as fact, instead offering lots of alternative theories as to what Nessie could be and where him/her/it could have come from.
If you’re in any way interested in the legend of the loch or have curious older children, there’s simply no reason not to make a detour to Drumnadrochit to find out more.
If you would like to join a guided tour of Scotland’s lochs take a look at this selection from Get Your Guide.
1: This attraction offers a good blend of entertainment and information. The story of Loch Ness and the monster is genuinely fascinating.
2: There are a wide variety of exhibitions that discuss the history and geology of Loch Ness and the surrounding area. The displays are both informative and genuinely interesting and are suitable for older children as well as adults.
3: This is a good attraction to head to if the weather closes in as there aren’t too many other attractions in the immediate area that are indoors. The tour takes around one hour which is more than enough time to hide away from any passing showers.
1: If you want to explore Loch Ness from the roadside you might consider driving the A82 which follows the loch for its entire length on its western edge.
2: Combine a visit with a boat tour of Loch Ness. I highly recommend the Loch Ness cruise around Urquhart Castle as I’ve done it twice and loved every minute of both cruises. Click here to make a booking with Get Your Guide.
3: Read the Guide to Urquhart Castle to discover the iconic fortress that sits on the shore of Loch Ness. Or read the Guide to Loch Ness for an overview of one of Scotland’s most iconic tourist destinations. If you’d like to visit free attractions in the Highlands, click here.
What this exhibition does very successfully is bring the geological history of the area to life in a way that both adults and older children will find fun and informative. Through a series of lasers, digital projections and special effects, the 500-million-year-old history of Loch Ness is explained in vivid detail, and possible explanations for where Nessie came from are explored in a scientific manner.
We know there have been many hoaxes over the years that have been exposed, but what about the hundreds of reliable eyewitness accounts? The Loch Ness Centre will help you to decide for yourself what’s fact and what’s fiction.
Those visitors who want to take a journey out on the open water can book a trip on ‘Deepscan’, the research vessel named after the £1 million scientific study carried out on the loch in 1987. In the study, 24 vessels simultaneously sailed the length of Loch Ness while recording sonar readings in an attempt to find the monster once and for all.
Unfortunately, they never found it, but a latter-day trip on Deepscan will at least take you on a tour around the loch and show you the main sights like the famous Urquhart Castle.
While the focus of much of the exhibition is on the scientific study of the geology of the area it never gets boring, and this mixture of education and entertainment is guaranteed to keep visitors occupied for a good hour or two.
The attraction also boasts full disabled access, lots of parking spaces, a nice wee garden, and it has been recently renovated so everything is in tip-top condition to ensure you have the best experience possible.
Photos courtesy of The Loch Ness Centre.
Things to Do
Nessie Hunting: The Loch Ness Centre takes you on a deep exploration of the Loch Ness mystery. You’ll learn about the numerous searches for the elusive Nessie, the science behind the investigations, and the technology used in the quests. It’s a thrilling journey into the unknown, and you might even end up believing in the existence of the legendary monster!
Historical Journey: The centre offers a comprehensive history of the Loch Ness area, starting from its geological formation till the present day. Through captivating exhibits, you’ll uncover tales of ancient warriors, discover how the loch was used during World War II, and learn about the modern-day fascination with Nessie.
Interactive Exhibits: Experience the loch like never before with the centre’s interactive exhibits. You can listen to people’s real accounts of the monster, see what makes the Scottish Highlands such a special place, and explore the building where the myth began.
Scottish Wildlife Discovery: The centre isn’t just about Nessie. It’s also a gateway to learning about the diverse wildlife found in and around Loch Ness. From birds to aquatic animals, the centre’s exhibits provide an informative look at the rich biodiversity that the loch supports.
Loch Ness Boat Cruises: Complete your visit with a memorable boat cruise on Loch Ness. The centre offers boat tours that let you experience the loch’s breathtaking beauty firsthand. With stunning views of the surrounding Highlands and the chance to spot Nessie, it’s an experience not to be missed. Just don’t forget to take your camera!
Things to Do Nearby
Loch Ness. 3-minute drive.
The largest freshwater body of water in Britain that is famous for the sightings of a mysterious monster. The loch is fed by the River Ness to the north, beyond which is the city of Inverness. To the south is the tourist village of Fort Augustus.
Urquhart Castle. Drumnadrochit, Inverness IV63 6XJ. 6-minute drive.
Iconic 16th-century castle situated on the western bank of Loch Ness. The castle was owned by both English and Scottish over the course of hundreds of years till it was partially destroyed in 1692. The Historic Environment Scotland visitor centre houses a permanent exhibition about the loch and the castle as well as a restaurant with outside seating and a gift shop.
Urquhart Bay Wood. A82, Inverness IV63 6XN. 5-minute drive.
An alder woodland located on the shore of Loch Ness with footpaths throughout it. This is one of the few remaining wet woodlands in Scotland where the entire woodland becomes flooded after a rainfall.
The Garden on Loch Ness. Kilianan, Loch Ness Side, Inverness, Highlands and Islands IV3 8LA. 8-minute drive.
A plant nursery and woodland garden that has an array of native and exotic plants.
Craig Monie. Inverness IV63 6XD. 5-minute drive plus a 30-minute walk.
A hill to the south of Drumnadrochit that provides uninterrupted views across Loch Ness. Note that the hill is open to the public but it is covered in managed fir trees which are forested at any time and there is no clearly marked path to the top.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dogs allowed at the Loch Ness Centre?
Only guide dogs are allowed inside the Loch Ness Centre, but all dogs are allowed outside the centre as long as they are with a responsible owner.
Does Loch Ness have a visitor centre?
Loch Ness itself has a visitor centre called The Loch Ness Hub (address Drumnadrochit, Inverness, IV63 6TX). There is also a privately run tourist attraction called the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition in the village of Drumnadrochit.
Does it cost money to go to Loch Ness?
There is no fee to visit Loch Ness. However, there are fees to take pleasure cruises on it and there is an entrance fee for the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition.
What visitor facilities are there at The Loch Ness Centre?
Car park, toilets (with disabled toilet), disabled access. Hotel and shops nearby. Visit the website for updated information on available facilities.