Author: Craig Neil
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Last updated on May 13th, 2023.5 minutes to read.
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition attempts to explain the geology of the local area as well as the monster myth, and it’s an ideal stop-off after a busy day exploring the world-famous loch.
Discover the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition in this guide which includes an overview and handy visiting tips.
|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|
1: This attraction offers a good blend of entertainment and information. The story of Loch Ness and the monster is genuinely fascinating.
2: Kids will love Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition – and so will adults thanks to the varied mix of exhibits and displays.
3: This is a good attraction to head to if the weather closes in. There’s a cafe and a shop in addition to the exhibition so a visit can last 2-3 hours.
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 on Loch Ness. Loch Ness by Jacobite is one of the best operators.
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, look here.
The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition 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 atmospheric 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 my guide Is The Loch Ness Monster Real?
The Loch Ness exhibition is genuinely interesting and I loved the fact that it hasn’t gone all-in on presenting the legend of Nessie as fact, instead offering plenty of alternative theories as to what Nessie could be and where him/her/it could have come from.
If you’ve got kids and you’re in the area there’s simply no reason not to visit The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition.
If you would like to join a guided tour of Scotland’s lochs take a look at this selection from Get Your Guide.
What this exhibition does very successfully is bring the geological history of the area to life in a way that both adults and 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 and Exhibition 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 the loch 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 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 (edutainment?) is guaranteed to keep both parents and children occupied for a good hour or two.
The attraction also boasts a quality café if you need to recharge hungry bellies before heading home and an on-site hotel provides accommodation if you’re looking to spend a little extra time in the area.
Finally, there’s the obligatory gift shop for gifts and mementoes where you can pick up Scottish treats including fine whisky, cashmere clothes and children’s toys.
Discover more places to visit in the Scottish Highlands with: The Best Places to Visit in the Highlands – Ultimate Visitor Guide.
Explore this area with a detailed paper map from Ordnance Survey:
Inverness, Loch Ness & Culloden – 416 Explorer.
Inverness & Loch Ness – 26 Landranger.
OS Explorer Maps: Best for walking, mountain biking, and finding footpaths. 1:25,000 scale (4cm = 1km in real world). Buy OS Explorer maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
OS Landranger Maps: Best for road cycling, touring by car, and finding attractions. 1:50 000 scale (2 cm = 1 km in real world). Buy OS Landranger maps direct from Ordnance Survey.
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
How do I get to The Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition?
Address: Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness, Inverness-shire, IV63 6TU
Directions map: Google Maps
Does Loch Ness have a visitor centre?
Loch Ness itself does not have a visitor centre, but there is a privately-run tourist attraction called the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition in the village of Drumnadrochit, located near Loch Ness.
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 and Exhibition?
Car park, café, toilets (with disabled toilet), hotel, shop, ATM. Visit the facilities page for updated information on available facilities.