Loch Ness Centre
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The mystery of the Loch Ness Monster draws visitors from around the world to Loch Ness, the longest loch in Scotland. Visitors can learn more about the legendary 'Nessie' at the Loch Ness Centre in Drumnadrochit.
The Centre is housed in a historic 19th-century house built for visitors to the Balmacaan Estate during the annual shooting season. It is also home to a cafe and restaurant, a large retail complex, and offers boat cruises on Loch Ness during the summer months. The Centre has been officially endorsed by Scottish Natural Heritage as 'A portal to the unique natural phenomenon that is Loch Ness'.
The Loch Ness Centre (originally known as the Official Loch Ness Exhibition Centre) began in 1980 and is home to a state of the art multi-media interpretation area aimed at giving visitors an eye-opening insight into the loch itself, its unique biological eco-system, and the ongoing attempts to find the truth behind the legend of the Loch Ness Monster.
The Centre is divided into seven different rooms, each one focused on a distinct theme related to Nessie, the history of the legend, and the loch's unique bio-diversity that might support a life-form like the Monster.
The exhibition is fascinating; it is much more than a collection of facts about the loch and the Monster, it gives you an in-depth look at the science behind attempts to find out what - if anything - lurks in the depths of Loch Ness. The presentation integrates archive footage from four decades of research on the loch.
The exhibition tour takes roughly 45 minutes to complete and is available with narration in 11 different languages (and translations in a total of 17 languages). Included in the tour are striking audio-visual displays including lasers and animations that bring the story of the loch and the Monster to life and trace the history of Loch Ness over 500 million years.
The Centre also looks at the Loch Morar Survey undertaken by the Loch Ness Project. Loch Morar has a similar monster legend. In Area 6 of the Exhibition, you can learn about the Rosetta Project, which involved taking 6m long core samples of sediment at 200m depths. The Project hoped to show how the loch developed over time.
The Centre is closely linked with the Loch Ness Project, an ongoing scientific research effort to plumb the depths of the loch and discover the truth behind the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. You can see original research equipment used by the Project team in the search and view underwater films taken during the search.
Outside the Centre is RV Viper Fish, a one-man submarine used by the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau during a 1969 sonar investigation of the loch's waters.
There is a popular restaurant attached to the Centre and several gift shops on the site aimed at visitors.
The Loch Ness Centre is rated as a 5 Star Visitor Attraction by Visit Scotland. Our family very much enjoyed visiting. Though it won't take long to go through the exhibits, it will help enormously in understanding the story of Loch Ness and the challenges faced by investigators trying to study the loch and search for the Monster.
The Loch Ness Centre is on the A82 at the eastern edge of Drumnadrochit. There is a large parking area but beware - the parking area has several steep sections so do be sure to apply your handbrake firmly!
The Centre is also easily reached on foot from the public parking area in Drumnadrochit.
About Loch Ness Centre
Address: A82, Drumnadrochit, Highlands, Scotland, IV63 6TU
Attraction Type: Museum
Location: At the eastern edge of Drumnadrochit on the A82
Website: Loch Ness Centre
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Loch Ness - 1.3 miles (Countryside)
Urquhart Castle - 1.7 miles (Castle)
Divach Falls - 1.9 miles (Countryside)
John Cobb Memorial - 2.1 miles (Historic Building)
Falls of Foyers - 6.1 miles (Countryside)
Corrimony Chambered Cairn - 7.7 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Dochfour House & Gardens - 8.2 miles (Garden)
Wade's Bridge - 9.3 miles (Historic Building)
Nearest Holiday Cottages to Loch Ness Centre:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Loch Ness Centre. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.