Situated above a verdant, sheltered bay of Loch Ness, DRUMNADROCHIT is the southern gateway to remote Glen Affric and the epicentre of Nessie-hype complete with a rash of tacky souvenir shops and two rival monster exhibitions. Of the pair, the Loch Ness 2000 Exhibition (daily: Easter– May 9.30am–5pm; June & Sept 9am–6pm; July & Aug 9am–8pm; Oct 9.30am–5.30pm; Nov– Easter 10am–3.30pm; £5.95), though more expensive, is the better bet, offering an in-depth rundown of eyewitness accounts and information on various research projects that have attempted to shed further light on the mysteries of the loch. The Original Loch Ness Monster Visitor Centre and Lodge Hotel (daily: April– June & Sept– Nov 9am–5pm; July & Aug 9am–9pm; Dec– March 9am–4pm; £5) has a less impressive exhibition, though it's worth stopping for the delicious array of home-baked goods offered at the adjacent comfortable hotel (Tel:01456/450429, Web: www.lochness-hotel.com ; Price: 91-110), and to go in search of the resident ghost within its tartan interior.
Cruises on the loch aboard DeepScan Cruises run from the Loch Ness 2000 Exhibition (hourly 10am–6pm, Easter– end Sept; 1hr; £10; Tel:01456/450218), while the Nessie Hunter (hourly: Easter– Dec 9am–6pm; 50min; £10; Tel:01456/450395) can be booked at the Original Loch Ness Visitor Centre.
Between Drumnadrochit and Castle Urquhart, Gillyflowers (Tel:01456/450641, Web: www.cali.co.uk/freeway/gillyflowers ; Price: 41-50) is a very welcoming B&B in a renovated 1780s farmhouse, while hotels include the friendly Benleva in the Lewiston area of the village (Tel:01456/450080, Web: www.benleva.co.uk ; Price: 61-70). For hostel beds (£12.50) there's the immaculate and friendly Loch Ness Backpackers Lodge in Lewiston (Tel:01456/450807, Web: www.lochness-backpackers.com ).
Most of the hotels in the area – the Benleva in particular – serve good bar food; in Drumnadrochit the Glen Café on the village green has a short and simple menu with basic grills, while the slightly more upmarket Fiddlers' Café Bar next door offers local steaks, salmon and hearty lunches.