Beauly, which lies 12 miles west of Inverness and 48 miles from the west coast, has a number of features which distinguish it from other Highland villages.

Its 13th century priory - now a ruin - lies at the heart of the village, and the village square, laid out by Baron Lovat in the 1840s, is one of the most spacious in the North of Scotland.

The principal clans of the area are the Frasers of Lovat (see and the Chisholms, and Beauly - something of a border town between west and east - has a colourful past. Mary Queen of Scots and her retinue stayed at the priory and was charmed with the attractions of the place, ordering outfits in tartan for her entire court.

Nowadays the village is much more tranquil: the traffic north and west has been diverted to fast modern roads, and in summer there are flowers everywhere. Indeed, Beauly has won numerous prizes for its splendid floral displays.

It is also noted for its good quality shopping - the visitor can find the finest of Scottish tweeds, knitwear and crafts as well as boutiques and antique shops.

Inland from Beauly are some of the loveliest of Scotland's glens and straths - Glen Affric is a famous beauty spot. Interesting flora and fauna abound, not only in the glens but also in the Beauly Firth making the area popular with wildlife enthusiasts, bird watchers and botanists as well as walkers and cyclists.

Its ease of access by air, road and rail makes Beauly easily reached, and its closeness to the trunk routes make it an excellent centre from which to explore the whole north of Scotland. A day out can take you to John O'Groats in the North or Strathspey and the Cairngorms in the South, to the West Coast and the Isle of Skye in the West or Elgin in the East

And if you decide not to go so far afield there is always plenty to do and see nearer home - for the summer has games and festivals, galas and agricultural shows, and regular displays of piping in the village square.

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