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I have been thinking whether to write this review for a while now as there is so much information about Dingwall that I won't manage to include but living 6 miles away from Dingwall for most of my life I have decided to give it a shot.
Dingwall is located at the head of Ross and Cromarty. It's about 12miles away from Inverness which is the closest city in the area.
Dingwall is a very central town with a lot of villages just a few miles away. This includes Evanton, Strathpeffer and Maryburgh.
Most shops in Dingwall are situated on the High Street. Most of the High Street is a pedestrian-friendly area. This means that there is no access for cars for this part of the high street. Unfortunately cars do still drive down here quite often.
With it being a town it is the main place for people in the surrounding areas to do their shopping. So within the town there are several local businesses including a couple of butcher's and a local family run bakers.
Including the local businesses there are large shops which includes an extremely large Tesco right in the centre of the town. In my opinion it looks almost out of place with all the old buildings in Dingwall and then you see a huge Tesco store. It almost takes away the charm of the town.
There is also a Farmers Market which is held on the second Saturday of every month. This is to support local produce. Here you will find a variety of produce including vegetables, fish, meat and much more.
For more information on shops (as there is way too many to list) go to - http://www.dingwall.org.uk/ and click on Town Centre Shopping. In here there is a list of shops, click on each shop and it will give you a description of each shop and what you'd expect to find in that shop.
There are a couple of hotels to stay in Dingwall.
I have never stayed in any of the hotels as they are too close to home to need to stay in one but I have always been told that the Tulloch Castle is the best place to stay. It is in my opinion very expensive at £155.00 for a double room but it's a lovely hotel.
For more information on the hotel you can visit the website - www.tullochcastle.co.uk
There are also several B&B's within Dingwall which are closer to the town centre ranged at different prices. Most of them are lovely big houses about 5 minute walk from the centre. With most locals being friendly and welcoming I would recommend any of these for a cheaper option to stay in the area.
Unfortunately there isn't a huge amount of activities in the town. With a small population they can't justify having too much to do.
There is access to the beach but this is a good 20 minute walk from the centre of town and unless you know the area it is quite difficult to locate. Once you get down the beach there are picnic benches and a grassed area for you to sit and enjoy the sun (if you're lucky enough to have sun!) There's not much sand and I would say that this is one of the most un-impressive beaches within the area.
There is a heritage trail which can be completed in an hour and a half. You can find a map for this on http://www.dingwall.org.uk/the-heritage-trail-g.asp. Everything is numbered for you to go and see and there is information for everything numbered on the website. Within the town there are also wooden sign posts to tell you where things are and how far it is to get too. You shouldn't get lost but just in case just ask someone passing by as they are more than happy to help.
Included in the trail is The location of the Hector MacDonald Memorial which provides you with a stunning view across Dingwall as it is situated up a hill also close to the centre of the town. You will notice it whilst walking around Dingwall as it is quite easy to see.
There are several places to go out for a meal. My favourite places include;
The Mallard Bar - This is located down right next to the train station. It is a really nice evening out for a meal with great prices and a meal for two with 3 courses would cost you about £30. The food is always presented well and the service is excellent. I would advise not to go out here for a meal on a Friday or Saturday night as it is over-run with young locals drinking and with loud music, not my idea of a nice meal out.
Café India - One of the local Indian restaurants but this one is known well for their fantastic meals and a lovely evening out. It is a small restaurant which is based in Tulloch Street. The menu is good with not many of your usual dishes on it so it does make you try something a bit different. My favourite Indian restaurant in the area and would highly recommend. It is a bit more pricey and costs about £50 for two people having a two course meal but worth every penny. You can also get a takeaway from Café India but I prefer to sit in.
If you choose a takeaway you have a number of places to choose from and a range of different takeaways. Again I will tell you a little about my favourite places;
Wimpy - Ok it's also a restaurant but in my opinion it's better to get a takeaway. Even though the restaurant has been newly re-decorated it always feels quite cold and definitely wouldn't advise to sit in here in the winter. Nice food and only Wimpy around for miles.
Cookies - This is a Chinese takeaway which is at the top of the High Street. Like a lot of Chinese takeaways sometimes it can be fantastic and other times it can be just OK. I haven't been here in a while as I live so far away but it's been around for as long as I can remember and would be my first choice for a Chinese in Dingwall.
Pronto Pizza -This is fairly new and sits at the top end of the High Street right next to Cookies. It is run by one man and he cooks all pizzas right in front of you so you can watch as he makes your pizza. He has really good offers on all the time and the pizzas taste so fresh. I'm not a huge fan of pizzas but I can not turn down a pizza from here...delicious!!
There isn't much to do so if you were going to visit I would advise just to stay for a weekend at the most. There are nice buildings and a lovely community 'feel' within the town but for me I wouldn't be comfortable living here for a couple of reasons which include the fact the town seems to have too many houses and not enough to do. Even though it's a small town I prefer to live in a village that I can walk along the street and recognise everyone I meet and say hello to everyone.
What I like about Dingwall is the amount of local businesses still here and I enjoy walking around all the shops knowing that they are family run. The farmers market is a good day to go through as you get great bargains and you know all the produce is fresh.
For mor information on Dingwall go to http://www.dingwall.org.uk/