Just a short drive from the famous Loch Ness, Inverness is a calm, friendly city located in the heart of the beautiful Scottish Highlands. With its excellent galleries, quality restaurants and proud Highland heritage, it has much to offer visitors and has been voted one of the best places to live in Britain. Inverness is also one of the fastest-growing cities in Europe, and now offers a range of international flights from its airport.
As the capital of the Highlands, Inverness draws shoppers from all over Scotland’s largest region. In the Eastgate Centre you’ll find dozens of major high street stores, cafés and a popular food court, whilst long-running local businesses such as jewellers, florists and gift shops are located in the old Victorian Market. An absolute must for book worms is Leakey’s, a beautiful second-hand book shop and café housed in a refurbished church.
Inverness has a large number of fantastic restaurants, many of which use ingredients from around the Highlands. The Mustard Seed is located on the banks of the River Ness and offers diners great views as they enjoy contemporary Scottish dishes with a European twist. Just across the water is Rocpool Restaurant, which serves products such as Speyside beef and venison, west coast langoustines and razor clams from nearby Fortrose, each cooked to perfection.
Those with an interest in Highland history and culture are sure to enjoy Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, a treasure trove of Jacobite memorabilia, weapons, bagpipes and more. Castle Gallery showcases the work of both established and emerging artists from around the UK and was described in The Independent as “one of the best reasons to visit Inverness”. New art space IG:LU organises exhibits of little-known artists as well as free film screenings and gigs. Music venue the Ironworks hosts internationally acclaimed bands and events, or try Hootananny’s for traditional Scottish tunes and a guaranteed great night out.
Walkers will find numerous walkways in and around Inverness. The Ness Islands in the south of the city offer quiet woodland paths that are perfect for wandering all year around. Just along the river is Whin Park, a pleasant park featuring a children’s play area, a miniature railway and a small loch where you can rent row or paddle boats. Inverness also makes for a great golfing holiday: there are three courses in the city itself and numerous others clubs, such as Fortrose & Rosemarkie, Castle Stuart and Strathpeffer Spa, just a short drive away.
Tours & Activities
Top things to do
Have a riverside meal at the Kitchen
The sister restaurant of the Mustard Seed, the Kitchen serves delicious Scottish produce such as salmon, trout and venison and gives stunning views of the river and castle. The two-course lunch menu is excellent value, and the desserts are divine.
Catch a show at Eden Court
The largest entertainment venue in the Highlands, Eden Court Theatre and Cinema offers a varied programme ranging from West End musicals to foreign cinema. It also features two galleries exhibiting artworks from Scottish artists, and is the ideal place for a cup of tea after walking along the river.
Built in 1836, Inverness Castle houses the Sherriff Court and is therefore not open to the public. However, its elevated position allows for excellent views of the River Ness and is well worth the short walk from the High Street.
Visit Nessie at Lochness
Inverness is less than half an hour’s drive from Loch Ness, the legendary home of Nessie. Bus and boat tours leave regularly from the city centre, with the option to visit Urquhart Castle or the Loch Ness Visitor & Exhibition Centre in Drumnadrochit.
Take a dip at Inverness Fitness & Leisure Centre
Just a short walk from Whin Park, this excellent leisure facility includes a gym, climbing wall and a leisure pool with rapids, flume rides and a thistle-shaped heated outdoor pool.