15 Best Things to Do in Inverness, Scotland

15 Best Things to Do in Inverness, Scotland

By will

Welcome to Inverness, Scotland!

This charming city is known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant culture.

Whether you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life or want to take in some of the most beautiful sights Scotland has to offer, Inverness is sure to have something for you.

Here are 15 of the best things to do when visiting this enchanting city.

1. Culloden Battlefield

Leanach Cottage, Culloden Battlefield
Photo by JThomas

Culloden Battlefield is a must-see when visiting Inverness.

This historic site has seen some of the most significant moments in Scottish history and is a place where one can gain insight into Scotland’s past.

Visitors can explore the battlefield, walk amongst the monuments and memorials, or learn more about this turbulent period from the onsite visitor center.

The atmosphere of Culloden Battlefield is remarkable; it’s easy to be moved by the events that took place here so many years ago.

It’s an experience that will stay with you long after you leave.

From its haunting atmosphere to its incredible historical significance, Culloden Battlefield is an essential stop for anyone visiting Inverness.

2. Clava Cairns

Ring Cairn, Clava Cairns
Photo by Julian Paren

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, Clava Cairns is an archaeological site just outside of Inverness that’s sure to fascinate you.

This 4,000-year-old Bronze Age burial site is made up of three distinct cairns and a standing circle of stones.

It’s the perfect place to explore the ancient history and mystery of Scotland.

The cairns are made up of impressive stone structures, including two circular chambers with a central passage leading to a back chamber.

This type of architecture is unique in Scotland as it dates back thousands of years.

The standing stones around the cairns are believed to have been used for religious ceremonies during the Bronze Age.

The site also includes several Pictish symbols carved into stones which show evidence of pre-Christian worship practices.

Take your time when exploring Clava Cairns, as there is so much to see and discover.

Feel the energy emanating from this ancient site as you wander among its ruins and feel connected with the past in a way that can only be experienced here.

Immerse yourself in the mysteries that surround this stunning archaeological gem and create everlasting memories that will stay with you long after your visit has ended.

3. Fort George

Shoreline at Fort George
Photo by Douglas Nelson

Leaving Clava Cairns and traveling just a few miles south, you will come across one of the most impressive fortifications in Scotland: Fort George.

Built by the British Army in 1769 to prevent any further Jacobite uprisings, Fort George is an impressive example of 18th-century military engineering.

With its huge walls and bastions, it remains virtually unchanged since the time it was constructed.

Today, visitors can explore the fort’s many buildings, including barracks, guardhouse, and officers’ quarters.

You can also view the cannons that were used to defend the fort during its long history or take a tour of its vast network of underground tunnels.

After taking in these amazing sights, you can wander through the fort’s grounds and enjoy one of Scotland’s best views from atop its ramparts.

Visiting this remarkable landmark is an unforgettable experience that will give you insight into Scotland’s turbulent past.

Whether you are a history buff or simply looking for an adventure off the beaten track, Fort George is an unmissable stop on your Scottish itinerary!

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4. Ness Islands

Ness Islands is a must-see during any visit to Inverness.

This cluster of small islands on the River Ness can be accessed by a picturesque bridge and offers visitors an oasis of tranquility and natural beauty.

With its lush greenery, shaded pathways, and exotic wildlife, Ness Islands truly captures the spirit of Scotland.

Visitors can spend hours exploring the islands and discovering their secrets.

Nature lovers will enjoy spotting native birds such as dippers, redshanks, and herons as they make their way through the trees.

For those looking for a more active experience, there are plenty of opportunities to go kayaking or canoeing in the river.

The surrounding paths make it easy to find your own route around the islands – whether you choose to take a leisurely stroll or a more adventurous hike.

Either way, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the river and beyond.

As night falls on Ness Islands, the atmosphere changes dramatically; fairy lights twinkle throughout the trees while traditional Scottish music plays in the background.

It’s an enchanting place that will leave you feeling relaxed and fulfilled after an unforgettable day exploring Inverness’s hidden gems.

5. Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle is a must-see when visiting Inverness, Scotland.

Situated on the banks of the River Ness, it has been an important stronghold since at least the 12th century.

Today, visitors can marvel at its impressive stone walls and turrets, which have survived over 800 years of history.

The castle offers a wealth of fascinating stories to discover – from its use as a prison to its role in Bonnie Prince Charlie’s failed Jacobite rebellion.

Visitors can explore its rooms and passageways and take in panoramic views of the cityscape below.

It’s also home to several historical artifacts, including weapons and documents that date back centuries.

One thing’s for sure – a visit to Inverness Castle will provide an enlightening experience of Scotland’s past and culture – one that you’ll never forget!

6. Inverness Botanic Gardens

Moving on from the majestic Inverness Castle, let’s explore the lush and vibrant Inverness Botanic Gardens.

These gardens provide a respite from everyday life, offering up a tranquil atmosphere for anyone looking for some peace and relaxation.

The gardens are full of exotic plants from around the world, making it an ideal place to explore and learn about different species of flora.

There is a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers, as well as an impressive collection of cacti and succulents.

You can take a leisurely stroll through the garden paths or sit on one of the many benches that are scattered throughout to soak in the beauty of nature.

The garden also features sculptures, ponds, and waterfalls – all set against stunning views of the River Ness – so you can unwind in style while immersing yourself in natural beauty.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot to read your favorite book or just want to get lost in nature’s wonders, Inverness Botanic Gardens will not disappoint.

The Inverness Museum & Art Gallery is a must-see when visiting Highland City.

Located in the old Town House, the museum holds fascinating exhibits of Scotland’s history and culture.

From geological wonders to historical artifacts, there’s something for everyone here.

The art gallery features work from local and international artists, ranging from traditional Scottish landscapes to modern abstracts.

The museum also has an impressive collection of weapons, including ancient claymores, dirks, and axes.

These artifacts provide insight into the region’s past and help visitors understand Scotland’s rich heritage.

The museum shop is packed with souvenirs, books, and crafts – perfect for picking up a memento of your trip to Inverness.

With so much on offer, you can easily spend a few hours exploring this incredible institution.

8. St Andrew’s Inverness Cathedral

St Andrew’s Inverness Cathedral is a beautiful landmark that stands at the heart of Inverness.

This stunning building dates back to the 13th century and is one of Scotland’s oldest places of worship.

Located in the city center, it’s a great spot to explore while taking in some of Scotland’s history.

The cathedral has an impressive interior with 15th-century stained glass windows, ornate woodwork and carvings, and impressive replicas of ancient artifacts.

It also features many interesting features such as the organ, which was first played in 1601; the nave, which dates back to the 12th century; and the original stone font from 1230.

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Visitors can take part in daily services or organize a guided tour to learn more about this unique building.

Outside, there are plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy such as picnicking on the grounds or exploring nearby attractions like Inverness Castle. St Andrew’s Inverness Cathedral is truly an amazing place to visit and offers something for everyone.

Whether you want to admire its beauty or gain insights into Scottish history, this magnificent monument should be on your list when visiting Inverness.

9. The Victorian Market

Continuing your exploration of Scotland’s beautiful Inverness, you should make sure to check out the Victorian Market.

This spectacular architectural wonder dates back to the late 19th century and is a great stop for visitors.

The market offers a variety of goods and services, from local produce to boutiques, restaurants, and even a whisky shop!

Its bustling atmosphere adds to the charm of this historic area, while its many shops offer something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or just browsing around, the Victorian Market will be sure to please you.

For those who are looking for something more adventurous in Inverness, there are plenty of activities available nearby.

With an array of walking trails and outdoor activities such as kayaking and hiking, there’s no shortage of ways to explore Scotland’s natural beauty.

You can also take a boat trip on the River Ness or cycle along one of its many scenic routes. There really is something for everyone in Inverness – from history buffs to nature lovers!

10. Loch Ness

No trip to Inverness, Scotland is complete without a visit to the legendary Loch Ness.

This mysterious lake has become known around the world for its rumored inhabitant – the Loch Ness Monster.

Whether you believe in ‘Nessie’ or not, it’s easy to be captivated by this mythical body of water.

The best way to explore the lake is with a boat tour.

Cruises take visitors past Urquhart Castle and other historical sites, such as St Columba’s Church on the banks of Loch Ness.

As you glide through the still waters, look out for wild deer, ospreys, and red kites that call this area home.

You might even spot some unusual ripples on the surface – could they be from something more exotic?

With its remote location and breathtaking scenery, Loch Ness is an idyllic spot for an adventure.

Discover mysteries from ancient times and experience nature in its purest form – there’s no other place quite like it!

11. The Dores Inn

Leaving behind the mystery of Loch Ness, we come to The Dores Inn.

Located on the banks of Loch Ness, this charming inn is a great place to enjoy a delicious meal or simply take in stunning views.

The picturesque setting makes it a must-visit for anyone touring Scotland.

The Dores Inn is renowned for its hearty Scottish fare and warm hospitality.

Their menu features traditional dishes such as haggis, neeps, and tatties, as well as other classic dishes like fish and chips.

Whether you’re looking for an intimate dinner for two or a big celebration with friends, The Dores Inn has something for everyone.

The inn also has plenty of outdoor seating so you can soak up the stunning views of Loch Ness whilst enjoying your meal.

With its stunning scenery and excellent food, The Dores Inn is an ideal spot to relax and unwind after a day exploring Inverness.

12. Black Isle Bar And Rooms

The Black Isle Bar and Rooms is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of Inverness.

With a cozy atmosphere, stunning views over the River Ness, and an inviting bar, it’s a great spot for travelers looking for a taste of local life.

On any given night, you can find locals enjoying live music and mingling with visitors from around the world.

Plus, there’s no shortage of delicious food and drink on offer, from traditional Scottish fare to craft beers from Scotland’s best brewers.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic evening out or just want to grab some drinks with friends, this is the place to be.

The Black Isle Bar and Rooms offer something for everyone – so why not come along and experience its unique charm?

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Enjoy great company and beautiful surroundings as you sip on your favorite tipple or sample some traditional dishes.

Whatever you choose, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time in Inverness!

13. Abertarff House

Next on the list of top things to do in Inverness is Abertarff House.

This stunning Georgian building has been around since the 17th century and is now one of Scotland’s best-preserved townhouses.

The house has been transformed into a museum and contains a wealth of artifacts, furniture, and paintings that will transport visitors back in time.

The main attraction here is the extensive collection of Highland weapons, which includes swords, pistols, dirks, and broadswords.

There are also fascinating displays on Highland dress and lifestyle including a reconstructed bedroom from the 18th century.

Visitors can explore the house at their own pace or take part in one of the guided tours, which are available throughout the year.

For those looking to get out and about, there are plenty of walking trails around Abertarff House that lead to some beautiful views over the Inverness city center.

Whether you’re looking for a unique piece of history or simply want to escape for an afternoon, Abertarff House should be at the top of your Inverness itinerary!

14. Leakey’S Bookshop

Leakey’s Bookshop is a must-visit destination in Inverness.

Located in the heart of the city, this independent bookstore has been around since 1882, offering an incredible selection of books.

The shop stocks everything from classic literature to contemporary bestsellers, and its knowledgeable staff is always glad to help with any book-related queries you may have.

Whether you’re looking for something to read on your trip or wish to indulge in some Scottish culture, Leakey’s Bookshop is the perfect place to find it.

The store features a cozy atmosphere with comfy seating areas and lots of natural light streaming through the windows.

Take a break from sightseeing and spend some time browsing the shelves here – who knows what literary gems you might uncover?

Curl up with a good book and enjoy some peace and quiet amidst all the hustle and bustle of Inverness.

For those seeking adventure without ever leaving their armchair, Leakey’s Bookshop is definitely worth checking out!

15. Pictish Trail

Leaving the bookish paradise of Leakey’s Bookshop, let’s turn our attention to the Pictish Trail.

This historic route runs from Inverness to Caithness in the far north of Scotland and is a must-see for any traveler looking for some ancient history.

The trail follows one of Scotland’s oldest and most mysterious paths, offering incredible views across the wild landscape, plus plenty of opportunities for trekking and camping amongst some of Scotland’s most beautiful scenery.

For those who want to explore further, there are plenty of sites along the route that are well worth visiting.

From standing stones and brochs to ancient burial sites, these archaeological wonders offer a fascinating insight into Scotland’s past.

Whether you choose to take on the full trail or just explore certain sections, you can be sure of discovering something new every step of the way.

So why not get out on this unique adventure and discover what secrets await along the Pictish Trail?

Best Things to Do in Inverness – Final Thoughts

I have visited Inverness, Scotland a few times, and each time I’m reminded of why it’s one of the best places to visit in the UK.

From Fort George to Ness Islands, there are so many things to do here that make it an ideal destination for travelers.

Whether you’re looking for history or culture, Inverness has something for everyone.

I had the pleasure of visiting Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns; both are incredibly interesting sites with rich histories.

I also explored Abertarff House and Leakey’s Bookshop, two unique venues that gave me a glimpse into the city’s culture and past.

Each experience was truly unforgettable!

Inverness is a place that I always look forward to returning to.

It’s captivating beauty and diverse list of attractions make it an amazing vacation spot year-round.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable getaway, then be sure to add Inverness to your itinerary!

FAQs

What are the best things to do in Inverness with kids?

The best things to do in Inverness with kids are visiting River Ness, Highland Wildlife Park, and Highland Folk Museum.

What to do during the day in Inverness?

The best things to do during the day in Inverness are visiting Loch Ness, Inverness Cathedral, and Inverness Botanic Gardens.

Is Inverness worth visiting?

Yes, Inverness is worth visiting because it serves as the gateway when exploring the north of Scotland. Inverness also offers a lot of attractions and is rich in history.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.