15 Best Things To Do Inverness, Scotland

15 Best Things To Do Inverness, Scotland

By will

Welcome to Inverness, Scotland!
It’s an amazing place full of history, culture, and incredible outdoor experiences.
From the breathtaking views of the Caledonian Canal to the mysterious legend of the Loch Ness Monster, Inverness has something for everyone.
To help you make the most of your trip, here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in the area.
From exploring the Inverness Castle to taking a wildlife watching expedition, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time.
So let’s get started and explore all that Inverness has to offer!

Take a Cruise on the Caledonian Canal

Caledonian Canal, North of Dochgarroch Lock
Photo by David Dixon

You can’t miss the chance to take a cruise on the Caledonian Canal, with its stunning views and fascinating history! The Caledonian Canal offers a unique opportunity to explore the stunning Scottish Highlands, as you take in the beautiful scenery and tranquil atmosphere.

The canal, which links the east and west coasts of Scotland, was constructed in the 19th century and is now a World Heritage Site. On a cruise, you’ll get to experience the canal’s many locks, viaducts, and aqueducts, as well as admire the wildlife along the banks of the canal.

You’ll also get to learn more about the canal’s history, with its many stories of engineering feats and tragedies. The cruise is a wonderful way to relax and take in the sights and sounds of the Scottish Highlands. It’s also a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the fresh, crisp air of the Highlands.

So don’t miss out on the chance to take a cruise on the Caledonian Canal – it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

Explore the Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle
Photo by Stuart Logan

Exploring the Inverness Castle is an incredible experience – you’ll get to admire its ancient architecture and stunning views!

This impressive castle is located in the heart of the city, perched atop a red sandstone cliff overlooking the River Ness.

It dates back to the 12th century, and the current structure was built in the early 1800s.

Inside the castle, you’ll find several historical artifacts and exhibits, including the Inverness Town Mace and the Inverness Castle Estate Papers.

The castle also provides stunning views of the cityscape and the surrounding countryside.

You can take a guided tour of the castle, or simply wander around and explore it on your own.

Either way, you’ll be sure to find something interesting and awe-inspiring at Inverness Castle.

Visit the Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centre

Official Loch Ness Visitor Exhibition
Photo by Gary Rogers

The Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centre is a must-visit for any fan of Scotland’s most famous legend. Located in the heart of Inverness, this interactive exhibition takes you on a journey through the history of Nessie, from the first reported sighting in the 6th century to the modern day.

You’ll have the chance to explore the evidence, watch live presentations, and even take part in activities like using sonar equipment to search for the monster yourself! Whether you’re a believer or a skeptic, you’ll be sure to find something to enjoy here.

The centre also features a variety of exhibits, including a replica of the original Nessie sighting, a 3D map of the loch, and even a computer game where you can try to catch the monster yourself.

You can also take part in fun activities like exploring the loch’s depths in a virtual submarine, and there’s even a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs. Whether you’re looking for an educational experience or just a fun day out, the Loch Ness Monster Exhibition Centre is sure to deliver.

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Enjoy a Stroll Along the River Ness

Take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the River Ness and let its waters lull you into a sense of tranquility. The River Ness is a great place to get a taste of the local culture and take in the beauty of Inverness.

The river winds its way through the city, providing stunning views of the surrounding hills and mountains. Along the way, you can spot various sculptures and artwork, as well as plenty of local wildlife.

As you walk along, you can enjoy the fresh air and take in the sights and sounds of the city. Whether you’re looking for a romantic walk or just want to take in the beauty of nature, the River Ness is a great place to explore.

Make sure to bring your camera and capture some of the amazing views that the River Ness has to offer.

Climb up Craig Phadrig

Climb to the top of Craig Phadrig and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the city and beyond! This hilltop is a popular site for visitors to Inverness, Scotland and is known to provide some of the best panoramic views of the city and its surrounding area.

The climb can take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour depending on your fitness level, and it’s well worth the effort. Once you reach the top, you’ll be able to take in views of the River Ness, the Caledonian Canal, and the surrounding hills and mountains.

The walk also offers a tranquil spot for a picnic, and opportunities to take some stunning photographs of the city and its landscapes. Make sure to bring a camera with you, as you won’t want to miss out on the breathtaking views from the top of Craig Phadrig.

Shop at the Eastgate Shopping Centre

After the rewarding experience of conquering Craig Phadrig, it’s time to take a break and explore the Eastgate Shopping Centre.

Located in the city centre, the Eastgate Shopping Centre is one of Inverness’s most popular shopping destinations. With over 60 stores and eateries and plenty of parking, the Eastgate Shopping Centre offers something for everyone.

Visitors can find a wide variety of stores, from clothes and accessories to electronics and homeware. There’s even a Marks and Spencer’s and a large Tesco for all your grocery needs.

Restaurants and food courts are also available to satisfy any cravings. Best of all, the Eastgate Shopping Centre is easy to reach by car and is also served by several buses. So whether you’re looking for a new outfit or a quick bite, the Eastgate Shopping Centre is the place to go.

Marvel at the Inverness Cathedral

Standing at the heart of Inverness, the Inverness Cathedral is a remarkable sight to behold. It was built in 1866 and is a spectacular example of Victorian Gothic architecture.

The most impressive feature of the building is its grand spire, which stands at over 80 meters tall. The spire dominates the skyline, and is visible from many miles away.

Inside, the cathedral is just as impressive, with its stunning stained glass windows, intricate carvings, and a beautiful organ that was donated by Queen Victoria.

The Inverness Cathedral is a must-see for anyone visiting the city, and provides a wonderful opportunity to marvel at the incredible beauty of Victorian architecture.

Enjoy a Performance at Eden Court Theatre

Eden Court Theatre in Inverness offers a variety of performances for visitors to enjoy, from theatre and comedy to dance and music. There’s something for everyone!

The theatre is located in the city centre and features two performance spaces: the Empire Theatre and the One Touch Theatre. The Empire Theatre is a traditional proscenium theatre with a capacity of 638 seats, while the One Touch Theatre is a flexible studio space with a seating capacity of up to 200.

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Eden Court also offers a bar and restaurant, making it the perfect place to grab a bite before or after a show.

The theatre has something for everyone, with a rolling programme of performances from local, national, and international artists. The theatre also offers educational activities and workshops for those looking to get involved in the arts.

Whether it’s a comedy show, a musical, or a theatre performance, Eden Court Theatre in Inverness provides the perfect way to spend an evening in the city.

Take a Tour of the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery

After seeing a performance at Eden Court Theatre, the next thing to do in Inverness is to take a tour of the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery.

Located near the banks of the River Ness, the museum is housed in a neoclassical-style building that dates back to 1836.

With an impressive collection of art, history, and culture, the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery is a must-see for any visitor to the city.

The museum offers a variety of guided tours, allowing you to delve into the area’s rich past.

The tour includes a visit to the art gallery, which features an impressive selection of paintings from renowned Scottish and international artists, as well as a vast collection of artifacts from the city’s history.

From prehistoric artifacts to the history of the Jacobite uprising, the museum provides an insight into the area’s past.

With knowledgeable, experienced guides, the tour is a great way to learn about the city’s culture and history.

Not only that, but the museum also houses a café and gift shop, making it a great place to take a break and pick up some souvenirs.

Try Local Cuisine at the Mustard Seed Restaurant

For a unique dining experience, head to the Mustard Seed Restaurant, a local favorite that serves up delicious cuisine inspired by the area’s natural bounty. The restaurant takes pride in their use of locally sourced ingredients, many of which are grown in their own garden.

The menu changes often to accommodate the freshest ingredients, and offers a wide variety of dishes that range from traditional Scottish favorites to more creative options. The atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and inviting, with an emphasis on providing a cozy and intimate dining experience for all guests.

The Mustard Seed Restaurant is also known for its unique twist on classic dishes. The chefs often take traditional recipes and add a modern flair, giving the cuisine a contemporary feel. The restaurant also serves up some of the finest local craft beers and wines, as well as a wide selection of spirits.

Whether you’re looking for a casual bite to eat or a more formal dinner, the Mustard Seed Restaurant is the perfect place to get a taste of the area’s rich culinary culture.

Relax in the Victorian Market

Take a stroll through Inverness’ Victorian Market and explore a unique shopping experience.

The historic building, which was built in 1885, features a variety of shops ranging from clothing stores to jewelry shops.

Step inside and you’ll find a warm and inviting atmosphere, complete with dim lighting, wood-paneled walls, and majestic columns.

It’s the perfect place to relax and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Take the time to browse through the stores and find a unique item to take home with you.

You can also spend time people watching, as the market is often busy with locals and visitors alike.

There’s even an outdoor area where you can grab a snack and a drink while enjoying the fresh air.

Spend an afternoon at the Victorian Market and explore this unique shopping experience.

Visit the Inverness Botanic Gardens

Surround yourself with beauty and nature at the Inverness Botanic Gardens. Established in 1872, this lush botanical garden is located on the banks of the river Ness and is home to a wide variety of plants and flowers, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

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With more than 8 acres of gardens and woodland, the botanic gardens offer a wide range of activities from nature walks to bird watching. You can also explore the various themed gardens like the Mediterranean Garden, the Woodland Garden, and the Rock Garden.

The Inverness Botanic Gardens also feature a modern visitor center, which provides interactive displays and information about the different plants and flowers in the garden. The center also includes a café and shop where you can buy souvenirs and gifts.

With its stunning scenery, tranquil atmosphere, and plethora of activities, the botanic gardens are a must-see for any traveler visiting Inverness.

Go on a Wildlife Watching Expedition

Discover the unique wildlife of Inverness and the surrounding area on a wildlife watching expedition. From the majestic golden eagle to the elusive Scottish wildcat, there’s something to see for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages.

Expert guides can take you to the best spots for sightings, and you can even take a boat trip to the Isle of Skye to witness the incredible seabird colonies.

You can also take a journey up the River Ness to explore the wetlands where otters, badgers, and other mammals make their homes.

On a wildlife watching expedition, you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty and diversity of Scotland’s wildlife in its natural habitat. You’ll learn more about the history and ecology of the area, and gain a deeper understanding of the importance of conservation efforts.

With the guidance of experienced guides, you’ll be able to spot rare birds, mammals, and other animals that you might not otherwise have the chance to see.

Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or a wildlife enthusiast, a wildlife watching expedition in Inverness is an unforgettable experience.

Take a Hike Along the Great Glen Way

Exploring the Great Glen Way is a great way to experience the stunning landscapes of Scotland. The Great Glen Way is a long-distance walking route that stretches over 79 miles (127 km) from Fort William to Inverness.

It follows the natural fault line of the Great Glen, providing a unique opportunity to traverse the country and experience the beauty of Scotland’s diverse scenery.

While walking the Great Glen Way, you’ll be able to experience the breathtaking views of Loch Ness, Loch Lochy, and Loch Oich. You’ll also pass through ancient woodlands, rolling hills, and picturesque villages.

Some of the highlights of the Great Glen Way include the Caledonian Canal, Inverness Castle, and Invergarry Castle.

The journey along the Great Glen Way is a great way to immerse yourself in Scotland’s natural beauty and take in the stunning views. You can also take a break and enjoy a bite to eat in some of the charming villages along the way.

Whether you’re looking for a short day hike or a multi-day trek, the Great Glen Way is a great choice for an unforgettable journey.

Discover the Dochfour National Nature Reserve

Take a journey to Dochfour National Nature Reserve, where you’ll find Scotland’s most diverse wildlife habitats and stunning views.

Spanning over 17 square kilometres, Dochfour covers a range of habitats, from the Caledonian pine forest to moorland, and is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna.

It’s a great spot for nature lovers and photographers alike. From the reserve, you can take a walk along the shores of Loch Dochfour, and admire the stunning views of the surrounding Highlands.

You can also spot an array of birds, including the red kite, buzzard and oystercatcher. Keep your eyes peeled for red deer, as there are plenty of them around.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot some elusive Scottish wildcats. With its magnificent views and diverse wildlife, Dochfour National Nature Reserve is a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of Inverness.

Conclusion

Wrapping up my list of the best things to do in Inverness, Scotland, I can’t help but feel inspired and excited for my next visit.

With so many amazing activities to explore, this scenic and historic city is sure to be a memorable experience.

From admiring the stunning views of the Caledonian Canal to learning about the mysterious Loch Ness Monster, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for adventure or just want to enjoy the city’s natural beauty, Inverness is the perfect destination.

So why wait? Pack your bags and start planning your trip to Inverness today!

About the author

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