Inverness – A Beauty Spot for All Seasons
It may be the lure of spotting the legendary Loch Ness monster that attracts inquisitive tourists to this hauntingly beautiful place but there are plenty of other treats in store. Inverness is the perfect base for exploring the Highlands.
In this thriving Scottish city there’s a real mix of old and new and historic landmarks happily co-exist with modern day commodities making it an ideal place to visit for all the family. The name Inverness comes from the Gaelic term ‘mouth of river Ness’ and despite being the Capital of the Highlands, Inverness is one of the smallest cities in Scotland yet there’s a lot more things do and see in Inverness than you might think – if you’ve never been before. It’s also a great place for getting a real flavour of Scotland and something different if you have already exhausted Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Why not kick start your adventure with a trip to the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery?
The museum is a great starting point for exploring the history of Highland Scotland. Also, a short drive from the city is Culloden Moor and Visitor Centre. The battle of the 1745 Jacobite Rising took place here and was to be the last battle fought on British soil. This is a brilliant day out for all the family and you never know, the kids might even learn something on their holidays!
If military tales are the order of the day, you won’t want to miss a visit to Fort George either. Built after the Battle of Culloden to provide a safe and secure base for King George II’s army, this is another fascinating day out.
Bloody battles and tragedy aside, Inverness has a thriving social life and there is no shortage of good restaurants and bars in Inverness to while away an evening as well as taking in a show or concert that might be in town during your stay. Have a look at what’s on in Inverness on The List.
For a taste of local nightlife, be sure to drop into The Hootenanny Scottish Ceilidh Pub, an award-winning venue with traditional live music in a friendly atmosphere.
Another haunt, popular with locals and visitors alike is The Castle Tavern for great food and good banter. It was twice voted ‘Real Ale Pub of the Year’ and is located directly opposite the entrance to Inverness Castle. A great place for a refreshing drink after all this sight-seeing.
Speaking of drinks – for those of you with a palate for fine malts, this region is a Whisky lover’s paradise and you can easily take a tour of the distilleries whilst soaking up the magnificent scenery along the way. It really is great fun and very interesting, discovering one of Scotland’s biggest exports. If you’re based in Inverness, you can join a Whisky bus tour from the city.
It leaves from Inverness Bus Station where you will set out on your journey with a tour guide who will fascinate you with their knowledge of whisky but you don’t have to take their word for it, you’ll be able to sample some of these fine spirits for yourself as you discover the secrets of how whisky is made at some of Scotland’s best distilleries– and you won’t have to worry about who’s driving!
Arguably, visitors flock to this neck of the woods for the scenery and it’s easy to see why. This northerly pocket of Scotland is one of the most picturesque regions. Misty landscapes, purple roaming heather and snow-capped mountains will bring your Highland dreams to life …and perfect for photography enthusiasts who like to capture a wee bit of hill and glen!
An ideal way of seeing this stunning location is to take a cruise along the famous Loch Ness. Viator have a fabulous excursion on offer that will make for a simply magical day out – weather permitting!
On this 3.5-hour cruise, you can really get to grips with the myth and mystery of this famous spot. Leaving from central Inverness, you can enjoy a scenic drive to the harbour and from there, take to the water and sail across the loch to Urquhart Castle where you can explore the ruins, learning all about the castle’s fascinating history as well as hearing all about the legend of the Loch Ness monster which still fascinates us all to this day. IS it real? Will you spot it?
Once back on dry land, you simply must visit the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition. This five star attraction was opened by the famous explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and offers visitors a high-tech multi-media presentation which takes you through centuries of the region’s history. It’s a ‘must see’ for anyone holidaying in the area.
Although even if the sun doesn’t shine, the atmospheric setting will still blow you away but it’s truly magical on a hot summer’s day. In fine weather, the north of Scotland is just beautiful and no wonder it continues to attract a lot of visitors from around the world, year after year. Even in winter, this beautiful region is worth a visit, so if you can’t manage a short break right now, put it on your radar for later in the year – although what you pack in your suitcase might be a little different to your summer choices ☺️ Don’t worry though, if you do find yourself wanting, or needing to add to your holiday wardrobe, there’s plenty of retail therapy available in Inverness. Two great shopping malls are on your doorstep; Eastgate Shopping Centre and Inverness Centre are packed with high street staples.
If you can bear to take yourself out of the city, a short drive from Inverness is Aviemore, which is a popular hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts with a diverse choice of pursuits on offer. It really is an ideal destination for thrill-seekers with plenty options for the young and the young at heart. Check out Active Outdoor Pursuits there’s a fabulous range of activities available. Fancy some white-water rafting? Or maybe rock-climbing, abseiling or hill walking.
Inverness also sits within easy reach of Cairngorms National Park which offers a range of landscapes, wildlife and magical scenery and a great way to spend your time is to visit the CairnGorm mountain. There’s a funicular railway – the only one in Scotland – which runs every 20 minutes until 4pm to transport you all the way to the top where you’ll find a café and a shop as well as an exhibition and if you’re lucky with the weather, on a clear day there’s stunning views to be enjoyed and photographed from the viewing terrace.
Another family favourite is Landmark Adventure Park.
Set in 30 acres of native pinewood within the Cairngorms National Park, Landmark offers a host of adventurous activities and amazing fun things to see and do for all ages.
No matter when you decide to visit just get out and about and see this beautiful part of Scotland and there’s always the possibility of a wee dram to warm you up.
Where to stay in Inverness:
An ideal choice for your trip to Inverness is the Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel.
There are plenty of great places to stay in Inverness and the surrounding areas. Here’s a few more ideas if you need some inspiration…
How to get to Inverness:
An obvious choice for getting to Inverness, if you’re already on the mainland is to drive. It takes roughly 3/3.5 hours to get here from Edinburgh on the A9 highland route. The journey is just lovely and you’ll see some spectacular scenery along the way. However, there’s other ways to reach the city without a car.
Inverness is on the main east coast line from London to Inverness and you can also get here from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh. You can book train tickets to Inverness at a reasonable price.
- Aberdeen to Inverness – approx. 2 hours 15 minutes
- Edinburgh to Inverness – approx. 3 hours 30 minutes
- Glasgow to Inverness – approx. 3 hours 20 minutes
- London to Inverness – approx. 8 hours –depending on route and service.