Things to do in Inverness Scotland

The Best 25 Things To Do In Inverness Scotland – The Ultimate Guide to Enchanting Castles and More

Last Updated: August 1, 2023By

Nestled in the sweeping Great Glen, Inverness offers an alluring escape where you can roam riverbanks, explore enchanting castles, and soak up Scottish culture. This charming city provides the perfect base to access wondrous wonders across the Scottish Highlands and tantalizing trails that zigzag through lush landscapes. In this article, we’re presenting the best things to do in Inverness Scotland to new or avid travellers.

From the shadow of its splendid castle along the River Ness to meandering medieval lanes, Inverness captivates visitors with its vibrant beauty and storied history. Enjoy a dram at a local whisky distillery, walk ramparts that withstood the turbulence of time, or stroll along the buzzing waterfront lined with lively bars and restaurants.

Inverness charms all who visit with its eclectic events, exciting excursions to storied battle sites, and access to spellbinding Loch Ness where a curious cryptid may lurk in the glittering waters. With an array of activities like theatre, music, shopping, and cycling, Inverness is a treat for all tastes.

Find fairy-tale forests perfect for hiking and cycling just minutes from the city center. Whether you seek Highland hospitality or thrilling outdoor pursuits, Inverness delivers memorable adventures and cultural treasures galore.

Key Takeaways

  • Inverness Castle is a must-visit landmark with panoramic views and interactive exhibits and ranks as one of the best things to do in Scotland.
  • The River Ness offers stunning views and a peaceful escape in nature.
  • Inverness Museum & Art Gallery showcases heritage and traditions with a diverse range of exhibits.
  • Exploring the historic town of Dornoch and visiting Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness are must-do activities for history enthusiasts and those looking to experience the Scottish Highlands.

The Best Things to Do in Inverness Scotland

For an unforgettable experience these are the top attractions in Inverness to keep on your bucket list as you get into Scotland.

1. Visit Inverness Castle

If you’re in Inverness, don’t miss the chance to visit the iconic Inverness Castle! This must-see attraction is situated in the heart of the Highland capital and offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside.

As one of the most prominent landmarks in Inverness, the castle holds a rich history that dates back centuries. Originally built in 1836, it stands on the site of an earlier fortress that played a significant role in Scottish history.

Today, visitors can explore its magnificent exterior and lush gardens while learning about its past through interactive exhibits inside. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a beautiful spot to soak up some stunning views, a visit to Inverness Castle is an absolute must during your time in this charming city.

2. Take a Stroll Along the River Ness

Explore the picturesque charm of Inverness by taking a leisurely stroll along the enchanting River Ness. This iconic river is not only a beautiful sight to behold, but it also offers a multitude of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.

As you wander along the riverbank, you’ll be treated to stunning views of Inverness and its surrounding landscapes. Take in the serenity of the flowing water and listen to the soothing sounds of nature as you walk.

The River Ness is also home to various wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for birds and other creatures that call this area their home.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or simply want to soak up the natural beauty of Inverness, a stroll along the River Ness is an absolute must-do when visiting this charming Scottish city.

3. Visit the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery

When you visit the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, you’ll discover a treasure trove of captivating exhibits and stunning artwork that will transport you through the rich history and vibrant culture of this Scottish city.

Located in the heart of Inverness, the museum offers a diverse range of displays that showcase the heritage and traditions of the local area. Explore artifacts from ancient civilizations, delve into the lives of Highland clans, and learn about Inverness’s role in Scotland’s turbulent past.

The art gallery features an impressive collection of contemporary and traditional artwork, with pieces that celebrate both local talent and international creativity. From paintings to sculptures to photography, there is something to captivate every artistic taste.

Whether you are a history buff or an art enthusiast, a visit to the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery is a must when exploring this charming city.

4. Explore the Historic Town of Dornoch

As you wander through the historic town of Dornoch, you’ll be transported back in time to a place where ancient castles, charming cobblestone streets, and rich cultural heritage come together in a truly captivating experience.

This quaint Scottish town, located just a short distance from Inverness and the Scottish Highlands, is full of fascinating attractions that are sure to delight any visitor.

Explore the towering Inverness Cathedral, an impressive structure that overlooks the city and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Or venture out to Urquhart Castle, a magnificent ruin perched on the shores of Loch Ness.

Don’t forget to sample some local whiskey at a distillery or take in the breathtaking scenery of the Scottish Highlands.

Dornoch is a must-visit destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike!

5. Visit the Famous Urquhart Castle

Located on the shores of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle offers visitors a glimpse into Scotland’s ancient history. This magnificent castle, with its stunning views of the loch and surrounding countryside, is a must-visit attraction in Inverness.

As you explore the ruins of Urquhart Castle, you’ll be transported back in time to when it was a strategic fortress guarding the Great Glen. Take in the panoramic views from the tower and imagine what life would have been like for its inhabitants centuries ago.

Don’t forget to visit the visitor center, where you can learn more about the castle’s history and see artifacts found on site.

After your visit to Urquhart Castle, make sure to check out other nearby attractions such as Fort George, and Culloden Battlefield, and even keep an eye out for a potential sighting of the famous Loch Ness Monster!

6. Check Out the Inverness Botanic Gardens

One of the highlights of Inverness is the opportunity to explore the beautiful and diverse Inverness Botanic Gardens. Located in the heart of Inverness city centre, these gardens offer a peaceful escape from the bustling city streets.

With a wide variety of plants and flowers from around the world, it’s a paradise for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts. Take a leisurely stroll through the different themed areas, including tropical, alpine, and woodland gardens. Admire the vibrant colors and intoxicating scents that fill the air.

The Inverness Botanic Gardens also host regular events and exhibitions, so there’s always something new to discover. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities or simply want to relax in a tranquil setting, this is one of the top attractions in Inverness that shouldn’t be missed.

7. Take a Boat Trip on Loch Ness

Now that you’ve explored the beauty of Inverness Botanic Gardens, it’s time to embark on a thrilling adventure. Get ready to take a boat trip on Loch Ness!

This iconic and mysterious lake is just a stone’s throw away from Inverness, making it an absolute must-visit for anyone in the area. Hop aboard a boat and prepare to be captivated by the stunning scenery that surrounds you.

As you glide through the calm waters of Loch Ness, keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of its legendary resident – the elusive Loch Ness Monster. Along the way, make sure to visit the charming Ness Islands, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Inverness.

With its tranquil atmosphere and picturesque walking trails, this is an experience you won’t want to miss. So grab your camera and get ready for an unforgettable journey on Loch Ness!

  • Discover breathtaking views of Scotland’s most famous lake
  • Keep your eyes peeled for a sighting of the mythical Loch Ness Monster
  • Explore the enchanting Ness Islands with their serene walking trails
  • Capture memorable moments with stunning photographs of this iconic location

8. Visit the Famous Culloden Battlefield

After experiencing the beauty of Loch Ness, make sure to visit the famous Culloden Battlefield for a historical journey like no other.

Located just outside of Inverness, this site offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. Step back in time and immerse yourself in the history of the Jacobite uprising as you explore this iconic battlefield.

The Battle of Culloden took place on April 16, 1746, and marked the final confrontation between the Jacobite forces led by Bonnie Prince Charlie and the British government troops commanded by the Duke of Cumberland. Walking through the well-preserved battlefield, you can almost feel the intensity of that fateful day.

Learn about this pivotal moment in Scottish history through interactive exhibits at the visitor center or take a guided tour to gain deeper insight into each aspect of the battle.

As one of Inverness’ top attractions, visiting Culloden Battlefield is a must-do day trip for history enthusiasts and anyone looking to understand Scotland’s rich past.

9. Explore the Black Isle

Discover the charm and natural beauty of the Black Isle, a hidden gem just outside Inverness. Immerse yourself in picturesque landscapes and enjoy a peaceful escape from city life. Located only a short drive away from Inverness, the Black Isle offers stunning views of rolling hills, quaint villages, and breathtaking coastlines.

Explore its enchanting forests and meandering trails that lead to secluded beaches. These beaches are perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with loved ones. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, which showcases the rich history and culture of this region.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Inverness during summer, make sure to catch the thrilling Inverness Highland Games on the Black Isle. Experience traditional Scottish sports like caber tossing and Highland dancing while immersing yourself in local traditions.

The Black Isle truly is an unforgettable destination that should not be missed during your visit to Inverness.

10. Take a Trip to the Cairngorms National Park

Escape to the breathtaking beauty of the Cairngorms National Park, where you can immerse yourself in awe-inspiring landscapes and discover a world of outdoor adventure. Here are the top things you must experience during your trip to Scotland’s largest national park:

  1. Visit Cairngorm Mountain: Take a scenic ride on the funicular railway or enjoy thrilling winter sports like skiing and snowboarding.
  2. Explore Loch Morlich: Relax on its sandy shores, go for a refreshing swim, or rent a kayak to appreciate the stunning surroundings.
  3. Discover the Highland Wildlife Park: Get up close to native Scottish wildlife like red deer, European bison, and playful polar bears.
  4. Learn at the Glenmore Forest Park Visitor Centre: Uncover fascinating insights about this diverse ecosystem through interactive exhibits and guided tours.

With these attractions in and around Cairngorms National Park, your visit will be filled with unforgettable experiences that showcase Scotland’s natural wonders.

11. Go Shopping in the Victorian Market

Immerse yourself in the charm of a bygone era as you stroll through the Victorian Market. Vibrant shops and bustling stalls transport you back in time. Located in Inverness, Scotland, this historic market is a must-visit for those looking for unique shopping experiences.

The Victorian Market offers a wide variety of goods, ranging from clothing and accessories to crafts and local produce. As you wander through the market’s narrow alleys, you’ll be captivated by its architectural beauty. Ornate ironwork and a stunning glass roof add to the market’s appeal.

Explore the charming boutiques and antique stores that line the streets. They are perfect for finding one-of-a-kind treasures or souvenirs to take home. Whether you’re searching for gifts or simply want to soak up the atmosphere, a visit to the Victorian Market is one of the top things to do in Inverness.

12. Enjoy a Meal at the Old Town Cafe

When you’re ready for a delicious meal in Inverness, head over to the Old Town Cafe and indulge in their mouthwatering dishes. Located in the heart of Inverness, Scotland, this charming cafe is one of the best places to enjoy a satisfying meal.

The cozy atmosphere welcomes you as soon as you step inside, with its rustic decor and friendly staff. The menu offers a variety of options to suit every taste bud, from hearty Scottish breakfasts to delectable sandwiches and salads for lunch. Don’t forget to try their homemade cakes and pastries that are simply divine.

As you savor your meal, take a moment to appreciate the rich history of Inverness surrounding you. The Old Town Cafe truly captures the essence of this beautiful city, making it an ideal spot to explore while enjoying a memorable meal.

13. Tour the Glen Ord Distillery

Now that you’ve enjoyed a delicious meal at the Old Town Cafe, it’s time to continue exploring Inverness, Scotland.

One of the best places to visit in this charming city is the Glen Ord Distillery. Get ready to embark on an exciting tour of one of Scotland’s finest whisky distilleries.

As you step inside the distillery, you’ll be greeted by the rich aroma of malted barley and oak casks. The knowledgeable guides will take you through each stage of the whisky-making process, from mashing and fermentation to distillation and maturation. You’ll learn about the traditional methods used at Glen Ord and gain insight into the craftsmanship behind every bottle.

During your visit, make sure to:

  • Explore their beautiful Victorian gardens
  • Sample a selection of their award-winning whiskies
  • Discover fascinating anecdotes about whisky production
  • Enjoy scenic views of the surrounding countryside

Touring Glen Ord Distillery is an absolute must for any whisky enthusiast or anyone looking for a unique experience in Inverness, Scotland.

14. Visit the Clava Cairns

As you step into the ancient world at the Clava Cairns, you can almost feel the mystical energy emanating from the standing stones and burial chambers. Located in Inverness, Scotland, the Clava Cairns is a must-visit historical site.

These Bronze Age burial cairns are thought to date back over 4,000 years and offer a fascinating glimpse into Scotland’s ancient past.

The Clava Cairns consists of three well-preserved passage graves surrounded by stone circles. The meticulously placed stones create an awe-inspiring atmosphere that transports you to another time. Wander through the site and marvel at the intricate carvings on some of the stones, which depict symbols and patterns from long ago.

Visiting Clava Cairns is like stepping back in time and connecting with our ancestors. It’s a place where history comes alive, leaving you with a sense of wonderment and curiosity about those who once walked these grounds.

Don’t miss out on this incredible experience when exploring Inverness, Scotland.

15. Take a Train Ride on the Strathspey Steam Railway

Immerse yourself in the enchanting scenery of Inverness, Scotland by embarking on a memorable train ride aboard the Strathspey Steam Railway. This picturesque journey takes you through the heart of the Scottish Highlands, offering breathtaking views of rolling hills, lush green valleys, and charming villages along the way.

The beautifully restored vintage steam trains will transport you back in time as you chug along the tracks, creating an atmosphere of nostalgia and romance.

As part of your itinerary to explore the best of Inverness and its surrounding areas, a train ride on the Strathspey Steam Railway is a must-do experience. It provides a unique perspective on this stunning region and allows you to appreciate its natural beauty up close.

During your scenic journey, be sure to keep an eye out for notable landmarks such as the Caledonian Canal and other tourist attractions that dot the landscape.

The Strathspey Steam Railway offers a delightful blend of history, adventure, and relaxation – making it one of the top places to visit in Scotland for any avid traveler. So hop aboard and prepare for an unforgettable voyage through Inverness’ captivating countryside.

16. Take a Trip to the Isle of Skye

Embarking on a trip to the breathtaking Isle of Skye promises an unforgettable experience filled with natural wonders and picturesque landscapes. Located just a few hours away from Inverness, the heart of the city, this stunning island is definitely worth a visit.

As you make your way along the river toward Skye, you’ll be captivated by its rugged mountains, dramatic cliffs, and pristine beaches. The journey from Inverness to Skye is itself a sight to behold, with beautiful scenery unfolding before your eyes at every turn.

Once you arrive on the island, there are plenty of places to visit in Inverness including The Old Man of Storr, Fairy Pools, and Dunvegan Castle.

So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure like no other as you explore the magical Isle of Skye!

17. Visit the Town of Fort Augustus

Once you’ve explored the stunning Isle of Skye, don’t miss the chance to visit the charming town of Fort Augustus.

Located in Inverness, this great place is a must-see for history enthusiasts. One of its main attractions is the impressive fortress that overlooks Loch Ness. This historic structure is open to the public and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

As you walk through its ancient walls, you can almost feel the rich history of Inverness come alive. The town itself is filled with quaint shops, cozy cafes, and friendly locals who are always happy to share stories about their beloved community.

Whether you’re interested in exploring the history of Inverness or simply taking in the picturesque scenery, Fort Augustus should definitely be on your list of things to do in Inverness, Scotland.

18. Explore the Historic Town of Beauly

Take a stroll through the historic town of Beauly and you’ll be transported back in time with its charming architecture and fascinating landmarks.

Located just a short drive from the center of Inverness, Beauly is a must-visit when exploring Inverness and the Highlands. This quaint town offers a glimpse into Scotland’s rich history and culture.

As you wander through its narrow streets, you’ll come across picturesque buildings adorned with traditional Scottish stone carvings. Don’t miss out on visiting iconic landmarks such as Beauly Priory, a medieval ruin that dates back to the 13th century.

If you’re visiting Scotland, make sure to add Beauly to your itinerary for an authentic experience that captures the essence of this enchanting region. Whether you choose to explore or stay in Inverness, Beauly is definitely worth a visit.

19. Take a Trip to the Pictish Trail

When you head out on the Pictish Trail, you’ll uncover ancient mysteries and discover the secrets of Scotland’s enigmatic past.

This trail takes you on a journey through history as you explore the fascinating Clava Cairns near Inverness. These prehistoric burial cairns date back to around 4,000 years ago and offer a glimpse into the lives of the ancient Picts who once inhabited this land.

As you wander among these stone structures, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder at their construction and purpose. The Clava Cairns are surrounded by beautiful countryside, adding to the magical atmosphere of this historical site.

So if you’re looking for something unique to do in Inverness, don’t miss out on the chance to experience the Pictish Trail and delve into Scotland’s captivating past.

20. Take an Evening Cruise on the Beauly Firth

Now that you’ve explored the ancient Pictish Trail and delved into the rich history of Inverness, it’s time to unwind and experience the city from a different perspective.

Why not take an evening cruise on the Beauly Firth?

As you set sail along the sparkling waters, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of Inverness and its surrounding beauty. The gentle breeze will caress your face as you glide past iconic landmarks like Eden Court, Inverness Silverware, and the Inverness War Memorial.

The river Ness will guide your journey, offering glimpses of vibrant wildlife and serene landscapes along its banks.

Whether you choose a romantic sunset cruise or a lively evening outing with friends, this leisurely adventure on the Beauly Firth is sure to leave you with lasting memories of Inverness’ natural splendor.

21. Visit the Historic Town of Dingwall

Immerse yourself in the charm and heritage of the historic town of Dingwall. Centuries-old buildings and fascinating stories await in this quaint Scottish town. Just a short distance from Inverness, Dingwall is one of the best places to visit during your stay in Scotland.

Dingwall boasts a unique attraction known as the Cactus House. Inside, you’ll find an impressive collection of rare and exotic cacti. Marvel at the vibrant colors and intricate shapes of these desert plants in this botanical wonderland.

But the Cactus House is just the beginning. Dingwall offers a variety of fun things to do. Take a leisurely stroll through its picturesque streets lined with charming cottages and quaint shops. Discover local history at Dingwall Museum or enjoy a delicious meal at one of the cozy cafes in town.

With its close proximity to Inverness city center, exploring Dingwall is a must-do for any visitor seeking a blend of history, culture, and unique attractions.

22. Explore the Moniack Castle

Explore the Moniack Castle and immerse yourself in centuries of history and captivating stories. Located near Inverness, this must-visit castle offers an enchanting allure that will transport you to a world of ancient grandeur.

With its majestic architecture, the castle stands tall and provides stunning views of the city. Step inside and be greeted by beautifully preserved interiors that showcase the rich heritage of this remarkable landmark.

Take a leisurely stroll through the vast grounds surrounding the castle, allowing yourself to breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the beauty of nature. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply seeking an escape from downtown Inverness, a visit to Moniack Castle promises a truly memorable experience that will leave you in awe.

23. Take a Hike in the Torridon Hills

Embark on an exhilarating adventure and hike through the breathtaking Torridon Hills, where majestic peaks and awe-inspiring landscapes await. Located just north of Inverness, this outdoor haven is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts. Here are four reasons why exploring the Torridon Hills should be at the top of your list:

  1. Unspoiled Beauty: Immerse yourself in unspoiled natural beauty as you traverse through rugged terrain, lush meadows, and crystal-clear lochs.
  2. Varied Difficulty Levels: Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a novice explorer, the Torridon Hills offers trails suited for all skill levels. Choose from leisurely strolls to challenging climbs that reward you with panoramic views.
  3. National Trust for Scotland: As you hike, discover the rich history and cultural heritage of the area preserved by the National Trust for Scotland.
  4. Day Exploring: Spend an entire day exploring this wilderness wonderland and witness its ever-changing scenery that will leave you in awe.

So lace up your boots, pack some snacks, and get ready to experience the remarkable beauty just outside Inverness in the Torridon Hills!

24. Climb Ben Wyvis

If you’re craving a challenging adventure and breathtaking views, it’s time to lace up your hiking boots and conquer Ben Wyvis.

Located just a short drive from Inverness, this majestic mountain stands tall at 3,432 feet, offering an exhilarating climb for outdoor enthusiasts.

As you ascend the rugged path, prepare to be mesmerized by the dramatic landscapes that surround you. The steep slopes may test your endurance, but the rewards are well worth it.

Once you reach the summit of Ben Wyvis, a sense of accomplishment washes over you as you take in panoramic vistas stretching across the Scottish Highlands. On clear days, you can even catch glimpses of the Moray Firth sparkling in the distance.

So grab your gear and embrace the challenge that awaits as you climb Ben Wyvis and experience nature’s grandeur like never before.

25. Enjoy a Meal at the Mustard Seed Restaurant

After conquering the challenging climb of Ben Wyvis, reward yourself with a delicious meal at the Mustard Seed Restaurant. Located in Inverness, Scotland, this restaurant is a must-visit when exploring the best 25 things to do in Inverness.

The moment you step inside, you’ll be captivated by its warm and inviting atmosphere. The Mustard Seed offers a diverse menu that caters to all tastes and preferences. From fresh seafood caught off the coast of Scotland to tender beef dishes sourced from local farms, there’s something for everyone here.

Indulge in their signature dishes like haggis bonbons or traditional Scottish salmon while enjoying stunning views of Inverness Castle across the River Ness. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner or a casual lunch with friends, the Mustard Seed Restaurant guarantees an unforgettable dining experience.

FAQs on Things to Do in Inverness Scotland

Is there an entrance fee to visit Inverness Castle?

No, there is no entrance fee to visit Inverness Castle. You can explore this historic landmark without having to pay anything.

Situated on a hill overlooking the city, the castle offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Take a stroll around its grounds and immerse yourself in its rich history.

Don’t forget your camera as you capture the stunning scenery from this iconic Scottish attraction.

How long does it take to explore the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery?

It typically takes about 1-2 hours to explore the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery.

During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to discover fascinating exhibits that showcase the rich history and culture of Inverness and the surrounding area.

From archaeological finds to contemporary art, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Take your time strolling through the galleries, immersing yourself in the stories and artwork on display.

Are there any guided tours available at Urquhart Castle?

Yes, there are guided tours available at Urquhart Castle. These tours provide an excellent opportunity to learn about the castle’s rich history and explore its stunning surroundings.

Led by knowledgeable guides, you’ll get to discover the different areas of the castle while hearing fascinating stories and facts along the way. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply looking for a memorable experience, these guided tours at Urquhart Castle are definitely worth considering.

What is the best time to visit the Inverness Botanic Gardens?

The best time to visit the Inverness Botanic Gardens is during the spring and summer months, from April to September. This is when you’ll find the gardens in full bloom, with a vibrant array of flowers and plants.

The weather during this time is also more favorable for outdoor exploration and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the gardens. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beauty of this tranquil oasis in Inverness!

Can I purchase souvenirs at the Victorian Market in Inverness?

Yes, you can definitely purchase souvenirs at the Victorian Market in Inverness.

This charming indoor market offers a wide range of unique and locally made products, including handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, and traditional Scottish goods.

It’s a perfect place to browse and find something special to remember your visit to Inverness.

So make sure to check out the Victorian Market for all your souvenir shopping needs!

Best Things to Do in Inverness Scotland – Final Thoughts

After exploring the many sides of Inverness, from its regal castle to its buzzing nightlife, it’s clear this city encapsulates the Scottish Highlands’ mystique. Wandering along the river Ness, you feel the city’s ancient secrets and storied past.

By visiting battlegrounds or sipping whisky at a local distillery, Inverness reveals its role in Scottish lore. The city provides a gateway to magical landscapes from Loch Ness’s mythical waters to trails winding through fairy-tale forests.

Whether you seek outdoor adventure, cultural enlightenment, or culinary delights, Inverness delivers. Its array of castles, activities, and access to the Highlands’ wilderness and wonder create an unforgettable experience. Don’t just gaze at Scotland’s beauty from afar; step into its heart and soul in Inverness.

From the pulse of its past lingering within aged walls to the promise of wilderness and magic just beyond, Inverness is a triumphant tapestry of Scottish heritage and natural glory.


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