things to do in inverness

Last Updated on: 31st January 2024, 09:31 am

Are you planning a trip to Inverness, Scotland? As someone who has visited this beautiful city before, I can assure you that there are countless things to do and see here. Inverness is located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands and is known for its stunning natural scenery, rich history, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends or family, Inverness has something for everyone.

From exploring the city center to discovering historic landmarks, enchanting museums, and galleries, to enjoying delicious cuisine, there are endless possibilities for fun and adventure. Inverness Scotland is famous for its folklore. Who hasn’t heard of the Loch Ness Monster?

In the following sections, I will provide you with a detailed guide to the best things to do in Inverness, Scotland. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the exciting world of Inverness!

Explore Inverness City Center

As I wandered through the charming streets of Inverness city center, I was struck by a sense of vitality that can only be found in a city bustling with life. The atmosphere is truly magnetic, with unique shops, charming cafes, and historic landmarks around every corner.

Start your day with a caffeine fix from The Coffee House, a cozy cafe that is a local favorite. If you’re in the mood for something heartier, try Hootananny, a traditional Scottish restaurant that serves up delicious pub grub and live music performances.

Location Description
Victorian Market A covered market dating back to 1890, full of character and unique vendors.
Eastgate Shopping Centre A shopping mall with high street brands and plenty of food options.
Inverness Castle A historic castle that offers stunning views of the city and surrounding area.
Floral Hall A beautiful Victorian greenhouse filled with exotic plants and flowers.

There are also plenty of cultural attractions to explore in Inverness city center. The Inverness Museum and Art Gallery offers a fascinating insight into the history and art of the area, while the Highland Archive Centre is a treasure trove of documents, photographs, and maps that tell the stories of the region.

Inverness city center

Inverness city center is a perfect place to spend a day or more, with a variety of things to do catering to all interests. Whether you want to wander through charming streets or explore historic landmarks, you won’t be disappointed.

Visit Inverness Castle

Make your way to Inverness Castle, a must-visit destination that sits atop a hill, providing visitors with picturesque views of the cityscape. This iconic castle has a rich history dating back to the 11th century and is one of the top-rated attractions in Inverness. Take a guided tour and learn about its vibrant history, or simply admire the stunning architecture as you stroll around the grounds.

Inside the castle, you’ll find the Sheriff’s Courtroom that serves as a tribute to the Scottish justice system. Apart from this, there are also art exhibitions and displays that will keep you entertained and engaged during your visit.

Inverness Castle

If you’re traveling with kids, the castle has an interactive exhibit that allows them to put themselves in the shoes of the kings and queens of the past. They can dress up in royal garments and get their pictures taken against a green screen. It is an experience they will never forget!

Things to Do in Inverness Castle

Here are some of the top things to do in Inverness Castle:

  • Take a guided tour to learn about the history of the castle and the local area.
  • Explore the art exhibitions and displays.
  • Visit the Sheriff’s Courtroom and learn about the Scottish justice system.
  • Enjoy the panoramic views of the city and the River Ness.
  • Take part in the interactive exhibit for kids

Visiting the Inverness Castle is a wonderful opportunity to experience the history and culture of the Highlands. With its stunning views, engaging exhibits, and vibrant history, your visit to Inverness Castle is sure to be memorable.

Wander Along the River Ness

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the bustle of the city, take a stroll along the River Ness. The river is well-known for its stunning beauty and idyllic riverside walks, making it the perfect spot for nature lovers. Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or as a family, there are plenty of things to do along the River Ness.

Start your walk at the historic Ness Islands, a group of small islands connected by suspension bridges. Enjoy a scenic walk, have a picnic, or simply relax surrounded by lush greenery and the soothing sounds of the river.

River Ness

Continue your walk along the riverbank, marveling at the enchanting scenery and taking in the peaceful atmosphere. Be sure to keep an eye out for the wildlife that calls the river home, including otters and salmon.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can even rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore the river from a different perspective. Alternatively, consider taking a boat tour to admire the beauty of the river from the water.

Top Things to Do Along the River Ness

Activity Description
Visit the Ness Islands Experience the beauty of the islands connected by suspension bridges.
Relax by the River Find quiet spots and relax in the tranquility of the surroundings.
Go Wildlife Spotting Keep an eye out for the otters, salmon, and other creatures that call the River Ness home.
Rent a Kayak or Paddleboard Explore the river from a unique perspective by renting kayaks or paddleboards.
Take a Boat Tour Admire the beauty of the river from a different perspective with a guided boat tour.

Whether you choose to stroll along the peaceful riverbank, take in the beauty of the Ness Islands, or get out on the water, there are plenty of things to do along the River Ness. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning scenery and make memories that will last a lifetime!

Discover Culloden Battlefield

As I journeyed through Inverness, I couldn’t help but visit the historic Culloden Battlefield. This site is where the famous Battle of Culloden took place, marking the end of the Jacobite rising.

As a history buff, I was thrilled to explore the interactive Visitor Centre where I learned about clan warfare and how it impacted this important battle. Walking through the battlefield was a surreal experience as I tried to imagine the events that took place there.

If you’re a fan of history, Culloden Battlefield is a must-visit site. Take in the stunning scenery and immerse yourself in the past. The Visitor Centre offers comprehensive information on the conflict, including artifacts and exhibits from the time period.

Culloden Battlefield

Explore the Ness Islands

The Ness Islands, located in the heart of Inverness, are a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Connected by suspension bridges, these small islands offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

One of the best things to do on Ness Islands is to take a leisurely walk and explore the lush greenery that surrounds you. Enjoy stunning views of the river and the city as you wander along the winding paths.

Ness Islands

If you’re looking for a peaceful spot for a picnic, the Ness Islands offer the perfect backdrop. Spread out a blanket and enjoy a relaxing afternoon surrounded by nature.

Wildlife Watching

The Ness Islands are also a haven for wildlife, with a variety of birds and animals that call it home. You may spot otters, kingfishers, and even red squirrels as you explore the islands.

Bring your binoculars and enjoy birdwatching, or simply relax and observe the local wildlife in its natural habitat.

Overall, the Ness Islands offer a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature and take a break from the city. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem during your visit to Inverness!

Visit Loch Ness

If you’re a fan of mystery and nature, you must visit Loch Ness. This legendary loch spreads along the Great Glen and has enthralled people for centuries due to its fabled inhabitant, the Loch Ness monster.

No matter what you believe about the monster, there are plenty of things to do at Loch Ness. For instance, take a boat tour to admire the stunning natural beauty, or hike around the loch watching for glimpses of the famous creature. Alternately, feel free to enjoy a peaceful moment on the shore and inhale the fresh air of the Scottish Highlands.

The scenery around Loch Ness is awe-inspiring and worth exploring. Take an adventurous walk through the surrounding woods and hills, gazing at the stunning nature. It’s an otherworldly experience to be surrounded by unspoiled landscapes and breathe pure, crisp air.

Explore the Highland Archive Centre

If you’re passionate about history like I am, then the Highland Archive Centre is an absolute must-visit attraction in Inverness. Located in the heart of the city, this unique center houses an outstanding collection of historical documents, photos, and maps that trace the rich heritage of the Highlands.

At the Highland Archive Centre, you can engage in exploring a treasure trove of materials, including family history resources, local authority records, and historical books. The highly knowledgeable staff will guide you and help you discover the stories of the region.

One of my favorite exhibits is the “Jacobites by Name” collection, which contains thousands of documents relating to the 1745 Jacobite uprising. The display provides a fascinating insight into the political and social issues of the time.

“I was amazed at the sheer number of documents that the Highland Archive Centre holds. It was a pleasure to see history come alive through the materials on display.” – Sarah, visiting from London.

Whether you’re interested in local history, genealogy, or just love learning new things, the Highland Archive Centre is the perfect destination for you. I highly recommend spending a few hours here to truly experience the rich cultural and historical fabric of the Scottish Highlands.

Experience Local Cuisine and Culture

During your visit to Inverness, I highly recommend indulging in the local Inverness cuisine at one of the many restaurants and pubs scattered throughout the city. From the famous haggis to the delectable Scottish salmon, the dishes are sure to tantalise your taste buds.

But Inverness isn’t just about the food; it’s also rich in Inverness culture. The city is known for its live music performances and traditional dancing, showcasing the vibrant culture of the area. Take the family out for a night of entertainment and experience the true essence of Scotland.

Name of Restaurant/Pub Cuisine Price Range
The Mustard Seed Restaurant Scottish, European ££-£££
The Kitchen Brasserie Scottish, Grill ££-£££
The Gellions Scottish, Bar £-££

If you are travelling with your family, there are plenty of things to do in Inverness for families, such as visiting the famous Loch Ness or enjoying a picnic on the Ness Islands. There are also many family-friendly restaurants and pubs where you can enjoy a hearty meal and quality time with your loved ones.

Explore Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

When I visited the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, I was amazed by the rich history and diverse collection of artworks that showcased the cultural significance of the Highlands. This magnificent art museum is located in Castle Wynd, just a few minutes’ walk from the city center.

At the Inverness Museum, you’ll see impressive exhibitions covering artifacts from prehistoric times through the 21st century. The museum has a fascinating collection of weapons, jewelry, coins, costumes, and furniture that give you a glimpse of the past. One of the highlights of the museum is the well-preserved open dugout canoe, which dates back to the Bronze Age.

At the Art Gallery, you can explore contemporary and classic art exhibitions, showcasing the works of Scottish and international artists. The gallery has a broad range of paintings, prints, sculptures, and installations, with diverse themes, making it the perfect destination for art enthusiasts.

If you want to dig deeper into the local heritage, you can participate in workshops and seminars that are part of the museum’s educational programs. There’s also a fantastic gift shop where you can buy souvenirs or art objects by local artists.

Things to do at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Here are some of the activities you can engage in when you visit the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery:

  • Explore the artifacts and artworks on display
  • Attend workshops and seminars for an educational experience
  • Buy souvenirs at the museum’s gift shop

The Inverness Museum and Art Gallery is a unique destination that provides an unforgettable experience to visitors, filled with cultural and historical insights into the Highlands of Scotland.

Enjoy Outdoor Activities

If you love spending time in nature, Inverness is the perfect destination for you. There are a variety of outdoor activities that you can enjoy during your stay. From hiking and cycling to fishing and golfing, there is something for every outdoor lover.

Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Inverness. You can explore the beautiful trails, hills and forests of the region. For a more challenging trek, you can climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK!

Cycling is another great way to explore the city and its beautiful surroundings. You can rent a bike and cycle along the scenic routes around Loch Ness or explore the countryside.

If you enjoy fishing, then Inverness is the perfect destination for you. There are a variety of rivers, lochs and fisheries where you can cast your line and catch some fish.

Golf is another popular activity in Inverness. There are several world-class golf courses in the area, including the Castle Stuart Golf Links, which offers stunning views of the Moray Firth.

No matter what outdoor activity you choose, Inverness’ natural beauty will make your experience unforgettable.


Inverness is a city that offers a perfect blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. As a professional travel journalist, I can confidently say that it is a must-visit destination on any Scottish itinerary. From exploring the city center and visiting historic landmarks to indulging in local cuisine and experiencing the vibrant culture, there are endless things to do in Inverness.

Whether you’re travelling alone, with your family or friends, you will find something to suit your interests in this enchanting Scottish city. The people are friendly, the scenery is stunning and the atmosphere is welcoming. So, plan your trip today and uncover the treasures of Inverness. Trust me, you won’t regret it!


What are the top things to do in Inverness, Scotland?

Some of the top things to do in Inverness include exploring Inverness city center, visiting Inverness Castle, wandering along the River Ness, discovering Culloden Battlefield, exploring the Ness Islands, visiting Loch Ness, exploring the Highland Archive Centre, experiencing local cuisine and culture, visiting the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, and enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking and golfing.

What can I explore in Inverness city center?

In Inverness city center, you can explore unique shops, charming cafes, and historic landmarks. Take a leisurely stroll along the River Ness, discover hidden gems in the city’s streets, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling hub.

What is there to see at Inverness Castle?

At Inverness Castle, you can learn about its fascinating history and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city and the surrounding area. The castle also houses the Inverness Castle Viewpoint, a contemporary visitor attraction that offers a bird’s-eye view of Inverness.

What can I do along the River Ness?

Along the River Ness, you can take a leisurely stroll, go for a jog, or enjoy a picnic on the riverbanks. The area is known for its picturesque views, charming riverside walks, and opportunities to spot local wildlife.

What is Culloden Battlefield and why should I visit?

Culloden Battlefield is the site of the historic battle that took place in 1746, marking the end of the Jacobite rising. By visiting Culloden Battlefield, you can explore the battlefield itself, learn about the events of the battle through an interactive visitor center, and gain insights into this significant period in Scottish history.

What can I do on the Ness Islands?

The Ness Islands offer a serene and scenic escape within the city. You can explore the islands by crossing the suspension bridges that connect them, enjoy a leisurely walk surrounded by lush greenery, or have a picnic amidst the peaceful atmosphere.

What should I see and do at Loch Ness?

A visit to Loch Ness is a must when in Inverness. You can take a boat tour and learn about the legends and mysteries surrounding the Loch, search for the famous Loch Ness monster, or simply admire the breathtaking natural beauty of the area.

What can I discover at the Highland Archive Centre?

At the Highland Archive Centre, you can delve into the rich history of the Highlands. Explore fascinating documents, photographs, and maps that provide insights into the heritage and culture of the region.

What can I experience in terms of cuisine and culture in Inverness?

In Inverness, you can immerse yourself in the local culture by trying traditional Scottish cuisine at the city’s many restaurants and pubs. Experience live music performances and traditional dancing, which showcase the vibrant culture of the area. There are plenty of family-friendly options available to keep everyone entertained.

What can I see and do at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery?

The Inverness Museum and Art Gallery offers a diverse range of exhibitions that showcase the history and art of the Highlands. Explore the collections, learn about the local heritage, and appreciate the creativity of the artists on display.

What outdoor activities are available in Inverness?

Inverness provides a wide range of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. You can go hiking in the nearby hills and mountains, enjoy cycling along scenic routes, try fishing in the surrounding rivers and lochs, or play a round of golf at one of the city’s golf courses.