Inverness is a beautiful city situated on the coast of northeast Scotland where the River Ness flows into the Moray Firth. It is the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands. There is a wealth of history and culture in this quaint town. The city’s Old High Church is mostly 18th century and contains a striking 19th century cathedral. You can also wander through the Victorian Market for local crafts and foods. You can also visit the Inverness Museum to learn more about the local history.
For a more cultural experience, visit the nearby Ness Islands Railway. It runs on volunteer time, helping those in need gain work skills and qualifications. Then, take the short walk through the fjord to explore the picturesque islands connected by old bridges. This is one of the best nature walks in the city center, and you can learn about the history of the area by taking a walking tour. There are plenty of things to do in Inverness that are free and will add to your experience and enjoyment.
For more cultural experiences, visit the Inverness Indoor Market. This bustling market is a great place to window shop or eat some food. If you have an interest in traditional Scottish music, be sure to stop by the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. There are many performances and events there. It is also a great place to hear Scottish music. For more history, check out the Inverness University of Applied Arts.
For more shopping, stop by the Victorian Market. The indoor market is a picturesque area filled with unique independent businesses. The Victorian Market has a clock, red steel arches, and lanterns, and has plenty of unique gifts and souvenirs. A unique shop, this market is also home to a joke shop and a florist. A visit to the Market is a must for any visitor to the city. You’ll have the opportunity to sample local Scottish goods and enjoy the atmosphere.
The city’s Riverside is a great place to take in the sights. You can visit MacGregor’s Bar to sample traditional Scottish music. Then head to Gellions Bar for live music seven days a week. Inverness also has the famous Ness Islands, which are connected by Victorian foot bridges. The islands are one of the best places to go for a nature walk in the city.
Inverness means “at the mouth of the River Ness”, and the river is the soul of the city. Wandering along the river to the Ness Islands, about 2 km from the city centre, gives a lovely perspective on the city. You pass grand stone Victorian homes to the wilderness of the leafy islands. Then back past the modern Eden Court arts complex and the Inverness Cathedral before returning to the high street. The more adventurous can continue their journey to the mystical Loch Ness. Loch Ness is a breathtaking sight even in the harshest of weather. Loch Ness is also home to the charming village of Drumnadrochit (and its numerous Scottish-themed gift shops) and the beautiful Urquhart castle ruins, both a 20-minute drive from the city.
What do you like best about your city?
Inverness is the perfect base to explore the Highlands. The city is surrounded by stunning scenery, most of which feels isolated and peaceful. It has the amenities of any city. Ther are supermarkets, dozens of restaurants, bars and clubs for every taste. The main British high street shops – yet the city is a manageable size. The quality of life is among the best of UK cities.
The easiest walk is around the islands, mentioned above. A bit further a field, a walk along the Moray Firth from Fortrose to Chanory Point. It is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Especially in summer when dolphins and seals frolic in the currents. For the hardcore, Ben Wyvis is a 40-minute drive away. At 3432 feet, this challenging hike allows walkers to ‘bag’ their first Munro (the nomenclature for the 284 peaks in Scotland over 3000 ft high).
Best Restaurants in Inverness
Inverness and Highland restaurants pride themselves in using locally-sourced produce, fish and meats. Most restaurants deliver high-quality food and service at reasonable prices in comparison to other UK cities.
The Mustard Seed and its sister restaurant, The Kitchen, are both located on the river and specialise in weekly menus that feature seasonal dishes, such as salmon, venison and lamb.
Further down the river, Abstract offers elegant, stylish food that marries Highland ingredients with French cookery. Recently named a ‘Rising Star’ by the Michelin guide, it is ideal for special occasions. The less expensive Contrast Brasserie shares a chef with Abstract, so the menu includes many creative fusion dishes. Nearly all Inverness restaurants offer inexpensive two-course lunch and early evening menus that showcase their menus.
Rock Ness is held in mid-June along the banks of Loch Ness. It’s a relatively new addition to the UK festival scene. But has already featured acts such as Razorlight, Daft Punk, Groove Armada, Mylo and the Chemical Brothers. A smaller festival, usually in August,is Belladrum, which focuses on talent local to Scotland.
The Inverness Music Festival runs over 6 days and in 2020 will have 540 individual performances for choirs, and orchestral music .
Hootananny offers the most diverse nightlife for locals and visitors. The three-floor venue features live music to suit all tastes. The Bothy highlights local acoustic musicians, Madhatters showcases indie and rock bands, and the ground floor ceilidh bar features nightly traditional music from around Scotland. “Hoots” also serves delicious, inexpensive Thai food, and nabbing dinner before the nightly ceilidh session ensures a place to sit for the evening. Be wary of an archaic but enforced midnight curfew on weekends; if you’re not inside a bar by midnight, you’re not getting in.
Best Day Trip Out of Inverness
The Black Isle is a ten-minute drive across the Kessock Bridge and seems a world away from the ominous Highlands. The Black Isle is covered in lush green and farmland, and is surrounded by the tranquil waters of the Moray and Cromarty Firths. The charming stone towns of Fortrose and Cromarty offer insight into the past, and the peninsula is a perfect place for forest and coastal walks. Don’t miss the Black Isle Brewery, just a few minutes off the A-9, which specialises in tasty organic brews.
Something that not many tourists would know about Inverness
Inverness is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, and 1 in 7 residents is not British; for a city under 100,000 people, it has a cosmopolitan, international feel.