Inverness, Scotland – the land of the rugged Celts

Inverness

Inverness is a city in Scotland and the main administrative and commercial center of the Scottish Highlands. It is the most northern city of the British Isles.

Inverness, proclaimed by the local authorities as the “Gateway to the Highlands” and traditionally considered its capital (Highlands), is known as a trading and industrial center of one of Scotland’s Highland regions. It is also considered one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.

Inverness attracts a huge number of tourists thanks to the legend of the Loch Ness Monster, which according to mythology lives in Loch Ness Lake in the south of the city. Due to the high popularity of the city it is best to choose a hotel a few months before your trip. You can book a hotel on Booking, you can compare prices from different sites here. You can also find some private holiday rentals in Inverness – check out our section TravelAsk for more information.

How to get there

By plane

Inverness Airport (Tel: 01667 464000) is in Dalcross, 15km east of the city, off the A96. You can find the best flight solution for you, for example, here. Serviced by the following airlines: British Airways FlyBE, Easyjet, Eastern Airways, Aer Aran and Highland Airways partners. As in many airports, there is an option to rent a car. A cab from the airport to the city will cost about £15. You can also take the No 10 bus for a much lower price.

Train

The railway station is located in the center of the city. From here there are direct trains to Edinburgh, Glasgow and London in the south and to Aberdeen in the east. There are also two scenic routes to Thurso and Wick and to Kyle of Lochalsh station.

If you’re leaving London, Caledonian Sleeper trains are the best way to get here. The train leaves at night from Euston station and arrives at 8.00-8.30am. There are also daily East Coast trains from King’s Cross station. The southbound train departs at 9:00 a.m. and the northbound train leaves at 12:00 p.m. The travel time will be about 8 hours.

Please note that if you are going to take a seat rather than booking a berth, the online reservation system does not always work properly. If it turns out your ticket isn’t reserved, you’ll have to call First Scot Rail or walk to the nearest station and reserve a seat there (for free). If you don’t have a reserved seat, you may not be allowed on the train even though you bought a ticket with a specified time and date of departure, or at best you will have to pay £40 for a sleeping (if there are any vacant) seat.

By bus

Buses from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth, provided by Citylink and Megabus.

Stagecoach Bluebird from Aberdeen.

National Express and Megabus buses from England.

Some shuttle buses going to Loch Ness Lake pass through Inverness with a short stop.

By car

There are several routes leading to the town of Inverness:

  • The A9 from the north and south.
  • The A96 from Aberdeen.
  • The A82 from the south-west.
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All routes have only one carriageway.

Ferry

Follow the Caledonian Canal from Beauly Firth across Loch Ness to Fort William at the foot of Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis.

When is the season. When it’s time to go.

Highlights. Things to see.

Inverness Castle

At the end of the west pedestrian area. This relatively new castle was built in 1847 on the site of a medieval castle blown up by the Jacobites. It is the Sheriff Court and is closed to tourists.

Inverness Museum and Art gallery, Castle Wynd (near Inverness Castle, 237114)

The museum houses a collection of Pictish stones, wildlife dioramas, and prehistoric weapons. The museum was restored in 2006. Currently, the museum displays artifacts donated by the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Old High Church

Church Street, Inverness, IV1 1EY. The oldest church in Inverness. A history tour takes place every Friday at 11:30 from June to August. Sunday services at 11:15 a.m., prayers for peace and justice every Friday at 1:05 p.m., and occasional summer evening services with guest preachers.

Ship Space.

(Ship Space – 16 Clachnaharry Road IV3 8QH, 01463 716839. Daily 10:00-15:00). An interactive museum of maritime artifacts and large ships. E.g. Titanic in 1:10 scale, RNLI boat, etc. Admission is free.

What to see in the neighborhood

Culloden Battlefield – located on the outskirts of Inverness, it was the site of Handsome Prince Charlie’s last battle in 1746.

Clava Cairns (it’s next to the site of the battle of Culloden and to get there, when leaving the parking lot, turn right and at the next junction turn right again, then follow the signs) is a Bronze Age burial ground. Entrance is free. In the care of Historic Scotland, it is open all year round.

Loch Ness Lake is about 10 km from Inverness. Jacobite offers bus tours and cruises on the lake. You can take a cruise from Tomnahurich Bridge, on the south side of town. In 1 km, you will sail along the famous scenic Caledonian Canal, and then, down the lake itself. You can drive back from Drumnadrochit village by visiting nearby Urquhart Castle and the Loch Ness Visitor Centre, where you can learn the story of Nessie. For more scientific information, see The Loch Ness Information website.

Ski Resorts – There are two ski resorts near Inverness. Having facilities for skiing, they used to operate only in winter, but today they both cater to visitors all year round and have restaurants and stores on the mountain tops. Craingorm Mountain is about 35 km from Aviemore and is the only resort in Scotland with a cable car. And if you are by car, you can also easily get to the resort Nevis Range in Fort William, about 80 km on the A82. The mountain at Nevis Range (called Aonach Mor and next door to Ben Nevis Mountain) can be climbed by cable car.

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The InvernessTours site is designed by Tony Harmsworth, founder of the Loch Ness Center and organizer of Highland history and heritage exhibits. Rent a luxury six-seater Mercedes from £75 (or another car, see options here) and choose from a variety of itineraries offered on the site.

Food What to try

Recommended spots.

Inverness offers a wide variety of restaurants for all tastes and wallets. There are several restaurants that serve a mix of traditional Scottish and modern cuisine and use locally sourced produce. Worth a try:

Ash Restaurant and Lounge Bar, a downtown boutique restaurant near the train station and across from the Victorian Market. The restaurant offers an extensive a la carte menu and free wi-fi.

The Heathmount Hotel, a boutique hotel with an unusual restaurant and lively bar within walking distance of downtown, next to the Crown Hotel.

Riva, 4 Ness Walk, IV3 5NE – Good Italian restaurant, next to the Rocpool Hotel.

The Old Town Deli – Strother Lane (near the bus stop). Great bagels and coffee.

Castle Restaurant – Cheap, fun and popular.

La Tortilla Asesina. Tapas bar where lovers of all things Spanish meet. The entrance is across the street from the castle entrance.

Hootananny’s on Church Street serves good Thai food (in a Scottish pub). Relatively inexpensive.

Numerous Curry Houses, including Cinnamon next to the Eastgate Centre shopping mall and Rajah on Post Office Street.

Riverdale Centre at 105-107 Church Street is a vegetarian cafe that also serves food for complementary therapy clients.

What to do.

Take a walk to the Ness islands or the Caledonian canal. Walk up from the castle along the River Ness for about a kilometer. You can also walk along the Caledonian Canal meadows.

Take a bike ride around the Ness Islands and along the river.

Explore the churches along the river. You can get the itinerary from hotels, tourist offices, churches, or download it from the website.

Get active – Inverness offers a variety of activities, from golf to water sports.

Lake Loch Ness cruises (Tomnahurich Bridge, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness. IV3 5TD (Go to Loch Ness Road, 01463 233999). You can take any cruise or tour of Loch Ness Lake from the city center in either direction. Cruises are available 7 days a week at all times of the year.

Attend a theater production or concert – Inverness has a very lively theater and music scene. Many venues in the city often host ceilidhs and indie parties.

Visit an art gallery – Scottish Flair Art Gallery (11 Bank Street, Inverness, IV1 1QY (by the Ness River, near the bridge), 01463 248500, 10am – 4pm). Scottish Flair Gallery is on the second floor of the Riverside Gallery, on the banks of the River Ness. Scottish Flair has a collection of Victorian and Edwardian works.

Shopping and Shops

The town center is fairly small and can be covered on foot. Many specialty stores can be found in the Old Town and Victorian Market, and the Eastgate Centre has boutiques of popular brands often found in the UK.

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Clubs and nightlife

From 2003-2013, Inverness had a curfew: all clubs and bars closed at midnight. But today, it is no longer in effect. Many bars are open until 1 a.m., and some establishments are open until 3 a.m.

In Inverness has quite a few places with live music and just bars with a nice atmosphere, offering tourists their services. Hootenanny’s, the most visited of them, offers various Celtic parties.

Throughout Scotland, smoking is prohibited in public places, restaurants and bars. Some offer outdoor tables for smokers.

On a warm summer evening, it’s nice to have a glass of beer at the Dores Inn bar on the north shore of Loch Ness. The traditional cuisine is also good.

How to get around town

Cabs. What are the special features

Cabs are probably the most convenient mode of transportation in the evening, as most buses stop or run less frequently after 7pm. Cabs are cheap by British standards because Inverness is a small town and all routes are direct. Black kebabs drive around town, but most cabs are mini kebabs. They are all fairly reliable.

Limousines

It is possible to hire a limousine from the respective companies. The approximate price is £70 per hour.

Bikes

There are several bicycle paths along the roads in Inverness. In addition to these, there are also several footpaths on which you can walk and ride bicycles.

Buses

There are only about 50 bus routes in and out of Inverness, mostly provided by Stagecoach Inverness.

Trains

The rail network provides commuter trains to Inverness from Tain, Dingwall and Beauly in the North, Nairn, Forres and Elgin in the East and Aviemore and Kingussie in the South.

Inverness

Inverness

Scotland lies in the north of the island of Great Britain, and in the northern part of Scotland itself lies Inverness. It is the only city in the county and the northernmost in the British Isles, making it quite popular in terms of tourism. People come here to go to Loch Ness to see the famous monster, have fun at music festivals or even to see the Northern Lights.

General information about the city

Inverness is the administrative center of Highland County. It is built at the mouth of the River Ness, which gave the city its name. Inverness is a relatively small settlement of 20.7 square kilometers and a population of 47,000 people.

Interesting fact: Inverness is the twin town of the same name in Florida, USA, which received its name from Scottish Inverness. Once a lonely Scotsman living there, suffering from nostalgia, said that the neighborhoods of this city remind him very much of his native lake region.

Overview of the city

How did the city develop?

Inverness was originally inhabited by the ancient Picts. After Scotland became a Christian country, Inverness, then already a major port, was granted the status of a royal city in 1214. It subsequently suffered fires, destruction and devastating raids but still prospered. The brewing industry, shipbuilding, Scotch whisky production and sheep breeding developed here. The settlement started to grow even more actively in XIX-XX centuries when a railroad was laid in this part of Scotland, but only by 2000. Inverness was finally granted the status of a city.

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How the city developed

Weather conditions

The climate of the area is maritime temperate, but its location in the north of the country puts its own spin on it. This is the coldest city in the country: in winter the mercury column can drop to -17 ° C, so you should plan your trip for the warmer seasons.

A very unusual fact is that sometimes in the sky over Inverness you can see the northern lights – this phenomenon is depicted in the photo below.

Northern Lights

The sights of the city of Inverness (Scotland)

To see all the most beautiful and interesting historical places of the city you can during a sightseeing tour of Inverness or on your own – it depends on how much time you have in reserve. So, the main tourist sites are:

  1. Inverness Castle . Unlike other castles in Scotland, it is relatively new as it was built in 1847. There used to be an ancient medieval fortress on this place, but it was destroyed. Unfortunately, the modern structure in the style of Scottish barons is closed to visitors, tourists are only allowed to walk around the area around the castle and admire its architecture outside.
  2. Inverness Museum . There you can see ancient Pictish megaliths, which date back to the VI-IX centuries AD. They are covered with mysterious ornaments and have different shapes. All these stones were found in the vicinity of Inverness and have been put together in one collection. There’s also an art gallery with local artists and an original diorama portraying the region’s nature.
  3. Cathedral, dedicated to St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. The majestic church was erected in Gothic style in the 19th century under the direction of the town architect of Inverness.
  4. Old High Church . This is another church, the oldest in the city. It is interesting primarily for its history, the architecture of the building is not too remarkable.
  5. Lake Loch Ness . Loch Ness Lake is a 30-minute drive from Inverness, and the River Ness, on which the city stands, flows from this famous body of water. There are tours and cruises on the lake, during which every tourist can try to see in the dark waters of the lake the famous monster Nessie.

In addition to visiting the sights, guests of Inverness can have fun visiting the river islands connected by suspension bridges, visit the city botanical garden, water park, climb the picturesque hill Tomnahurich.

Where to Stay?

The city has a lot of good hotels in different price ranges. The best reviews of the guests received the following establishments:

When traveling around the country, it’s definitely worth at least a taste of the Scottish national cuisine. In Inverness, you can do so at Mustard Seed and Kitchen restaurants. There, visitors will taste delicious venison, game, seafood, salmon and Scottish scotch. The savory cheeses made in Highland County are also worth tasting. Those who enjoy traditional European cuisine will also find Inverness a great place to eat and just have a good time.

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Mustard Seed

For shopping, Inverness residents and visitors usually go to the following places:

  • Inverness Retail & Business Park and Eastgate Centre shopping centers;
  • High Street, with stores selling all kinds of goods – clothes and shoes, accessories, and souvenirs;
  • Victorian Market, located in the old part of the city.

Many festivals are held annually in Scotland, and two of them are in Inverness. These are:

  • RockNess, a music festival celebrated in June on the shores of Loch Ness;
  • Tartan Heart Festival, a celebration of music and art, held in early August.

How do I get around town?

Public transport in Inverness is represented by buses of various private companies. Visitors who come to town for one or two days and want to explore its attractions, it is more convenient to buy a travel card, which is valid for the whole day.

Those who like comfort can rent a car – the local rental shop is located near the city train station and is called “Sharp’s Vehicle Rental”. Those who want to save money can rent a bicycle – Highland Bicycle is located at 16a Telford St.

Transportation

How to get there?

You can come to Inverness by train: the city is connected by rail with such major population centers of Scotland as Aberdeen, Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow, as well as with London.

Inverness has its own airport, located 15 km from the city center. You can get there via the A96. The airport takes flights from Glasgow and Belfast, Edinburgh and London, Shetland and the Orkney Islands.

Finally, the cheapest way to Inverness is to take an intercity bus from London, Aberdeen, Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Inverness Airport

Gretna Green is a small village which is actively visited by tourists. What attracts them to this corner of Scotland? Apparently its history – once upon a time, brides and grooms who had “run away” from their parents came to Gretna Green to get married in secret. Weddings are still held at Gretna Green today.

The Isle of Skye is one of the most picturesque in Scotland. Though the climate is harsh with daily rain and strong winds, hundreds of eco-tourists come here for solitude and enjoyment. And there’s plenty to see here: mountains, waterfalls, pools, castles…

Wick is a small Scottish town in the northern part of the country. Here you can enjoy coziness and tranquility, wander through green parks, see the world’s shortest street, visit a museum and an ancient castle, taste delicious national food.

The city of Stirling is centuries of history, war and destruction, ancient castles and haunted pubs. But at the same time the Scottish city offers tourists excellent accommodation options, exciting tours and quite modern shopping.

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