Inverness attracts visitors from across the world for its natural landscapes, quaint towns, medieval ruins, and prehistoric sites. Located in the Scottish Highlands, it’s a great place for nature lovers looking to explore its vast landscape. There are many hiking and cycling trails of various lengths that run along the canals, lakes, and forests of Inverness

    Exploring the city centre gives you plenty of sightseeing opportunities in the form of Victorian-era marketplaces, cathedrals, and museums. Inverness also houses some of Scotland’s top whisky distilleries, where you can learn about the process of making this Scottish tipple while sampling some single malts. From spotting the elusive Loch Ness monster to reliving one of the bloodiest battles in Scottish history, check out our guide on the best things to do in Inverness. 

    What are the best things to do in Inverness?


    Start the day at Inverness Victorian Market

    Check out the well-preserved Victorian clock inside the market

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Budget

    The Victorian Market is a 19th-century shopping arcade that houses over 40 stores selling fresh produce, spices, souvenirs, jewellery, and clothing. Located in Old Town Inverness, this market is fully indoors thanks to its ornate Victorian-era roof made from iron and wood. One of its most recognised features is its well-preserved clock, which hasn’t stopped ticking since 1890. If you’re feeling hungry, Victorian Market has 2 cafes serving light meals, pastries, and coffee. 

    Location: Queensgate, Inverness

    Open: Monday – Saturday from 8 am to 6 pm (closed on Sunday)

    Phone: +44 (0)1463 710 524


    photo by Vcarceler (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Try on a kilt at Highland House of Fraser

    Learn about the history of Scotland’s traditional costume

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    • Photo

    The Highland House of Fraser is a family-run business that’s known to produce some of the best kilts in Inverness. Set along Huntly Street, the shop houses The Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Centre, where you can learn about the history of the Highland costume through workshops, films, digital presentations, and clothing exhibits. If you want to wear a traditional kilt during your stay in Inverness, overnight rental services start from around £50. 

    Location: 4-9 Huntly Street, Inverness, IV3 5PR

    Open: Monday – Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1463 222 781


    Must-See: Culloden Moor

    Learn about the battle of Culloden at this historical moorland

    • Families
    • Photo
    • Unusual

    Culloden Moor was the scene of the battle of Culloden, which took place on 16th April 1746. It was one of the bloodiest battles in the history of Scotland, which resulted in the death of over 1,000 Jacobite soldiers. Today, you can explore the moors and take in its picturesque surroundings. Stay in one of the luxury estate house hotels or quaint cottages located in Culloden Moor.

    There’s also a visitor centre with a rooftop terrace overlooking the battlefield. Here, you can visit its onsite gallery displaying Jacobite artefacts found in Culloden Moor, including coins, weapons, and clothes. You can also watch 6-minute film of the battle at its immersion theatre, giving you a look into Scotland’s bleak history. 

    Location: Culloden Battlefield, Inverness

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 6 pm (visitor centre)

    Phone: +44 (0)131 458 0303


    Follow the Highland Whiskey Trail

    Sample Scotland’s most famous drink at the Glenmorangie Distillery

    • History
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    • Luxury

    Inverness has some of the best distilleries in Scotland, many of which offer guided tours and whisky-tasting sessions throughout the year. Whisky dates back to the 15th century or earlier and is produced by mixing malted barley, yeast and water, before ageing it in wooden casks. Along the Highland whisky trail are traditional distilleries that have been producing quality single malts since the 19th century. It can take about an hour’s drive between each stop, so save time by visiting 1 or 2 venues for the day. Founded in 1838, the Glen Ord Distillery is a popular stop for fans of its 12-year-old Singleton Scotch.

    Location: Glen Ord Distillery, Muir of Ord IV6 7UJ

    Open: Monday – Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Sunday)

    Phone: +44 (0)1463 872 004


    See Bronze Age monuments at Clava Cairns

    Check out well-preserved monuments at this ancient cemetery complex

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    • Families
    • History

    Clava Cairns is an ancient burial ground about 1.4 miles southeast of Culloden Moor. It dates back to the Bronze Age and has a collection of passage graves, cairns, and standing stones. There are 2 cemetery complexes within Clava Cairns, namely Balnuaran of Clava and Milton of Clava. Balnuaran is arguably the most popular site as it has 3 massive cairns surrounded by stone circles. Just a short walk away, Milton is where you can find the ruins of a medieval chapel.

    Location: Clava Cairns, Inverness IV2 5EU


    Must-See: Urquhart Castle

    Climb the Grant Tower for beautiful views of Loch Ness

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History

    Urquhart Castle is one of Scotland’s most beautiful castles, where you can spend a day exploring its medieval architecture and taking in its beautiful surroundings. Built between the 13th and 16th centuries, this medieval fortress is set along the banks of Loch Ness. You can climb the spiral stairway that leads to the top of Grant Tower to enjoy expansive views of the freshwater loch and Great Glen. Other notable features of Urquhart Castle include a stone drawbridge, dungeon, and a full-scale trebuchet siege engine, all of which gives you a glimpse into Scotland’s medieval times.

    Location: Urquhart Castle, Drumnadrochit, Inverness IV63 6XJ

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 6 pm (hours vary by season)

    Phone: +44 (0)1456 450 551


    Cheer for your favourite team at the Inverness Highland Games

    Watch the talented bagpipers at this annual sports festival

    • Families

    Inverness Highland Games is a long-running festival in Inverness, where athletes from all over the world gather and compete in a variety of sports competition. Founded in 1822, it takes place at Bught Park, along the western bank of the River Ness. Visitors can enjoy a lively atmosphere filled with dance performances, talented pipers, and jovial locals dressed in traditional costumes. Among the many sports events to watch at the Inverness Highland Games include the caber toss, long jump, shot put, and track running. The Inverness Highland Games is held every July on weekends.

    Location: Bught Ln, Inverness IV3 5SR

    Phone: +44 (0)1463 785 006


    Explore Loch Ness

    Join a boat tour of Loch Ness and possibly catch a sight of Nessie

    • Couples
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    Loch Ness is an iconic freshwater loch that’s rumoured to be the home of a mythical creature called Nessie. There’s a visitor centre dedicated to the Loch Ness Monster, where you can learn more about its history through an extensive collection of witness accounts, photographs, digital projection, and computer graphics. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, the South Loch Ness Trail spans over 28 miles of designated paths and forest roads at varying altitudes. For a more leisurely way of exploring Loch Ness, many agencies organise boat cruises throughout the year. You can also stay near Loch Ness and explore the area off your own accord.

    Location: Drumnadrochit, Inverness IV63 6TU

    Open: 1st November – 27th March: Daily from 10 am to 3.30 pm, 28th March – 31st October: Daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)145 645 0573


    Eat haggis, Scotland's national dish

    Enjoy this iconic dish at Dores Inn, a local favourite in central Inverness

    • Food

    Haggis is Scotland’s quintessential dish that’s made with minced lamb, suet, oats and various spices. It’s traditionally encased in a sheep’s stomach but is now commonly cooked in a synthetic sausage casing. Its unappealing presentation may raise a few eyebrows, but taste-wise, expect a peppery flavour thanks to its heavy seasoning of warming spices. Haggis is best eaten a side of mashed turnip and potatoes, or neeps and tatties as the locals call them. Located along the banks of River Ness, the rustic Dores Inn is one of the best places in Inverness to enjoy this national dish.

    Location: B862, Dores, Inverness IV2 6TR

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1463 751 203


    photo by Daniel Fader (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    End the day on a pub crawl along the River Ness

    Stop by Gellions Bar, the oldest pub in Inverness

    • Couples

    River Ness is the centre of action in Inverness, where you can find lively pubs and taverns that are within walking distance of the city’s many Gothic churches, castles, and local markets. Church and Bridge Streets are home to reputable taverns such as Gellions and Hootananny. Founded in 1841, Gellions Bar serves a variety of whiskies and Scottish dishes. Aside from its nightly live music, the bar hosts a traditional ceilidh (social gathering) every Saturday, giving you a chance to learn some traditional Scottish dance moves. 

    Location: 14 Bridge St, Inverness IV1 1HD

    Open: Monday – Saturday from 11 am to 1 am, Sunday from 12 pm to midnight

    Phone: +44 (0)1463 233 648

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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