Things to do in Inverness

About Inverness

The must-see attractions in Inverness include the mysterious Loch Ness, the historic Inverness Castle and its scenic Viewpoint, the tranquil Ness Islands, the poignant Culloden Battlefield, and the Clava Cairns with their link to ancient times. Each offers a unique window into the natural beauty and history of the Scottish Highlands.
Families with children should explore the Inverness Botanic Gardens, take a ride on the Ness Islands Railway, and enjoy interactive exhibits at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. These attractions are fun, educational, and perfectly suited for young adventurers.
The best outdoor activities include hiking up to Craig Phadrig for panoramic views, wildlife watching at Merkinch Local Nature Reserve, and taking a cruise on Loch Ness. These activities are ideal for those seeking fresh air and the scenic outdoors.
Indoor enthusiasts can enjoy the Victorian Market for local shopping, take in a performance at Eden Court Theatre, or dive into the leisure facilities at Inverness Leisure Centre. From culture to casual shopping and recreation, Inverness offers excellent indoor alternatives.
The best tours in Inverness feature the Loch Ness by Jacobite cruise, guided historical walks through the city center, and whisky tasting experiences at local distilleries. These tailored tours are the perfect way to discover Inverness, with professional insights into the region's legendary narratives and traditions.
Inverness boasts the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, showcasing regional history and cultural artifacts, as well as The Highlanders' Museum at Fort George, offering military history. Both are popular for their engaging displays and key to understanding local heritage.
For rainy days, tours in the covered Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, or a distillery tour are perfect for staying dry while still exploring. Additionally, the Victorian Market offers covered paths amidst diverse shops and historic ambiance.
Quick tours catering to visitors with limited time include the Inverness Castle Viewpoint, which can be enjoyed in less than an hour, and condensed city tours that highlight Inverness's main attractions in a swift and informative manner.

Best Things to Do In Inverness

Uncover the top attractions in Inverness, a Scottish gem with endless exploration opportunities.

Inverness: Falcon Square

What is it?
A bustling city square and a popular meeting point in Inverness.
Why you should go?
Falcon Square is at the heart of Inverness's vibrant urban life, acting as the gateway to the Eastgate Shopping Centre. It's surrounded by architectural gems and historic buildings, providing a delightful ambiance for those who enjoy urban exploration. The square's central location makes it a convenient spot to take a break from sightseeing, enjoy a coffee, or simply people-watch. Seasonal events and street performers often grace Falcon Square, adding to its lively atmosphere and making it a staple in the Inverness experience.

Inverness: Tomnahurich Hill Cemetery

What is it?
An atmospheric Victorian cemetery located on a tree-covered hill.
Why you should go?
Tomnahurich Hill Cemetery offers a peaceful and reflective place for a walk with striking views over the River Ness and the city. It's not just a burial ground but also a site of historical significance with beautifully carved headstones and family mausoleums telling stories of local heritage. The tranquility and beauty of this place, in addition to the panoramic views from the hilltop, make it a unique and contemplative location to visit while in Inverness.

Inverness: Inverness Botanic Gardens

What is it?
A peaceful sanctuary featuring exotic plants and a variety of gardens.
Why you should go?
The Inverness Botanic Gardens provide a calming retreat from city life, where visitors can explore an array of themed gardens and exotic plants in greenhouses. The on-site café offers a place to relax and enjoy light refreshments amidst the lush greenery. Open year-round with free entry, the gardens are perfect for a leisurely stroll, providing both a visual treat and an educational opportunity for all ages. It's undoubtedly one of the greenest and most serene places to visit in Inverness.

Inverness: Inverness Leisure

What is it?
An expansive sports and leisure facility with aquatic and fitness amenities.
Why you should go?
For those looking to stay active or entertain the kids, Inverness Leisure is the city's premier facility for swimming and fitness. The aquatic center boasts multiple pools, including a wave pool and a Thistle shaped pool, suitable for all ages. Its climbing wall, gym, and sports halls provide additional active fun. As Inverness’s primary spot for exercise and relaxation, it presents an excellent opportunity for visitors to enjoy a workout or family fun regardless of the weather.

Inverness: Craig Phadrig

What is it?
An ancient forested hill with Iron Age fort remains and sweeping views.
Why you should go?
Craig Phadrig, once the stronghold of ancient Pictish kings, now invites hikers and history enthusiasts. This hilltop forest offers a network of walking trails that lead to remnants of a vitrified Iron Age fort and offers panoramic views over the Beauly Firth and Inverness. The mixed woodland is a haven for wildlife and the trek to the summit is rewarded with spectacular sunsets, making Craig Phadrig a worthwhile adventure for those wanting to combine historical interest with natural splendor.

Inverness: River Ness and Ness Islands

What is it?
A scenic riverside walk with a series of interconnected islands.
Why you should go?
Walking along the tranquil River Ness, visitors find the serene Ness Islands, accessible through charming Victorian suspension bridges. These natural havens are perfect for a leisurely stroll, bird watching, and enjoying picnics under the canopy of old trees. The islands provide a peaceful escape from the city bustle and offer picturesque views and spots to observe local wildlife. The area is a favorite among joggers, families, and anyone seeking a picturesque outdoor experience in Inverness.

Inverness: Inverness Castle Viewpoint

What is it?
A historic castle with a lookout providing panoramic city views.
Why you should go?
Inverness Castle Viewpoint stands as a beacon within the city, inviting visitors to climb and gaze upon the surrounding landscape from a unique vantage point. The castle overlooks the River Ness and provides expansive views of the city's skyline and the distant Scottish Highlands. The viewpoint offers an informative and scenic experience, ideal for capturing memorable photographs and gaining a deeper appreciation of Inverness's topography and charm.

Inverness: Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

What is it?
A cultural institution showcasing Highland history, art, and geology.
Why you should go?
The Inverness Museum and Art Gallery presents a wealth of knowledge about the Scottish Highlands, incorporating local history, artwork, and natural science into its exhibits. Visitors can explore galleries featuring Pictish stones, Jacobite memorabilia, and Highland wildlife. The art gallery frequently updates its exhibits with works from local and national artists. This venue is an enlightening and captivating stop for those interested in understanding the cultural fabric of Inverness and the wider Highland region.

Inverness: Clava Cairns

What is it?
An ancient Bronze Age burial site near Inverness.
Why you should go?
Just a short journey from Inverness lies Clava Cairns, a group of prehistoric burial mounds dated back to the Bronze Age. The site is said to be aligned with the solstice sun, adding an air of mystery and astronomical significance. Visitors can walk among the standing stones and feel a tangible connection to Scotland's distant ancestors. The historical importance and enigmatic atmosphere make Clava Cairns an unforgettable excursion for history enthusiasts and those who are captivated by Scotland's ancient past.

Inverness: Leakey’s Bookshop

What is it?
A charming second-hand bookshop housed in an old church.
Why you should go?
Set within the walls of a former church, with a cozy wood-burning stove at its heart, Leakey’s Bookshop is a wonderland for book lovers. The shop boasts an extensive collection of second-hand literature, ranging from classic novels to specialized historical texts. The unique atmosphere, complete with spiraling staircases and antique furnishings, invites readers to lose track of time browsing. Leakey's is more than a bookstore—it's a literary retreat that celebrates the love of reading and the charm of old Inverness.

TOP-5 tours in Inverness for first time visitors

  • Embark on the Loch Ness Discovery: delve into the legend of Nessie and marvel at the beauty of the Highland's most famous loch with expert narrative.
  • Explore the Historic Inverness: journey through time as you walk the old streets learning about the city’s past with engaging local stories.
  • Revel in the Ness Islands Adventure: connect with nature as your audio guide reveals the hidden secrets and stories of this peaceful riverside retreat.
  • Soak up culture at Inverness Art Trail: admire contemporary sculptures and historical architecture, showcasing the city's rich cultural tapestry.
  • Discover Clava Cairns & Culloden: unravel the mysteries of Bronze Age Scotland and relive the Jacobite history with a captivating audio guide.

Fun things to do in Inverness with kids

Inverness is a treasure trove of child-friendly attractions that merge fun with the Scottish highland’s unique culture and the great outdoors. Whin Park offers exhilarating playground equipment and a narrow-gauge railway that chugs around the scenic pond, providing joyous rides for the little ones. An adjacent leisure park features mini-golf and boating opportunities, making it an all-in-one outdoor family destination. At the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, kids can get hands-on with interactive displays about the natural and historical heritage of the Highlands, making it an enjoyable learning experience for curious minds. For a more active outing, the Inverness Leisure Centre houses a fantastic swimming facility, equipped with flumes and a wave pool that families can enjoy year-round. This top-notch leisure centre ensures there's plenty of splashy fun to be had, no matter the weather, rounding up Inverness as a destination with ample activities for family visitors.

Things to do in Inverness with family

Inverness delights families with a variety of attractions ideal for spending quality time together. Start by exploring the wonders of the natural world at the Inverness Botanic Gardens, where the Tropical House and Cactus Room enchant visitors with exotic plants from different climates – an educational and picturesque outing for all ages. For a dose of history and culture, the interactive displays at Inverness Museum and Art Gallery shed light on the Highlands’ past, from the geology and wildlife to the archeology and human history of the region. It’s not just a rainy-day refuge but a place of discovery and amazement. Families with a spirit for adventure can head to the great outdoors at Loch Ness by Jacobite. Embark on a cruise across the legendary waters for a chance to spot Nessie and absorb the stunning Highland scenery. This family-friendly excursion combines myth, nature, and unparalleled vistas for an unforgettable experience.

Free things to do in Inverness

Experience the best of Inverness without spending a dime at some of the city’s most captivating attractions. Take a leisurely stroll alongside the River Ness, where the winding path offers picturesque views of the city’s landmarks, including the Inverness Castle. This riverside walk is perfect for all ages, with plenty of spots for a family picnic or to watch street performers. Visitors can also immerse themselves in local history with a self-guided tour of the Old High Church, the oldest church in the area, known for its rich heritage and stunning architecture. Outdoor enthusiasts won't want to miss the chance to explore the Ness Islands. Accessible by charming Victorian bridges, these small islands in the middle of the River Ness provide a natural sanctuary for a tranquil escape from urban life, featuring walking paths and an abundance of local flora and fauna for a peaceful day out. These free activities in Inverness promise memorable experiences and the opportunity to enjoy the city's natural beauty and historical allure.

Cheap things to do in Inverness

Inverness, known for its warm Highland hospitality, offers numerous budget-friendly attractions. Visit the Inverness Botanic Gardens, where for a small suggested donation, you can wander through lush collections of plants and flowers, providing an inexpensive yet enriching experience for nature enthusiasts. History lovers can relish in the Inverness Castle Viewpoint for a modest fee, giving you access to some of the best aerial views of the city and the surrounding landscapes, including the River Ness and the Scottish Highlands. Browse the Victorian Market, an indoor marketplace that's free to enter and full of character. It's the perfect spot to find local crafts, Scottish delicacies, and unique gifts without breaking the bank. Each of these affordable activities demonstrates that experiencing the culture and beauty of Inverness can be enjoyed on any budget.

Things to do in Inverness for couples

Couples looking for a romantic getaway in Inverness will be delighted by its mixture of scenic, historic, and cultural attractions. Beginning with a tranquil boat tour on Loch Ness, partners can search for the elusive Nessie while embracing the stunning Highland backdrop—a perfect setting for creating cherished memories. For a more relaxing experience, the Inverness Botanic Gardens offers a peaceful retreat. Stroll hand in hand through the flora and fauna, and find a quiet spot in the gardens to connect with nature and each other. As the day ends, why not enjoy a more urban setting? The Inverness riverside, especially during sunset or illuminated at night, is a picturesque location to walk, talk, and enjoy each other's company. These expansive views provide a generous dose of romance, further enhancing the intimate ambiance that makes Inverness a desired destination for couples.

Things to do in Inverness at night

Inverness, with its lively evening atmosphere, provides various nocturnal activities for visitors. Enjoy the local flavors and warm hospitality at a traditional Scottish pub where live music sessions fill the air, bringing the city's heritage to life through folk tunes and ballads—a must for anyone seeking an authentic Inverness experience after dark. For those keen on dramatic arts, the Eden Court Theatre showcases an array of performances ranging from plays, musicals to modern dance, offering a cultured night out in a contemporary setting. It's the cultural heartbeat of Inverness when the sun goes down. Alternatively, opt for a starlit stroll along the serene banks of the River Ness. The beautifully lit pathways and the reflections on the water create a romantic and peaceful escape from the daytime bustle, allowing visitors to enjoy the city's tranquil side.