The Best Inverness Activities from a Local
The next stop on our journey to hometowns of travel bloggers across the globe is in the Scottish Highlands. Melanie from The Professional Traveller highlights the top Inverness activities for a unique, fun experience in her hometown. The series is designed to encourage you to appreciate what can be found in your own background while giving you exciting destinations around the world that might be perfect for your next getaway. We recently headed to Bali in Indonesia, West Linn in Oregon, Yreka, California, and Seattle, Washington.
I’ve been lucky enough to live in the Scottish Highlands for over 20 years now. It’s a stunning place to live and Inverness is the capital city. Inverness is a fantastic gateway to exploring the Highlands. There is easy access by road and train to some wonderful places to visit.
Top Inverness Activities
Ness Islands Walk
The River Ness ambles through the center of Inverness and connects the city with the loch bearing the same name. Within the city center section of the river are a series of small islands in the center of the river. They are connected by footbridges making them ideal for a lovely, circular, riverside walk.
The islands are popular with dog walkers too so it’s a great place to meet locals too.
Visit Inverness Museum
Inverness Museum is small, but it’s well worth a visit and it’s also free, making it one of the best Inverness activities. It tells the history of Inverness and the area, and there are ever changing curated temporary exhibitions.
There is also a small cafe inside the museum.
Visit the Victorian Market
The Victorian Market, as the name implies, is a historic market building. When it was initially built the market had gas lamps! The market has been recently refurbished. Not only are there a great selection of small shops, including a fabulous Belgian chocolate maker, there is now a wonderful food court.
The food court has regular pop-up food stalls, so the menus are ever changing. A communal seating area makes it easy for everyone to enjoy their favorite foods and to eat together.
The world-famous Loch Ness is just 6 miles from Inverness. Each year thousands of visitors come to visit, hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous resident of Loch Ness, Nessie. Loch Ness is well served with tour boats with options for full day tours, small boat tours and fast, high speed, RIB tours.
Some of these tours combine a visit to the majestic Urquhart Castle that sits in the center point of the loch. Despite being a ruin, it is still a commanding presence. The visitor center explains the history of the castle through a 10-minute film, with curtains dramatically opening at the end to reveal a wonderful view of the castle and loch in the background.
6 miles to the East of Inverness is Culloden Battlefield and is one of the best Inverness activities. It was the site of the last major battle between the Jacobites and the Government troops and the result changed life in the Highlands forever.
The story of the battle and each side is told in the visitor center with a walk-through exhibition. Each day there are interactive sessions to bring particular stories/elements to life.
Visitors can also explore the battlefield and head up to the roof terrace for spectacular views across the whole battlefield site. There is a nice cafe and gift shop on site making Culloden Battlefield a great half day visit.
Located 13 miles to the East of Inverness is Cawdor Castle. This fairytale castle has links to Macbeth and is still used as a family home during the winter months. During the summer months the castle is open to visitors.
The castle is interesting, with quirky information panels written by the previous Earl of Cawdor. Outside there are beautiful gardens adorned with interesting sculptures throughout. There is a cute cafe and gift shop to complete the trip.
Why not combine a visit to Cawdor with Culloden Battlefield and make it a day out?
Best Inverness Activities: Take the Train to Kyle of Lochalsh
Voted one of the top 10 railway journeys in the world this stunning railway journey is easy to do from Inverness station. The journey heads West and the scenery changes throughout the journey, from glens and mountains to sea lochs and finally a stunning coastline.
Kyle of Lochalsh is a small town with several cafes to enjoy (my favorite is the Tea Garden). The train times mean you can easily enjoy lunch and a wander before taking the train back to Inverness.
Where to Eat in Inverness
Black Isle Bar
If you want to enjoy some locally made beer, alongside some lovely wood fired pizza in a dog friendly bar then you need to visit the Black Isle Bar on Church Street. There is a lovely roof terrace which is a fun spot to be in warmer weather.
The local beer, from the Black Isle Brewery, is organic. One of their most popular beers is Red Kite, named after the graceful birds that can be seen throughout the area hovering gracefully just like a kit.
Ever since they opened their doors a few years ago Miele’s has been a hit with the locals of Inverness. With their ever-changing selection of freshly made gelato there is bound to be something to tempt you. Why not enjoy their lovely gelato on a hot waffle for a real treat?
Where To Stay in Inverness
Staying in the city center near the River Ness gives great access to the city center shops, as well as lovely river walks and to public transport if you plan on taking a trip or two on the train.
The newest riverside hotel is the AC Marriott in Inverness. This stylish modern building offers a tasteful retreat by the river. Rooms are fresh and modern, with a welcoming bright style. There is a restaurant and bar on site, as well as a riverside terrace.
About the Author
Melanie has been travelling professionally for over 35 years. During that time she has taken over 8,000 people on coach holidays all over the world. Now she shares her expertise to help people travel more for less by sharing money saving tips, guides and hacks on her blog, The Professional Traveller
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