17 Best Things to Do in Inverness

S-F / shutterstock.com

Serving as the capital of the Highlands, you will find Inverness’ long history reflected on how this city looks like.

With many structures and buildings dating back to centuries of eld, visiting this city would make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.

As such, Inverness houses many attractions that could definitely pique anyone’s interest.

Featuring captivating outdoor sceneries, fascinating establishments, and spellbinding historical buildings, a vacation in Inverness offers you an enjoyable holiday that you can spend solo or with companions.

Now, let's look at the 17 best things you can do while in Inverness:

Witness a Breathtaking View of the City at Inverness Castle

View of Inverness Castle
lowsun / Shutterstock.com

When visiting Inverness, you may find this destination as one of the highlights of the day.

Find this astonishing castle perched atop a cliff that overlooks the gorgeous Ness River.

It features a structure made with red sandstone, with designs created by amazing 19th-century architects.

View of Inverness Castle
Albert Pego / Shutterstock.com

Apart from having a gorgeous castle to visit, it also offers its visitors one of the best views in Scotland.

When visiting Inverness, stop by the majestic Inverness Castle and appreciate the city's wonderful view.

Catch Shows at Eden Court

Eden Court Theatre and Cinema in Inverness
Alizada Studios / Shutterstock.com

Looking for some entertainment in the city?

You should head on over to Eden Court.

Located on the bank of River Ness, this popular spot offers various choices for entertainment.

Here, you can watch films in the cinema or live drama, dance, and musical performances from the theater.

Eden Court Theatre and Cinema in Inverness
anastas_styles / Shutterstock.com

From Scottish plays to the latest Hollywood blockbusters, discover this place’s wide array of entertainment offerings.

Apart from shows, you can also attend the classes and events hosted by Eden Court.

While waiting for the show, you can hang out and grab a bite to eat at the cafe and restaurant located here.

Find Respite at the Inverness Botanic Garden

Plant enthusiasts will love this attraction in the city.

If you want a quiet place to relax away from the city's busy streets, head over to the Inverness Botanic Gardens.

Featuring alluring formal gardens, a wildflower meadow, and more, the Botanic Gardens give you a place to seek respite while being surrounded by impressive plants.

It even has a secret garden that you can go to and relax.

Apart from being a gorgeous place to be in, you can also try and buy some of the plants they offer on sale.

While in the city, seek respite in this wonderful garden.

Bask at the Majesty of Inverness Cathedral

Aerial View of Inverness Cathedral
Yulia_Bogomolova / shutterstock.com

Several majestic churches stand in the city of Inverness.

Inverness Cathedral is likely the most popular among them, and it is also the northernmost Anglican cathedral found in the United Kingdom.

Its building features a design created by architect Alexander Ross, inspired by the vision of Bishop Eden.

Closer View of Inverness Cathedral
Francesco Bonino / shutterstock.com

Constructed between 1866 and 1869, you can find majestic stained-glass windows in this cathedral, as well as impressive stone and wood carvings in its interior.

You and your travel buddies can come here free of charge.

And when you’re done appreciating the exquisite architecture this place offers, you can stop by the shop and cafe right within the church grounds.

Experience the Charm of Leakey’s Bookshop

Inside Leakey’s Bookshop
LeamingtonBooks, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Even if you’re not a bookworm, entering this bookshop will feel magical.

Known as the largest used books store in Scotland, Leakey’s Bookshop first opened its doors in 1979.

You can find the store itself housed in an old Gaelic Church built in 1793.

It offers over 100,000 books that you can buy, so you will probably find something that will pique your interest here.

You can even find a log fireplace within the shop, which may either amaze you or make you worried about the safety of all the tomes you can find here.

Given its large collection, walking through its many bookcases provides a magical allure to anyone who does it.

Stop by to see this enchanting bookshop at the heart of Inverness.

Are you an art lover?

The city serves as the home to many art galleries where you can find impressive art pieces, many of which depict life in the highlands.

One notable place you should visit is Castle Gallery.

Their collection includes works done by Scottish and British artists, both budding talents and established artists.

Many of the works featured here range anywhere from landscapes to abstract works.

It also hosts exhibits focused on contemporary paintings, sculptures, jewelry, crafts, and prints.

Complete the Ness Islands Walk

Ness Islands Walk in Inverness
Sara Michilin-Urban / shutterstock.com

Appreciate the charm of this city by taking a walk through the Ness Islands.

You can easily facilitate this on your own by following the steps indicated in the city map, which you can find trailing along the riverbanks.

While on your walk, you will find several footbridges crossing through River Ness.

As you follow this path,  you will pass by several other amazing attractions, including the Inverness Cathedral, the War Memorial, and more.

Hanging Bridge to Ness Islands
anastas_styles / shutterstock.com

You can even find interesting animals, such as birds and seals, during your walk.

If you walk upstream, you will come along the Ness Islands, which are several islands found in the middle of the river.

Along the banks, you can also stop by for some snacks offered by stalls.

With the complete walk lasting between one to two hours, this activity is a great way to spend some downtime within the day.

Spend a Day at Whin Park

You can find Whin Park as one of the best destinations to take your entire family with you, especially if you bring your kids along on your holiday to Inverness.

This park features four different adventure play sections within the park grounds.

It even has amenities like ziplines, climbing areas, slides, and more.

As a parent or guardian of a child, you won’t have to worry when you visit here.

Even though the park has four different sections, you can easily watch over your kids when you stay here as the park has good visibility.

Adults don’t have to get left out on adventuring here, though.

Here, you can find a trim trail where grown-ups can spend time.

You can also try and go through an assault course for some fun.

There are many possibilities of finding fun while at Whin Park.

Discover History at the Old High St. Stephen’s Church

Another amazing church you can find in Inverness is the Old High St. Stephen’s church.

Standing on the banks of the gorgeous River Ness, particularly on top of St. Michael’s Mount, an ancient hill located within the city.

View of  Old High St. Stephen’s Church
Fabian Junge / shutterstock.com

It’s also known to be the oldest church found here.

Apart from its interesting architecture, you can learn a lot of things about the area when you visit this church.

Here, you can find the Old High Willis organ; it was first installed in 1892 and restored in 2011.

Additionally, the church grounds serve as the home for several historical memorials, such as the Cameron Highlanders Memorial Area.

It has also been featured in Outlander, a popular book and television series set in Scotland.

Marvel at the Architecture of Inverness Town House

View of Inverness Town House
Fabian Junge / shutterstock.com

While walking around Inverness, your eyes will get to see a lot of impressive buildings with beautiful architecture.

If you love viewing astonishing architecture, then the Inverness Town House is a must-visit.

This complex of buildings features the Flemish-Baronial style of architecture.

With the original design made by local architects William Lawrie and James Matthews, the building has been recently refurbished.

Built between 1878 and 1882, it’s definitely a sight to behold in Inverness.

Learn About the Region at Highlands Archive Centre

For history buffs or simply those who want to get to know Inverness and the Highlands a lot better, you need to visit Highlands Archive Centre.

This service aims to collect, preserve and let people access historical records about the Inverness-shire area, as well as the other areas in the Highlands.

Here, you can find a collection featuring different types of historical documents, from charters and maps to letters and photographs.

If you have a vague idea of your lineage in Scotland, you may find out more about your family tree when you visit here.

This archive boasts more than 100,000 documents in its collection.

Spend a day browsing through documents collected through several centuries of this place’s history when you’re in the area.

Visit Abertarff House, the Oldest House in the City

Considered to be the oldest house in the city, Abertarff House in Inverness was constructed way back in 1593.

It has stood for multiple centuries and has witnessed the history of this wonderful city unfold.

Abertarff House, the Oldest House in the City
Nina Alizada / Shutterstock.com

The building itself features an architectural design that reflects the prevalent style at the time it was constructed.

It also features a small community space and a few occasional exhibits.

Additionally, you may possibly catch some of the community events hosted here.

Stop by Abertarff House on your trip to Inverness.

Watch Local Wildlife at Merkinch Local Nature Reserve

Not a lot of people from outside Inverness know about Merkinch Local Nature Reserve, making it one of the city’s hidden gems.

At this nature reserve, you will find several tide pools, reed beds, and marshes, which serve as the habitat for wildlife.

If you want to watch animals go through their simple lives, you’ll be glad to know you can find many of them here.

At the nature reserve, you might find animals, like roe deer and weasels.

You might also get to see various species of birds, including owls, herons, and several wading bird species.

Spend some time here with your family, and discover the local wildlife that you can witness right at the heart of Inverness.

Go Shopping at the Victorian Market

Inside Victorian Market
Ondrej_Novotny_92 / Shutterstock.com

If you're looking for some souvenirs to take home with you, you may find The Victorian Market as the perfect place to visit.

Apart from being lined with amazing shops, this market, like most of the city, has a rich history.

The Town Council in the 19th century decided to build a covered market between 1876 to 1870; however, this was devoured by fire.

Inside Victorian Market
Vcarceler, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Following the devastation, the original sandstone entrance of the market remains and the covered market, now known as The Victorian Market, has been rebuilt in 1891.

Since then, the place has housed a myriad of shops that you won’t find anywhere else.

Walk along the streets of this market strip and maybe you’ll find a great memento for your time in Inverness.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Check Out Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle

View of Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness
Joan Vadell / Shutterstock.com

Likely most known for the legend known as "Nessie," Loch Ness is one of the many must-visit places near Inverness.

Located just 20 minutes from the city of Inverness, many tourists flock here to try and see whether the legends of the Loch Ness monsters are true.

Outside of looking for Nessie, you can find many outdoor activities to do at Loch Ness.

You can try out several watersports, like canoeing or paddleboarding.

 Wiew of Urquhart Castle
nitsawan katerattanakul / Shutterstock.com

If that’s not your cup of tea, try heading on over to the ruins of the Urquhart Castle.

It’s an amazing castle that has stood to witness many centuries’ worth of events.

You can find this castle nestled on the headlands, providing its visitors with fantastic panoramic views of Loch Ness.

Revisit History at Culloden Moor

A Traditional House in the Culloden Battlefield
matthi / Shutterstock.com

Located just 3 miles away from Inverness’ city center, you’ll find Culloden Moor.

As you may know, Inverness boasts a rich historical background, and Culloden served as the venue for one of the most important events in the region - the Battle of Culloden.

This event took place in 1746, and here, the Scottish people at the time lost their war against Britain, losing over 1,500 men in the battle.

Today, if you go to Culloden Moor, apart from visiting the site of the battle itself, you can also access the museum at the visitor center.

Memorial for the Battle of Culloden
LPHallam / Shutterstock.com

It houses information about this significant event in Scottish history.

Apart from the various items and memorabilia connected to the battle, it also offers a 360-degree video, showing you the sights and letting you hear the sounds of the historic battle.

Get to know more about the history of the Highlands by visiting this place.

Visit the Massive Fort George

Entrance to Fort George
Rico Baumann135 / Shutterstock.com

Spend some time visiting the amazing Fort George.

Constructed between 1749 and 1769, this massive fortress was built right after the historic Culloden Battle.

Despite standing for over 250 years, the features of this huge fort have barely changed.

Garrison Chapel at Fort George
Mino Surkala / Shutterstock.com

Apart from historical military equipment and facilities, you can also enjoy the scenic views on this place’s ramparts.

You may even get to see some dolphins in the body of water nearby!

Final Thoughts

Step back in time by visiting the fascinating city of Inverness.

Get to know more about the captivating Highlands region by checking out what the capital city has to offer.

It’s a place you’ll never forget!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.