With castles, churches, historic battlefields, leafy parks, nature reserves and Premier League stadiums, there are dozens of prime attractions in Inverness.
Attractions in Inverness
One of the must-see places in Inverness, head to our dedicated pages on Cawdor Castle to find out more about the 15th-century tower house.
Perched on a cliff overlooking the River Ness and much of downtown, Inverness Castle is a historic sandstone building that originally dates as far back as the 11th century. The current castle was built in 1836 and has survived dozens of sieges through the years as war was never far away from the Highland clans. The castle isn’t open to the public, but you can head up the viewing tower to get a spectacular view across the city. The castle is also a financial landmark – turn your £50 note over and you’ll see Inverness Castle in all its glory.
A stunning peninsula fort overlooking the North Sea, Fort George was built in 1727 as a defensive structure from the Jacobite rising, and thankfully for the soldiers stationed there, it was never attacked. The fort is still in use as an army garrison today, and is also home to the Highlanders Museum.
Sticking with military history, one step onto Culloden Battlefield and you’ll be transported back to the 18th century when the Jacobites made their last stand. Located around five miles from our Inverness East hotel, the immersive cinema experience in the visitor centre brings the history to life, alongside a collection of weapons, clothes and coins from the era.
Very near to the battlefield, you’ll find Clava Cairns, a prehistoric burial ground that dates back 4,000 years. Amazingly preserved, the three cairns have been used through the ages as a cemetery and burial ground.
Back in the city centre, you can’t miss St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The most northern cathedral in the UK, it’s an imposing Gothic-style church built in 1869 from five different types of stone, including French marble. It also houses some wonderful stained glass windows. On the other side of the River Ness, near the Ironworks, you’ll find the Old High Church. The oldest religious building in Inverness, it dates back to the 18th century and is a fully working church with a recently restored church organ.
You might not necessarily expect bookshops to be under the historical attractions section, but Leakey’s Bookshop isn’t your ordinary shop. The largest second-hand store in Scotland, books covering every single part of this converted church and resembles something out of a Harry Potter scene. Get cosy by the open fire in winter and start working your way through the thousands of books on offer.
Follow in Andy Murray’s tennis footsteps by practising your serve on the Bellfield Park tennis courts. Free to use before midday and costing just a few pounds per hour afterwards. This is a fun place to go if you have kids There are tennis courts, a putting green and even a paddling pool. Plus, it’s just a short drive from our Inverness West hotel.
The largest park in Inverness, Whin Park is at the southern end of the city and has a wide range of activities, including a large boating pond with rowing and paddle boats, a kids’ play area with rope climbs, swings and slides, an assault course for little ones, a miniature railway and an ice cream and coffee shop. The park is open year-round, but the boating pond is only open from April until September
If you like to have guaranteed warmth, the Inverness Botanic Gardens are a short walk from Whin Park and home to hundreds of plants housed in a tropical greenhouse. With a tropic-like atmosphere, the hot and humid climate is perfect for rainforest plants, orchids, a cactus house and birds of paradise.
From there, you could head out to Ness Islands, a gorgeous natural park in the middle of the River Ness accessed via Victorian suspension bridges near the Botanic Gardens. A collection of interlinked islands, it’s a great place to watch salmon fishers at work and, if you’re lucky, spot a seal or two gently bobbing in the water.
The 50th nature reserve in Scotland, Merkinch Local Nature Reserve is home to an impressive range of wildlife, including roe deer, owls, herons and even osprey and kingfishers. Comprising over 50 hectares of land bordering the River Ness, it’s a short drive north from the city centre and makes for a memorable day out.
Built in 1995, Caledonian Stadium is the 7,750-capacity home of Inverness Caledonian Thistle. As well as hosting all the league and cup games for Caledonian Thistle, the ground has welcomed several big-name rock concerts, including Sir Elton John and Sir Rod Stewart.
The ground had to undergo renovations when the team were promoted to the Premier League in 2004 and is located on the northern edge of the city centre, a short drive from our Inverness Centre (Milburn Road) hotel. Thanks to its waterside perch, the ground has great views over the Moray Firth, but that can result in some biting cold winds blowing in from the sea, so wrap up warm!
There’s catering at the stadium, but if you’re looking for a pre- or post-game drink, try Gellions or the Phoenix in the centre or Innes Bar near the harbour. You can check out our Inverness pubs guide for more suggestions.