Get your fix of arts and culture in Inverness with our guide to the best art galleries, museums and public events in the city.
Culture in Inverness
Located on Bank Street on the River Ness, the Scottish Flair Fine Art Gallery is a 25-year-old family-run gallery showcasing a wide range of original Scottish fine art in their public display six days a week. Closed on Sundays, their works of arts span oil paintings, watercolours and a variety of different artistic media, while they also run a framing, cleaning and valuation service.
Housed in an impressive 18th-century building, the Castle Gallery on Castle Street is a two-floor space dedicated to Scottish and British artists. Much of the work is contemporary, meaning the white walls are adorned with dozens of fresh, intriguing and arresting artworks which are free to look around and admire, as well as purchase.
Finally, the Inchmore Gallery is nearest to our Inverness West hotel and is a two-floor gallery and exhibition housed in a converted Free Church. They regularly rotate the gallery space, with everything from jewellery, textiles and wood to painting, printmaking and photography on display, in addition to one of the best ceramic selections in Scotland.
Art School Gallery
You might be nearer to The Faroe Islands than London, but that doesn’t stop the promoters of Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival from putting on an increasingly popular outdoor festival. A three-day party held at the start of August, previous guests have included Primal Scream, Paloma Faith and Professor Green, with the all-ages festival attracting a mix of kids, young families and older rockers. And, if you don’t fancy camping – and honestly, we can’t blame you – our Inverness West hotel is a 10-mile drive from the site, meaning you can be rested and ready for each day’s fun and games.
At the opposite end of the rock ’n’ roll spectrum, the Loch Ness Knit Festival is a three-day celebration of stitching, crocheting, back loops and slipped stitches held at the Inverness Leisure Centre. The action doesn’t stop there, however, as the festival puts on a ceilidh, highland feast and Loch Ness cruise during the weekend.
Arguably the biggest party night in the Scottish calendar, Hogmanay takes place on New Year’s Eve every year, with the Red Hot Highland Fling party the place to be in Inverness. The outdoor show – which features international acts attracts around 10,000 people each year – takes place at the Northern Meeting Park, a short walk from our Inverness Centre (River Ness) hotel.
Showcasing films from over 20 countries, the Inverness Film Festival is a week-long cinematic affair held at the impressive Eden Court Theatre that runs every November. Now into its 12th year, it’s a great focal point for the community and a great way to catch up on films that might not have made it to your local megaplex.
Museum buffs should start at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Open Tuesday to Saturday, the eclectic museum on the banks of the River Ness covers a wide range of subjects. These include natural history, art and geology, with specific interest on Bonnie Prince Billy, the Pictish clans and the evolution of the kilt. The museum is also home to over 100,000 Highland photos, giving a real insight into this fascinating part of Scotland.
If you’d like to get a deeper understanding of the kilt, and just what a gentleman wears underneath, head to the Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Centre just next to Inverness Castle. The museum is on the first floor and is where you can see kilts being made, while the ground floor is the perfect place to pick up your own with a range of options.
Similarly, the Highlanders’ Museum is another region-specific museum dedicated to Scotland’s military history and is a short drive from our Inverness East hotel. Overlooking the Moray Firth and part of the Fort George area, the museum is home to over 30,000 artifacts and exhibits, and is also an excellent place to spot dolphins off the coast.
The latest visitor attraction in the city, the Inverness Castle Viewpoint offers stunning 360-degree views across the city from the viewing platform, while the narrated drone footage details many of the city’s best historic locations.
If you’ve ever wondered what a scale model of the Titanic would look like – surprisingly big! – and are a fan of nautical memorabilia, then ShipSpace is for you. Amazingly the work of just one man, this fascinating and highly quirky museum is located on the eastern edge of the city in Clachnaharry.