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The best things to do in Inverness, Scotland

If you are planning a Scotland road trip and searching for the best things to do in Inverness, then you have come to the right place! In this blog post, I will go through some of the top things to do in Inverness; this includes some of the best places to visit in Scotland, unusual things to do in Inverness, and more! 

Inverness is the starting point for the famous North Coast 500 driving route; this makes it a handy base for visiting a wide range of sights in the Highlands. Some of the sites nearby include Loch Ness and the Culloden Battlefield. It is the perfect place to uncover the tumultuous period of history, Jacobite Risings. You will firstly be able to see where the last battle on British soil played out, secondly visit an impressive 18th-century military garrison, thirdly go monster hunting for the famous Loch Ness monster, Nessie, and much more! 

Inverness also has a lot of amazing sights inside the city, including a castle, river, cathedral, and more.  If you want to learn more about Scottish and British history or are interested in beautiful scenery and old, mystical tales, then Inverness is the perfect place for you! It has some of the absolute best things to do in Scotland. It is simply a place you should not skip on your Scotland road trip!

Whether you’re looking for some of the best things to do in Scotland, embarking on a Scotland road trip itinerary and or looking for the best places to visit in Scotland or the best hikes in Scotland, you’ve come to the right place. Scotland is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in the UK, and well worth a visit if you ever get a chance! 
The best things to do in Inverness

With this Google Map, you can have all my tips and recommendations at the touch of your fingertips. These are all the things I wish I knew and spent a lot of time researching before my 4-week adventure. 

This Google Map Legend includes:

  • Best walks, hikes, viewpoints, beaches and activities
  • Lochs and waterfalls to visit
  • Road trip tips (campsites, laundrettes, lunch spots)
  • My favourite places for coffee, brunch and dinner
  • Things you must add to your bucket list!
  • Travel guide links within each location

How much time do you need in Inverness?

While Inverness is a smaller city, it offers lots, especially when exploring the surrounding area. If you plan to explore the surrounding area, then I recommend staying at least 3-4 days. This way, you can explore all the best things to do in Inverness! There are so many unique places to explore nearby, which makes it a great place to stay while exploring the highlands.

How to get around Inverness…

The best way to get around Inverness will be by car. This way, you can explore the surrounding areas in your own time. If you do not have the option to hire a car, then do not worry! There are also tour buses that go to the surroundings of the city. Find the best bus tours here.

Now that you are ready to start exploring all the best and unusual things to do in Inverness let’s jump straight into it!

The best things to do in Inverness...

1. Go look for Nessie in the Loch Ness

Inverness is called Inbhir Nis in Scottish Gaelic and translates to the mouth of the River Ness. One of the iconic Inverness things to do is visiting Loch Ness and trying to find the famous sea monster, Nessie. Loch Ness is just a 30-minute drive or bus journey from the city center. Shrouded in mystery and legend, Loch Ness is one of the most magical places in the world.

There are many things to do and see around Loch Ness, and it has some of the most fun things to do in Inverness. One of the best things to do in Scotland is to go on one of the boat trips to learn more about the Loch Ness monster and how she came to be. If the weather is dreary, as it usually is in Scotland, do not worry! In my opinion, this makes the experience all the more mysterious and mystical. 

  • You can find more information on boat tours on Loch Ness here.
  • You can find more information on the bus tour to Loch Ness here.
The best things to do in Inverness

2. Visit Urquhart Castle

Visiting Urquhart Castle is one of the most iconic Inverness things to do. This medieval castle is set along the banks of Loch Ness and is one of the best things to do in Scotland. You can spend a half-day here just exploring the medieval architecture and taking in the magical surroundings of Loch Ness. One of the fortress’s most notable features is its stone drawbridge and dungeon. All of which give you a glimpse into the medieval past of Scotland. 

Address: Drumnadrochit, IV63 6XJ

The tickets for one adult are between £9.50 – £12.00. You can find more information on tickets right here.

The best things to do in Inverness
The best things to do in Inverness

3. Go to Fort George

Northeast of Inverness, you will find the 18th-century fortress Fort George. Fort George is the mightiest artillery fortification in Britain and one of the best places to visit in Scotland if you love history. It boasts a fascinating history, with 18th-century military life insight. Back then, Fort George controlled Scottish Highlands after the Jacobite uprising. Today you can walk along the rampart and visit the museum to learn more about the history of the region’s military. There are no guided tours. Instead, you will get an audio guide with access through your phone. Learning about the history of the region’s military is one of the best things to do in Inverness, so make sure you use the audio guides!

Fort George is accessible by car or taxi from the city. However, you can also choose to go by public transportation. Find more information on how here.

Address: Near, Ardersier, IV2 7TE

Here are our top tips for planning your Scotland road trip.

4. Learn about history at Culloden Battlefield

If you are looking for more historic Inverness things to do, keep reading! If you love history, you must visit Culloden Battlefield to learn more about the turbulent past of Inverness and the Highlands. It is yet another one of the best things to do in Inverness for history lovers. It is just a short 15-minute drive from the city center, and easily accessible by public transport. You can find more information on buses that will take you there here. At Culloden Battlefield, you will learn all the details of the Jacobite Risings and be able to explore the final site of the most distressing battle on British soil.

Ticket admissions start at £14. You can find more information on tickets here.

Address: Culloden Moor, IV2 5EU

5. Go inside Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle is an excellent addition to your list of Inverness things to do. It was built in the 19th century and overlooked the gorgeous River Ness. Today, the castle is unfortunately not open to the public to visit. Although the main castle building is closed to the public, you can usually get a scenic 360-degree view of the city and the surroundings. It is currently undergoing construction, which unfortunately means that neither the main castle building nor the viewpoint is open to the public. However, it is still one of the top things to do in Inverness, especially for photographers, as you can still get many gorgeous angles of the castle for photos!

Address: Castle, IV2 3EG

See all the best things to do in Scotland here.

The best things to do in Inverness

6. Visit Inverness Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens is one of the best things to do in Inverness, and it is free of charge! You should visit the botanic gardens if you want to explore something outside of historical sites. It is a lovely, relaxing experience you will not regret going on! You will wander through the gorgeous, colourful gardens with numerous features, such as the tropical or cactus house. It is one of the top things to do in Inverness for a less reading, more relaxing kind of day. 

Address: Bught Ln, IV3 5SS

7. Stroll along River Ness

The walk around the River Ness is a scenic two-hour circular walk from the city center, and it is one of the best things to do in Inverness. The path takes you past some of the best places to visit in Scotland, including the Ness Islands, the Inverness Cathedral, and the Inverness War Memorial. 

If you feel up to it, you can extend your walk! If you are looking for more Inverness things to do, you can choose to extend the trek! The extended trails are Great Glen Way and the Caledonian Canal, both of which are relatively easy but gorgeous trails. These trails are suitable for people of all ages and abilities. However, always bring a rain jacket or an umbrella. Scottish weather can surprise you, even on seemingly sunny days!

See all the best walks and hikes in Scotland here.

8. Go shopping at the Victorian Market

Shopping at the Victorian Market is one of the fun things to do in Inverness, especially if you love quirky shops. Victorian Market was a shopping mall during the Victorian Era. Today, it resembles a modern shopping mall more than a Victorian Market. Despite this, it retains some aspects of the Victorian era, so it is much more unique than your average mall. This would be the perfect thing to do on a rainy day! Hide away from the rain, and enjoy a day of shopping inside this gorgeous mall. 

Address: Academy St, IV1 1JN

9. Go inside Inverness Cathedral

If you are looking for more Inverness things to do in the city center, you should consider visiting Inverness Cathedral! The Cathedral, also known as St. Andrew’s Cathedral, boasts a rich history and is one of the best things to do in Inverness. The cathedral is on the edge of the beautiful River Ness, and the exterior is incredibly detailed. The River Ness and the great body of the cathedral make for the most beautiful imagery, so make sure you bring a camera! Going inside St. Andrew’s Cathedral is undoubtedly one of the things to do in Inverness. The exterior is jaw-dropping, and the interior is just as stunning. 

Address: Ardross St, IV3 5NN

The best things to do in Inverness

10. Discover Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns is one of the best places to visit in Scotland and makes for a great day trip from Inverness. Calva Cairns is a Bronze Age cemetery complex of standing stones and passage graves. It is the perfect place to visit after having visited Culloden. It is free of admission and another of the best things to do in Scotland for those interested in Scotland’s history.

Check out our 2-week Scotland road trip itinerary here.

What do you think are the best things to do in Inverness, Scotland?

Have you been to Inverness? Anything you’d add to this list of what to do in Inverness?

Love as always and happy adventuring…

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The best things to do in Inverness, ScotlandThe best things to do in Inverness, Scotland
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IT’S LOVELY TO MEET YOU

I’M MOLLIE AND I STARTED THIS BLOG BACK IN 2013 WHEN I HEADED OUT ON MY FIRST BACKPACKING ADVENTURE. 

I’D LOVE TO SHARE THE JOURNEY WITH YOU, WE’VE GROWN A LOT SINCE THEN!

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