Inverness winter festivals

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  • Looking over the water to a snowy bank below the castle.
    Inverness Castle

Head to the Highland capital this winter for the shopping, for the entertainment, and for a very warm welcome!


Inverness city centre is ideal for stocking up for Christmas thanks to its great travel links, compact main streets and central shopping centre. You’ll be able to find this season’s must-have gifts and an excellent party outfit at the Eastgate Centre, and explore the recently refurbished Victorian Market to find some unique present options. Stop and browse at Leakey’s second-hand bookshop to find the ideal literary treasure for your book-loving relatives. The shop, in a converted church, is believed to be one of the largest of its kind in Scotland.

Things to do

Why not get into the festive spirit by combining your shopping trip in Inverness with a city break? A morning’s shopping could be followed by a crisp winter walk along the River Ness and Ness Islands, or even a climb up to the top of Craig Phadraig to see great views over the city and surrounding countryside.

For history lovers there are plenty of great attractions to visit, many of which will be holding special events in the run up to Christmas. Children will love the Teddy Bear Story exhibition at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, and there will be a range of performances to see at the Eden Court Theatre, from panto to chamber music.

There are many historical sites to visit within easy reach of the city, including Culloden Battlefield & Visitor Centre, Cawdor Castle and Urquhart Castle. To the east of Inverness you can visit the stoical Fort George to learn about Scotland’s defence in times gone by and, if you’re lucky, might spot some of the dolphins on the Moray Firth!


Make sure that you check out what’s on in Inverness over the winter months. The festive celebrations begin with the Christmas Lights Switch On on 17 November when you can join Santa and the Lord Provost to see the illuminations at Inverness Town House before attending the family carol service at the Old High Church.

For that extra special festive feel, families should head to the Winter Wonderland at Whin Park from 13 – 15 December where Santa and his reindeers will be amongst the beautifully lit trees and fairground rides. Look out for the ice king and queen too!

At Hogmanay the city will host its popular Red Hot Highland Fling celebration, Scotland’s biggest free Hogmanay party. Dance your way into the New Year with Scottish music from The Red Hot Chilli Pipers with special guests Skerryvore and Dorec-a-belle. Make sure that you arrive in time for 20.14 to see a very special start of the countdown to the Year of Homecoming Scotland 2014 – and have your camera ready!

There will be more to enjoy in 2014, with Burns: Life of the Poet in Inverness on 25 January, which will round off the city’s winter events programme with a procession, performances and a grand Burns ceilidh.