Experience Inverness, an incredible city just a stone’s throw from Highland landscapes and great places to stargaze. With fine accommodation options and fascinating history around every corner, you’ll be keen to visit again and again!
Read on to discover more of our best Inverness facts, with some fabulous accommodation ideas nearby to make your city break extra special. Don’t forget to check out our list of hidden gems in Inverness too.
National restrictions have been introduced for hospitality venues until Sunday 25 October with additional local restrictions in four regions of central Scotland. Check the current Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland and continue to plan and book ahead when considering your trip.
You can search our website for businesses that are open and Good to Go, where they have a Covid-19 risk assessment. Current rules are: one household only in self-catered accommodation (including caravans, flats and holiday cottages) and one room per household for a hotel, B&B or similar.
Ardross Street & Ardross Terrace
The Inverness Cathedral is dedicated to Scotland’s patron saint, St Andrew, and dominates the banks of the River Ness. This impressive neo-Gothic structure was built around 1866 by Alexander Ross, whose family moved to Inverness when he was four. To the right of the cathedral lies the historic Northern Meeting Park, which hosted traditional Highland games from 1864 right up to the Second World War.
Street Secret: Above the arch surrounding the cathedral’s transept window, there is a carving of a horse. This is supposed to be an homage to the horse that powered a pulley, lifting stones during the cathedral’s construction.
Place to Stay: A bit further down the road, nestled on the banks of the River Ness, the Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa is a collection of Victorian properties and a modern garden cottage just a short distance from the cathedral, Inverness Castle and the city centre. Dating back to the 1890s, the property combines period architecture with a contemporary style. There’s an elegant brasserie, bar, lounges, and leisure club and spa, with pool.
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The former bishop’s palace, also designed by Alexander Ross, was built (1875-1878) to house Bishop Robert Eden and his 10 children. It was used by subsequent bishops until the 1940s and is nowadays incorporated into the Eden Court Theatre complex.
Street Secret: It is said that there are up to five different ghosts haunting the Eden Court Theatre, including that of the Green Lady and a child near the old chapel in the former bishop’s palace.
Place to Stay: Relax at the tranquil Aye Stay, from which you could take the beautiful scenic walk to the river and the famous Ness Islands. At this lovely and cosy B&B, you’ll find genuine Scottish hospitality in some very comfortable surroundings.
Enjoy a moment of peace and experience the truly mystic Tomnahuirich Hill, (or ‘Hill of the Yew Trees’ in Gaelic). It is rumoured to be the home of some very hospitable fairies, who’ll invite you for a fun evening of dancing! The hill is dotted with many impressive monuments and is quite a special place for a great walk. Or, why not try a wander up Craig Phaidrig, another fantastic hill for a lovely walk, further west of Inverness, where there once was a great Pictish stronghold? Keep the colourful flora coming and explore the Inverness Botanic Gardens, just south of Tomnahuirich Hill.
Street Secret: The famous 17th century Brahan Seer, who is said to have been granted the gift of foresight by the fairies, predicted that “one day ships would sail round the back Tomnahuirich Hill”. This was unthinkable until, about 200 years later, the Caledonian Canal was dug just west of the hill. Makes you wonder… what wonderful gift would the fairies grant you upon your visit?
Place to Stay: Enjoy a pleasant and relaxing stay in the welcoming clean and comfortable Alban & Abbey House. All rooms are en-suite and have WiFi, Freeview TV and complimentary tea and coffee making facilities. There is an onsite car park for guests to use, free of charge.
This charming street in the city centre is part of the city’s earliest history. Abertarff House, built in 1593 as a townhouse for Clan Fraser of Lovat (Jamie’s ancestors in Outlander), still stands to this day and is owned by the National Trust of Scotland. Afterwards, why not sit back and enjoy the extreme cosiness with a drink of your choice at MacGregor’s Bar?
Street Secret: Did you know the charming Leakey’s Bookshop, the perfect place to while away a few hours in the city, was formerly a hospital that housed government soldiers after the Battle of Culloden?
Place to Stay: The 4-star Mercure Hotel is brimming with Highland charm, with its wall-mounted kilts amidst drawings of vivid Highland landscapes and celebrated characters from Scottish history. Plus, you’ll have a great view over the city centre and the river.
Great Glen Way
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Calming evening sky over the Flora Macdonald statue at Inverness Castle with views down to the river Ness. . Photo credit 📸 @gordondohertyphotography 👏 . . #historicscotland #floramacdonaldstatue #inverness #Scotland #invernesscastle #scottishhighlands #history #invernessviews #staycation #visitscotland #hametowntourist #virtualtourist #highlandcapital #views #scottishlandscape
Enjoy endless panoramic views from this part of Inverness, especially from the 19th century Inverness Castle. The previous castle was destroyed in 1746 by the Jacobites before marching onward to Culloden. In front of the castle, there’s a statue of Flora MacDonald who is said to have given shelter to Bonnie Prince Charlie after his final defeat at the Battle of Culloden, until he could flee on a ship to France.
Street Secret: The north tower of the castle, a former jail, provides a spectacular viewpoint which was opened in 2017. From here you will have panoramic views of the whole of Inverness and the surrounding countryside.
Place to Stay: Enjoy more panoramic views over the River Ness from the luxury Glen Mhor. There are 110 bedrooms, divided across 10 Victorian buildings, as well as 10 apartments and a 4-bedroom River House offering comfortable accommodation in a beautiful location.
High Street & Castle Wynd
On this amazing street you’ll find the impressive Inverness Museum & Art Gallery. Experience the unique history and culture of Inverness and the Highlands first-hand and relax at the IMAG Café (accessible parking available). Opposite the museum lies the iconic Tolbooth Steeple, which was part of a larger courthouse and jail. Further up the street, you’ll find the Velocity Café & Bicycle Workshop, perfect for a soothing drink or an exciting vehicle to explore the nearby Loch Ness 360° Trail.
Street Secret: One of the museum’s many Jacobite memorabilia is a ring, which is said to contain hairs of both Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald.
Place to Stay: Speaking of reliving history; around the corner of High Street, nestled between the Eastgate Shopping Centre and the Iconic Victorian Market, the Royal Highland Hotel has been welcoming guests, including members of the Royal Family, since 1856. Though offering all sorts of modern amenities, it has never lost its classic ambience and period features.
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Cosily tucked away under the Auld Castle Hill, you’ll experience great views over the River Ness and the cathedral on the other side. This might arguably be the most royal side of Inverness, since famous royals, such as Mary Queen of Scots and Robert the Bruce have admired this breath-taking view of the river from the same place. One local folktale even says that, once per year, the goddess Nessa rises from the river at night to sing a song in the moonlight. Will you hear her?
Street Secret: Auld Castle Hill is also the place in Shakespeare’s Macbeth where the tragic hero kills King Duncan, crossing the threshold into madness. The character of Fleance managed to survive the onslaught in the play. Too bad Shakespeare couldn’t have set his play after the 1750s. A still unrepealed byelaw of that time would have granted Fleance a free set of bagpipes for his 10th birthday.
Place to Stay: Feel like a royal at the centrally located luxury Glenmoriston Townhouse boutique hotel. This fine accommodation boasts 30 bedrooms, three apartments, one restaurant and one whisky and piano bar, which is stocked with more than 260 malt whiskies and 50-odd gins.