Home TRAVEL ADVICE 11 Best Things To Do In Inverness, Scotland

11 Best Things To Do In Inverness, Scotland

11 Best Things To Do In Inverness, Scotland

Nestled on the fringes of Loch Ness, Inverness is often seen as a gateway to the Scottish Highlands. It’s the perfect starting point when driving the NC500, but there are also heaps of the best things to do in Inverness at the start of your trip.

Over the years, we’ve explored Inverness many times; staying in the city and heading to the nearby Cairngorms National Park and further north.

This whole area of Scotland is just so beautiful and unspoilt; and whilst you might not make a trip to the Scottish Highlands just for Inverness, it’s worth stopping for a day to explore this small Scottish city.

So, to help you get the most out of your time, I’m popping a few of the top things to do in Inverness, or from the city, itself. Have the most amazing time visiting Scotland.

1.) Inverness Cathedral

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland cathedral of Inverness

Whilst exploring Inverness, make sure to stop by the city’s cathedral that’s nestled right on the banks of the River Ness. Now, it’s free to enter, but you can choose to donate a small amount (around £2) that helps go to the upkeep of the cathedral itself.

A visit to Inverness Cathedral won’t take longer than 20 minutes, but it’s worth a little gander if you’re interested in some of the city’s iconic buildings. If you’re getting peckish, pop into the unfussy Cafe Ness by the Cathedral. Their lemon drizzle cake is so good.

Not only that, you can easily visit when walking the ‘Ness Walk’ that follows the bank of the River Ness and Bishops Road.

 

Read more: Best places to visit on the NC50o in Scotland

2.) Inverness Castle

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Inverness Castle

visiting Inverness Castle is easily one of the best things to do in Inverness when you visit. That being said, it’s not reopening until 2025 for essential works. Though, fear not, you can still get some incredible views of Inverness from the River Ness area below.

For the best views, head to the corner of Bishops Road and Ardross Street (right outside the cathedral). Inverness Castle is on the other side of the River Ness and looks so gorgeous.

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Inverness Castle

If you fancy exploring beyond Inverness, book this Isle of Skye tour that’s a day trip from Inverness. It’s an early start, but they organise all the transport to and from the Isle of Skye before returning you to Inverness. It’s all so easy.

Just be sure to book this Isle of Skye tour in advance. Tickets sell out fast for this one.

Read more: Best things to do on the Isle of Skye

3.) Urquhart Castle

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Urquhart Castle

Nestled on the banks of Loch Ness, visiting Urquhart Castle is one of the best things to do in Inverness for a little day trip.

Around a 30-minute drive from the centre of Inverness, the ruins of Urquhart Castle date back to the Early Middle Ages. Nowadays, you can tour Urquhart Castle and explore the grounds and the banks of Loch Ness whilst you’re here.

To make things easy, book this Urquhart Castle tour from Inverness that will get you right inside the castle grounds. Not only is the castle great to visit, but you’ll also drive a vast section on the banks of Loch Ness, too. It’s so worth it for an afternoon trip.

4.) Falcon Square

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Falcon Square

Now, you won’t make a dedicated trip to Falcon Square whilst visiting Inverness in itself. You see, Falcon Square is right outside Inverness Train Station and will likely be the first port-of-call you’ll see after hopping off the train.

Now, Falcon Square is relatively new (around 20 years old) but you will see one of the city’s unicorns that stands on top of a plinth. It’s only small but lovely to see.

If you’re looking for high street stores, head into the Eastgate Shopping Centre that’s just off Falcon Square. You’ll see the regular names that are on high streets across the UK.

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Victoria Market

Looking for more local stores and cafes? Then head over to the Victorian Market. Inside, it’s home to a collection of local craft shops, cafes, restaurants, and boutiques. It’s only small, but you’ll notice it’s much more ‘local’ than Eastgate Shopping Centre.

 

5.) Loch Ness

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Loch Ness Tour

I mean, you can’t not visit Loch Ness when you’re in Inverness. It’s so easy to see and probably the most famous loch in the whole world!

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Loch Ness Tour

Now, you can easily drive around Loch Ness (if you’re hiring a car) but you can also book this Loch Ness tour that will take you to some of the key spots to visit. Alternatively, book this tour from Inverness which also includes a visit to Urquhart Castle and a cruise on Loch Ness itself.

If you’re driving, pop into Glenmoriston Arms for their yummy fish and chips. Alternatively, if you’re driving the whole stretch of Loch Ness, then stop by Fort Agustus. It’s a small canal area that’s well worth taking a stroll. We loved the Loch Inn for its homemade pies.

 

Read more: Best things to do in the Scottish Highlands

6.) Inverness Dolphin Tour

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Dolphin Sightseeing Tour

One of the benefits of staying a day in Inverness is that you can join a dolphin tour to spot bottlenose dolphins. We went out on tour with Dolphin Spirit Inverness which takes you up the Firth of Moray.

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Dolphin Sightseeing Tour

Now, you’re not always guaranteed to see dolphins; but they do love to play in the waters here. Make sure to choose a calm day, with good weather. I find it’s easier to spot them with little waves.

Read more: Best places to visit on the NC50o in Scotland

7.) Eden Court Highlands

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Eden Court

Visiting Eden Court is easily one of the best things to do in Inverness if you want to book a local performance. You see, not only is Eden Court a major arts venue in the city, but it also has performing spaces which you can book tickets for.

The whole complex might look small but it still boasts two theatres, and various workshop spaces, too.

 

Read more: Best things to do in the Scottish Highlands

8.) Cairngorms National Park

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Cairngorms National Park

In lots of ways, as I mentioned previously, Inverness acts as a gateway city to the great outdoors in the Scottish Highlands. If you’re heading east, make sure to drive over to Cairngorms National Park and explore.

Once here, make sure to visit Rothiemurchus and either hire some bikes (like we did) or head out on a quad bike. We did both of these and had the most incredible time. They’re the perfect activity if you’re only visiting for a day or overnight.

Oh, and if you’re staying longer, head out on a hike into the great outdoors. The area around Ben Macdui Mountain is beautiful.

That being said, you need to be an experienced hiker as it can be tough on some of these trails.  If you’re unsure of your abilities, don’t go. After all, no one likes a reckless hiker.

Read more: Best things to do in the Scottish Highlands

9.) Glenmorangie Distillery

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Glenmorangie Distillery Tour Whisky

There are so many distilleries to see in the Scottish Highlands, but one of the most famous (and close to Inverness) is the Glenmorangie Distillery.

Glenmorangie has been distilling whisky since. the 1800s at this site and it’s well worth popping over for a visit. Just be sure to book your tickets before arriving; tickets aren’t readily available if you just rock up.

Once here, you’ll be able to learn more about the distilling process, what makes Glenmorangie unique and even have a tipple. It’s worth a trip; even if you’re not a whisky drinker.

10.) Cawdor Castle

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Cawdor Castle

Around a 20-minute drive from Inverness, visiting Cawdor Castle is one of the best things to do in Inverness when heading east. Also, if you’re arriving or departing from Inverness by flight, then the airport is a mere 12 minutes from Cawdor Castle itself.

Dating back to the 1400s, Cawdor Castle has a history spanning centuries. The whole castle buildings are so beautiful to see and you can even learn about how the castle was built.

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Cawdor Castle Macbeth

You see, the buildings were constructed around a tiny holly tree. It was at this very spot that a donkey rested under the tree. It had heaps of gold and is said to have chosen the site for the castle to be built. Still, to this day, you can see the remains of the holly on the lower areas of Cawdor.

Afterwards, make sure to explore the Walled Gardens and see the beautiful grounds.

A visit will take around 2 hours and it’s well worth exploring when visiting the wider Inverness area.

 

11.) Nairn

Best Things To Do In Inverness Scotland Nairn

If you’re following the A96 road, eastbound, you’ll come across the little Highland’s village of Nairn. The town, overlooking the North Sea, is well worth a visit for a few hours trip; especially for Nairn Beach.

Now, a heads up, the water is chilly in Nairn. That being said, the beach is gorgeous and the town is lovely to stroll through. Just make sure to stay for sunset and book a table at Sundancer for dinner. Their king scallops are so delicious.