Inverness Visitor Guide
by David Wheater
My Guide to Visiting Inverness in Scotland
Introduction to Inverness
Inverness is a very popular city in the Scottish Highlands and an important commercial and retail centre for the whole Highland region. Inverness is very much the gateway to the Scottish Highlands.
Its popularity grows every year with more and more businesses and people relocating there to enjoy an improved quality of life and the beautiful surrounding countryside.
The city is located at the mouth of the River Ness which flows through the city centre from Loch Ness and into the Moray Firth. The River Ness is a wonderful feature of the city and there are even some lovely islands in the river to escape to for some peaceful picnics and quiet contemplation.
On first impressions, it may seem that Inverness doesn’t have a great many things going on – but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find a lot going on all year round – particularly in the traditional Gaelic live music scene, which is as vibrant here as anywhere else in Scotland.
If you want to enjoy some lively traditional Scottish music a trip to Hootananny in Church Street is an absolute must. Other notable events in the city’s calendar include The Inverness Music Festival in March, The Inverness Highland Games and the huge Highland RockNess music festival in June.
To really appreciate Inverness and its top attractions it’s essential to have a local, experienced tour guide. A tour of Inverness will typically include a visit to all the following highlights in and around the city: Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, the Ness Islands Park, the charming Victorian Market, Culloden Battlefield, the Clava Cairns burial tombs, the Caledonian Canal, Fort George and Cawdor Castle. You may even want to go Nessie hunting at Loch Ness and spot a few Bottlenose Dolphins in the Moray Firth.
Inverness, the UK’s northernmost city, became a city in 2001 and is often referred to as the “Capital of the Highlands”.
It is located on the east coast of Scotland on the shores of the Moray Firth and at the mouth of the River Ness which divides the city in two. It is Scotland’s second smallest city with a population of around 71,000 but is growing fast due to increasing inward investment and its reputation as a wonderful place to live.
The River Ness is very much the central feature of the city, a walk along which is one of the loveliest in Scotland. Inverness has a busy town centre with an interesting history and a rich heritage. Every year thousands visit the city and the Highlands to enjoy dramatic scenery, absorb fascinating history and enjoy the very best that Scotland has to offer.
Every September the city hosts the “Northern Meeting” which is the highest regarded solo bag-piping competition in the world. The annual Inverness Highland Games is also attended every year by people from all over the world. Notable buildings in the city include Inverness Castle which is now home to the law courts and council offices and the Gothic Inverness Cathedral.
In 2007, the Centre for Health Science opened in the City which now attracts investment in the medical field and has forged strong links with Inverness College. Another big employer in the area is Scottish Natural Heritage which moved from Edinburgh in 2004.
The city is the home of Inverness College which is the largest member of the UHI Millenium Institute, a federation of 15 colleges throughout the Highlands & Islands that now provides university level courses. It is likely that the Institute will become a formal University in the not too distant future. There are plans for a new 200 acre campus for Inverness College which is expected to contribute significantly to the city’s economy and attract thousands more students.
Inverness has a busy railway station and airport with regular flights to most other UK destinations, including Edinburgh, London and Manchester (please check).
Inverness, despite being a small city, has some excellent shopping and amenities. The Victorian Market in the Old Town is particularly worth a visit with well over 40 interesting shops.
Inverness is very much a city on the up and is likely to expand quickly over the coming years.
Inverness airport at Dalcross, 7 miles east of the city centre has regular flights to and from other UK cities as well as some overseas destinations too.
Transport in Inverness
Inverness Domestic & International Airport
Inverness airport is very much the gateway to the Highlands. It’s located to the north east of the city on the A96 at Dalcross and is around a 15 minute drive from the city centre. Its postcode is IV2 7JB and contact telephone 01667 464 000. There is both short and long stay parking at the airport.
Scheduled flights operate between London Gatwick, London Luton, Belfast City, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Stornoway, Kirkwall and Sumburgh. Holiday charters also operate to all parts of Europe. Destinations and routes change so please always check.
The Stagecoach JET 11 bus service runs frequently between Inverness bus station and the airport and there’s also a service from the Airport to the towns of Forres, Elgin, Nairn and Ardersier. The train station in Inverness is around a 15-20 minute car/taxi ride away from the airport.
The bus station in Inverness is run by Highland Council and is centrally located at Farraline Park, with access from Margaret Street and Academy Street. It’s located close to Inverness Railway Station. Its postcode is IV1 1LT.
Inverness is locally served by Stagecoach buses with buses operating all around the city and to to the airport. There are also regular services to other Highland towns such as Ullapool, Fort William and Thurso. Megabus and Scottish Citylink also operate services to other parts of the UK.
Use the Traveline Scotland website or telephone 0871 200 22 33 for help to plan your journey.
Inverness railway station is located near the city centre at Academy Street.
The station has good facilities including a 1st class lounge, newsagents, waiting rooms and baby changing facilities.
Visit the National Rail Enquiries website for help to plan your train journey.
Inverness Taxis & Hire Cars
Hiring a car
Hiring a car in Scotland is easy and you may like to try the following car hire companies based in Inverness:
Enterprise Rent-A-Car 39-41 Harbour Road, Inverness IV1 1UA Tel. 01463 235 525
Arnold Clark Car & Van Rental 46 Harbour Road, Inverness IV1 1UF Tel. 01463 723 720
Focus Vehicle Rental 6 Harbour Road, Inverness IV1 1SY Tel. 01463 709 517
Thrifty Car & Van Rental 33 Harbour Road, Inverness IV1 1UA Tel. 01463 224 466
Inverness Taxis Tel. (01463) 222 222 City Taxis Inverness Tel. (01463) 222 555 A2B Taxis Inverness Tel. (01463) 80 70 60
Inverness Visitor Attractions
There are some superb visitor attractions located in and around the city of Inverness. If you’re pushed for time, three must-see’s are Culloden Battlefield, Fort George and Urquhart Castle.
CULLODEN BATTLEFIELD VISITOR CENTRE
http://www.nts.org.uk Tel. (0844) 493 2159 Opened in December 2007, this contemporary visitor centre tells the story of the battle of Culloden between the government troops of the Duke of Cumberland and Prince Charles Edward Stuarts’s Jacobites on 16 April 1746 – a battle that was to change history. As well as excellent exhibitions and audio tours you can also walk the battlefield itself and survey the whole of it from the roof top viewing platform.
http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk Tel. (01667) 460 232 Strategically positioned on a promontory into the Moray Firth, Fort George was built after the Battle of Culloden to suppress any further Jacobite unrest. It is a huge fort and thought to be the largest artillery fortification in Europe. It is still a working army barracks and houses the regimental museum of the Seaforths & Camerons.
JACOBITE CRUISES – LOCH NESS
http://www.jacobite.co.uk Tel. (01463) 233 999 Setting off from Inverness and Clansman Harbour (10 miles from Inverness) these wonderful cruises on lovely Loch Ness run throughout the year and are a great way to explore this famous Loch. At 23 miles long and with lots of different cruises on offer, there’s plenty of time to take in the beautiful surrounding mountains and scenery which make Scotland so special.
http://www.cawdorcastle.com Tel. (01667) 404 401 Dating from the 14th century, Cawdor castle is just 10 miles east of Inverness and is perhaps best known for its literary connection to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The castle originally began life as a large tower and has been added to over the centuries to make a real fairy-tale castle. With three superb gardens, woodlands, a golf course and a tea room it’s well worth a visit.
http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk Tel. (01456) 450 551 Situated on the banks of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle is an impressive ruined medieval fortress dating back to the 13th century. The castle has a long military history and changed hands on countless occasions. There is an excellent visitor centre with fantastic views of Loch Ness, along with audio visual presentations, a cafe and a shop selling local crafts.
INVERNESS FLORAL HALL
http://www.invernessfloralhall.com Tel. (01463) 713 553 Opened in 1993 by Prince Edward, The Floral Hall, Gardens & Coffee Shop has been inspiring gardeners for many years with its beautiful floral displays and subtropical plant glass house. There is also a superb cactus house and a sheltered outdoor garden with raised and ground level beds, filled with colourful displays, trees, shrubs, heathers and herbs and much more.
PLODDA FALLS, TOMICH
http://www.forestry.gov.uk Situated close to the village of Tomich near Glen Affric, this superb waterfall descends for over 46 metres and looks beautiful from the dedicated wooden platform overhanging the falls. From the Plodda Falls car park you can take the Falls Walk, or Tweedmouth Walk, amongst some magnificent mature conifers and you may even see a Red Squirrel!
INVERNESS MUSEUM & ART GALLERY
http://www.inverness.highland.museum Tel. (01463) 237 114 Everything in this fascinating museum & gallery is connected to Inverness and the Highlands. The collection covers the archaeology, geology and natural history of the Highlands along with fine art and crafts. Highlights include the Wolfstone – a 6/7th century stone carving of a wolf and an incredible archive of photographs from all over the Highlands.
http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk Located just 6 miles east of Inverness, this well preserved collection of Bronze Age prehistoric burial cairns is located just a few hundred yards from Culloden Battlefield. This ancient cemetery is in a very atmospheric and beautiful setting and is well worth a visit after seeing Culloden Battlefield.
DOLPHIN & SEAL CENTRE, NORTH KESSOCK
http://www.wdcs.org Tel. (01463) 731 866 This centre near Inverness is open between June and September and is dedicated to the conservation and protection of Whales and Dolphins in the Moray Firth. They have a great viewing window with spectacular views across the Moray Firth and you can even listen to Dolphins through their underwater microphones! Please visit and help support the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).
NESS ISLANDS PARK
http://www.nessriver.co.uk These delightful islands in the River Ness are located next to Bught Park just south of the city centre. Accessed via two bridges they are a very popular beauty spot with locals and tourists and a lovely place to take a stroll, relax and unwind. For children there’s a play area and the islands even have their own public miniature railway.
SCOTTISH KILTMAKER VISITOR CENTRE
http://www.highlandhouseoffraser.com Tel. (01463) 222 781 This terrific visitor centre, in the heart of the city centre, is dedicated to our famous national dress and is a fascinating insight into the history, tradition and culture of the kilt. Kilts and other products are handmade on site in the traditional way and in the kiltmaking workshop you can see the process from start to finish. Visitors can also purchase their own kilt from a terrific collection in store.
Spending a Day in Inverness
Dominating the city skyline is the 19 Century Inverness Castle (the latest reincarnation) which now houses the Sheriff Court and isn’t generally open to the public. It’s still very worthwhile, however, taking a walk up to it as there are very nice views over the River Ness below and right across the city.
The tourist office is centrally located next to the castle which is a great place to head for if you need help getting around Inverness or you’re planning a road trip around the Highlands & Islands.
First on your list of places to visit in Inverness should be the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery on Castle Wynd, which tells the fascinating story and history of the Scottish Highlands alongside more contemporary exhibitions, arts and crafts. This is a great place to really start to understand the history and heritage of the Highlands and how the area is linked to the rest of the world. There is also a good cafe “Cuach” which serves tea, coffee, soup and light snacks.
Your next stop should be the Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Centre in Highland House of Fraser, which will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about the history and tradition of tartan and highland dress. You can even see the different stages of kilt manufacture and meet the very people who hand craft the kilts. Highland House of Fraser have been making bespoke kilts for over 50 years and are the experts in helping you choose the right kilt. If you’re in the market for a quality hand sewn kilt this is the place to visit!
The Highland Print Studio is well worth a visit for a look at their original hand made prints for sale or to enrol on one of their excellent print making classes. The print studio is open to both beginners and experienced printmakers and specialise in Intaglio, Relief Printing, Lithography, Screenprinting and Digital Imaging. If you’ve never done any printing before it’s well worth taking a class.
The Eden Court Theatre and Cinema is a terrific multi-arts and conference venue running regular theatrical productions throughout the year. It was refurbished in November 2007 and is now one of the best equipped arts theatres in Scotland. It’s now home to two theatres, two cinemas and two dance & drama studios making it the main theatre and entertainment venue in the Scottish Highlands. It’s got a stunning location on the banks of the River Ness and its restaurant and cafe is an ideal place to have lunch or dinner, or just grab a coffee and cake.
If you’re looking for a peaceful outdoor spot in the city to while away some time in the sun then head for the Ness Islands Park located near Bught Park. The islands are accessed by two suspension bridges over the River Ness and are popular with tourists and locals who enjoy the beauty and peace of these islands which are full of important flora and fauna. It’s also possible to see the occasional otter and deer. There are good play areas for children and a brilliant little miniature railway running two locomotives pulling 4 sit-astride coaches.
Five miles east of Inverness is the famous Culloden Moor which is the location for the very last battle to have taken place on British Soil on 16 April 1746. This was where the Jacobite army was finally snuffed out by the “Cumberland Butcher” and the course of British history changed for ever. The Culloden Visitor Centre is run by the National Trust for Scotland and with the help of costumed actors and the very latest audio-visual technology manages to bring back to life the cruel and bloody events of that momentous day. It is well worth a visit and will teach you a lot about the major social, political and economic struggles of the day. The cafe here serves good meals and snacks and don’t forget to visit the rooftop viewing platform which gives you a birds eye view of the whole battlefield.
While visiting Culloden, it’s also worth making the small further journey to see the Bronze age cemetery Clava Cairns located just 300 yards east of Culloden Battlefield. The Clava Cairns are an exceptionally well preserved collection of prehistoric burial cairns built around 4,000 years ago.
If you like exploring castles and gardens, it’s worth heading 8 miles east of Culloden to visit Cawdor Castle and Gardens famously linked to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The castle dates from the late 14th Century and was built as a fortress for the Thanes of Cawdor. One of the most interesting features of the castle is the holly tree around which the medieval tower was built and you’ll have to visit to discover why! There are 3 lovely gardens to explore and a Courtyard Cafe for afternoon tea. If you like a round of golf there’s even a 25 acre, par 32 golf course amongst some very lovely parkland.
Another impressive fortress, built from 1747 onwards, is the mighty artillery fortification Fort George which took over 20 years to complete. The fort was built by George II to ensure there would be no further Jacobite unrest after Culloden and it’s still a working army barracks to this day. It is an astonishingly large fortification with almost a mile of boundary walls and is said to be the mightiest artillary fortification in Britain and perhaps Europe. During your visit you should make a point of visiting the regimental museum of the Queens Own Highlanders (Seaforths & Camerons).
While visiting Inverness, an increasingly popular activity is Dolphin watching. The Moray Firth is only one of three areas of the UK coastline that supports a resident population of Dolphins and it’s thought that there may be as many as 100 Dolphins currently living in the estuary. The two most popular spots at which to spot them are Chanonry Point on the Black Isle and Kessock Bridge. Due to increases in the amount of boating traffic in the estuary and concern over disturbance to the Dolphins environment, it’s important that Dolphin watchers only use tour operators accredited by the Dolphin Space Programme’s Accreditation Scheme. The Dolphin and Seal Centre at North Kessock (just outside Inverness) is a fantastic place to see and even hear Bottlenose Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises and Seals. They have a great viewing window and even a sound exhibit using the latest acoustic software to bring underwater sound to life.
If you fancy heading out into the Moray Firth estuary by boat then one of the best Dolphin tour operators is Ecoventures located in the Black Isle.
Inverness Restaurants & Cafes
For a small city, Inverness has some truly excellent restaurants and cafes to suit every possible taste and budget. The following are among some of our favourite restaurants in Inverness.
THE RIVER CAFE & RESTAURANT
10 Bank Street, Inverness IV1 1QY http://www.rivercafeandrestaurant.co.uk Tel. (01463) 714 884 Varied Menu. The river cafe enjoys a great setting on the banks of the River Ness. Open for lunch, dinner, traditional Scottish high teas and evening meals there’s a very reasonably priced menu that should appeal to everyone.
THE MUSTARD SEED
16 Fraser Street, Inverness IV1 1DW http://www.mustardseedrestaurant.co.uk Tel. (01463) 220 220 European with Highland influences. Located in a lovely converted church in the centre of inverness, on the banks of the river Ness, the Mustard Seed offers diners a lunch, early evening and dinner menu with a wide variety of European dishes using ingredients from locally sourced suppliers. The views of the river from the top floor terrace are lovely.
75 Castle Street, Inverness IV2 3EA http://www.cafe1.net Tel. (01463) 226 200 Scottish restaurant. Great food in a stylish cafe near Inverness Castle. Serving a varied menu from beef to seafood and pasta dishes. A really good lunch menu and set menu. The quality of the ingredients is fantastic and they even rear their own sheep and highland cows! Great for a few cocktails too! Well worth a visit.
CHEZ ROUX AT ROCPOOL RESERVE
Culduthel Road, Inverness IV2 4AG http://www.rocpool.com Tel. (01463) 240 089 French restaurant/bar. Beautiful, elegant, restaurant offering french dishes using great Scottish produce.
THE JOY OF TASTE
25 Church Street, Inverness IV1 1DY http://www.thejoyoftaste.co.uk Tel. (01463) 241 459 British Cuisine. The Joy of Taste is unusually owned by 25 members of staff who are committed to running a warm and welcoming restaurant serving quality food at reasonable prices. All members of staff are volunteers who do one shift per week and the love shows! The menu changes regularly with something to suit most people. It’s a great place to go for lunch when you’re out and about in town.
RIVER HOUSE RESTAURANT
1 Greig Street, Inverness IV3 5PT http://www.riverhouseinverness.co.uk Tel. (01463) 222 033 Scottish with a French influence. A lovely small restaurant, situated on the banks of the River Ness, mainly specialising in seafood. Lovely views over the river.
26 Queensgate, Inverness IV1 1DJ http://www.highlandaspendos.co.uk Tel. (01463) 711 950 Mediterranean/Turkish restaurant. Authentic Turkish and Mediterranean dishes that are going down a treat in Inverness. Very warm and welcoming staff and we thoroughly recommend the set menu. If you’re in Inverness you really should give Aspendos a try.
67 Church Street, Inverness IV1 1ES http://www.hootananny.co.uk Tel. (01463) 233 651 Thai cuisine. Hootananny is a very popular live music venue in Inverness. The Hootananny restaurant serves a good selection of traditional Scottish fayre including the “Hoots Cullen Skink”, Scottish smoked salmon, haggis and Highland Beef. Well worth a visit for the great atmosphere & live music.
THE DORES INN
Dores, Inverness IV2 6TR http://www.thedoresinn.co.uk Tel. (01463) 751 203 Traditional Scottish pub/restaurant. A lovely traditional Scottish Inn about 10 miles south of Inverness (Dores Road) on the banks of Loch Ness. Great food and beer in a great loch-side location. If you’re looking for somewhere informal to chill out in wonderful surroundings with great food and beer – then head here!
Auldearn, Nairn IV12 5TE http://www.boath-house.com Tel. (01667) 454 896 Fine Dining. Although a 30 minute journey from Inverness this is a great hotel with a great restaurant. Michelin starred again in 2013. The hotel has it’s own kitchen garden and meat and seafood produce comes from local suppliers. Some wild ingredients (mushrooms, herbs) are even foraged from natures larder! For a special occasion this is undoubtedly the place to celebrate!
Bars & Pubs in Inverness
Inverness is a fast growing city and the number and variety of pubs, bars and clubs is steadily growing with it.
The capital of the Highlands is well known for its good lively pubs and for its excellent live music scene. The Ironworks on Academy Street and Hootananny in Church Street are some of Inverness’s best-known music venues where you can enjoy a drink and listen to great local and Scottish bands and those touring from further afield.
Inverness, like other Scottish cities, has a good selection of bars, pubs and clubs to choose from with everything from traditional pubs with live ceilidh music, like Blackfriars in Academy Street, to trendy, modern cocktail & wine bars like Bar One, also in Academy Street. If cocktails are your thing try The Den in Bank Street and/or The White House Cocktail Bar in Union Street.
Academy Street and Church Street are probably the first places to head for in Inverness if you’re looking for a lively night out. Both streets offer a good selection of pubs and bars that are all easy to find, along with a few good places to eat too.
If you’re still in a party mood after the pubs have closed you could try Inverness’s oldest night club “G’s” in Castle Street to dance the rest of the night away (or at least to 3am when it closes). Alternatively, try one of Inverness’s newest clubs, The Den Wine Bar & Club at 26 Bank Street.
We’ve included a variety of Inverness bars and pubs below to suit all tastes and budgets. We know people will have their own opinions as to what’s good and bad, but hopefully you’ll find one or two of our suggestions a hit!
THE CASTLE TAVERN
1 View Place, Inverness IV2 4SA http://www.castletavern.net/
THE INNES BAR
61 Innes Street, Inverness IV1 1NR http://www.spanglefish.com/innesbar/index.asp
THE PHOENIX ALE HOUSE
110 Academy Street, Inverness IV1 1LX http://www.phoenixalehouse.co.uk/
THE WATERFRONT RESTAURANT & BAR
70 Huntly Street, Inverness IV3 5JN Tel. 01463 233 870
THE THISTLE INN
19 Celt Street, Inverness IV3 5JB http://www.thistleinn.co.uk/
18 Tomnahurich Street, Inverness IV3 5DD https://www.facebook.com/nellideans123/timeline?ref=page_internal
2-4 Young Street, Inverness IV3 5BL https://www.facebook.com/pages/Glenalbyn-Bar/150562048311617
JOHNNY FOXES PUB RESTAURANT
26 Bank Street, Inverness IV1 1QU http://www.johnnyfoxes.co.uk/johnny_foxes_pub_restaurant_inverness/index.htm
14-17 Bridge Street, Inverness IV1 1HD http://www.gellions.co.uk/index.htm
28 Church Street, Inverness IV1 1EH http://www.auctioneers-inverness.co.uk/
BLACKFRIARS HIGHLAND PUB
93/95 Academy Street, Inverness IV1 1LU http://www.blackfriarshighlandpub.co.uk/
1 Academy Street, Inverness IV1 1JN http://invernessbarone.com/
THE DEN WINE BAR & CLUB
26 Bank Street, Inverness IV1 1QU http://www.johnnyfoxes.co.uk/theden_nightclub_bar_inverness.htm
THE WHITE HOUSE COCKTAIL BAR & BISTRO
50 Union Street, Inverness IV1 1PX http://www.thewhitehouse.uk.com/
Shopping in Inverness
Inverness is a delightful city to shop in and, as the main service centre for most of the Highlands, has a wide range of well known high street stores and smaller independent shops to keep most keen shoppers busy for at least a day.
The city centre is relatively compact and most shops are easily reachable on foot.
Popular Shops in Inverness
Judith Glue, 15 Bridge Street, (01463) 248 529 A really superb shop with splendid Orkney knitwear and gifts from all over the Highlands.
The Whisky Shop, 17 Bridge Street, (01463) 710 525 If you love your whisky you’ll love this shop; also online too.
Oil & Vinegar, 8-10 Union Street, (01463) 240 073 A lovely range of cooking oils and other tasty and tempting cooking ingredients!
Cafferys, 18 Union Street, (01463) 226 566 A really good menswear shop offering all the latest fashion labels & designer wear.
The Castle Gallery, 43 Castle Street, (01463) 729 512 Full of fantastic contemporary art from predominantly Scottish artists.
Jennifer Welch Gallery, 79 Kenneth Street, (01463) 223 362 A superb selection of art from contemporary Scottish artists.
Leakey’s Bookshop & Cafe, Church Street 0131 220 5414 A mecca for booklovers; the biggest antiquarian bookshop in Scotland.
Grahams, 37/39 Castle Street, (01463) 233 178 A real treasure trove for the avid fisherman; tackle, outdoor clothing and permits.
Highland House of Fraser, 4-9 Huntly Street, (01463) 222 781 One of the very best kiltmakers and highland dress outfitters in Scotland.
Begg, 28 Union Street, (01463) 239 189 A long established independent shoe shop for men and women; online shop too.
Craigdon Mountain Sports, 78 Academy Street, (01463) 248 600 Everything you can possibly need for the great outdoors!
Ma Maison Ecossaise, 6 Stephen’s Brae, (01463) 241 555 Quality french furniture, furnishings & accessories.
The Drawing Room, 14 Kingsmills Road, (01463) 711 888 A gorgeous shop with lots of superb quality gifts & jewellery.
Maya, 5 Strothers Lane, (01463) 419 201 Lovely hand-made belgian chocolates; head here if you love your chocolate!
Ness Soap, 3a Strothers Lane, (01463) 243 869 Wonderful handmade soap, skin & bath products all made in the on site studio.
Riverdale Centre, 105-107 Church Street, (01463) 250 589 Complementary therapies, organic food shop & cafe/juice bar.
Mania, 9-10 Drummond Street, (01463) 226 599 A great range of branded designer menswear and footwear.
East, 72 Eastgate Centre, (01463) 712 091 A great women’s fashion store with collections influenced by the colours and prints of the far east.
The Best Shopping Areas & Shopping Centres in Inverness
City Centre, Inverness Most well known high street stores are to be found along Inverness High Street and in the surrounding streets. The High Street is largely pedestrianised
The Old Town of inverness has some interesting shops where you can find Scottish arts & crafts, souvenirs and jewellery as well as some nice places to eat. A particular favourite for book lovers is Leakey’s second-hand bookshop which is the largest antiquarian book shop in Scotland. Housed in a converted church on the corner of Church Street it’s a great place to browse and have a coffee.
For ladies looking for some specials shoes and accessories Helen Bateman within McEwans of Perth on Church Street carries some great designer items and is well worth a visit. (Note McEwans may be closing in Inverness).
Oil & Vinegar on Union Street is a fantastic emporium of delicious international food, a lot of which you can sample in store.
The Old Town Deli on Church Street is a great place to go for tea and a light snack.
The Castle Gallery on Castle Street have a great selection of sculpture, jewellery and ceramics. Also on Castle Street is the wonderful jewellery studio of Hazel Passmore where you can find some really unique designer pieces.
On Bank Street, the Riverside Gallery has an excellent range of original and limited edition prints.
The Gourmet’s Lair on Union Street is a fantastic deli with a good range of both international and home grown produce along with a good selection of British Cheese.
If you’re visiting the highlands for some fishing J Graham & Co in Castle Street is the place to go for tackle, outdoor clothing and advice on the best places to fish.
Eastgate Shopping Centre, Inverness The Eastgate Shopping Centre is a very popular shopping centre with around 60 outlets serving a very wide catchment area covering most of the north and east highlands.
The centre caters for most tastes and ages and includes a good mix of retailers including clothes shops, chemists, music stores and toy shops to name but a few.
The centre is close to the railway station and home to a wide range of high street names including: Next, Debenhams, Argos, Boots, French Connection, HMV, La Senza, Monsoon, New Look, River Island, Topshop, Waterstones and Marks & Spencers. There is also a good Morissons supermarket linked to the centre.
There are two adjacent car parks with space for 1,350 cars, both of which are accessed from Millburn Road.
If you’re a coffee lover looking for your next hit then the centre has a Costa Coffee in Waterstone’s bookshop and also a Starbucks.
On the first floor there’s a good food court offering fayre from most of the big names such as Pizza Hut, KFC, Pizza Express, O’ Briens and Burger Express.
The Victorian Market, Inverness The Victorian Market in Inverness lies in the heart of the Old Town and has entrances from four streets including Church Street and Union Street.
In Victorian times open air markets were very popular in Inverness and a covered market was built in the 1870’s which unfortunately burnt down. The current ornate and characterful indoor market was built several years afterwards in 1890 on the same spot.
The arcade houses predominantly independent retailers offering a slightly more unique shopping experience than the High Street. It’s extremely important that these independents are supported by all visitors to Inverness.
Retailers in the Arcade sell all kinds of things including jewellery, clothes, needlecraft and souvenirs and also has a fishmongers, florist, butchers and tea shops.
Annual Festivals in Inverness
Inverness Music Festival (Feb/Mar) http://www.invernessmusicfestival.org/
Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival (Aug)
NIP Craft Drinks Festival (Apr) http://www.thenip.scot/#gathering
Inverness Highland Games (Jul) http://invernesshighlandgames.com/
Inverness Science Festival (May) http://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/inverness-science-festival
Inverness Gala (Jul) https://www.facebook.com/events/1541041976110205/
Happyness Inverness Comedy Festival http://happy-ness.co.uk/
The Red Hot Highland Fling (Dec) http://www.invernessfestivals.com
Highland Military Tattoo (Fort George, Sept) http://www.highlandmilitarytattoo.com/
Kirking of the Council http://www.invernessfestivals.com
Halloween Show http://www.invernessfestivals.com
BLAS Festival (Sept) http://www.blas-festival.com/
Loch Ness Marathon (Sept)
ETAPE Loch Ness (Apr)
Black Isle Show (Aug) http://www.blackisleshow.info/index.asp?PageID=13
5th Nov Bonfire & Fireworks Show http://www.invernessfestivals.com
North HOP Beer Festival (Aug) http://northhop.co.uk/festival
Brew at the Bog (Jun) http://www.brewatthebog.com/
Highlands Strongest Man (Jul) https://www.facebook.com/events/747117375386427/
Rockness (will it come back?)
Inverness Leisure Activities
Inverness to Dingwall Inverness to Dingwall town centre 16 miles long; 2hrs to cycle; National cycle network route number: 1 Through a combination of roads and cycle paths this route takes you through the Black Isle to Dingwall. One of the highlights is the Seal and Dolphin Centre at North Kessock.
Laggan Wolftrax, Kingussie 35km of Mountain-biking trails. Located in the lovely Strathmashie Forest, near Kingussie, the Laggan Wolftrax provides beginners and pros alike with some mountain-biking trails that will really test your skills. The BaseCamp MTB offers cycle hire, repair shop, cafe, showers, toilets and a bike wash. (Tel. (01463) 791 575)
Moray Monster Trails, Fochabers 30km of Mountain-biking trails With graded trails (green for novices – black for pros) there is a trail to suit everyone at Monster Trails. Local facilities are available in Fochabers, Elgin and Craigellachie. (Tel. (01446) 794 161)
Learnie Red Rock Trails, Black Isle 16km of Mountain-biking trails At Learnie Red Rock there’s something for everyone here including a dirt jump area. Suitable trails for beginners and pros. There are some great views too. Local amenities are available in Rosemarkie and Cromarty (Tel. (01463) 791 575).
Highland Wildcat Trails, Golspie With the longest singletrack descent in the UK at around 7000m Highland Wildcat Trails is the place for the serious mountain biker. There are, however, trails for every ability. This is a great day out with some fantastic views from the top of the mountain. The trailhead is the village of Golspie offering good facilities for the visitor.
For keen golfers there are some fantastic courses in and around Inverness, including the following:
Royal Dornoch http://www.royaldornoch.com Tel. (01862) 810 219 18 Holes, Par 70, Links, Length 6514 Lying about 45 miles north of Inverness this championship course is a trek to get to. However, there are many who say, that if this course hadn’t been so remote, it undoubtedly would have hosted an Open Championship. Go there and see why. It must be one of the finest golf courses in the world.
Nairn http://www.nairngolfclub.co.uk Tel. (01667) 453 208 18 Holes, Par 72, Links, Length 6721 Another gem of a links course. Located around 16 miles east of Inverness this is an absolute must visit course.
Boat of Garten http://www.boatgolf.com Tel. (01479) 831 282 18 Holes, Par 70, Inland, Length 5876 Located about 25 miles south east of Inverness in the Cairngorms National Park, there are few courses which can beat the Highland grandeur of this amazing course. Good facilities and a course that will test your golfing skills.
Tain http://www.tain-golfclub.co.uk Tel. (01862) 892 099 18 Holes, Par 70, Links, Length 6404 This delightful links course lies on the south shore of the Dornoch Firth about 35 miles north of Inverness. The course was layed out by the famous Old Tom Morris and it’s 3rd and 17th holes are right up there with the best. Don’t miss this one!
Inverness http://www.invernessgolfclub.co.uk Tel. (01463) 239 882 18 Holes, Par 69, Inland, Length 6256 Just minutes from Inverness city centre, is an excellent course situated overlooking the Beauly Firth. A very popular course which is well worth a visit.
Popular Inverness Hotels
Inverness, the capital and gateway to the Scottish Highlands, offers its visitors an excellent range of accommodation.
There are so many great hotels, guest houses and B&Bs to choose from that making your mind up where to stay in Inverness can be difficult! Whether you’re looking for something a little traditional like the Culloden House Hotel with its elegant Georgian features, or the newer boutique style RocPool Reserve Hotel with its modern and glamorous interior, there’s truly something for everyone. Here’s a few of our favourite Inverness hotels:
(5 star) 14 Culduthel Road, Inverness, IV2 4AG http://www.rocpool.com Tel. (01463) 240 089
This is a truly great hotel and the only 5 star in Inverness. It’s very conveniently located in the heart of the city just a short walk away from the High Street and Inverness Castle. The hotel has won many awards and it’s not difficult to see why. The style is very much boutique, but with some modern glamour thrown in by way of sculpture and the clean modern lines of some of the furnishings. This is real luxury. The Chez Roux restaurant is excellent as is the bar. The rooms come with fridges, coffee/tea facilities, minibars, air-conditioning and separate bathtubs and showers. There are spa treatment rooms and a dry cleaning/laundry service. This is an expensive hotel, but worth it for a special occasion.
Loch Ness Country House Hotel
(4 star) Loch Ness Road, Inverness, IV3 8JN http://www.lochnesscountryhousehotel.co.uk Tel. (01463) 230 512
The elegant Loch Ness Country House Hotel and Restaurant is a striking Georgian building in six acres of beautiful, scenic gardens, just outside Inverness city centre. The wonderful exterior is complemented by an interior that has retained the splendour of the Georgian features whilst offering modern luxury facilities. You can choose from King Size rooms, Junior and Executive suites or even stay in one of the cottages in the grounds. All the bedrooms are stylish and comfortable with luxurious bathrooms. The beautifully appointed dining room restaurant opens out onto an elegant terrace and the chefs use only the best fresh, local, seasonal ingredients including items grown in their own gardens to create delicious dishes with neat twists on traditional favourites. Well worth a visit.
Best Western Lochardil House Hotel
(3 star) Stratherrick Road, Inverness, IV2 4LF http://www.lochardil.co.uk Tel. (01463) 235 995
Lochardil House Hotel is a handsome, castellated house built in 1876 set in attractive mature gardens. The main hotel has 12 Luxury Bedrooms and the adjacent Garden Wing, opened in early 2006, has 16 superb deluxe bedrooms all furnished and fitted out to the highest standard. Although only a few minutes by car from the centre of Inverness, Lochardil House lies on the edge of marvellous countryside, offering pleasant walks into Stratherrick or to the famed Ness Islands on the nearby River Ness. There are a variety of room types Standard Doubles, Queen Doubles, Deluxe Queen and Junior Suites which are furnished to a very high standard and all are en-suite. Meals are served in the Conservatory Restaurant which overlooks the Gardens and there is also a comfortable lounge. Car parking is excellent with 80 spaces.
(3 star) Kingsmills Road, Inverness, IV2 3JU http://www.heathmounthotel.com Tel. (01463) 235 877
Heathmount Hotel is a stylish and friendly hotel just a few minutes walk from the city centre. The Heathmount’s boutique-style bedrooms have been redesigned in the last two years and are all individually styled. Each room includes flat screens, DVD players, Sky, iPod docs, Wifi and tea and coffee making facilities (some rooms even feature in-shower televisions). The Heathmount’s restaurant has been one of the city’s most popular for over two decades and offers a combination of home cooked traditional meals with modern takes on some of Scotland’s classic dishes. Voted the Friendliest Hotel in Scotland at The Scottish Hotel of the Year Awards 2008. There is a lounge and a public bar, both of which are very popular.
New Drumossie Hotel
(4 star) Old Perth Road, Inverness, IV2 5BE http://www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk Tel. 0844 879 9017
The Drumossie Hotel is situated in 9 acres of mature parkland with some great views over the Moray Firth and beyond. Located only minutes drive from the city centre, the hotel was re-opened in May 2004 following a complete refurbishment. There are 44 Deluxe bedrooms which have en-suite facilities with a bath and a separate spacious shower and have Queen or King-sized beds. You can have afternoon tea in the lovely wood-panelled lounge or take a stroll in the landscaped grounds. The Grill Room is a stylish and relaxing dining room where only the best local fresh produce is prepared and served in relaxed surroundings. There is plenty of free parking.
Strathness Guest House
(4 star) 4 Ardross Terrace, Inverness, IV3 5NQ http://www.strathnesshouse.co.uk Tel. (01463) 232 765
Strathness Guest House is a lovely Victorian terraced townhouse, set on the banks of the river Ness, with beautiful river and castle views. Situated in a prime area of the city centre, each of the bedrooms is comfortably furnished and have private en-suite facilities with showers and free internet access to all guests with wireless laptops. All rooms have central heating and 8 out of their 12 rooms have lovely river views. There is also a very convenient 24-hour reception for guests. Available rooms are a combination of single, twin, double and family rooms.
(3 star) 9 Annfield Road, Inverness, IV2 3HX http://www.craigmoniehotelinverness.co.uk Tel. (01463) 231 649
Craigmonie Hotel is located in the heart of Inverness in a quiet, leafy residential street. The hotel dates back to 1880 and has the ambience of a country house hotel. This fine highland hotel offers 35 well appointed en-suite bedrooms ranging from single rooms to superior doubles and gorgeous four poster rooms. Sandalwoods Beauty Spa first opened at the hotel in 1999 and offers guests the highest quality treatments at affordable prices, all by fully qualified therapists. Spa day packages are available which include a wide choice of treatments, 2 course lunches and use of the hotel’s leisure facilities. Leisure facilities include a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and mini gym. The hotel also has a good bar and restaurant.
Ramada Encore Inverness
(3 star) 63 Academy Street, Inverness IV1 1LU http://www.encoreinverness.co.uk Tel. (01463) 228 850
The Ramada Encore is easily found on Academy Street in the city centre thanks to its striking red frontage and modern exterior. If you’re looking for a traditional, authentic Highland hotel then it’s safe to say this hotel isn’t the one for you. But if you’re looking for reasonably priced, clean, simple and modern accommodation in the heart of Inverness then this may be ideal. The rooms are modern and simply furnished similar in fashion to many other business hotels. Make sure you ask for a room with a view to either the Black Isle or overlooking the River Ness (5th floor is probably best). The Ramada has a good bar and an excellent restaurant which is well worh a visit. Although there’s no car park, it’s very close to the Bus and Train stations and everything in the city centre. For those with a car there is plenty of public parking across the road next to the Bus Station. The friendly, helpful staff really help to make this a great hotel.
By the Bridge Self Catering Apartments
(4 star) Bridge Street, Bridge House, Inverness IV2 3DT http://www.invernessaccommodation.net/bythebridge
The By the Bridge self catering apartments are ideal for anyone wanting the comforts and amenities of home away from home. Situated next to the River Ness, in the heart of Inverness, most of the modern, well equipped and stylish apartments come with their own balconies over looking the river and the castle. Each apartment offers spacious open plan living areas with kitchens off and are well equpped with free WiFi, flatscreen TV’s, and washing machines. A real bonus, alongside the central location, is the free secure private parking for residents in the basement. If you get fed up with hotels after a few days and are looking for a place to stay longer term then these apartments are ideal. Families may also appreciate the extra living space and amenities these great apartments provide. To have your own balcony and watch the sun go down over the river Ness is simply bliss.
Bunchrew House Hotel
(4 star) Bunchrew, Inverness, IV3 8TA http://www.bunchrew-inverness.co.uk Tel. (01463) 234 917
Bunchrew House is set within 20 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens and woodland on the shores of the Beauly Firth near Inverness. The hotel is a 17th century Scottish mansion steeped in tradition and history (parts date back to 1505), offering quality accommodation and award-winning cuisine. There are 16 guest bedrooms, 4 of which are premium suites and 3 are superior rooms. Bedrooms are individually decorated and some have four poster beds, while others have fine views over the Beauly Firth and gardens. The resident Chef, Walter Walker, currently holds 2 AA Rosettes and his cooking is a fusion of Scottish and European styles using the best of ingredients from the Highland Larder. His menus are complemented by a fine selection of over 70 different wines to suit every palate. Bunchrew is a charming and tranquil place to stay amongst wonderful Scottish scenery.
Culloden House Hotel
(4 star) Culloden, Inverness IV2 7BZ http://www.prestonfield.com Tel. (0131) 668 3346
A beautiful and grand Georgian Country House, this is a fabulously elegant hotel within 40 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens. It is located in Culloden, about 5 miles east of the city centre, which is an easy drive away. The frontage is impressive with great rolling green lawns and it doesn’t disappoint inside either with some terrific interior features such as large marble fireplaces and crystal chandeliers throughout. The rooms are traditionally styled and individual and all have private bathrooms. There are 2 restaurants including a fine-dining which is very elegant and a bar. There’s a gym, tennis courts, child care facility and WiFi. This is a well run hotel with good staff in picturesque surroundings.
Mansfield Castle Hotel
(4 star) Scotsburn Road, Tain, Ross-shire IV19 1PR http://www.mansfieldcastle.co.uk Tel. (01862) 892 052
Mansfield Castle is a handsome Victorian building, set in 3.5 acres of picturesque countryside, located in the Royal Burgh of Tain, just one hour from Inverness airport. Most of the 19 luxurious bedrooms have stunning views over the Castle grounds, the Moray Firth and the Dornoch Firth. Each room is spacious and has its own distinctive character with a complimentary decanter of sherry which is a nice touch. All rooms are en-suite, some with Jacuzzis and each room has tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryers and TV. The Tower Suite is perfect for a family, with two bedrooms, a spacious bathroom and an extremely comfortable tower lounge with breathtaking views from every room. If you are feeling a little adventurous, follow the original spiral staircase to the very top of the tower where there is virtually a 360 degree view – wonderful!
Inverness Bed & Breakfast
If a guest house or a bed and breakfast is more your thing, then Inverness certainly doesn’t disappoint. Inverness has some of the best guest houses in Scotland with standards of decoration and service that are on a par with many leading hotels. All will provide you with a truly relaxing and restful stay in lovely Inverness. Here are some of the most popular B&Bs in Inverness:
6 Bruce Gardens, Inverness IV3 5EN http://www.moyness.co.uk Tel. (01463) 233 836 Free Wi-Fi. 6 rooms.
Moyness House is a lovely detached Victorian villa located about 10mins walk from the city centre. There is private parking for around 6-8 cars. There are 6 stylish bedrooms all with en suite bath or shower rooms, flat screen TV’s, tea/coffee facilities and CD players. There is a lovely secluded walled garden that guests can enjoy. Interestingly, all 6 rooms are named after the acclaimed Scottish author Neil M Gunn who wrote his first novel while living there. Breakfast is excellent. The owners are very friendly and accommodating and we can’t recommend Moyness House enough.
Trafford Bank Guest House
***** 96 Fairfield Road, Inverness, IV3 5LL http://www.traffordbankguesthouse.co.uk Tel. (01463) 241 414 5 Star. Free Wi-Fi. 5 rooms.
This is a lovely, award winning, boutique-style guest house with 5 double rooms all ensuite. It’s located only a short distance away from the city centre. Each room is beautifully decorated and well equipped with Flat Screen TV’s, iPod docking, WiFi and even silent fridges – nice touch! The guest house mixes antique and contemporary furniture in a really nice way. The mature gardens are lovely on a summers night. The en suites are superb and some even have roll-top baths for that extra bit of luxury. This is outstanding quality accommodation that is hard to beat. We really rate it.
Lynver Guest House
**** 30 Southside Road, Inverness, IV2 3BG http://www.lynver.co.uk Tel. (01463) 242 906 4 Star Gold. Free Wi-Fi. 4 en-suite rooms.
Lynver is an individually designed and spacious detached villa situated in a quiet residential area of Inverness.The guest house is within a 5 minute walk of the city centre and many popular restaurants and bars. The en-suite bedrooms are all well decorated and furnished and equipped with TV/DVD, wi-fi, hairdryer, fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. There are three double rooms with king size beds and one triple room consisting of one king size double and one single bed. There is off-street parking and a secure garage for guests with bikes/motorbikes.
Dionard Guest House
**** 39 Old Edinburgh Road, Inverness, IV2 3HJ http://www.dionardguesthouse.co.uk Tel. (01463) 233 557 4 Star Gold. Wi-Fi. 5 en-suite rooms & a mini suite.
Dionard is a lovely Victorian guest house set in immaculate gardens in the prestigious Crown district of Inverness. It’s within a six minute walk to Inverness Castle, the River Ness and all the best restaurants in the city. The beautiful, individual rooms are all different in character and a major extension gives a further superior king en-suite and a fabulous mini suite. A large off street car park is provided for guests use. Wifi access is available for guests.
Furan Guest House
100 Old Edinburgh Road, Inverness, IV2 3HT http://www.furan.co.uk Tel. (01463) 712 094 Free Wi-Fi. 5 rooms.
Furan is a small, family run, guest house offering easy access to Inverness city centre and it’s many restaurants, pubs and shops. Furan has 5 bedrooms available including a single, twin, double and family accommodation, with all rooms having TV/DVD Player and free wireless internet access. In addition there is a garden patio area which includes seating for up to ten people. Free car parking is available and a personal laundry service.
Ardconnel House B&B
**** 21 Ardconnel Street, Inverness, IV2 3EU http://www.ardconnel-inverness.co.uk Tel. (01463) 240 455 4 Star. Free Wi-Fi. 6 rooms.
Ardconnel House is an attractive Victorian terraced building offering 4-star quality Bed and Breakfast accommodation in 6 guest bedrooms. Situated in a quiet residential area of central Inverness, it is just a few minutes walk from the castle, museum, railway, shops and river. All rooms have central heating, remote-control colour TV, a radio-alarm clock, a hairdryer and a hospitality tray with tea, coffee and biscuits. Free wireless internet access is available to guests travelling with a lap-top. The guest lounge on the first floor of Ardconnel House is just perfect. A fine Victorian room with high ceilings and a view of the castle.
**** 11 Crown Drive, Inverness, IV2 3NN http://www.angrianan.co.uk Tel. (01463) 250 530 4 Star. 3 en-suite rooms.
An Grianan is an Edwardian villa with many original features located in the lovely Crown district, just 5 minutes walk from the city centre and the rail and bus stations. There are three rooms – 1 twin, 1 double and 1 king size, all of which are en-suite. The spacious rooms have flat screen TV’s and free wireless internet and tea, coffee and lovely home baking is provided in your room daily.
Inverglen Guest House
*** 7 Abertarff Road, Inverness, IV2 3NW http://www.inverglenguesthouse.com Tel. (01463) 236 281 3 Star. Free Wi-Fi. 5 en-suite rooms.
Inverglen is a traditional, Victorian stone built villa situated in the quiet residential Crown area, which is only five minutes walk from the city centre. There are five bedrooms available, all of which are en-suite: 2 double bedrooms with king size beds, 1 twin bedroom and a family suite with twin beds in the main room and a connecting door to another bedroom with full size Bunk Beds. All the bedrooms have en-suite toilet, wash hand basin and shower facilities. Bedrooms have free wireless internet access, TV’s, radio alarm clocks, toiletries, hair dryers, hot water bottles, guest & tourist information. A travel cot, high chair, iron and ironing board are all available on request. There is also a convenient private car park.
Ardgarry Guest House
3 Fairfield Road, Inverness, IV3 5QA http://www.ardgarryguesthouse.co.uk Tel. (01463) 250 224 Free Wi-Fi. 5 rooms.
Ardgarry is located in the heart of Inverness, close to the River Ness, Inverness Castle and all the major city amenities and facilities. This traditional stone built Victorian home is only five minutes walk from both the train & bus station and offers convenient off street parking. There is a double en-suite room, a twin room and 3 single rooms. The rooms have been refurbished to a high standard and come with complimentary tea/coffee tray, TV, Hairdryer and Free WiFi. There is also a comfortable guests/TV lounge with daily newspapers for you to sit and relax. Guests have their own front door key so they can come or go as they please throughout the day/night.
*** 20 Southside Road, Inverness, IV2 3BG http://www.atholdene.com Tel. (01463) 233 565 3 Star. Free Wi-Fi. 9 en-suite rooms.
Atholdene House is a family run guest house in the heart of Inverness. The guest house accommodation consists of a variety of single rooms, twin rooms, double rooms, and family rooms. All rooms have en-suite facilities, TV’s, and a hospitality tray. Plain but clean and comfortable rooms. There is a convenient private car park to the rear of the guest house.
Hogmanay Parties in Inverness
The following Hogmanay events are usually held in Inverness every year. Please, however, check with the event organiser or venue before making any plans to visit Inverness!
Red Hot Highland Fling
31 Dec – Free event – Northern Meeting Park Arena, Inverness More info: http://www.invernessfestivals.com This is Scotland’s biggest “free” Hogmanay Party, normally hosted by Craig Hill in the Northern Meeting Park. It’s a family friendly event with lots to eat and drink and plenty of different bands to keep you entertained. Performers in recent years have included the highly popular Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Skerryvore and Dorec-a-belle. Please note that this is an outdoor standing event, so please wrap up warm and wear suitable footwear.
Hootananny Hogmanay ‘Hoots’
31 Dec circa 8pm – Hootananny, Church Street, Inverness Popular Hootananny’s in Church street normally holds a special Hogmanay extravaganza with a fantastic mix of both traditional and contemporary ceilidh music held over two floors. In recent years there’s been a traditional Scottish ceilidh from The Scone Fairies and, upstairs in Mad Hatters, ‘The Big Fat Electric Ceilidh’ offers a unique contemporary fusion of electronic and live traditional music with some fantastic visuals. Get your tickets early it’s usually very popular!
Rhythmnreel Hogmanay Party at The Ironworks
31 Dec circa 9pm – The Ironworks, Academy Street, Inverness In recent years ‘Rhythmnreel’ have been the headlining act. They are a very popular Celtic rock/traditional band that will have you caught up in their infectious upbeat tunes from the very first chord! The band always gets this venue rocking with a mix of traditional ceilidh dances and classic sing-along covers. If you’re looking for some real fun then this has to be one of the picks of Hogmanay night in Inverness.
Bogmanay at Hogmanay
31 Dec – Bogbain Farm, Inverness Bogbain Farm, just outside Inverness, normally holds a great Hogmanay party. Acts in recent years have included Mystic Shoes, Donald MacDonald and The Islands. Normally sells out quickly so get tickets early!
Family Hogmanay Hooley at the Strathpeffer Pavilion
31 Dec – Strathpeffer Pavilion, The Square, Strathpeffer, Inverness IV14 9DL The lovely Strathpeffer Pavilion normally plays host to an excellent family friendly Hogmanay party. Acts in recent years have included Fiona Dalgetty’s superb Highland Ceilidh Band. Your ticket normally gets you a stovie supper and a bit of fizz or a dram at the bells. A great night in a super venue.
(This is a general list of Hogmanay Parties which may, or may not, be held annually, or at all. Please contact the organisers to confirm before making any plans to travel.)
Popular Districts of Inverness
Inverness is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK with more and more people choosing to make it their new home. For anyone thinking of moving to Inverness, here’s a brief guide to the main districts of Inverness.
Ballifeary in Inverness lies south of the city centre, stretching out along the River Ness and is the recreation centre for Inverness.
Here are Bught Park with its stadium, a BMX track, rugby club, all-weather sports ground, an ice centre, a sports centre, an aquadrome and much more. This is also where to find the fairground, boating ponds and a miniature railway. Such a concentration of sports facilities in one area must be unique amongst Scottish cities.
Footbridges link to Drummond district and the Haugh on the east bank via the Ness Islands. Suffice to say that this is a verdant, leafy area that attracts great leisure activity of various types.
The housing stock in Ballifeary is mostly modern, including 3-storey maisonettes away from the river and detached bungalows and houses occupying prime locations on Ness Walk.
Ballifeary provides Inverness with a substantial open space, certainly the largest excepting its three golf courses, and is a fabulous resource for the entire community. Housing and other land uses are therefore necessarily in quite limited supply.
The Royal Northern Infirmary occupies a large site linking Ballifeary with the Eden Court Theatre complex on Bishop’s Road to the north, but even shares this with tennis courts and bowling greens.
Balloch in Inverness is the most remote of the eastern suburbs, some five miles from the city centre and connected to it by the busy A96.
Although there has been a longstanding settlement here, Balloch is now an established modern developement consisting mainly of bungalows but with some one-and-a-half houses in the southern sector.
The village is located on a north-west facing hillside and contained to the west and south by enclosing woodland, without which it could be seen merely as an easterly continuation of Culloden. Cycleways and footpaths in the Cullernie Wood offer some opportunities for recreation.
Balloch has a local Scotmid Co-operative supermarket, a primary school, a bowling club and a village hall. The Balloch Village Trust is active in ensuring that the proposed A96 growth corridor development will be favourable to the village. One option is to increase the housing here by up to 3,000 new homes.
Balloch is a dormitory village with, for its size, limited community facilities. A sub Post Office closed recently. Nevertheless, civic pride is evident in the general appearance of the whole development.
City Centre, Inverness
Inverness is a small city, so all parts of the City Centre are accessible by foot.
The bus and railway stations stand almost next to each other on the northeast side of Academy Street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares, and each has it’s own taxi rank. Close by there is plentiful car parking including the Rose Street multi-storey.
The city centre retains some of its old building stock but the general impression is of a character mix with a few stand-out examples from each era.
Recent quality upgrading of the pavements and street furniture in the central zone is a signpost to the future and has brought art and sculpture into the public domain.
The enclosed Victorian Market is at the physical heart of Inverness and a vibrant farmers’ market is held on the first Saturday of each month in nearby Eastgate and High Street.
Galleries, museums, the library, the theatre, a lively club scene, bistros, a shopping mall and even a large Morrisons supermarket are all part of the mix, but the real gem is the river frontage, visually dominated by the castle and, a little downstream, one of several pedestrian suspension bridges over the Ness.
In the absence of a public park, the riverside acts as a very effective and picturesque recreational resource.
Clachnaharry & Scorguie, Inverness
Clachnaharry and Scorguie in Inverness are seamlessly linked with Leachkin to its south and has much the same density, environmental quality and housing mix although its location, looking directly over the Muirtown canal basin, is arguably a little more favoured than its neighbouring district.
King Brude Road is an important through route, being a bypass of the city centre for traffic making its way from the A82 to the Beauly Firth.
Gardens are generally well tended and a verdant character pervades most of the district.
Clach na h-Aire is a large boulder giving its name to the Caledonian Canal’s northeastern sea lock. It sits in a green space tucked away behind a bungalow on Swanston Avenue.
The well designed Highview House care home is well integrated within the estate and the local radio station, Moray Firth Radio, is run from its base on Scorguie Road. There is also some nominal service industry and a primary school.
Access to the city centre, about a mile distant, is easy and quick unless the canal bridge is open, in which case traffic can back up beyond the junction of King Brude Road with Telford Street. The only other crossing is at Tomnahurich on the always busy A82.
Crown in Inverness lies immediately to the east of the city centre with good access to all its business and commercial facilities.
This is a predominantly residential district with most of the housing stock being 19th century, stone built and of one, two or three storeys.
A sense of mutual care pervades the area and it’s hard to find any occupied property that isn’t in good repair. Newer housing is generally located further from the city centre (to the east and south) and there is a degree of refurbishment work being undertaken on some Victorian houses.
A primary school, two churches, a sub post office, the local medical practice and one of Inverness College’s main buildings all inhabit the core area of Crown, the district enjoying high ground and therefore also some spectacular views over the city, river and distant Ben Wyvis. This is particularly so along Ardconnel Street and Terrace.
A twisting flight of steps at Market Brae issues directly in front of Marks & Spencer on Eastgate. The location and quality of environment combine to make this a sought after area.
There are several guest houses and small hotels scattered throughout the district.
The Broad Stone, a carved but much weathered historical relic, sits plaque-like, next to the carriageway in Kingsmills Road, surrounded by a little wire fence.
Culcabock, the backdrop to which is Inverness Golf Course, is a large residential district to the southeast of the city centre.
A wide variety of dwelling types including two storey blocks of flats, detached, semi-detached and terraced houses are laid out in a medium density development typical of suburban estates anywhere in Britain or some of the second generation new towns of the early 1960’s.
The Mill Burn winds its way through the district connecting the open space around the community hall in the south, a recreation ground on the Old Edinburgh Road and the golf course in the north. Nowhere in the district is very far from open space.
A bus route passes the gates of the Drakies Primary School.
The ring road, which takes traffic from the A9 to the Dores Road and will ultimately join up with the A82, also connects to the southern districts.
At Culcabock there’s a generous buffer strip of planted mounding between this road and the housing.
Northern Police Constabulary have their headquarters at the northern end of this strip, just across the road from Inshes Retail Park.
Culloden village in Inverness lies downhill from the famous Culloden Moor battlefield site, a mile or so to the south and separated from it by the substantial Culloden Wood, which extends like a long finger in a north-easterly trend, effectively enclosing the railway. A footbridge allows access to the many paths and routes through the wood – a major asset for residents.
The village is arranged with its housing surrounding, doughnut-like, a central area where the primary school, Culloden House Hotel and various shops and facilities like the post office, library and police station are all located. Culloden Academy stands apart at the north-east corner of the village.
This is a place that has seen rapid development over the last few decades and much of it still retains its ‘just finished’ appearance.
By contrast, Culloden House, the predecessor of this, a 780 mansion used by Bonnie Prince Charlie as his battle headquarters, stands in 40 acres of private grounds (woodland, lawns, ponds) enriching the environment immeasurably. It’s an unusual association and one which probably benefits the village rather more than the hotel.
The Inverness Retail Park is close by and there is a fast route to the airport, a few miles to the east.
Dalneigh in Inverness, a large residential district, is the “island” formed between the two western road approaches to the city and the Caledonian Canal.
There’s a good mix of house types with older, 19th century semi-detached and terraced properties located closer to Kenneth Street at the city end and more modern houses and bungalows in less dense arrangements on the western side.
The area is tidy, reflecting an obvious respect that the residents have for their immediate surroundings. Dalneigh Primary and Inverness High School are both located in this district which is very well served by bus routes.
Space standards are generally higher here than in any other area close to the city centre, which results in western Dalneigh having a surprisingly suburban character.
Proximity to the canal, with its colourful and slow-paced cruisers, reinforces the district’s peripheral nature. Inverness is typical of all cities in that those residential properties adjoining the approach roads, in this case the A82 and the A862, take full advantage of their locations to offer Bed & Breakfast accommodation.
The Tomnahurich Cemetery, at Dalneigh’s southern corner, is laid out around the wooded hill of the same name. This impressive glacial esker has steep sides and a regular outline and boldly marks the southern gateway to Inverness which is only a mile distant.
Drummond & The Haugh, Inverness
Just beyond the Castle, the low road (Haugh Road) hugs the river bank and gives access first to The Haugh before continuing as Island Bank Road into Drummond.
The Haugh is a very attractive sub-district with good quality older properties set in leafy gardens, some having exclusive access to the river.
Bellfield Park has a putting green and tennis courts. Stone walls, evergreen hedges and tightly packed trees characterise the view from the road as it continues south past the Ness Islands. Attractive footbridges connect via the Ness Islands to Inverness’s playground quarter of Ballifeary on the opposite bank.
Upper Drummond, towards the Culduthel Road, has some newer properties and also accommodates Drummond School. The main roads are also bus routes, connecting to the school and the more distant Lochardil district.
The whole district is low in density and consistently high in amenity, yet is so close to the city centre. It follows that property prices are high in this most aspirational of addresses in Inverness.
From the Crown district south to the Loch Ness Golf Course, Hilton begins with Victorian stone properties nearest the city (Southside Road, Muirfield) and soon merges into a modern development of bungalows, semis and terraced houses.
The convolution of crescents and drives in the newer sector can easily lead to disorientation, particularly as much of this district shares a similarity of physical and visual attributes.
Culduthel Road and Old Edinburgh Road mark the west and east boundaries, respectively, and are both principal bus routes, but public transport also extends far into the residential zone.
At Kintail Crescent there’s a district shopping and community centre with plenty of parking available.
Two primary schools each have their own playing fields and Castle Heather Park, to the south, provides community open space.
Hilton Post Office is fairly centrally located and there is some light service industry within the district.
In the northern area there are several care centres and there’s a trend towards re-development of some of the larger, older properties here for use as multiple housing.
Hilton, for all its location on the southeast outskirts, is nowhere further than one and a half miles from Inverness city centre.
Inshes in Inverness has some of the newest housing in Inverness on the eastern outskirts of the city.
The Inshes area lies west of the A9 and east of Sir Walter Scott Drive, the ring road which elsewhere acts as a barrier to expanding urban development.
One of the two out of town retail parks is located opposite the police HQ and includes a large Tesco store and health club.
Inshes is still under construction and may be for some time to come, but already parts of the district have acquired a level of established maturity. Other parts feel somewhat raw.
Relatively high ground means big skies and long views. The development south of the Mill Burn is bungalow country whereas estates of detached houses typify the newer, northern sector.
As with most of the large residential districts of Inverness, innovative architecture and planning are both absent but, again typically, there is a respect for the living environment here with great care being taken over the presentation of individual plots.
As the district grows there will be more access to it by bus services as well as better provision of local community services. Car ownership might be an advantage in this district.
Kinmylies & Leachkin, Inverness
Kinmylies and Leachkin (pronounced Larkin), the most westerly of the city’s developments, occupy the lower slopes of Craig Phadrig and extend right down to the canal-side.
Indeed, Leachkin is derived from Gaelic meaning “the slope”.
This is a relatively high density development consisting entirely of modern properties with bungalows on much of the higher ground.
It’s from here that distant views of the Beauly Firth and Kessock Bridge enrich what is otherwise an environment that is somewhat short on trees. Footpaths away from the roads provide a measure of safety for pedestrians and connect with bus stops on General Booth Road.
Leachkin Road is the main local distributor connecting with General Booth Road and serves also as an access for the New Craigs Hospital to the south. It is therefore a busy road right around the clock.
Primary and secondary schools, a football academy and a health centre are all grouped together in the southern sector.
A low, but large footprint office complex, Kinmylies Building, sits uphill surrounded by housing on Leachkin Road and a little further along is the impressive new headquarters of Scottish Natural Heritage.
Popular cruiser activity on the canal is centred around the Caley Marina, five locks above the Muirtown Basin. It’s possible that western Inverness would have been an uninterrupted sprawl but for the canal, which both subdivides and animates very successfully.
Lochardil, lying just beyond the district of Drummond, is a quiet residential zone up to two miles from the centre of Inverness.
There are many bungalows and one-and-a-half houses but the mix also includes detached and flatted properties.
It has two primary schools and, at the southern edge, the Inverness Royal Academy. Nearly all the property is modern, sometimes uncompromisingly so – as with the shed-like bowling stadium on Culduthel Road.
Lochardil enjoys a good level of open space provision. MacDonald Park is located centrally, linking visually with the playing fields of Drummond School, and a network of footpaths threads through the Lochardil Woods, which are protected by a Tree Preservation Order.
A steep, wooded bank (an old river bluff) separates the properties located off Dores Road and those along Stratherrick Road, giving both areas an attractive backdrop.
Holm Mills is Pringle’s ‘shopping village’ located river-side to the west of Dores Road. An outlet for traditional clothing and everything tartan, there is also a restaurant and a wine, whisky and beer centre.
Close to the countryside and the south Loch Ness road, Lochardil is well placed both for recreation and access to the city, ten minutes away.
Merkinch in Inverness is a small district close to the city centre, lying between the river and canal.
Fully half of the area is occupied by the Carse Industrial Estate which effectively and unfortunately blocks public access to the canal’s Muirtown Basin.
South Kessock lies to the north of the railway but the main orientation is towards the south and east where Waterloo Bridge and the dual carriageway Friars Bridge both link directly towards the Academy Street retail area.
Housing is mostly in modern, white harled terraces but some 19th century stone properties on Telford Road, Lochalsh Road and Grant Street make a positive contribution to the environment.
Nevertheless, proximity to the centre is the chief locational advantage of Merkinch. A bus route makes a big loop through the district, unusually giving a wide berth to the primary school, and a new Aldi store has recently opened at the Telford Street roundabout.
This is generally a no-frills district, but Gilbert Street and Huntly Place, on the riverside, have much the best of locations with very attractive prospects to the east.
Millburn in Inverness, sandwiched between Crown and Raigmore, is a mixed area comprising a main residential zone and a large Highways Department Depot separated by a wing of the Inverness Golf Course.
To the north are Millburn Academy and its associated playing fields and the Cameron Highlanders’ Barracks, both of which front on to Millburn Road.
The Academy is a brand new replacement for the original 1960’s complex and the school’s teaching quality and achievements are held in high regard by the local community.
The Wimberley Way housing scheme is a modern development of mostly semi-detached and terraced properties laid out on a semi-Radburn basis with avenues and open lawns to the roadsides and garage courts to the rear. Maintenance levels are high, densities reasonably low and the urban character suffers somewhat from a lack of individual identity. The Hub community centre is located quite centrally.
Millburn is no more than a mile from the city centre and is close to Raigmore Hospital, traffic to and from which can be heavy on Culcabock Road, the main arterial route in to the city centre.
Bus routes service the district well and the nearby Inshes retail park offers an alternative to city centre shopping.
Raigmore in Inverness, on the city’s eastern outskirts, is totally dominated by the hospital, the largest in the Highlands. Access to it is via the Old Perth Road, a continuation of Culcabock Road in neighbouring Millburn district, and the hospital is strategically placed close to the dual carriageway A9 trunk road.
All this translates into potential traffic congestion but the residential sector of Raigmore, to the north of the hospital, is accessed away from this, off Millburn Road. Unfortunately, Millburn Road is a dual carriageway so residents have necessarily to engage in a lot of roundabout usage and doubling back.
Five storey blocks of flats, originally built with flat roofs, but later modified and now sporting rather clumpy pitched and hipped headgear, line the approach on Mackintosh Road. Elsewhere there are post-war harled terraces, typically of four units in a block, and a few bungalows. Trees are sparse and some have been pollarded, presumably as a safety measure.
There’s a new Morning, Noon and Night store at Mackintosh Road, a primary school and, on Ashton Road, a community centre looking a little like a modernist chapel. It stands in a green space that backs on to the Nursing College and the A9. As a result of Raigmore’s awkward access arrangements, residents may feel a little isolated.
Beechwood Park is a small business park tightly hemmed in by three busy roads at the southeastern corner of the district.
Smithton is a small district adjoining Culloden’s western side. Rows and rows of white-harled terraces stand in an open landscape, some enjoying long distance views over the Moray Firth.
Elsewhere there are detached houses and bungalows but overall there is little variety in the building stock or richness of environment. The Murray Terrace area has blocky, two storey flats that have no private space, leaving rotary driers and bin stores contributing to the street scene. All the housing is modern.
The district has a small store, a sub post office and a primary school. A bus service loops through the area. The Forestry Commission has its regional offices and workshops here, located just behind the filling station, where a rough wooded area acts as a visual and physical barrier between Smithton and western Culloden.
The Inverness Retail Park is only a few minutes drive away to the west.
All the satellite villages enjoy a degree of rural living but some offer little more than the amenities of districts such as Leachkin, Culcabock or Lochardil.
South Kessock in Inverness gives rise to a feeling of being a little out on a limb, quite justifiably as it happens, because this small district occupies the finger of land wedged between the mouth of the River Ness and the sea lock at the northern (or eastern) end of the Caledonian Canal. The railway, at high level, defines the southern boundary, being a strong physical barrier.
At the western (canal) side, lies part of the 55 hectare Merkinch Local Nature Reserve, the only such reserve in the Highlands. This adjoins an estate of inter-wars semi-detached housing laid out generously with plenty of green space. Elsewhere there are some 4-storey blocks of flats at Coronation Park dating from the 1930’s and some new semi’s at Mill Court.
Plans to redevelop the river frontage alongside Thornbush Quay and Anderson Street, together with the designation of the LNR, have raised the profile of South Kessock to such an extent that its previous reputation as a down-at-heel area has had to be re-assessed.
It is now moving rapidly into the up-and-coming category, with its unique viewpoint for the dramatic Kessock Bridge and the close proximity of colourful harbour traffic on the opposite bank of the Ness playing to the district’s advantage.
Anybody living here and employed in the city centre has only a short walk to work.
Westhill & Cradlehall, Inverness
Westhill and Cradlehall are the nearest of the satellite villages on the eastern side of Inverness, Cradlehall being the identity of the western section. The development is all modern, the most recent properties being detached and semi-detached houses, the slightly older ones bungalows.
Caulfield Road (mis-spelled with the i before the e*) is the local distributor within Cradlehall and offers dramatic views north and west over the Moray Firth and Black Isle beyond. The orientation of many of the housing units takes advantage of the general trend in the landscape to offer these same views. There’s a primary school and a public open space equipped with football goals within Cradlehall.
Westhill is a fast growing district, spreading eastwards towards Culloden Wood. The earlier properties are mostly bungalows and one-and-a-half houses, while the brand new estate consists mainly of detached and semi-detached houses, all of which are suburban generic in style. Bus routes already extend into the newer sector.
Two retail parks (The Inshes to the west and Inverness – across the railway to the north) are within close proximity. Inverness Retail and Business Park has the largest Tesco in the Highlands and a Vue cinema complex
(*Unfortunately, those naming this road in honour of Major William Caulfeild didn’t do their homework properly!)