So much more than a gateway to the Scottish Highlands, this mesmerizing city is full of fascinating history, captivating legends, and breathtaking natural beauty. 

Whether you’re exploring Scotland for the first time or simply can’t seem to stay away from its sloping glens and wide-open spaces, the small river city of Inverness will undoubtedly enchant you. Immerse yourself within Scottish culture on our Inverness tours and holidays and listen to your guide as they regale you with tales of mythical monsters and stories of centuries-old battles featuring tartan-clad soldiers. From romantic landscapes full of fog-covered lochs and perfectly preserved castles fit for ancient royalty to charming restaurants serving up fresh produce, there are many incredible things to do in Inverness. Simply take a wee wander around and see for yourself. 

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Things to do in Inverness 

The Clava Cairns in Inverness, Scotland.

Admire the Clava Cairns

If you’re a fan of the fantastical tv series ‘Outlander’ (set in Scotland) then you’ll already be familiar with the stone burial mounds known as Cairns, but nothing beats seeing them in person. Estimated to be over 4,000 years old, these prehistoric stone monuments signify a cemetery used to house the dead many centuries ago. What has now become a sacred place to remember the past, the Clava Cairns offers an insight into the cultural habits and beliefs of Bronze Age Society and even feature the remains of an impressive medieval chapel. 

Bookshelves lined with books

Read up in Leakey’s Bookshop

While walking around the idyllic streets of Inverness sounds like an afternoon well spent, you can also pass the time inside at Leakey’s Bookshop. With thousands upon thousands of second-hand books at your fingertips, this incredible bookshop not only promises a comfy seat and a fascinating novel to get lost in, but it also looks as if it’s straight off the set of a Harry Potter movie. Featuring two stories of floor-to-ceiling shelves, spellbinding stained glass windows, and a log fireplace that comes to life in winter, Leakey’s Bookshop is simply magical. 

Boat sailing across Loch Ness in Inverness, Scotland.

Look out over Loch Ness

Standing at the edge of the murky water of Loch Ness it’s easy to imagine a slow-moving mythical beast living within its dark depths but a potential Nessie sighting isn’t the only reason to visit this picturesque body of water. While the lake has been made famous by the elusive mythical dinosaur, Loch Ness offers a taste of the Scottish natural beauty this region is known for. Whether you fancy strolling around it with your group or taking a boat tour onto the water itself, Loch Ness remains one of the best (and the most legendary) spots to visit while you’re in Inverness. 

Inverness Castle from the banks of Loch Ness.

Marvel at Inverness Castle

The Scottish countryside is full of imposing and magnificent castles complete with fairy-tale turrets and Victorian-style architecture and Inverness Castle might just be the best of them all. Perched atop an outcrop on the banks of the River Ness, the breathtaking Inverness Castle was constructed in 1836 although some form of a fortress has been in the same location since the 11th century. Not only does the castle offer you the chance to walk the halls of the past but it’s also set on sprawling grounds overlooking the city for the best view in town. 

Scottish whisky tasting.

Taste some of Scotland’s best whisky

If you’re a lover of whisky, then you’re going to love Inverness. With as many distilleries as the Scottish Highlands has murky lochs (okay, maybe not that many), Inverness produces its own distinctive dram that’s typically light and sweet and fruity in flavour. First distilled in 1494, the whisky from this part of Scotland has often been considered the best but you don’t have to take our word for it. From the century-old Tomatin Distillery to the more central Malt Room whisky bar, ask your tour leader for the best spots in town to sample the famous golden-brown liquid. 

Culloden Battlefield memorial in Inverness, Scotland.

Visit the historic Culloden Battlefield

Heralded as one of the most important battles Scotland has ever fought in, the Culloden Battlefield marks the site where 1,500 Jacobite soldiers (and 50 government troops) lost their lives in 1746. Walk amongst the graves of those who fell during the battle and pay your respects alongside the memorial cairn located in the centre of the battlefield. Designed to resemble the same landscape from centuries ago, various animals including goats and Shetland cows roam the area, while the expansive surrounding meadows flower with ox-eye daisies and ragged robins. 

Inverness tour reviews 

Inverness FAQs

Everyone travelling on an Intrepid trip must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of carriage. 

All travellers are required to produce: 

  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination
  • All children aged 5 to 17 years old must provide proof of vaccination (if eligible), proof of recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
  • If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional. 

In all cases, you must be fully inoculated. This means you must receive the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine and allow enough time for immunity to take effect. Each COVID-19 vaccine has different dosages and timeframes for inoculation, so please check the relevant medical advice associated with your vaccine.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 proof of vaccination policy

There are many different ways you can get to Inverness with the best option depending on where in the UK you're travelling from. Trains are a fast and reliable way to travel to Inverness, especially if you're coming from nearby cities in Scotland. You can also fly into Inverness Airport if you're coming from a destination that's further away like London or Dublin. You also have the option of driving to Inverness and making the most of the beautiful Scottish scenery. 

There are a few ways to travel from Glasgow to Inverness but the best way is by catching the train. The total train journey comes to just over 3 hours and is one of the cheapest options. Alternatively, you can drive the 272km from Glasgow to Inverness with the option being quicker than catching the train. If you're after the cheapest option then you catch the bus from Glasgow to Inverness with tickets starting from £26. 

Click to read more about travelling from Glasgow to Inverness

 

Yes, Inverness is located in the Scottish Highlands and is often said to be the gateway to the Highlands and its capital. 

Inverness enjoys a moderate sea climate with more rainy days than sunny days throughout the year. The wettest months of the year are October, November, and December, however, the average rainfall is only around 900mm. This riverside city is actually known to be one of the coldest with February dropping to minimum temperatures below freezing but summers are usually nice and warm, coming to a top of around 20°C. 

Click to read more about Inverness weather

The best time to visit Inverness is usually between the months of April and August as the days are often sunny and the temperatures are high. While these months are considered the peak season (especially the summer months), it's still worth visiting Inverness during this time as you're less likely to be hindered by excessive rainfall. If you want to avoid the crowds, opt for travelling in September or October. 

What you should pack for a trip to Inverness largely depends on what kind of activities you want to do on your holiday. Regardless of when you're travelling, you should always bring appropriate wet weather clothing such as waterproof jackets, long pants, coats, and gumboots, or other sturdy footwear as Inverness is known to be rainy all year round. You should also pack an umbrella, comfortable walking shoes, a camera, a day bag (so you can pack any essentials you might need when you're out exploring), and a reusable drink bottle. 

Inverness specialises in offering premium Scottish whisky so it's no surprise there's a whole heap of distilleries for you to choose from. The below distilleries and bars are some of our favourites if you're after a drop of the famous golden brown liquid. 

  • Tomatin Distillery 
  • The Malt Room Whisky Bar 
  • WoodWinters Wines and Whiskies 
  • Glen Ord 
  • Balblair 
  • Dalmore Distillery 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

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