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Inverness

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Inverness Castle and the River Ness

Inverness is a city at the heart of the Scottish Highlands and the principal centre for administration and commerce. It is the most northerly city in the British Isles.

Understand[edit]

Advertised as "the Gateway to the Highlands" by the local authority, and long regarded as the capital of the Highlands, Inverness is the centre for commerce and industry in the Scottish Highlands, with continuing new investment in traditional industries and new hi-tech industries. It is also said to be one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

1 Inverness Airport (INV IATA). The airport is located between Nairn and Inverness and accessible from the Inverness-Aberdeen road. It is served by FlyBe flights (including to Amsterdam), Scottish-based airline Loganair (to Kirkwall, Sumburgh and a few Western Isles), Easyjet (to London Gatwick, London Luton and Bristol), British Airways (to London Heathrow) and some seasonal charter flights. A taxi from the airport into the city costs around £15. Stagecoach run a bus into Inverness city centre which runs every half hour during the day called the "Jet" service. There is also an hourly "Jet" service to Nairn. The airport has a choice of cafes, car hire and ATMs. Inverness Airport on Wikipedia Inverness Airport (Q1431553) on Wikidata

By car[edit]

Inverness can be reached from the south by the A9 from the south (Perth & M90 from Edinburgh, Glasgow) and from Aberdeen, 110 miles (176 km) by the A96 road. The A82 reaches Inverness from the south-west, Loch Ness, Fort William and eventually to Skye. None of the roads to Inverness are entirely dual-carriageway. The A9 continues to Thurso on the extreme north coast of the Scottish mainland.

By train[edit]

See also: Rail travel in the United Kingdom

2 Inverness railway station (Gaelic: Inbhir Nis) is located at Station Square on Academy street right in the city centre. All trains call here. There are direct services to Edinburgh, Glasgow and London from the south and Aberdeen from the east. There are two scenic lines: to Thurso and Wick, and to Kyle of Lochalsh.

If you're travelling from London, the Caledonian Sleeper train is an excellent way to travel. It leaves from London Euston and arrives between 8AM and 8:30AM. There is sometimes an error with the booking system through the internet if you intend to sit rather than book a sleeping berth; if your ticket says 'no seat reserved', you need to either phone up Caledonian Sleeper or visit your nearest train station to reserve one (for free). If you don't have a reserved seat you may not be allowed on the train, despite having bought a ticket with the times and dates of the train printed on them, or at best be forced to pay £40 for a sleeping berth if there is one available.

Virgin East Coast also operate a daily service to and from London King's Cross (known as The Highland Chieftain) which leaves at around 9AM (southbound) or noon (northbound). Journey time is around 8 hours.

By bus[edit]

3 Inverness bus station is in Farraline Park, a couple of blocks west of the railway station. The bus station has a ticket office which offers luggage storage (from £2), cafe and toilets.

By boat[edit]

The Caledonian Canal links the Beauly Firth through Loch Ness to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain.

On foot[edit]

Walk the Great Glen Way from Fort William (73 miles, 116 km).

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

There are around 50 bus routes travelling in and around Inverness, mainly operated by Stagecoach Inverness. It helps to know where your destination is, as some services do not have detailed information on the outside of the bus.

By train[edit]

The 'Invernet' rail network provides commuter train services to Inverness from Tain, Dingwall and Beauly in the North, Nairn, Forres and Elgin in the East and Aviemore and Kingussie in the South.

By taxis[edit]

This is probably the most efficient form of transport after hours, as most bus services cease or become less frequent at about 7PM. You will not pay a great deal for a taxi by UK standards as Inverness is rather small, and routes are very direct. Some black cabs exist, though the majority of taxis are minicabs. These are all fairly trustworthy.

By limousine[edit]

Limos are available for hire from certain operators at a rate of about £70/hour.

By bike[edit]

There are a few cycle lanes on Inverness roads. However there are many combined cycle-footpaths where bicycles are welcome.

See[edit]

Inverness Castle
  • 1 Inverness Castle. At the end of the western pedestrian zone. It is a relatively new castle built in 1847 to replace a medieval castle blown up by the Jacobites. It houses the Sheriff Court and cannot be seen as a visitor (you at least should try to never see it from the inside). Inverness Castle on Wikipedia
  • 2 Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, Castle Wynd (base of Inverness Castle), +44 1463 237114. The museum has a collection of Pictish stones and wildlife dioramas, as well as historic weapons. Underwent a major refurbishment in 2006, and now contains many artefacts on loan from the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Inverness Museum and Art Gallery on Wikipedia
  • 3 Old High Church, Church Street. Oldest Church in Inverness, the 'Town Church' of the city. Historic Tour each Friday at 11:30AM, June to August. Sunday services at 11:15AM, Prayers for Peace and Justice every Friday at 1:05PM, and occasional evening services in the summer, with guest preachers, as advertised. Old High St Stephen's on Wikipedia
  • 4 Ship Space, 16 Clachnaharry Road, IV3 8QH, +44 1463 716839, e-mail: . Daily 10AM-3PM. An interactive and evolving museum in Inverness with nautical artefacts and large ships: for example a 1:10 scale Titanic, Buckie drifter, RNLI lifeboat and more. Free entry. Ship Space on Wikipedia
  • 5 Inverness Botanic Gardens (formerly: Floral Hall and Gardens), Bught Lane (next to the sports centre), +44 1463 713553. Glasshouse and gardens, with a range of exotic plants, plus a cafe. Free.
  • 6 Inverness Cathedral (St Andrew’s Cathedral). Scottish Episcopal (Anglican) cathedral, built in 1869. Inverness Cathedral on Wikipedia
  • 7 Clava Ring Cairn. Bronze Age circular chamber tomb Clava cairn on Wikipedia Clava cairn (Q457879) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

  • Located on the south side of the Moray Firth with picturesque River Ness flowing through the city, it is worth taking a walk to the Ness Islands or the Caledonian Canal. From the castle, walk upstream along the River Ness for less than 1 mile. The Caledonian Canal towpath is also good for walking.
  • Or take a walk along the river with the Churches Along the River leaflet, available from hotels, tourist offices, churches or downloadable from the website.
  • Inverness offers activities from golfing to watersports.
  • A bicycle ride through the Ness Islands and along the waterfront is highly recommended.
  • Inverness has a very busy music & theatre scene. Inverness also has regular ceilidh nights and new indie nights in various venues across the city.
  • Jacobite Cruises (Jacobite cruises on Loch Ness), Tomnahurich Bridge, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness. IV3 5TD (Take the Loch Ness road out of the city), +44 1463 233999. A selection of Inverness tours and cruises on Loch Ness and the Caledonian canal pick up in city centre in various locations. Cruises run 7 days a week throughout the year.
  • 1 Glen Ord Distillery, Muir of Ord, Ross-shire, IV6 7UJ, +44 1463 872004. A Diageo-owned distillery about 22 km west of Inverness in Muir of Ord. Offers tours. Standard tour £6.
  • 2 Black Isle Brewery, Black Isle, IV8 8NZ (located on the nearby Black Isle penninsula), +44 1463 811 871. Independent brewery that produces a range of organic beers. They offer tours.
  • 3 Eden Court Theatre, Bishops Road, IV3 5SA, +44 1463 234 234 (box office). A theatre, arts and cinema venue.

Buy[edit]

The main shopping area of Inverness runs from the Eastgate centre through a pedestrian precinct down to the River Ness - adjacent to the train station. You'll have no limit to the number of tartan and Scottish souvenir shops you can find along the strip. As well there are the usually range of department stores and services along here.

  • Eastgate Centre. Inside modern shopping mall - connected to the station. Contains a Marks and Spencer and Debenhams, and a normal range of chain stores.

Eat[edit]

Inverness has a wide selection of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. There are a number of high quality restaurants serving a mixture of traditional Scottish food and modern cuisine using locally sourced produce. Worthy of a mention are:

  • 1 The Heathmount Hotel, Kingsmills Road, IV2 3JU, +44 1463 235877. A boutique hotel with informal restaurant and a lively bar at Crown just minutes walk from city centre. Mains around £11-15.
  • 2 The Mustard Seed, 16 Fraser Street, IV1 1DW, +44 1463 220220. Daily. An independently owned restaurant in a former church. Dinner main £16.
  • 3 Rocpool, 1 Ness Walk, IV3 5NE, +44 1463 717274. Dinner mains around £20-25.
  • 4 Riva, 4-6 Ness Walk, IV3 5NE, +44 1463 237377. Usually good Italian restaurant.
  • 5 Glenmoriston Town House, 20 Ness Bank, IV2 4SF, +44 1463 223777. Hotel and restaurant. Dinner mains around £20.
  • 6 Cafe 1, 75 Castle Street, IV2 3EA, +44 1463 226200. Beside Rileys and simply a bit of an institution. Mains £14-20.
  • The Old Town Deli, Strother Lane (Beside Bus Stop). Great bagels and coffee.
  • Castle Restaurant. Cheap, cheerful and popular. Also very convenient for the High Street.
  • 7 La Tortilla Asesina, 99 Castle Street, IV2 3EA (opposite the road entrance to the castle), +44 1463 709809. The tapas bar where lovers of all things Spanish meet. Tapas between £4.50-6.
  • Numerous Curry Houses, including Cinnamon near the Eastgate Shopping Centre and Rajah in Post Office Lane.
  • 8 The Bakery, 72 Tomnahurich Street, +44 1463 418918. M-Sa 6AM-3PM, Su closed. A local bakery offering a wide range of loafs, pies, sweet pastries and more.

Drink[edit]

There's plenty of live music and good lively atmospheres around so have fun exploring.

As in all Scotland, all enclosed public places - which includes all eating places and bars - are non-smoking. A few have outside seating areas.

  • 1 Hootananny, 67 Church Street, IV1 1ES, +44 1463 233 651. Is the chief of live music (almost every night), offering (predominantly) Celtic entertainment. The offer good Thai food (in a Scottish-themed pub) relatively cheaply.
  • 2 Dores Inn, Dores, IV2 6TR (8 miles south of Inverness on the B862), +44 1463 751203. On a warm summer's evening, the Dores Inn on the northern shore of Loch Ness (east side) is a particularly pleasant place to linger over a beer. They do good, traditional pub food, too. For customers they offer a free shuttle bus within a 10 mile radius from the pub which has to be booked at least 24h in advance.
  • 3 Black Isle Bar & Rooms, 68 Church Street, IV1 1EN, +44 1463 229920. Daily 11AM-1AM. A bar and accommodation run by the Black Isle Brewery. They have around 10-15 beers on tap from their own organic brewery and some other breweries, and offer very good pizza from a wood-fired oven.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • 1 Inverness Youth Hostel (SYHA), Victoria Drive, IV2 3QB, +44 1463 231771. A modern 4-star hostel with excellent facilities. Some small rooms en-suite, internet, laundry. Open all year. Dorms: adults £15, children £13.50; rooms: from £30.
  • 2 Bazpackers, 4 Culduthel Road, IV2 4AB, +44 1463 717663. Clean and informal. This hostel is quite small so booking in advance is advised. They have a resident cat called Polly. Dorm £18.
  • 3 Bught caravan and camping site, Bught Lane, IV3 5SR (just off the main road out to Loch Ness and Fort William), +44 1463 236920. Open March to November, it is a very pleasant 20-minute walk along the river into the city centre.

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

Connect[edit]

  • 2 Inverness Library, Farraline Park, IV1 1NH, +44 1463 236463. Mon-Tue and Fri 09:00-18:30, Wed 10:00-18:30, Thu 09:00-20:00, Sat 09:00-17:00, Sun closed. Offers Internet access.

Go next[edit]

  • Culloden — Site of the evocative Culloden Battlefied, scene of Bonny Prince Charlie's final defeat in 1746, and the Clava Cairns, a Bronze Age burial site.
  • Loch Ness — not as close as many people think. Jacobite have buses travelling to Loch Ness from Inverness to link up with their cruise boats. Cruises may be joined at Tomnahurich, at the southern edge of the city. For the first 3/4 miles, these sail down the famous and scenic Caledonian Canal and then down Loch Ness itself. Alternatively you may board at Drumnadrochit for the return sail, having visited nearby Urquhart Castle and the Loch Ness Visitor Centre which carries the story of Nessie. For information with a more scientific slant see The Loch Ness Information Site.

There are two mountain resorts within easy reach of Inverness. Both started life as ski facilities but now cater for a wide range of year-round activities and have mountain-top restaurants and shops.

  • Cairngorms National ParkCairngorm Mountain is approx. 30 miles away near Aviemore and has Scotland's only funicular railway.
  • Fort William — If you have a car you can also easily reach the Nevis Range in Fort William, some 63 miles away along the winding A82. At Nevis Range the mountain (which is called Aonach Mor and is 'next door' to Ben Nevis) is ascended by a cable-car gondola system.
Routes through Inverness
ThursoDingwall  N UK road A9.svg S  CarrbridgePerth
ENDS  N UK road A82.svg S  DrumnadrochitFort William
ENDS  W UK road A96.svg E  CullodenAberdeen


This city travel guide to Inverness is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.