Inverness is a city on the northeast coast of Scotland, situated at the mouth of the River Ness. It is often considered the capital of the Highlands and is definitely a perfect location to use as a base to travel further north.
The area has an interesting past dating back to as early as AD 565 and the times of the Picts. Gaelic was the commonly spoken language until the end of the 19th Century, and you will still see traces of this. The word Glen is Gaelic for valley, and perfectly describes the rolling, breathtaking countryside that surrounds the city
If you have time to explore the region, then why not head to Loch Ness and hope for a glimpse of the legendary Loch Ness Monster
Even though Inverness is a city, it has a reasonably small population, around 50,000, and retains the feel of a market town. You can easily walk around the city, and if you wish to venture further, hop aboard one of the local buses which service the neighbouring area. The international airport is serviced by regular bus to the city centre, which runs every 30 minutes. The train station is in the centre of town and the East Coast Main Line runs south to London.
The Highlands are a stunningly beautiful part of the world, and you could spend weeks, if not months, exploring the region. However if you are a little short on time, here are a couple suggestions of places to visit while you are staying in Inverness:
Stretching for 100km from Inverness to Corpach, The Caledonian Canal is an engineering masterpiece. Designed by engineer Thomas Telford, the waterway opened in 1822 and is a complex combination of 29 locks, 4 aquaducts and 10 bridges. Amble along the tow-path and marvel at the technological feat, then stop off at the visitor’s centre in Fort Augustus to learn more about this amazing feat.
Even though Inverness has its own castle which dominates the skyline, we recommend that you venture further afield and visit Brodie Castle as the former is unfortunately not open to the public. Brodie Castle fulfils exactly what you would expect from a Highland Castle. Set in its own peaceful parklands, the architecture is breathtaking and inside you can visit thousands of artifacts belonging to the Brodie Family. There is also a wonderful tearoom, where you can stop for a refreshing drink.
After spending some time in Inverness old town, and absorbing the atmosphere, we recommend another couple of must-sees during your stay:
Just outside Inverness, you will find the town Cromarty. The whole town is considered an architectural gem, as is was spared modernisation and there are many well-preserved Georgian townhouses alongside fishermen’s cottages. The courthouse, built in 1773, has an informative exhibition on the judicial system in the area, which is enhanced and brought to life with the help of 21st century technology. Pick up an audio guide to make the most of the experience. Admission is free, although donations are very gratefully received.
After all the exploration, we think it’s time for a good old night out – Scottish style! In the award winning Hootananny Ceilidh Bar, you can try traditional Scottish food, while enjoying the live folk music. Enjoy the delicious ‘Haggis, Neeps and Tatties’, while listening to the fiddlers and pipes. (67 Church Street Inverness Scotland IV1 1ES)
Inverness has an excellent selection of hotels with quite a few of them being located around the River Ness. Whatever kind of accomodation you prefer, we are sure that Inverness wil not disappoint.
This four-star hotel is located on the waterfront with idyllic views across the River Ness, and also Inverness Castle. Although the hotel was originally built in 1882, it has recently undergone a refurbishment, and the stylish rooms pay homage to their Victorian heritage, but combine this with all the modern comforts. In the warmer months, enjoy a drink on the terrace, or choose something to eat from the restaurant’s seasonal menu. (7 Ness Walk, IV3 5NF Inverness)
As a member of the Ramada group, the Pentahotel Inverness delivers the expected standard of luxury you would expect from a Ramada. You can dine in the hotel’s stylish restaurant, with its bare brick walls and welcoming dark wooden furniture, or head outside to the terrace. There is an onsite fitness centre, as well as a log fire in the trendy lounge area. However you prefer to relax, the Pentahotel Inverness has a lot to offer. (63 Academy Street, IV1 1LU Inverness).