Inverness: A Great Base For Exploring The Highlands of Scotland

Nestled on the banks of the River Ness at the head of the Great Glen, this tiny, charming city is considered the gateway to the Highlands. The four-hour train journey from Glasgow takes you deep into the heart of Scotland, beginning at Inverness. As the train cuts through the stunning, atmospheric countryside, where grassy verges dip into cragged rock formations below, the air becomes colder and thinner; it is one of the most beautiful train journeys you can take in the UK.

Inverness provides the door to the wind-swept, dramatic Highlands but also, in its own right, is an enchanting and historic city to visit. There is so much to do in and around inverness and so we have compiled the ultimate tick list while you’re holidaying in the Scotland.

Before you set off make sure to plan your trip by booking up your accommodation and any activities you wish to do that are likely to book out. You might also want to consider some holiday cover while traversing the more rugged areas of the UK. Don’t let any stumbles or mishaps ruin your holiday.

In Inverness

The Inverness Castle is a relatively new build, as it was constructed in 1847 to replace the castle blown up by the Jacobites. Its smooth caramel brickwork is far more modern and softer than older Scottish architecture.

The Old High Church is the oldest church in the city and is open for services most days and every Friday you can take a free tour of its interior.

The main Museum and Art Gallery has a collection of medieval stones, wildlife exhibitions and an array of historic weapons.

A stroll through the Ness Islands gets you out of the city limits and is particularly peaceful and captivating. On rainy, overcast days the islands are glistening green and refreshing but during the summer months the bright sun reflects the grassy hues casting a dappled light across the paths.

Check out the tourist office for different activities going on; from golfing to watersports, you will something fun at any time of year.

Rent a bike from any of the outlets (there are quite a few hire shops) jump on and cycle through the Ness Islands, waterfront or along the river with a guide.

If you planning on doing a lot on holiday it may be wise to invest in some travel insurance for these activities and adventures.

Outside Inverness

History enthusiasts will be in their element at the Culloden Battlefield, which lies on the outskirts of Inverness and was the scene of Bonny Prince Charles final defeat in 1746.

There are two mountain resorts in close proximity to the city, which are Cairngorm, 30 miles away, and the Nevis range. Each caters to a wide range of snow sports and perched on the mountains are many welcoming restaurants. The Nevis range is easy to reach by car in Fort William and you will ascend by a stretching cable car gondola over the jagged mountains.

Loch Ness is just 6 miles from Inverness and should be part of everyone’s to do list. The folklore about the Ness monster has imbued the loch with an austere and haunting quality. The scenery is verdant and achingly beautiful. The place to start would be Drumnadrochit, a small village sitting on the shores of Loch Ness. For a dark spooky walk head down to the loch where the old ruined castle lays and the howling wind and ominous loch are eerily silent.

By Natalie Laurence

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Malice In Wonderland – Ness Islands

Malice In Wonderland is this year’s opening event of the Inverness Winter Festival 2010 and will be open on Friday 29th and Saturday 30th October 2010 on Ness Islands in Inverness. The action packed family Halloween Show will without doubt be even more successful than last year’s Blackbeard show.

The humourous take on Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland will see Mad Morag (The Mad Hatter’s Mother) being summoned by the King and Queen of Tarts to the Highlands to help them solve the mystery of the disappearance of the White Rabbit.

There is a rumour on Ness Islands it that something very strange has happened to young Alice who just does not seem to be herself these days but nobody has been brave enough to approach her for some time now.

Malice In Wonderland will be the biggest Halloween Show in the Scottish Highlands and everyone is invited to dress up in their favourite Halloween costumes and help over 100 performers from Eden Court Theatre’s Arts Education team solve the biggest mystery of the year in a magical wonderland created by Arts in Motion and the Highland Council’s Lighting Department on Haunted Ness Islands.

The gate will be open at 6pm and the show will take place from 6.30m until 8.30pm.

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Inverness Snow

River Ness from Ness Islands Bridge

River Ness from Ness Islands Bridge

River Ness Away From Inverness

River Ness Away From Inverness

Inverness City Along River Ness

Inverness City Along River Ness

Ness Islands In The Snow

Ness Islands In The Snow

Inverness City And River Ness Snow Scene

Inverness City And River Ness Snow Scene


Yesterday Inverness got some of the snow that the rest of the UK has been receiving and the City looked absolutely stunning. With the snow still falling we took our dog, Branston, for a walk across the fields, through Ness Islands and along the River Ness.

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Inverness Winter Festival – Red Hot Highland Fling

Inverness Winter Festival has had its schedule extended and will now be running from 30 October to 31 December 2009 taking in Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night. Highlights of the Inverness Winter Festival now include: 

30 & 31 October: Blackbeard’s Haunted Ness Islands with over 100 ghosts on display with Eden Court Theatre performers and a lighting display.

5 November: Bonfire and Fireworks Display at 7.30pm in Bught Park.

22 November: Christmas Lights Switch-On Event. Froom 5pm at Inverness Castle with the switch-on taking place at 6pm at the Town House.

12 & 13 December: Christmas Market at the riverside below Inverness Castle.

18 – 20 December: Ness Islands Christmas Lights Show

19 & 20 December: Rudolph’s Christmas Party including a visit from Santa at Whin Park.

31 December: Hogmanay Party with The Red Hot Chili Pipers, the Peatbog Fairies and Blazin’ Fiddles at the Northern Meeting Park. Performances start at 8.30pm.

Come to Inverness and enjoy your Scottish Highlands Travel!!

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Cycling in Inverness – Caledonian Canal and River Ness

We are extremely lucky in Inverness as we have some excellent routes to cycle around taking in the beautiful local scenery. Our bed and breakfast Inverness is located just a couple of minutes ride from the Caledonian Canal and it is one of my favourite routes. You can cycle along the footpath beside the canal all the way to Dochgarroch which is a relaxing and peaceful 4 mile pedal. There’s a lovely village type green where you can sit on the benches and watch the boats pass through the lock or just study the array of different boats on their moorings. The return cycle is even better as it’s very slightly downhill and if the sun is shining the water in the canal displays a different shade of blue at every turn and mirrors both the sky and the hills perfectly.

Once back at Tomnahurich Bridge I could go straight home but instead I always turn right and head down to Whin Park, a nice place to rest the legs and more importantly enjoy an ice cream!! It’s then a leisurely ride along the River Ness towards Ness Islands passing the almost completed and impressive Inverness Archive Building. I cross over the bridge onto the Islands where on a warm and sunny day you regularly see the young lads jumping off into the River, a sight that seems to impress the visitors.

Ness Islands are great to walk or cycle through and we always recommend them to guests at our bed and breakfast. Inverness is lucky to have such a tranquil and beautiful retreat that you can amble through taking in the fast flowing river and the varied flora and fauna. Once off of the islands it’s a short ride along the riverside to the City Centre turning left over the road bridge and back along the opposite side along to Eden Court Theatre. From here it’s just a couple of minutes back to Avalon Guest House.

Whichever bed and breakfast, Inverness can offer visitors the chance to enjoy some of the many routes taking in the City and the local scenery. Bikes can be rented from Ticket To Ride and they will even deliver and collect them from where you are staying.

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