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Tourist Places To Visit In Inverness
Inverness is the northernmost city in the country and is situated within the heart of the Scottish Highlands. An ancient cathedral city, Inverness is also regarded as the capital of the Highlands and serves as the perfect base to explore the Highlands. The region is surrounded by a wealth of places to visit, with a range of world-renowned natural wonders and numerous man-made marvels that make Inverness a spell-binding spot to explore. The medieval ruins and prehistoric sites of Inverness attract all types of history lovers, while the abundance of cultural sights and outdoor attractions offer travellers the chance to enjoy a memorable trip that will stay with them for a lifetime. Check out our guide on some of the top places to visit when in Inverness.
Loch Ness is a lake situated in the village Drumnadrochit, just a 30-minute drive southeast from Inverness. It can easily be labelled the most famous lake in Scotland and is most commonly associated with the Loch Ness monster or Nessie, a popular mythical creature that conspiracy theorists say has claimed lives within the depths of the lake. Numerous alleged sightings have occurred over the years but no confirmation has ever been given about the existence of the creature. However, that does not deter tourists from visiting the town each year in large crowds to catch a sight of the elusive monster themselves. There are several tourist attractions around the lake, most of which revolve around the Loch Ness monster itself. Some key spots worth checking out are Nessieland and the Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition.
The Culloden Battlefield, located about 10-15 minutes away from Inverness, is the site where the last battle of the Jacobite uprising took place. In the year 1746, the Scottish lost the battle to the British and it was here on this battlefield that 1500 soldiers lost their lives. The Scottish National Trust opened a visitor’s centre here in 2008; there is a museum here where visitors can learn all about the history of the Highlands and the Jacobite uprising. A 360⁰ video that is shown at the museum recreates the sights and sounds of the battle and is sure to transport you back into the battlefield. While touring the battlefield itself, visitors are given GPS-operated headsets that allow them to get details about what happened on this significant day in Scotland’s history.
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
Spending an afternoon in the Inverness Museum is the perfect way to gain a greater understanding of Scottish history and traditions. The museum contains a wide range of both permanent and temporary collections, interactive exhibits and artefacts. Through the museum’s exhibits, visitors can learn all about the geology of the Highlands and the different significant periods in Scotland’s history. Don’t forget to check out Felicity the puma, who was caught near Loch Ness and was stuffed to be displayed in the museum after she died of old age. The art gallery too has a fantastic display of artworks, ranging from the national collection to the latest contemporary art.
Superstitious sites may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but sometimes such spots offer some insight into a town’s culture and should definitely be checked out. The Clootie Well is one such spot; the well is made up of a spring of water with a tree growing beside it. The ‘clootie’ is a piece of cloth that is dipped into the river water and tied onto a tree branch by people who visit the area. It is an ancient tradition that locals believe cures ailments. As the piece of rag disintegrates, the person suffering from the ailment is apparently gradually healed. The entire tree is covered in different types of clothing and rags, including personal belongings and heartfelt messages left behind by people.
This prehistoric cemetery from the Bronze Age, which is about 4000 years old, is free for visitors to explore. Located close to the Culloden battlefield, this ancient burial ground has a collection of Cairns and stones and passage graves that are believed to have astronomical purposes. The careful arrangement appears to have been aligned according to the midwinter sun. Within Clava Cairns, there are two cemetery complexes; Balnuaran and Milton. Balnuaran has three massive cairns and is the more popular site of the two, while Milton has the ruins of a medieval chapel. Ever since the cairns were featured in the TV series ‘Outlander’, the region has found a new generation of fans.
Inverness Castle is a prominent landmark situated on a clifftop that overlooks River Ness. This 11th century fortress was made entirely of wood and was partially destroyed by King Robert I of Scotland. There was a succession of castles built in its place over the following years and in 1836, the red stone structure that stands today was constructed by the architect William Burn.
The tour of the castle begins with an educational video of the town, followed by a visit to the viewing platform in the castle’s north tower. Castle Viewpoint is the highest vantage point from the castle and visitors can enjoy lovely views of the city and the River Ness from this spot, along with great photography opportunities. The rest of the castle is not currently open to the public; however, the castle grounds are and make for a pleasant walk on a good weather day.
Leakey’s Bookshop is easily the best second-hand bookshop in Scotland, if not the entire UK. The shop is located in an 18th-century church and its interiors will make you feel like you have walked onto the set of ‘Harry Potter’. The extensive collection of books here is spread over two floors and visitors to the shop have ample space to sit and enjoy the books right there in the store. During winters, the staff light the log fire in the centre and visitors often cannot resist curling up in front of it with a good book. The owner Charles Leakey has truly created a charming place that is nothing short of a wonderland to bookworms.
Hootananny is a pub and music venue where visitors get to enjoy everything from traditional Scottish music and dance to the quintessential Highland hospitality and pub food. During the weekends, the tables are cleared to accommodate local ceilidh dancing and other kilt-twirling performances that are enjoyed by locals just as much as they are by tourists. The environment within the pub is extremely social and it is a great place to try out native delicacies like haggis or fish ‘n’ chips along with local beers and drinks.