Inverness Tourist Attractions
Inverness is the administrative center for the Highland region, which consists of the old counties of Inverness, Nairn, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland and Caithness. The town has benefited from its sheltered position at the mouth of the Moray Firth and at the northeastern end of the Caledonian Canal. In the sixth century Inverness was the residence of Pictish kings and in 565 St Columba visited the town to pay his respects to Brude, king of the Picts. Given the town's favorable location at the gateway to the Northwest Highlands, Inverness has become a busy tourist center and it makes a good starting point for excursions.
It is said that Duncan was killed by Macbeth in the old fortress which lay to the east of the present castle, but Cawdor Castle or Glamis Castle north of Dundee may have witnessed the cruel deed that Shakespeare immortalized. The first castle was built by David I in the middle of the 12th C but some 500 years later Cromwell ordered his men to build a stone castle on the same site. In 1715 James Francis Edward was proclaimed king there and the last time it was under Jacobite control was during the short reign of "Bonnie Prince Charlie" in 1745. After the Battle of Culloden when the "Young Pretender" was defeated, the Duke of Cumberland ordered it to be burnt to the ground. The present Victorian castle was erected during the first half of the 19th C and the premises are now used as offices.
Flora MacDonald Statue
A statue on the Esplanade recalls the part Flora MacDonald played in helping "Bonnie Prince Charlie" to escape through enemy lines after the disaster at Culloden.
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
The museum on Castle Wynd illustrates Inverness's rich cultural heritage and also the history of the Highlands.
St Andrew's Cathedral
Church Street can boast Inverness's oldest building, Abertarff House, which was built as a town residence for the Lovat family in 1592. Note the remarkable outside staircase. It was restored by the National Trust for Scotland in 1966 and it now serves as their Highlands Region head office. The Highland Association, an organization whose aim is to advance the Gaelic culture and language, is also based at the house.
Beauly (pop. 1,500; 12mi/19.2km west of Inverness) owes its title "beau lieu" to the magnificent location of a priory which was founded by French Valliscaulian monks ca. 1230. The west portal and sections of the main nave (restored in the 16th C by Bishop Robert Reid) have survived and the fine tracery on three windows of the south side dates from the 13th C.
Highland Riding Centre
This riding center offers short and long treks along the coast of world-famous Loch Ness. There is also an indoor riding school approved by the British Horse Society. Rides can be arranged by the hour or as part of longer holiday stays.
From here, majestic cruise ships depart for distant ports of call. While docked, these mighty ships are a spectacle for all to see.
Balnain House (closed to the public)
Balnain House in Inverness is a house with more than one story to tell. It was originally built as a merchant's house in 1726. Later, during the Battle of Culloden in 1746, it was used as a field hospital. In the 1880's it became the base of the Royal Ordnance for survey maps of the Highlands. Balnain House has been converted into offices and is now closed to the public.
International Festival of Film and TV in Celtic Countries
Nairn is known for its numerous golf courses, fines sand beaches, and the river that bears the same name.
The delightful stretch of road from Inverness to John o'Groats at the northeastern tip of Scotland by the Pentland Firth (110mi/180km) closely follows the coast. In the hands of the Fraser clan since 1580, the family offers guided tours.
North Kessock is located just across the Moray Firth from Inverness on the A9.
The Black Isle, in contrast to its name, is a beautifully green and fertile peninsula between Beauly and Cromarty Firth, and certainly merits further exploration.
Typical Visit: 1 hour
The main town on the Black Isle is the twin settlement of Fortrose-Rosemarkie (pop. 1,900), formerly an important port and now a popular resort with an 18-hole golf course. Little remains of Fortrose Cathedral which was started in the 12th century and altered during the 13th/14th century apart from the two-story chapterhouse. The stones from the church were transported to Inverness by Cromwell's men for use in the construction of the castle there. Rosemarkie is an even older settlement dating from the sixth century. In 1125 David I declared the town a bishopric but that was later moved to Fortrose.
Cromarty - Hugh Miller's Cottage
In Cromarty's Church Street stands the cottage where Hugh Miller (1802-1856) was born. The house, which survives in its original condition, is now a museum with mementos of the highly-regarded geologist and writer.
Onshore installations, drilling rig docks and light industry zones around the Cromarty Firth have developed out of regional development programs designed to support the North Sea oil industry.
Turn north when leaving the Black Isle and the road leads to Dingwall (pop. 5,000), a railroad junction on the north bank of Cromarty. This small market town became a royal burgh in 1226 and its history is clearly documented in the old town hall.
Highland Traditional Music Festival
This festival brings together the best local performers along with stars from other Celtic countries, for three days of celebrations in late June or early July.
The little town of Daviot is located southeast of Inverness.
Map of Inverness Attractions