"Inverness Travel Tips - Loch Ness - Worth One Day" Top 5 Page for this destination Inverness by scotlandscotour

Inverness Travel Guide: 365 reviews and 815 photos

Inverness Travel Tips - Highlands ... But A Mess!

I like Inverness, now after years, and having lived there for a year. Yet I can still remember my disappointment - no "shock" at how dirty, drab and unattractive it was.

It has its really wonderful spots (the Ness Islands Walk with suspension footbridges joining wooded islands across the River Ness) but in general it is a bit of a let down.

Inverness is the main town supplying the Highland region, so has large industrial parks and a very practical feel, not beauty. This is compounded by its recent growth and by horrendous concrete architecture by the River.
Sad but true.

It is also busy with tourists, and the B&B, hotel and hostel trade is busy, so I have not detected "the laws of competition" bringing about value for money.

Use Inverness for what it is - a refueling and provisions stop and a base for resourcing better areas.

Tourist Attractions ?

Ignore the "castle" - it is new. The original castle has long gone. Good for photographs of the River - but have no misconceptions about castles - this is not one of them!

If you are to look at Loch Ness, drive on the "south side". Only drive the north side if motoring to Fort William or Skye. Even then, consider the quiet south side.

Culloden Battlefield. Very popular because of its significance, NOT because of beauty! Good cafe and visitor stuff there (National Trust of Scotland) but unless you are really into historical battles / tracing ancestors, its not that impressive.

The small (and free) museum behind the Tourist Infomation Office is worth an hour for sure - its a good, bite sized intro to Highland life and natural history.

If staying in Inverness, its worth checking out whats playing (independent film cinema and theatre / music etc) at the Eden Court Theatre. Also close by there is the good Swimming Pool and Leisure Centre with Climbing Wall.

A number of bars now have live bands - responding to the huge influx of tourists. Inverness is well provided by hostels, so is popular for a "night out" / heavy drinking.

A Delightful Walk Around Inverness - 1 hour

This is the best way to see Inverness, on foot:

From the Town Hall (look up at the lovely architecture and ignore the gaudy MacDonalds opposite) and nearby Tourist Information Centre (particularly friendly staff in this one) walk downhill to the River, but don't cross.

Turn left and walk upstream, with the water on your right hand side. Pass the white suspension bridge and continue to a second, smaller bridge, which then takes you via lovely wooded islands across the river.

Once across the river, turn right and head downstream (river still to your right). Again ignore the white suspension bridge. Optional stop in Eden Court to check out events for evening, and or a cup of tea!
Continue alongside river past the main bridge (traffic) and carry along until you reach another footbridge, which you cross to get back to City Centre.

Note: There are a number of tasty restaurants, tapas bars and a lovely second hand book store in an old church - with cafe, spiral stairs and wood burning stove).
*More about this in My Inverness Tips* and see Bluewoad.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Eden Court Theatre & Cinema, Music Bars, River Ness, Bookshop, Provisions Shopping
  • Cons:Loch Ness, Hotels, Culloden, Castle, Dirty and Nothing Like the Highlands!!!
  • In a nutshell:Useful Regional Centre, hard to avoid but not an "Attraction"
  • Last visit to Inverness: Mar 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (13)

Comments (17)

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2008 at 2:51 AM

    Hi again :-) Will be staying in a cottage with John's parents, and "no": we're not visiting for Nessie... we're visiting for hiking, a drink in a tiny pub, and lots of fresh air :-) Jess

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2006 at 11:47 PM

    Since childhood Inverness was a place I loved. Now it's a place to pop into for the library and shopping, on the way to and from home. Agreed, not a tourist place, but gateway to the real highlands.

  • Kaspian's Profile Photo
    Aug 29, 2005 at 8:29 PM

    Thx for the info, we just returned--I disagree as Culloden as a "Con". More like a place of pilgrimage, you feel sadness before you even know what happened. Vs other towns, Inverness was where we wished we had more time. The people were great. Cheers, Ed.

  • Aug 29, 2005 at 7:51 AM

    Good info! Hope to check them soon:-)) regards!!

  • KittyLou's Profile Photo
    Aug 25, 2005 at 6:12 PM

    Thanks for all the information but now I wonder if Inverness is the place to use as a base for traveling north and west by train in Scotland.

  • Ben-UK's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2005 at 2:43 PM

    Thanks for your honesty in your 'Tourist Traps' tip -- am touring Scotland later this year -- a very good page indeed.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Feb 26, 2005 at 3:05 PM

    Detailed information with lots of opinions to support the information. I would have loved the bookstore and also would have worried about fire. Your satire is enjoyable, unless you come from Inverness! Thanks for this eye-opening tour.

  • Knoto's Profile Photo
    Nov 30, 2004 at 12:37 AM

    Another great Page!!!

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2004 at 4:10 AM

    We are forever indebted to your honesty and detail!

  • RhineRoll's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2004 at 9:03 AM

    Shame on me -- I failed to succed in talking somebody out of visiting Loch Ness :-) Oh well...


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