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Inverness' Hidden Gems

VisitScotlandLiamVisitScotlandLiam Member, Administrator, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
Hailed as the capital of the Highlands, Inverness is one of Scotland's seven cities.  In all cities you have the landmarks that define the cities character, giving it a trademark that can be recognised all over the world.  In Inverness' case its Loch Ness and Culloden Battlefield, but lets have a look at the more hidden gems!

Clootie Well

A Celtic tradition, the Clootie Well bears colourful rags across the trees.  It is really a sight to behold and is something that you can see near Culloden Battlefield.  From what I've seen, it looks eerie but very impressive.

Clava Cairns

Clava Cairns is none of the locations in the Highlands of Scotland that inspired the Outlander books, and you can see why!  It's a prehistoric bronze age cemetry that is a hit with all Outlander fans!  If you're planning a trip to Culloden, make sure you make the detour here as well.

Fort George

Fort George is one of the largest artillery forts in Europe.  It was built in the 18th century to try and fight back against another Jacobite rising.  If you are into your history, go down and have a look!   There is a terrific visitor centre and you might even catch a glimpse of a dolphin!


If you're visiting Inverness and are looking for somewhere traditionally Scottish to go and spend the night, Hootananny is the place for you.  It offers traditional Scottish music, food and drink.  On Fridays and Saturdays, the tables are even moved out of the way to encourage ceilidh dancing!  Who fancies spending the weekend here?

What are your hidden gems for Inverness?


  • ScathachScathach Member ✭✭
    The Ness Islands!

    Walk along the river Ness (south side after the castle) and then cross one of the bonnie bridges and you'll be in the Ness islands. A group of islands in the middle of the river. They are a very quite and lovely location.
    When I am in Inverness I love to go there to for a walk and sit down and read a book.
  • Invernes is central to the story of the Jacobites, and of course, the actual Outlander story not the filming locations. Do check out: Cawdor Castle, Clava Cairns, Culloden Battlefield, Wardlaw Museum, Fort George, Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness for starters.....there is just so much to see and do in this location and it is a great launchpad for Caithness in the north, and to the west coast .
  • FullStopNextChapterFullStopNextChapter VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    Yes @Scathach. Love Ness Islands. We were in Inverness for Hogmanay to see in 2017. The water was really high. 

    There wasn't much open on New Years day so we must get back for a proper visit. 
    Join in my new chapter over on the blog. Discovering all things that make Scotland the place everyone wants to visit. 

  • SmidgeSmidge VisitScotland Ambassador ✭✭✭
    My favourite hidden gems in Inverness - 
    • Take a walk along the Caledonian Canal to Loch Ness 
    • Visit Leakey's Second-hand Bookshop - it is amazing! 
    • I also like The Castle - a great traditional real ale pub. 
    Kate - Scotland / outdoor blogger at Love From Scotland
    Climbs hills, takes pictures. Likes remotes places.
    Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

  • FishPalFishPal Member
    edited January 29
    Inverness is a fabulous place to visit. It has some excellent fishing in Scotland. The upper river opened in January and a lucky angler caught the first fish in Scotland on the River Moriston. Always happy to help if anyone would like to go fishing - Anne FishPal
  • Joanne55Joanne55 Member
    Lots of good suggestions here. I am planning a trip to Scotland in May for a month and will be spending about 1wk in Inverness area. I am a senior travelling solo and relying only on train/bus. Is ScotRail the most economical way to get around Scotland, and can I purchase a one month pass that will allow me to travel during my stay in Scotland?  Also, I really want to take the Jacobite train tour but feel it might be too far from Inverness, any suggestions?  
  • spootsspoots Member ✭✭
    edited February 17
    The dolphin-spotting boat trips are really good.

    There are lots of bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth.  In fact, it is estimated that around 130 bottlenose dolphins live in the Firth!
  • VisitScotlandJulieVisitScotlandJulie Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    edited February 19
    Hi @Joanne55

    You could look at the CityLink Explorer Pass as this is often the most economical . It depends really on which locations you want to visit. Unfortunately there is not a one month pass:

    You can check your public transport options at Traveline Scotland:

    It does not seem possible to make the Jacobite Steam train as a day trip from Inverness but it would be fine as an overnight trip with a stay at Fort William.

  • Joyful_1Joyful_1 Member ✭✭
    Don't go to Hootenanys on a Thursday. That is the day they do not do Scottish folk music. We were there on a Thursday and it was Italian Folk Music. I flew 6000 miles to Scotland to hear Italian music ... not
    It was one of our last nights there so we never got to enjoy some.
  • mustseescotlandmustseescotland VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭✭
    We also recommend Inverness Art Gallery & Museum. It has some really excellent displays - you can learn about Scottish culture, the Jacobites, archaeology, history and wildlife - but you can also try on a traditional plaid and even learn a few Gaelic phrases - plus enjoy a nice coffee/cake or bowl of soup in their tea room ( a real hidden gem!)

    The independent online guide to Scotland, written by Gilbert and Johanna Summers - lifetime Scottish tourism experts, so you get the best vacation.

  • IslanderswedeIslanderswede Member
    Aloha @Joanne55, I will also be traveling to Scotland in May and I don't want to drive either.  Please let me know what you find out about the train travel in Scotland, I will be there for a little over two weeks.
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