In 2015, over 275,000 people made the trip to Inverness, the Gateway to the Highlands, to wander along the picturesque streets and the banks of the River Ness, and enjoy all that this historic and fascinating city has to offer. The Highland capital is now the 4th most visited city in the UK by holidaymakers.
One of Inverness’ main advantages is its accessibility; it lies on the intersection of the A9, the great Highland trunk road running from Edinburgh in the south to Wick in the north, and the A96, the main route east towards Aberdeen. It has great road, coach and rail links and is only a twenty-minute drive from Inverness Airport, a hub for travel throughout the Highlands and Islands and beyond, to England and a growing list of European destinations.
The most striking feature is Inverness Castle, built high on the south bank of the river. On the north bank, there are riverbank walks and a park, plus the Eden Court Theatre complex, a major centre for performing arts and exhibitions.
During the winter of 1746, the King’s army was lodged in the Castle, waiting for better weather to resolve the ‘45 Jacobite Rebellion at the Battle of Culloden, fought in April the same year. Leader of the Rebellion, Bonnie Prince Charlie, spent the winter across the main street in a house in Church Street.
Inverness offers a fascinating array of independent shops including fine food and wine outlets, and a vibrant central Victorian Market which is accessed from four different streets.
If it’s retail therapy you’re looking for, head for the Eastgate Centre, a premium destination for leading clothes and shoe shops, books, music, beauty and more. There are lots of imaginative eateries surrounding the lively Food Court, where shoppers enjoy get togethers with friends and family.
Inverness boasts an excellent choice of restaurants, with cuisine from all over the world, and a number of places offering a superb array of modern Scottish dishes based on ingredients from the rich farmland, wild hill country and pristine coastal and inland waters surrounding the city.
There’s also a colourful pub culture with many beers from micro breweries to sample, and a fantastic selection of entertainments, from live pub music to street performers, concerts, plays and several multi-screen cinemas. And of course, your visit to Inverness wouldn’t be complete without sampling a few drams of uisge beatha, the water of life that is the fine selection of Highland and Island single malt whiskies.