What to see in Inverness

Inverness Castle Viewpoint
Inverness from the Castle

If you are planning a day without the use of a car, here’s what to see in Inverness city on foot. Take in the picturesque setting of the River Ness and landmark buildings along it as well as some highlights of the city centre.

From Bannerman Bed and Breakfast take a walk up Glenurquhart Road to Inverness Botanical Gardens. This is a small but wide ranging garden including greenhouses and space to admire the horticulture outside. Admission is free and there’s a friendly cafe inside.

Ness Islands

It’s a short walk to the Ness Islands along Bught Drive, passed Inverness Leisure Centre and the Ice Rink. There’s a handy kiosk at the Crazy Golf if you’re in need of a drink or ice cream The Ness Islands are a collection of small islands in the middle of the River Ness which are connected with bridges. This is such a scenic spot with all that nature has to offer. There are wonderful vistas and photo opportunities, you’ll forget you’re in a city.

You can walk through the islands to the other side of the River Ness, along Ladies Walk, for a picturesque view. Inverness Castle is up ahead and on the other side of the river is Eden Court Theatre and Inverness Cathedral. For now it is not possible to visit Inverness Castle, as it’s currently undergoing a major facelift. From 2025 it will be a major tourist attraction in the city and the marvellous view of the city will be available again.

Nearby is Inverness Museum, tucked back from the shops on Bridge Street. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday and you can see a range of collections and artefacts celebrating Highland life and heritage.

Victorian Market

The High Street features a selection of chains and coffee shops, as well as a few unique independent shops selling Highland dress and gifts. There’s the Eastgate Centre at the far side of the pedestrianised high street, with familiar stores and food court. For something different a couple of minutes walk is the Victorian Market. There are several entrances but the main one is opposite the train station. The market dates back to 1890 and has a cast iron and wooden domed roof. There are 30 independent businesses there, which includes a new food and drink hall.

As well as the food and drink hall in the market, there’s a great choice of eateries in the city centre with an emphasis on local produce. Read more on my favourite eating places in Inverness.

Leakey’s Bookshop

When you’re in the city centre it’s worth a look in Leakey’s bookshop, which is open Monday to Saturday 10am – 5.30pm. For book lovers, you could stay here all day as it has a huge collection of rare and antiquarian books.

From here you may want to head back along the riverside on the other side of the river, this time taking a closer look at Inverness Cathedral and Eden Court Theatre. During the summer months there’s a number of food stalls along the riverside.

You might prefer a more formal tour of the city, rather than just a few of my suggestions. There are many tour guides in the city, such as Cath’s Inverness Tours, a qualified local guide. If you want to go further afield, there’s a great choice of day tours from Inverness, to Skye, Orkney or Loch Ness and Culloden.

Open to bus tour