Inverness is one of Scotland’s seven cities, and situated all the way up the A9 on the pristine banks of the River Ness, it’s one of the most beautiful.
The city and surrounding area is home to a variety of attractions, including breweries, distilleries, music and entertainment venues, pubs, clubs and restaurants. The capital of the Highlands is the ideal destination for a weekend away. Andy Revill has a guide to the best of Inverness.
[Loch Ness – picture: Duncan McNeil / Flickr / CC]
What to do in Inverness
Eden Court Theatre
Eden Court Theatre is the biggest arts centre in Scotland, showcasing a huge variety of entertainment in its two cinema screens and two theatres. Upcoming events range from a new Michael Palin stage show to a Scooby Doo family show, so there is bound to be something for every one.
Bishops Rd, Inverness, 01463 239841, www.eden-court.co.uk
There are times when the only therapy is retail therapy, and Eastgate Shopping Centre in the centre of Inverness is the perfect spot. It houses a massive range of high street stores, plus a wide variety of restaurants and cafés for that quick pick-me-up.
11 Eastgate, Inverness, 01463 226457, www.eastgate-centre.co.uk
Hootananny/Mad Hatters/The Bothy
Hootananny’s is the best place in town for a selection of live music. It boasts three venues that offer different styles of music and entertainment. The main venue, Hootananny, hosts mainly traditional Scottish music, and has the odd ceilidh. Mad Hatters is a venue for local bands and emerging talent, and The Bothy is the place to go for an acoustic set and comedy nights. Something for everyone.
67 Church St, Inverness, 01463 233651, www.hootanannyinverness.co.uk
The biggest music venue in the Highlands has hosted some of the best live acts in Britain, including Kasabian and Biffy Clyro. Ironworks also hosts a wide range of other live entertainment, and upcoming events include the Highland Darts Challenge and an audience with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.
122B Academy St, Inverness, 0871 789 4173, www.ironworksvenue.com
Velocity is part of a new breed of cafe that’s springing up around the country, but is entirely unique. A bike shop, café and live venue all rolled into one, Velocity hosts film nights, lecture and discussion events, mountain bike rides, live music and plenty more besides. Or you could just duck in for a coffee and a cake.
1 Crown Avenue, Inverness, 01463 419956, velocitylove.co.uk/new-page/
What to see around Inverness
There are a number of options for boat rides on Loch Ness, but Jacobite Cruises take you from the outskirts of the city, so it’s ideally placed. The cruises are in a variety of languages, including French, German, Italian and Spanish, and can range in length from anything between one hour to six and a half hours. The cruises can give you a brilliant view of Loch Ness and also offer tours around the famous Urquhart Castle.
Tomnahurich Bridge, Glenurquhart Rd, Inverness, 01463 233999, www.jacobite.co.uk
Glen Ord Distillery
Glen Ord Distillery creates a sweet and malty whisky that is dry on the palate. A visit here will let you watch the master distillers at work creating their malt, The Singleton of Glen Ord.
Muir of Ord, Ross-shire, 01463 872004, www.discovering-distilleries.com/glenord
Highland Wildlife Park
The Highland Wildlife Park is home to a massive variety of animals, from the famous Capercaillie to tigers, wolves and the UK’s only polar bears. The park hosts daily events for the whole family, as well as a unique opportunity to get up close to the animals by being Keeper for a Day. An ideal stop off if you’re travelling from to Inverness from the south on the A9.
Kincraig, Kingussie, 01540 651270, www.highlandwildlifepark.org.uk
Black Isle Brewery
The Black Isle is a fertile ground for breweries and distilleries alike, as it produces malting barely like no other. Black Isle beer is completely organic, and made from local produce. Already a fixture in bars around Scotland and beyond, the popularity of its range is growing rapidly. Visit for a tour around the brewery from raw materials to a taste of the finished product.
Black Isle Brewing Company, Black Isle, 01463 811 871, www.blackislebrewery.com
Food and Drink
Joy of Taste
This is a truly unique idea for a restaurant. Double rosette winning chef Lee Beale creates a menu with plenty of variety, and 25 volunteers work in the restaurant for one shift per week, just for the love of making a restaurant that is enjoyable to dine in. Open seven days during the summer, Joy of Taste is definitely worth a look.
25 Church St, Inverness, 01463 241459, www.thejoyoftaste.co.uk
Contrast Brasserie is one of the best places to eat out in Inverness. Only a short walk from the Eden Court Theatre, it is ideally situated for a pre-show meal. Locally sourced produce, and good, unpretentious Scottish food are the order of the day. There is also a full bar and a wide selection of cocktails to wash your meal down.
20 Ness Bank, Inverness, 01463 223777, www.glenmoristontownhouse.com
If you’re in the mood for something a little more relaxed but raucous, then Johnny Foxes is just the ticket. On the banks of the Ness, Johnny Foxes is a traditional pub and restaurant, serving great food all day, and with a variety of entertainment in the form of live music every week. Johnny Foxes adjoins The Den, a cocktail bar and club, for when you’ve finished your meal and feel like partying.
26 Bank St, Inverness, 01463 236577, www.johnnyfoxes.co.uk
An “old man’s pub” in the classic mould, Clachnaharry comes complete with a roaring log fire, selection of fine ales, single malts, good homemade food, a friendly welcome and a beer garden out the back. You can’t really go wrong with a tried and true formula.
17-19 High St, Clachnaharry, Inverness, 01463 239806, www.facebook.com/TheClachnaharryInn
Where to stay
The Dairy At Daviot
The Dairy at Daviot is a luxury self catering property full of character and charm, enjoying an idyllic countryside setting close to Inverness. It houses six two-bedroom en suite cottages situated round a central cobbled courtyard. Its location makes it a good spot for touring the spectacular landscapes and lochs of the region.
Each cottage is individually designed, reflecting the original character and shapes of the old steading. Since last summer, The Dairy at Daviot also houses its own ice cream bar, befitting its name. Additionally, a café is open daily and can provide freshly prepared meals to the cottages.
Daviot Estate, Daviot, Inverness-shire, 01463 772975, www.dairyatdaviot.co.uk
Highland Apartments have a selection of one and two bedroom apartments in the building “above Johnny Foxes”. Many of the apartments have balconies or large terraces overlooking the river, as well as well-equipped kitchens, free parking and free wi-fi. You can eat in or take a short stroll to one of the city’s many fine restaurants, or just sit on the balcony and watch the world go by.
The Waterside Hotel
The Waterside Hotel comprises of two properties on the banks of the River Ness in the heart of Inverness. All of the facilities, including guest bedrooms, conference and wedding venues, have been upgraded over the past three years. The a la carte restaurant is one of the most attractively situated restaurants in the city, offering a river view from every seat with food and refreshments all day.
For weddings in Inverness, functions and corporate events, The Waterside Hotel Inverness provides an ideal setting with excellent facilities.