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Welcome to visits-scotland.net. This website provides information on local area of Inverness as well as information on accomodation in highly reccomended guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts.

Inverness City

Inverness was designated a city in the millennium year 2000. However, settlements in the area date back several thousand years and can be seen at sites such as Clava Cairns a few miles from Inverness, a place definitely worth a visit and Craig Phadrig, an Iron Age hill fort nearby, from which there are splendid views of Inverness.

Thought to be the Pictish capital in the 6th century, the city became a trade centre for fish, wool and furs. There have been finds of Pictish artefacts and jewellery in the area around Inverness and some carved stones featuring animal designs. Visit Inverness Museum to view some of these.

Inverness was made a royal burgh in 1050. The first castle in Inverness, on the site of the present Victorian castle, was in the 12th century and over the centuries was replaced by newer versions. The present castle is used as a courthouse and there are excellent views from the hill on which the castle stands.

The oldest building in Inverness is Abertarff House, built in 1593 and now occupied by a craft shop and small tea room. At the end of the street on the same side is the Old Gaelic Church, built in 1649 and then rebuilt in 1792 when it became Greyfriars Free Church. It now houses a second hand bookshop and café. On the other side of the street is Dunbar’s Hospital, built in 1668 as a hospital for the poor before becoming the Grammar School until 1792. It currently is occupied by, amongst other things, a shop selling Scottish pottery, jewellery and other items.

For events and happenings around the Highland Capital the Inverness Festival website puts you in the picture

Inverness has an ever-increasing number of restaurants, pubs and cafes offering food from around the globe – Chinese, Indian, French, Italian, Mexican, Irish etc. and even Scottish, while the new Eastgate shopping development houses many multiple chain shops. The older part of the town is where the smaller, individually owned shops are to be found.

Fort George, Ardersier, Highland, Scotland, is a large 18th century fortress near Inverness with perhaps the mightiest artillery fortifications in Europe. It was built to pacify the Scottish Highlands in the aftermath of the Jacobite rising of 1745, replacing an earlier Fort George built with the same aim after the 1715 Jacobite rising. The fortress has never been attacked, and has remained in continuous use as a garrison. Based on a Star fort design, it remains virtually unaltered, and nowadays is open to visitors with exhibits and recreations showing use at different periods, while still serving as army barracks. Originally the depot of the Seaforth Highlanders and later the Queen's Own Highlanders (Seaforth and Camerons), it was more recently home to the Royal Irish Regiment, and as of 2007, the new garrison of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Nearby Castles

There are several castles to visit within reach of Inverness, the nearest being Cawdor, built in 1454 and even mentioned, albeit incorrectly, in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”.

Cawdor Castle is still lived in today by the Campbell Earls of Cawdor and is fascinating to visit with all the features that castles are supposed to have – drawbridge, moat, turrets, dungeons and spiral stone staircases. Outside are lovely gardens, a small golf course, café, souvenir shop and access to Cawdor woods with marked trails through the beautiful beech trees. In autumn the colours are particularly magnificent. Cawdor is about 15 minutes drive to the east of Inverness.

Urquhart Castle overlooking Loch Ness is 25 minutes drive from Inverness on the A82 Fort William road. Now a ruin, there was a fort on this strategic site as long ago as the 12th century. The stone castle was built and added to over many years before being blown up after the Jacobite Uprising of 1689. There is a very interesting Visitor Centre with exhibits, a film, café and shop.

Brodie Castle is just off the A96 Aberdeen road about 8 miles beyond Nairn and 30 minutes drive from Inverness. Brodie is a very large fortified house in wooded ground, which are beautiful in spring with thousands of daffodils blooming.

Dunrobin Castle is home to the Dukes of Sutherland and could easily be the inspiration for a Disney castle with its clusters of pointed turrets. It has a magnificent setting on the seashore near Brora, about 1 hour's drive north of Inverness. There are formal gardens dating back to 1850 in the style of those at Versailles and each day there are displays of falconry in the grounds and a café to refresh the hungry.

Visit Loch Ness

You have almost certainly heard of Loch Ness and its famous inhabitant – Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. Whether you believe in Nessie or not, no-one can deny that Loch Ness is beautiful and many people insist that the quieter south side of the loch is the more spectacular side.  In spring the woods and grass verges on this side are a mass of yellow primroses, then later there are bluebells to admire followed by the brilliant yellow of gorse bushes.

To do the complete circular tour around the loch makes an excellent drive with more opportunities to wander along the water’s edge and take photographs on the south shore. However, the much photographed Urquhart Castle is on the other side, so why not do the drive right round and decide for yourself which you prefer?

The best views of Urquhart Castle are from the Inverness to Drumnadrochit road (the A82). Drumnadrochit is the home of two monster exhibitions (fun for the children) and a model, on the village green, of Urquhart Castle made of plants. The castle itself is 1½ miles past the village in a commanding position overlooking Loch Ness. A mile through “Drum”, at the crossroads you can turn right into West Lewiston, a village lane lined with old cottages.

Returning up the other side of the Loch after Fort Augustus, a pretty little town, there is a splendid viewpoint at Suidhe Chumein on the B862 Fort Augustus to Whitebridge road. At Inverfarigaig there are very pleasant forest trails with views over Loch Ness. In the middle of Foyers is a sign to the Falls. It’s a fairly steep track which can get slippery after rain but it’s worth making the effort for the pretty views.

If you spot the occasional thick rope over the road about 20 feet high, you may be interested to know that these are to help red squirrels cross from one side to the other without becoming road casualties! There is a nice little inn at the village at Dores where you can get refreshments or wander along the pebbly beach.  About 60 miles total round trip.

An alternative might be to take one of the cruises on Loch Ness or a coach tour which includes Loch Ness amongst other features.