The Top Recommended Places to Visit In and around Inverness
Inverness Castle was built on the site of an earlier fortress in 1835 and sits on a low cliff overlooking the River Ness and the cathedral on the opposite bank. It is thought that 11th-century castle which featured in Shakepeare's play Macbeth (even though there is no historical evidence to suggest that it was where Duncan I was murdered) was in fact located to the east of the present castle. Originally built of wood, it was replaced by a fortress of stone on Castle Hill. Apparently there have been sightings of the ghost of King Duncan walking along the banks of the River Ness in full regalia.
Today Inverness Castle houses the Sherriff's Court. Take Castle Street which winds its way up around the rear of the castle and past some pretty floral displays to get to the statue of Flora MacDonald. At the Castle Garrison Encounter you can journey back in time to 1745, enlist in the Regiment and meet some of its other characters live. Open daily during the tourist season from 10.30am to 5.30pm. Tel: +44 1463 243 363.
And there are several famous Scottish castles to visit, within easy reach of Inverness.
Cawdor Castle & Gardens
Viewed as one of the most romantic castle's in Scotland, built int the 14th century with links to Shakespeare's Macbeth. Tour the castle with its fine paintings and furniture. There are also three separate gardens and a golf course to enjoy.
Magnificently sited, overlooking Loch Ness. Urquhart is one of the largest castles in Scotland, with a long and colourful history, built in the 1230s, seized by the English in 1296, sacked by the MacDonald Lord of the Isles in 1545 and left to fall into decay after 1689.
The castle’s history and that of the noble families – Durward, Macdonald and Grant – who held it, is told in the exhibition and audio-visual display in the new visitor centre. The Centre features an outstanding array of medieval artefacts found at the castle.
Visitors can relax in the café and visit the shop with its local crafts. The visitor centre contains retail, interpretation area, audio-visual presentation and tearoom and toilets on one level. Stunning views of the loch can be obtained from the visitor centre verandah. Visit the website
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. www.dunrobincastle.co.uk
In a modern, enterprising, growing city as vibrant as Inverness, with a hinterland so rich in culture, history and heritage, it is hardly surprising if one were to say ‘what’s not on in Inverness’!!!
Apart from the inevitable abundance of Highland Games and gatherings (link) from May to September, music. Arts and cultural festivals are strongly to the fore throughout the year and Hogmanay is rather well celebrated in these parts too!!!
For a guide to Inverness Hogmanay – THE New Year in Scotland – look at www.hogmanay.net
There are farmers markets in Inverness on the first Saturday of each month
Fancy some sport?
Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club (Inverness Caley) are now in the Scottish premier league – look for the fixtures on www.caleythistleonline.com
For shinty fixtures in Inverness – look at www.shinty.com
For all the latest film releases – look at myvue.com
For what’s on at the theatre – look at www.eden-court.co.uk
Nightclubs and music venues abound – and Hootananny in Church Street has built up a reputation as Inverness's finest live music venue
To find out more about Highland Games and Gatherings in the area – click here
Shopping in Inverness
Whether buying something for yourself or a gift for someone else, Inverness caters for all tastes and ages. Offering a selection of fashion shops for him and her, as well as outlets for jewellery, beauty products, toys, games, music, books, pets and up-to-date suppliers for the latest computers and technology. Inverness has a small compact and very comprehensive shopping centre that’s easy to walk around. Loads of specialist and high street retailers alike to choose from.
Eastgate Shopping Centre
For almost twenty years the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness has built a reputation as one of Scotland's retail success stories. The centre is now undergoing a major expansion which will see it more than double in size, providing 350,000 sq ft of first class retail accommodation. The Eastgate Shopping Centre has always enjoyed outstanding performance serving a widespread and loyal catchment area. It is the prime retail pitch in Inverness, the ancient capital of the Scottish Highlands.
You can visit the Eastgate Shopping Centre Here
Inverness Victorian Market
For a different shopping experience, head for the Victorian Market (entrances on Church Street, Queensgate, Union Street, Academy Street). As its name suggests, it’s been around a long time – rebuilt from an earlier market in 1890 by the local council – and has the sort of individual small retail outlets missing from some of the more modern malls. It’s the place to buy a model railway, health pills and antique china.
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