Inverness is the capital of the Highlands and Scotland’s newest city. However you’re travelling while visiting the highlands, the chances are you will visit Inverness at some point on your journey, whether by car, boat, bus, plane or train! You could even do a tour of the area over a few days by baseing yourself here and taking several different journeys each day eg. Inverness to Fort William by train in the morning, Fort William to Mallaig by Bus, Mallaig to Skye by boat and then back to Inverness from Skye by car in time for late supper!
Inverness has undergone a massive revamp in the last few years and is certainly no one-horse town. All the major chainstores can be found in its centre and its entertainment diary is second to none, with the city hosting several festivals throughout the year, focusing on the arts, music, food and drink and more!
Inverness is built on the banks of the River Ness, an elegant stretch of water that winds its way through its centre and is some six miles from Loch Ness, home of the elusive monster.
A visit to the exhibitions in Drumnadrochit, on the banks of the loch, will ensure you never doubt her existence again while visitors to Fort Augustus, at the head of the loch, can take the opportunity to cruise on the only passenger-carrying vessel to use sonar equipment – just in case!
If you don’t have any luck Nessie-spotting, then how about keeping an eye out for dolphins? You can take a dolphin cruise from Inverness harbour roughly every hour and a half, for a chance to see these beguiling creatures in their natural habitat.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life, then you can take your pick of the many quieter villages, on the outskirts of the city, in which to spend a day.
Legend has it, that Beauly, a dozen miles or so west of Inverness, was named by Mary Queen of Scots, who on visiting it declared “Ah, Que Beau Lieu” (Oh, What a beautiful Place). Originally a market town, the village is certainly very picturesque with plenty to do and see. A visit to Made in Scotland allows you to sample the best of everything Scottish under one roof while the sandstone remains of the the 13th century priory are certainly worth a visit. Travel southwest from Beauly and in little under an hour, you will find yourself in one of the grandest of the many beautiful glens for which the Highlands are so renowned.
Glen Affric is a walker’s paradise with both high-level and low-level routes and for the less energetic, a perfect place for a picnic.
Head 15 miles east from Inverness and you’ll reach Nairn, one of the sunniest places in Scotland. Originally a fishing town, – the remains of which still stand to this day – its attractive, clean beaches have made it very popular as a holiday destination since Victorian times. For keen golfers, there are two Championship courses in the town, one of which was host to the 1999 Walker Cup.