Inverness, Scotland

Inbhir Nis is the Gaelic name for Inverness, a charming town along the River Ness located in northern Scotland. Stay a day or use it as a base for exploring the Northwest Highlands.

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1 Inbhir Nis, Gallic Name for Inverness, Scotland

Inverness is a charming and very walkable city of about 50,000 people in northern Scotland. It is positioned at the end of the 12-mile journey of the River Ness from Loch Ness. The Gaelic name, Inbhir Nis, translates into “Mouth of the River Ness.” The town occupies both river banks connected by three bridges: the Ness Bridge (foreground), the Greig Street Footbridge (middle) and the Friars Bridge (background).

Castle Steps, Inverness IV2 3AA, United Kingdom
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2 Inverness Castle History in Inverness, Scotland

Malcolm III, the King of Scots, was the first to build a fortress on Castle Hill during the mid-11th century. This strategic position then witnessed a series of attacks and reconstructions through the mid-18th century. It was finally destroyed by the Jacobite army in 1746. The current, sandstone citadel was designed by William Burn and finished in 1836. Today it is the Sheriff’s Court.

41 Castle St, Inverness IV2 3EG, UK
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3 Role of Inverness Castle in Inverness, Scotland

Scotland is full of spectacular castles. So when you see this beautiful structure overlooking the city, you immediately assume it has medieval origins and makes a wonderful tourist attraction. Wrong on both counts. It was built during the mid-19th century as the County Hall, courthouse and jail. It is not open for public tours.

41 Castle St, Inverness IV2 3EG, UK
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4 Flora MacDonald Statue in Inverness, Scotland

Charles Edward Stuart, better known in history as Bonnie Prince Charlie, was the leader of the Jacobite Rising in 1745. His goal was to reclaim the family title to the English, Scottish, French and Irish thrones. After barely escaping the Battle of Culloden, he was being tracked down by “The Butcher,” Prince William of Great Britain, when Flora MacDonald offered to help. She disguised him as her maid while transporting him in a boat to Skye. This bronze statue of the Scottish heroine was created in 1896. It stands near the entrance of the Inverness Castle.

41 Castle St, Inverness IV2 3EG, UK
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5 The Castle Tavern in Inverness, Scotland

The Castle Tavern is perched high on Castle Hill facing the entrance to Inverness Castle. The restaurant and bar has good food, drinks and atmosphere. But its location on View Place hints at its best feature. This terraced beer garden offers a great view of the Ness River and the city of Inverness in the valley below.

1 View Pl, Inverness IV2 4SA, UK
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6 Ardkeen Tower in Inverness, Scotland

The foundation stone for the Inverness United Charities Institution was laid in 1834. When it opened two years later, it served as the Inverness Juvenile Female School, Infant School and the Ladies’ Work Society. The bay window facing Culduthel Road was added in 1906. It was also an observation tower before being converted into a private residence.

7 Culduthel Rd, Inverness IV2 4AD, UK
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7 Ness Bank Church in Inverness, Scotland

The Ness Bank Church is named after its location along the eastern shoreline of the River Ness. It has stood at the base of a cliff below the Inverness Castle since 1901. Architect William Mackintosh’s specification for red sandstone on his Gothic revival design was a perfect choice. It is radiant. Inside of the large arch and throughout this Church of Scotland building are beautiful stain glass windows by Gordon Webster and several other artisans.

1 Ness Bank, Inverness IV2 4SA, UK
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8 Tolbooth Steeple in Inverness, Scotland

During medieval times, each burgh in Scotland had a tolbooth. This building typically housed a courthouse, prison and city council. They also collected customs, taxes and tolls. This 130 foot, Georgian-style steeple was built as part of the Inverness tolbooth in 1791. The landmark was rebuilt in 1816 and extensively refurbished in 2013. The Steeple’s three bells chime every quarter hour from 8 a.m. through 8:00 p.m.

8 Bridge St, Inverness IV1 1HD, UK
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9 St Andrew’s Cathedral in Inverness, Scotland

Construction of the Inverness Cathedral began in 1866 and was finished in 1869. Although two large spires specified by architect Alexander Ross were never built, the façade of this Scottish Episcopal Church is still impressive especially when the Tarradale stone glows at sunset. It is dedicated to St Andrews, the patron saint of Scotland.

15 Ardross St, Inverness IV3 5NS, UK
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10 River Ness Walking Path in Inverness, Scotland

This view of the River Ness is typical of the peaceful scenery you will enjoy during a stroll along a 3.1 mile, tree-lined walking path. Start at the Inverness Cathedral and head upstream. You will pass an arts centre and theatre called Eden Court, then the Bught Park and the Ness Islands. Cross the 1879 Infirmary Footbridge seen in the background to reach the Great Glen Way along the eastern bank until reaching town again. You will savor every step you take.

9 Ness Walk, Inverness IV3 5SE, UK
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11 Greig Street Bridge in Inverness, Scotland

The Greig Street Bridge connects Huntly Street along the west shore of the Ness River to the Free North Church on Bank Street in the east section of Inverness. The pedestrian-only footbridge was erected by the Rose Street Foundry in 1881. The iron suspension bridge flows like a wave as you walk across. That is delightful for a tourist but frustrating as a photographer.

40 Huntly St, Inverness IV3 5HR, UK
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12 Northwest Highlands Gateway at Inverness, Scotland

Inverness is a great, one-day stop during any road trip through Scotland. But its location at the northern tip of the Great Glen, a 62 mile long valley, also makes this the perfect base while exploring the lochs, mountains and islands throughout the Northwest Highlands. Whichever you select, make sure you stay at least for one sunset. That is when the city’s landmarks, such as the Old High and St Columba’s High Churches plus the Greig Street Footbridge, are bathed in a wonderful golden hue.

42 Huntly St, Inverness IV3 5HR, UK
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13 Spires Along River Ness in Inverness, Scotland

At dusk, this trio of church spires creates a spectacular reflection across the River Ness. On the left is the Old High Church. It was the site of the Parish Church in the 12th century. The tower base was created in the 15th century while the rest of the building dates to the late 18th century. In 2003, the Old High Church merged with St Stephen’s. The Greig Street Footbridge points to the Free North Church. Its Gothic design by Alexander Ross was finished in 1892. On the right is St Columba’s High Church. It opened in 1843 and was refurbished after a major fire in 1940.

50 Huntly St, Inverness IV3 5HS, UK
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