Ceud Mille Failte! (a hundred thousand welcomes!).
Welcome to Inverness, the capital of the Highlands! This cosmopolitan and energetic town offers something for everyone. Inverness plays host to visitors from every corner of the globe throughout the year and offers them a wide range of accommodation, restaurants, museums, galleries, arts, music, attractions, events and the best range of shops in the Highlands.
Inverness recently won Britain in Bloom's 'sMost Beautiful Large Town's award. The River Ness runs through the town centre where you will often see fishermen angling for salmon. In the town centre, Inverness Castle, which dates from the mid 19th
century and was built with pink stone carved from the Black Isle, commands superb views of the town.
A statue commemorating Flora MacDonald, the Jacobite heroine who helped the fleeing Bonnie Prince Charlie, stands in the grounds of the castle. At the Castle Garrison you can meet live characters from the past who describe their life during the last Jacobite uprising.
At the nearby Inverness Museum you will find free exhibitions and displays on how the Celts and Picts lived, on the wildlife that roam and have roamed the Highlands, on geology and fossils, and on recent history. Balnain House, home of Highland music, offers you the opportunity to play the bagpipes, clarsach and the fiddle. Balnain House also hosts performances, workshops and classes.
You can discover Inverness and Culloden by open top double decker bus (from 1st
May - 3rd
October). Culloden Moor is the site of the last pitched battle that took place on British soil when the Jacobite uprising, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, was quashed by the government troops in 1746. A visit to this scene would be incomplete without experiencing the visitor centre.
Following the defeat of the Jacobites, Fort George was built. This fort is one of the most outstanding artillery fortifications in Europe and a trip to the Highlands should include a visit here. It is found on the coast, 11 miles east of Inverness and commands fantastic views of the Black Isle and the Moray Firth, home to the school of bottlenose dolphins.
The Caledonian Canal runs from Inverness down the geographical fault line known as the Great Glen. Less then ten miles southwest, the canal runs into Loch Ness, home to the mysterious monster, 'Nessie'. Loch Ness which is 24 miles long, one mile wide and can reach depths of over 700ft, is the largest body of fresh water in Europe.
Coach trips and cruises are the recommended way to enjoy the Loch and surrounding area. Make sure you visit Loch Ness 2000 at Drumnadrochit, some 14 miles from Inverness, and carry on from there to Urquhart Castle. Discover Loch Ness
combine a visit to Loch Ness 2000 and Urquhart Castle with a cruise on the loch. Not just a bus & boat trip, however, their guides specialise in presenting the history and heritage of the area and get you off the beaten track too.
Visit Cawdor Castle, home of the Thanes of Cawdor (immortalised in Shakespeare's MacBeth, but in actuality he was the Thane of Cromarty). Don't miss Clava Cairns, standing stones as old as Stonehenge, or the Black Isle Wildlife Park. While at the Black Isle, a visit to Cromarty, the home of Hugh Miller is worthwhile and from here a two-car ferry operates which takes you to Nigg where oilrigs are built and maintained. See Nigg Church and the start of the Pictish Trail. Call in at Groam House, where you can discover the Picts, the original inhabitants of the north. It is situated in the village of Rosemarkie (15 miles northeast of Inverness) and houses the famous Rosemarkie Cross Slab, which is decorated with enigmatic Pictish symbols.