On your travels around Inverness you are sure to come by a lot of Scottish Highlands history. This could be in museums, hotels or even in parks. However you will often be restricted from getting too near it, perhaps blocked by a glass case or a fence. Dunlichity Church and burial grounds, on the other hand, offers you the chance to touch history. Here you can stand in the same spot soldiers once stood who were preparing for battle.
The burial ground also hosts burial grounds of many members of the MacGillivray Clan, a lot of whom died at the Battle of Culloden. Of particular note is a large gated enclosure which hosts chiefs of the clan. This is a great place to do some family research for those related to this clan.
Keeping an eye over these and all other burials were men situated in the watchtower. This overlooked the site and was where guards were stationed to make sure the bodies of the dead were not dug up and sold on to medical schools for use in their teaching – a most lucrative enterprise, run back in those days by people called ‘resurrectionists’.
The church sits not far off the southern shores of Loch Ness. If you are driving from Inverness, take the B861 south of the city. About five miles along, take the turning for Dunlichity and keep driving until you see the church on your right. The What3Words for the church and burial ground is mondays.insolvent.remotes.
Exploring the history around Inverness
There are many other areas to explore near Inverness to give you a taste of the thousands of years of human history under your feet. Culloden Battlefield would be a good place to visit after spending time at Dunlichity Church. If you would like to explore more burial grounds, we can highly recommend Boleskine. To discover more about the ancient humans that roamed the land, then the Bronze Age Clava Cairns is a great place to visit.
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Looking for spectacular rugged landscapes and not afraid to escape to the true wilds of Scotland? Well, The North Coast 500 route (NC500) is perfect for you! This is a Scottish road trip to rival Route 66.
ore part of the NC500, or do the full loop around the very top of Scotland. And here lies some of the most beautiful coastal scenery, and spectacular cliffs, stacks, and seascapes. And you will find plenty of areas offering peace and solitude to gather your thoughts and absorb the beauty surrounding you.
But one of the most stunning locations is Duncansby Stacks and Duncansby Lighthouse, which lies near John o’ Groats on the North Coast 500 route. But, don’t try and do it all in a day, take an overnight stay in Wick. This will ensure that you have a wonderful trip to this area of Scotland known as Caithness. And where better to base yourself than the famous Mackay’s Hotel. A little gem of a find, set in a historic building by the Harbour, this hotel is famous for its great food and homely hospitality.
Just along the coast from the Duncansby stacks is the famous Duncansby Lighthouse. It is well worth the 40-minute walk to explore. It was originally built in 1924 and in its time has seen plenty of drama, including being machine-gunned by a German bomber during World War 2. From here you can enjoy some more magnificent views out over the North Sea. Nearby the lighthouse is another geological formation called the Geo of Sclaites. This is like a slice of the earth has been taken out and in its place, hundreds of loud, squawking seabirds have been added!
But before this, on your way up to Wick and Caithness, you must visit the Whaligoe Steps! These flagstone steps lead down 250ft cliffs to the most extraordinary harbour in Scotland! And if you don’t fancy climbing the 330 steps, surrounded by cliffs, then explore this historical Scottish site by boat. But apart from these dramatic cliff steps, you will also find a remarkable harbour at their foot. And here was a base of successful fishing for herring, salmon, shellfish and whitefish boats. But the site was originally turned down as a “dreadful place!” by the famous engineer Thomas Telford. And as such, they were built later built at a cost of £8 by Captain David Brodie. As such, they became the successful home to some 20 fishing boats. Here fisherwomen would carry baskets of fish up the Whaligoe Steps, before walking all the way to Wick for sale.
It sounds like this is all happening in the far reaches of an inaccessible landscape. In fact, getting to Duncansby Stacks is simple! That’s because you can follow the North Coast 500 route. Whilst you can certainly do a day trip from Inverness to Duncansby Stacks, it might be more relaxing to stay overnight. A particularly welcoming place is Mackays Hotel in Wick. It is family-owned and often has deals if you can book in advance. As an added bonus, it is also situated on the world’s shortest street, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records! Here you can relax after a day of exploring Duncansby, and have a lovely dinner in their No. 1 Bistro. Highly recommended.
There’s so much to see north of Inverness, and the North Coast 500 route is a great way to do it. It offers a whistlestop tour of the coast including sites like Duncansby Stacks and Lighthouse. And of course, if anything takes your fancy inland, there are plenty of other road trips and opportunities to explore the untamed Highlands of Scotland!
If you love history, engineering, and Scottish history in the great outdoors, then we have the perfect Highland hidden gem for you… There’s a tiny little village near Fort Augustus, at the opposite end of Loch Ness to Inverness, that makes for a wonderful stop-off on your journey around Loch Ness. So look out for signs for Invermoriston. And whilst you might blink and miss it, you must stop off here!
Yes, step out of the car for a glimpse into the past, as well as gorgeous riverside walks and views of the beautiful old Invermoriston Bridges and Folly. Hidden across the road from a little car park you will find two historic, humped bridges, the Invermoriston Bridges. And just a little further down river spot the Invermoriston Folly here. And if you are feeling adventurous, you could even set out to discover the secrets of a ghostly set of footprints nearby… but that’s another story!
From both of the Invermoriston Bridges, if you look downriver, you will find the Invermoriston Folly tucked in the trees. This is a small structure built by a former laird by the side of the river. It was initially used as a shelter so his guests could watch the great salmon migration upstream. This old summerhouse is balanced on the edge of the river cliff – precariously, some might say! However, it does offer magnificent views of the river and falls and is one of the best things to do in Invermoriston.
It’s a good place, to this day, to come and watch the salmon swim back upstream to their breeding grounds. And to watch salmon leaping in beautiful pools in Scotland is always a great way to spend a few hours. The best time of year is around the end of October. And this is a wonderful time to visit as the falls are in full autumnal colour. But be prepared to get up early, or stay late, to be in with the best chance of seeing some salmon action.
Invermoriston is by the northern shoreline of Loch Ness, towards its southwest corner. So simply follow the A82 out of Inverness until you get there. And then it’s time to explore and, if it’s sunny, get your feet wet!
It’s also possible to hop on a bus from Inverness to Invermoriston. Find out the best time for you on the Citylink website. And as you travel down by the water, don’t forget to keep an eye out for its most famous (and shyest!) resident, the Loch Ness Monster!
If you are looking for a quiet escape near Loch Ness, then a walk to Divach Falls (pronounced “Jeevach”) is the perfect activity. This is a gentle stroll through some beautiful oak-tree woods. Whatsmore, it’s suitable for everyone with a good level of mobility and offers an experience immersed in nature. Plus, the path takes you to a viewing area from where you can see the stunning Divach Falls, sometimes written as Dhivach Falls. The falls change in strength depending on the weather, but they are truly beautiful at any time of the year. A real must on any Scottish bucket list. It takes an hour to get there and an hour to walk back. So, it offers a good hearty walk for those looking to explore Scotland’s great outdoors.
The falls begin where the Divach Burn tumbles over a cliff before falling down 30m to a plunge pool below. The burn then joins the River Coiltie before continuing to Urquhart Bay where it finally flows into Loch Ness. In dryer summers, it the waters can be a gentle cascade. However, after stormy weather, and in the depths of winter, the falls flow fast and its roar can be very loud indeed!
Divach Falls are especially impressive after heavy rains. Here the waterfall swells the 30m cascade. And below you can see just how exciting the waters are in flood. This is news footage of the falls glowing red after an epic flood in the summer of 2012.
The Scottish Highland cow is such a beautiful animal, it is known all over the world. With its shaggy mop of hair, gorgeous rounded horns, and dark mysterious eyes, it’s a must-see for visitors to Scotland. But where to see Highland cows near Inverness? That’s a good question, and one we’re happy to help with!
Fortunately, there are plenty of places to see Highland cows for those visiting Inverness. So get a moo-ve on and hoof your way to see them! In the Highlands. you’ll often hear them referred to as Heilan coos. For those interested in the Gaelic language, they are called Bò Ghàidhealach.
If you fancy getting a bit dirty on your cow trek, then visit the Rothiemurchus Estate, about 40 minutes south-east of Inverness. Here you can join others on a quad bike ride around the grounds where you might meet the estate’s herd of long-horned Highland cows. There’s also a chance of seeing wild deer here too!
Perhaps one of the easiest places to spot Highland Cows is at Culloden Battlefield. This is especially true if you don’t have access to your own transport. There are many tour busses which will take you to Culloden from Inverness city centre. In the fields around the battlefield, you’ll find a herd of Highland cows. Did you know that Highland cows provide benefits to the land? As such, they were put next to this iconic Inverness visitor attraction to help preserve the ancient moorland at Culloden battlefield. And here you can enjoy a small group of Highland cattle as well as Shetland cattle, goats and Highland ponies. This mix of Scottish natives all play an important part in conservation grazing on the battlefield site near Inverness. And they are all beautiful animals for you to enjoy whilst learning about the Jacobean uprise. Find out more about this Scottish battlefield below:
Also, wild Highland cows can often be seen roaming around the wild Scottish Highlands. And, if you are lucky, you can spot them if you take a trip through the Cairngorm National Park. Do be aware that although they look cuddly, you shouldn’t approach them as they are most definitely wild animals! This is especially true if you happen upon a baby Highland cow. They are the most adorable little cows but their mothers can be fierce!
If you don’t manage to find any cows, perhaps a souvenir will have to do instead. You can find cuddly Highland cows in most tourist shops. More upmarket stores like An Talla by Loch Ness can also be a great place for Highland cow gifts. So if you are looking for where to see Highland cows near Inverness, we hope you are successful but if not, there’s always a cuddly toy waiting instead!
If you are planning a holiday to Inverness city in Scotland you will want to know what to visit and where to go. With so much on offer this vibrant Scottish city, The Capital of the Highlands has so much to offer. This great city centre has a superb choice of shops as well as great eateries, bars and cafes. Additionally, there are lovely city walks and plenty of history in which you can submerge yourself in. So read on to find out more about what there is to see and do in the city of Inverness.
The city centre has a great selection of independent shops as well as big-name retailers and brands. And with the ‘Old Town’ you can shop amongst a historical backdrop. If you want an indoor shopping centre then head to High Street where you will find the Eastgate Shopping Centre. With a plethora of high street shops and top brands, you have a great deal of choice to suit your style and needs. Additionally, there are an array of eateries so you can fuel up. Other indoor shopping centres include the Victorian Market in Academy Street set in an ornate Victorian-style building. Here you will find lots of lovely shops to peruse including, souvenirs, clothing, jewellery, chocolate and more.
If you are looking for the more quirky type of shop, Leakey’s Bookshop is a must-see. Here this Harry Potter style store will enchant you! Harris Tweed Isle of Harris can be found on Inglis Street where you can see this world-famous cloth in products such as jackets, handbags, soft furnishings and many other accessories. And if you head out of the city centre you can enjoy Inverness Shopping Park. Again, you will find your big brands as well as plenty of eateries.
With a great range of places to enjoy some food and drink Inverness has something for everyone. Regular High Street chains to independent restaurants, bars and cafes all offer a variety to choose from. Enjoy some Scottish fine dining at Rocpool, pizza at Cheese & Tomatin, seafood at River House Restaurant, Indian food at Saffron Indian and authentic Turkish at Aspendos. Then why not head for a drink somewhere in one of the city pubs or bars? From trendy city wine bars to cosy traditional village pubs every need is catered for. Bars such as Hootananny’s and Gellions Bar also host live music to get your feet tapping! And if you fancy a night out on the tiles, The Den at Johnny Foxes is a great venue to head to.
So when you come to Inverness city on your holidays you don’t need to travel far to be entertained. Whatever it is that you fancy doing there is something for everyone. And if you want to explore further afield then you can check out our things to do section to see all the Inverness and Loch Ness attractions. And if you want help organising your itinerary then contact us and let us plan your personal trip when you visit The Capital of the Highlands.
Thomas Telford was one of Scotland and Britain’s most celebrated engineers and was responsible for some of the finest bridges, harbours, tunnels and roads up and down the country. Held in such high regard, he was granted a burial at Westminster Abbey. However perhaps his greatest achievement, certainly in Scotland, was the planning and building of the Parliamentary roads and the Caledonian Canal.
In this post, you can travel along your own Thomas Telford Trail and admire some of the greatest engineering work the country has ever seen.
Small in stature when compared to some of his other designs, nevertheless this bridge stands as one of Telford’s lasting memorials to his hard work. About half-way down the north-western side of Loch Ness sits the small village of Invermoriston and Telford’s bridge is just nearby. One of over a thousand bridges built to connect up the towns and villages of the Highlands, its humpbacked design has stood the test of time. There are two bridges here because time and vandalism have taken their toll on Telford’s original bridge. A new bridge was built in 1933. This one gives a great view of Telford’s original construction.
Top tip: This is a great spot to see salmon leaping! The end of October is the best time of year, and going early morning or early evening will increase your chances of spotting one.
The Caledonian Canal took 12 years to build and was planned by Telford. It is a stunning feat of engineering even by today’s standards. if created today, would still beIt was originally planned as a safe route for the British Navy so they could avoid travelling around the dangerous waters of the Pentland Firth and Cape Wrath. Telford was given the charge to design and build it – and he did it with style!
The 22-mile canal has 29 locks and in 1873 Queen Victoria took a trip along it. People still flock to see it and enjoy time on a boat. It travels from Inverness on Scotland’s east coast to Fort William on the west. If you visit, make sure you head towards Neptune’s Staircase near Fort William. This is an astonishing feat of Telford’s engineering. It is a series of locks, raising the canal 19 metres over a quarter-mile. It’s a mesmerising sight to watch and takes a boat 90 minutes to traverse all the locks. It’s the longest staircase lock in Britain. You can find it at Banavie, near Fort William.
Top tip: Fort Augustus is at the south-westerly tip of Loch Ness and is the perfect place to watch canal boats enter and leave Loch Ness. Sit outside a local pub and enjoy the view!
So enjoy your first steps along a Thomas Telford trail, and admire amazing engineering examples. If you are looking for more examples of beautiful structures here near Inverness, then visit some of the beautiful castles in the area.
If you are looking for a great day out and love the outdoors and history then head along to Brodie Castle. Situated 4 and a half miles west of Forres this 16th-century castle has something to offer everyone. With playful gardens for the kids, beautiful gardens for the green-fingered and plenty of history for the history lover, there is much to see and do. The grounds are open all year round and the castle, garden, cafe and playful garden vary depending on the time of year. Keep up to date with opening times on their website.
On this 71-hectare estate, Brodie Castle prides itself in its gardens. Here you can explore the beautiful walled garden, enjoy woodland walks and explore nature trails. And in the Spring you can enjoy the display of daffodils. Home to the National Daffodil Collection you can see a magnificent display of over 400 varieties!
But for the kids and big kids alike, the most fun of all is the Playful Garden! Slip down slides, crawl through tunnels, explore fascinating, fun sculptures including a giant rabbit. Here you will meet quirky characters each with a story to tell. And each story connects them to Brodie castle and its past. You will even explore a model replica of the castle! And wet days are no problem because there is indoor soft play too. Furthermore, you and the children can enjoy a woodland adventure playground all of which is free.
How about a nice walk? Well, a Pond Walk sees you cover 1 and a half miles on a surfaced level path enjoying the surrounding scenery. And a Green Walk takes you 20 minutes along a rougher more grassy path, which can be wet in parts. And after all your activity you can stop for refreshments at the onsite cafe. Toilets facilities are available, including baby changing and accessible facilities. And for your four-legged friends, dogs are welcome.
If you want to attend any of the yearly events that are on such as illuminations and seasonal events you can also get involved. Check out the events page to see what is up and coming. And if you want to take a memento home, there is a gift shop on-site too, selling bespoke local gifts and crafts.
So head along to this fabulous venue and enjoy a great day out. Brodie Castle and its playpark and gardens have so much to offer. For opening times check out the website to see what is open when you plan to visit as not all sections are open all year round. So come along and visit this wonderful place and have fun!
So, you want to see the best of our Scottish history and explore new places when visiting Inverness? Well, our East of Inverness History Trail is the ideal day trip for you. So make the most out of your visit to Inverness, Loch Ness, and the Highlands of Scotland with our planned day trips. Further, we’ve selected some of the best known, most beautiful, and historic locations to give you a sense of Scotland’s heritage.
You can travel to them all, starting at Culloden Battlefield and finishing at Brodie Castle. Or just select the highlights if you are short of time. Whatever you decide to do, you are sure to love the East of Inverness History Trail!
Fancy touching a piece of Scotland’s history that dates back over 4,000 years? Then a visit to Clava Cairns is what you are looking for. This is a burial ground from the Bronze Age which has lasted remarkably well through time. The Prehistoric Burial Cairns of Bulnuaran of Clava (as they are officially known) was a significant site for millennia for rituals and burials in Scotland.
It is believed that many of the stones used to build the cairns were actually from an even earlier farming settlement in the area, further adding to the historic significance of this ancient place.
The most remarkable aspect of this viaduct is that it is still in regular use today. Check out this video of an LNER train driver’s point of view as he heads from Inverness to Edinburgh.
The viaduct sits half a mile east of the Clava Cairns. You can view it on a map here, and it’s what3words is dreamer.forge.openly.
Whilst at Fort George, make sure to keep your eyes peeled on the water. This is a popular area for dolphins! Here and across the water at Channory Point are some of the best places to visit near Inverness to catch a really good sighting. Make sure you bring your camera as some of the dolphins like to play! Or you can book a boat trip on the Moray Firth to explore the sealife and spot dolphins with the experts at Dolphin Spirit!
Ready for a break? Then Nairn Beach is the perfect place to take a coffee or picnic and relax. With wide expanses of sand and breathtaking views over the Moray Firth, the beach is the perfect place to stop awhile. There are parking facilities, toilets, and some nearby cafes. There’s even a play area for the kids, Nairn Beach is dog friendly too.
If you can come when the sun is due to set, there’s a good chance you’ll get a beautiful display. In the colder winter months, it’s also a good place to spy the Northern Lights, if you are lucky. Narin beach can be found on a map here, and what3words are folds.bond.releasing.
By heading east of Inverness, you are guaranteed to find beauty, history, and culture. Enjoy your adventures in this beautiful part of the Scottish Highlands! If the East of Inverness History Trail has whetted your appetite for adventure, check out some more road trips near Inverness. So, now to head back to the start with a bit more history and Culloden Battlefield – one of the most popular attractions in Inverness.
On the south-east side of Loch Ness sits Boleskine Burial Ground. It’s the sort of place you might just drive past without further thought, but to do so would mean missing out on hundreds of years of history – and some spooky goings-on too! Boleskine Brusial Ground offers a tranquil place to pause on your trip around Loch Ness. It’s a place for quiet contemplation, looking down through the gravestones onto the loch and hills beyond. But if you look closer, you will be able to see physical remnants of a more violent time. Here’s what to look out for on your visit…
You can touch these dimples today, connecting you directly with the time of the Battle of Culloden.
This graveyard also has a site that mentions Lord Fraser of Lovat, known to Outlander fans as the Old Fox. He was the chap who changed allegiances from the House of Hanover to support the Stuart claim on the crown of the United Kingdom. It turned out to be a poor decision, and he was beheaded in London for high treason…
The area around Boleskine has for hundreds of years been said to be haunted or, at the very least, bewitched. For example, some say a minister of the parish called Thomas Houston (1648 – 1705) had to return the burial ground’s re-animated corpses back to their graves after a devious local wizard raised the dead. Houston’s stone can still be seen in the graveyard today.
However, if you look behind the graveyard, across General Wade’s road and up the hill, you will catch a glimpse of an old house. Some say Boleskine House is one of the spookiest houses in Scotland. That’s because it used to be owned by occultist Aleister Crowley. This was a man who performed a series of spells or ‘operations’ here, some taking months at a time in order to evoke his guardian angel.
To do so, he had to ‘…summon the 12 Kings and Dukes of Hell’. Whilst in the process, Crowley was called away without ending the spell and so never banished those demons already summoned. Some believe they still roam the house and grounds to this day. Indeed, his lodge-keeper suffered a variety of personal tragedies, resulting in Crowley admitting everything got a bit out of hand.
The house then changed hands over the years, at one point being owned by Led Zepplin founder Jimmy Page. Reports of haunted goings-on continued, with bangs at doors and inexplicable ratlings happening throughout the years. Unfortunately, Boleskine House was gutted with fire (at a time when nobody was in the house) in 2019. However, there is work underway to restore Boleskine House and gardens, with plans to eventually open up to the public.
So take your time as you wander through Boleskine Burial Ground, and look up at the house. But don’t take too long – you never know who’s going to be looking back at you…
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Have you ever wondered who has stood exactly where you are standing before? Kings, peasants, maids and warriors, all lost to time. All, that is, apart from one specific place near Inverness where two footprints in Glenmoriston have, somehow, persisted through time.
Two perfectly formed footprints in the ground. Nothing special about that? Well, these footprints have been there for over two hundred years, and it is said that they won’t disappear until the End of Days…
Yet you can see for yourself these ancient but fresh-looking set of footprints at Torgyle, just an hour south-west of Inverness near Loch Ness. But beware, they might send a ghostly shiver up your spine. Read on for more…
It is recorded that Munro informed his hecklers that the very clay in which he stood would testify to the truth of his words and that his footprints would endure. They would last until his hearers met their judgment or, according to some, until the Day of Judgment.
And so, to this very day, you can find the footprints exactly where he was stood. Even after some vandals tried to rip up the area in 1976, the footprints returned. It isn’t often you can get up close to unique Inverness historical attractions like these.
As for a scientific reason how the footsteps have remained intact for so long? We haven’t been able to find one yet…
If you are looking for a hidden delight when visiting Inverness and you love books and history, then Leakey’s bookshop in Inverness is a must-see. This treasure trove of a store envelops you with bookshelves swathed in literature spoiling us bookworms of the world. Here you can peruse the wealth of secondhand books that adorn the shelves.
This gem was established back in 1979 by Charles Leaky and was originally spread over two shops. In 1994 once the church was converted this magical store was born and has become known as it is today. Hailed one of the most beautiful bookshops in Scotland possibly the UK, it heralds a fascinating history too. Now known as Greyfirar’s Hall this was once St Mary’s Gaelic Church, built in 1679 in the 17th century. With the addition of the spiral staircase, much of the original framework remains.
Well doesn’t it get more exciting if there is an Outlander link! And of course, there is. In the aftermath of The Battle of Culloden, this church was used as a temporary hospital to nurse injured soldiers. And you never know, you may cross paths with ‘Roger Mackenzie’ from Outlander as he frequents this store to absorb himself in its magic.
So when you visit Inverness you must head to this spellbinding place. It comes with the guarantee of magical memories and surely a book or two to cement them with. Furthermore, to add to its story it sits on Church Street in Inverness – how apt! A booklovers dream yet a place full of allure for all who visit. So what are you waiting for?Explore more Outlander attractions
Foyers is a small village on the shores of Loch Ness. In a quiet and peaceful spot on the southern side of the loch. Its name comes from the Gaelic word “Foithir”, which means “shelving slope”. The main attraction in Foyers is the Falls of Foyers, a 165 ft fine cascade waterfall, which flows into the River Foyers. This is also a café and gift shop here. Foyers is a wonderful place to visit for a walk to the falls and along the Loch Ness shores.
The perfect resting point. This is a cosy and inviting place to stop for refreshments after walking to the Falls of Foyers. Serving a selection of sandwiches, soups, cakes, and hot and cold drinks. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available and dogs are welcome too. You can also pick up gifts and souvenirs in the gift shop.
Boleskine House is located just outside the village. This Scottish manor house was once owned by author Aleister Crowley and later by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin. After suffering fire damage in 2015, the house is now being restored. There is also an ancient burial ground at Boleskine, an interesting graveyard with many legends surrounding it. Look out for the three bullet holes on the tombstone of Donald Fraser. Legend says the shots were fired during a funeral, which took place just after the battle of Culloden. Soldiers shot at mourners after one of them stole a loaf of bread from their passing military cart and threw it to the dogs.
Castle Leod is located in the village of Strathpeffer, around a half-hour drive north-west from Inverness city centre. Much of the current building dates from around the 17th century, although there has been a structure on this site since at least the 1100s. The castle building is open to the public only on certain days during the year. However, private tours for small parties are possible through special arrangement. It is also used as a wedding venue.
Castle Leod is widely regarded as the inspiration behind Castle Leoch, the seat of Clan Mackenzie in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books. Although it was not used as a filming location in the TV series, it is still a popular place for fans to visit and is on the itinerary for many Outlander trips and tours.
A grade A listed building, the castle is looked after by the Clan Mackenzie Charitable Trust. The trust cares for the building, restoring and conserving it for future generations. As well as managing access for visitors. The castle and grounds are open to the public on selected dates throughout the year. Please see the website for public open dates and ticket prices. Private tours may also be available on request.
The Old High Church is the oldest church in Inverness, which stands on the banks of the River Ness, on St Michael’s Mount. According to legend, this has been a religious site since the first century, when St Columba preached here. Since then, there have been many church buildings on the site. However, the oldest surviving part of the current structure dates from the 1300s, with most of it built-in 1770. Today, it remains a working church and is open to visitors in the summer.
The church tower was once used as a prison. And after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, the churchyard was used for the execution of Jacobite prisoners. They were blindfolded and shot, one by one, outside the tower. In fact, musket ball marks are still visible on the tower wall. This dark event is referenced in the third series of Outlander, and the church is mentioned a few times in the books. As such, this has become an Outlander location for fans of the series.
The church is located on Church Street in Inverness city centre. It stands on an ancient hill, known as St Michael’s Mount, by the banks of the River Ness. The church is open on weekdays during the summer. Visitors are welcome, and there are volunteer guides on hand to show you around. Please see the church website for more visitor information and opening times.
This ancient site, located in Beauly village, was founded in 1230 for monks of the Valliscaulian order. The monks came from France, and it is one theory that they named the area “beau lieu”, meaning “beautiful place” in French, later becoming “Beauly”. There is also a local legend that Mary, Queen of Scots named it much later, during a visit in 1564. Beauly Priory is the oldest surviving building in the town.
On a visit to the priory, you can explore the ruins of the monastery and the grounds. There are many interesting burial monuments, headstones and tombs. Plus, an ancient elm tree, thought to be the oldest in Europe. Information boards are dotted around the site, giving information on the site and its 800-year history. This is a peaceful place to visit, located in Beauly village centre. With local amenities such as shops and cafes close by.
Beauly Priory is free to visit and open year-round. Easy to access from Beauly village, with nearby car parking. It has become a popular tourist spot for fans of the Outlander book series, as the location where Claire meets the seer Maisri. It’s also a great place for history lovers, as an ancient site dating back to the 13th century. Find out more about visiting Beauly Priory.
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In the countryside to the west of Inverness lies a curious little building sat inside a graveyard. To the casual observer it’s merely a beautiful old building worthy of a glance. But its history is fascinating to researchers, sleuths and Outlander fans all over the world as it holds questions hundreds of years old. Inverness Wardlaw Mausoleum is a burial place located at Wardlaw Graveyard in Kirkhill village and is absolutely worth arranging a tour in advance to get the most from it.
It was originally built for the Lovat Fraser family in 1634 but later fell into ruin only to be was restored in the 1990s when the Wardlaw Mausoleum Trust formed to repair and maintain it. It has become a popular tourist attraction in recent years, due to connections with the Outlander book and TV series. The last known burial in the Mausoleum was in the late 19th Century.
Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, or ‘Old Fox’ features in the Outlander series as grandfather of main character Jamie Fraser. It is this connection that has sparked a new interest in the burial site, putting it on the must-see list for Outlander fans from all over the world. The series author, Diana Gabaldon, and several members of the TV cast have visited too.
Lord Simon Fraser was the last peer of the realm to have his head chopped off in the Tower of London in 1747. This was because he was unsure which side to join during the Jacobite uprising, until deciding to support Bonnie Prince Charlie. After their defeat, he was taken to London for trial under charges of treason. Found guilty, his sentence of being hung, drawn and quartered was reduced to simply beheading, as the king took pity on his frailness at the age of 70.
Were his remains carried back to the Highlands afterwards? That’s what most people beleived, even although official records indicate that he was interred at the Tower of London. There is a double-lined coffin at Wardlaw Mausoleum marked as Lord Lovat’s. This double lead coffin is consistent with transporting a body a long distance – for example, from London to Inverness. However recent studies of bones found in his coffin indicate a female skeleton instead. Could the Old Fox’s remains have been swapped out? Buried elsewhere? Or at the Tower of London all along? Right now, we just don’t know.
The barrel-vaulted crypt contains six lead-lined or double-lead-lined coffins in total, including a particularly poignant one of an infant, John Fraser, who died in 1779 and represented the end of this line of the Fraser family. The diagonal flagstone floor in the chamber is unusual.
You can visit the Wardlaw mausoleum by pre-arranging in advance. If you want to get as much information as possible about this fascinating piece of Scottish history, it is definitely worth booking in advance. The tour is free, but donations to help with the upkeep of the building are warmly welcomed. If you turn up without an appointment, you may still get a tour, but it is not guaranteed. Give the house on the right at the entrance to the graveyard a knock when you arrive. There is no entry fee but small donations are welcome.
The spectacular Cairngorms National Park is easy to reach from Inverness. You can travel to Aviemore on the west side of the park by train or car in around 40 minutes. This is the largest National Park in Scotland and the UK and there is so much to do here! Walking and cycling, watersports and outdoor activities, family attractions, historic landmarks and so much more.
The Cairngorms is the place to go for outdoor activities in Scotland. It has two excellent watersports centres at Loch Insh and Loch Morlich. Here, you can enjoy fishing, sailing, swimming, rafting, windsurfing and much more. Along with the Cairngorm Mountain activity centre, which offers snowsports, adventure play and guided walks. Other popular outdoor activities in the Cairngorms include dog sledding and bungee jumping. There’s everything from family adventure parks to extreme sports for thrill-seekers.
Planning a visit to Loch Ness? With a brooding atmosphere and mythical past, it’s a popular tourist destination. However many visitors miss out on the stunning walk along the River Ness and to the Ness Islands. The walk takes in historic buildings, wildlife and perhaps a ghost or two!
Inverness Town Council bought the islands in the 19th century for public enjoyment. Since improvement works finished in 2019, the islands have become more popular than ever. They sit on the River Ness, meaning you can enjoy them easily when you visit the city. Paved walkways mean the islands are accessible to everyone, including those with mobility issues.
Inverness in the spring and summer is a wonderful time to explore its river banks and wildlife. There’s lots to see on your walk, including some of the best salmon pools in the area. With proper permits, you can go salmon fishing in River Ness yourself from February to mid-October. Keep your binoculars handy and watch for seals, birds and even bats, especially at dusk and dawn.
The warmer months aren’t the only time you’ll be amazed by these islands. Every October sees the Ness Islands Halloween Show. Visitors get to wear their scariest costumes and celebrate a night of spooky goings on and entertainment. It’s a great opportunity to dress up in costume!
Warm Scottish hospitality will greet you whenever you visit. Eateries and tea rooms stretch along the bank of the River Ness. Many offer locally sourced and seasonal produce. A trip along the River Ness and a walk over to the Ness Islands should be on every tourist’s to-do list in Inverness.
The Caledonia Way is a cycle route that runs from Campbeltown to Inverness, along 235 miles of challenging terrain. It follows the Kintyre Peninsula and the Great Glen Way, passing Loch Ness, Ben Nevis and also many Scottish landmarks and historical sites.
The route begins at Campbeltown, on the magnificent Kintyre Peninsula. It passes through many Scottish towns and villages, including Tarbert, Ardrishaig, Ford, Oban, Dunbeg, Connel, Benderloch, Duror, Dalnatrat, Appin, Ballachullish, Corran, Fort William, Gairlochy, Abercalder, Fort Augustus, Foyers, Inverfarigaig and Dores. Ending in the city of Inverness, the beautiful capital of the Highlands.
You can find the full route on the Sustrans website, split into three sections:
Please note there are two gaps in this route, due to unavoidable constraints. You’ll find details of these in the Oban to Fort William section above.
Our area around Inverness has an abundance of mountain and hill walks, from a wee stroll up to Craig Phadrig in Inverness to serious Munro-bagging near Glen Affric. But one hill, in particular, stands out – literally! Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh.
You’ve probably never heard of it. But if you have visited Loch Ness before, you’ve most certainly seen it. Its distinctive shape can be spotted in almost all photos taken of Loch Ness. From the beach at Dores Inn you get a beautiful view down the whole of the loch. The hill is Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh, the round-shaped hill above the village of Drumnadrochit.
Allow between 3 and 5 hours for the whole walk (9 km), depending on your fitness level and how often you are planning to stop and take photos!
The walk to the top is fairly steep in parts, but once you reach the summit, you will see it’s well worth the effort. Once at the top you will take in amazing views of Loch Ness and the whole of the Great Glen as far as Ben Nevis! On a clear day, you can even see the sea beyond Inverness.
Due to its position and distinctive shape, in days gone by this little hill used to be a marker for ships at sea coming into the port of Inverness.
So if we have inspired you to dig out your hiking boots and explore for yourself, have a look at the Outdoor Activities & Sports section of our website where you can find more info on walking, cycling and more! Or if you are not feeling that energetic, just make your way to Dores, stroll along the pebble beach and enjoy the magnificent views of Loch Ness and Meall Fuar-Mhonaidh!
The Caledonian Canal isn’t just a fantastic feat of engineering, it’s also a great place for short walks in Scotland.
The Dochgarroch Loop is one of the most popular circular routes. The walk starts and ends at Tomnahurich Bridge in Inverness, Scotland. Suitable for all abilities, you can walk, run or cycle the 7.5 mile canal paths.\
Or, you can walk in the opposite direction towards Clachnaharry. This is one of the popular Caledonian Canal walks, taking you to Caley Marina. Where you’ll spot boats of all sizes. Including the ‘Lord of the Glens’, the largest boat to sail on the Caledonian Canal. You could even stop off at Merkinch Nature Reserve or head for Clachnaharry Lock for some breath-taking photo opportunities. The whole walk is just under 5 miles and will take about 1.5 hours. But you can take a shortcut and cross the Canal at Muirtown swing bridge, if you’re in a bit of a hurry.
Tomnahurich Bridge to Clachnaharry Sea Locks
From Tomnahurich Bridge you can also go in the opposite direction along the Canal all the way to the sea lock at Clachnaharry, where the boats that have come through the canal go out to sea. Start the walk on the same side of the canal as the old bridge keeper’s house and walk along the towpath towards Muirtown locks – the path is level and suitable for walkers of all abilities as well as cyclists.
There is lots to see along the way – the towpath takes you past Caley Marina, Muirtown locks, Muirtown swing bridge and Muirtown basin. You are guaranteed to see boats of all shapes and sizes moored at Caley Marina and Muirtown basin, from small sailing boats to barges and the largest vessel to sail the Caledonian Canal, the “Lord of the Glens”. Before you reach the sea lock you will have to cross a railway line, so be very careful! After Muirtown basin you will see a waymarker to “Merkinch Nature Reserve” – this is well worth a visit, but we will leave it until another time!
At Clachnaharry sea lock you have reached the very end of the Caledonian Canal, where boats can sail out into the Moray Firth and ultimately the North Sea. This is a very picturesque spot, don’t forget your camera/phone!
Walk across the lock gates to return to Tomnahurich on the opposite side of the Canal. As you walk along Muirtown basin, keep an eye out on your right for the famous Titanic model!
As you pass Caley Marina on your way back, have a look at the lovely cabin cruisers at “Caley Cruisers” – you can hire them for a long weekend or longer to sail along the Caledonian Canal as far as Banavie near Fort William, a great way of discovering the whole of the famous Canal! If you’re not feeling brave enough to skipper your own boat just yet, Jacobite offer short trips from Tomnahurich Bridge, the start/finish point of your walk.