Abertarff, The Oldest House in Inverness

Abertarff House is the oldest house in Inverness. Built in 1593 on the east bank of the River Ness and used in many ways over its 400-year history. With links to the Fraser of Lovat clan, the Commercial Bank of Scotland and The Gaelic Association, amongst others. Today, the National Trust runs it as a small museum, with a free exhibition on the ground floor, about life in the 17th century.


Built in 1593

Links with the Fraser of Lovat family from 1793

History of Abertarff House

Abertarff House was built in 1593. It’s unclear who the first owners of the historic house were, but there are links with the Fraser of Lovat family from 1793. The Frasers of Lovat were a notorious clan in Scotland, who fought for the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden.

The Commercial Bank of Scotland (now the Royal Bank of Scotland) bought the building in the mid-1800s and gifted it to the National Trust for Scotland in 1963. The trust restored it, and it became offices until recently. In 2018, after further conservation work, it opened to the public.

The house stands two and a half storeys high, with a projecting turnpike stairway. Its crow-stepped gables or “corbie steps” are a prominent feature. Historically significant, it is a good example of domestic architecture from the 16th and 17th centuries and is a category B listed building.

Visiting Abertarff House

Tucked away on a close off Church Street, Abertarff is hidden but easy to reach. Located by the east bank of the river in the city centre, just behind Hootenanny’s Bar.

The house is open on a limited basis, so please check opening dates and times before visiting. Admission is free.

Even when the visitor centre is not open, there is a lovely peaceful bench outside, a great place to relax and view the exterior of Inverness’ oldest house.



71 Church St, Inverness IV1 1ES

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