Visiting the River Ness and Ness Islands

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.



Idyllic and exciting walk

Explore this magical walk along the River Ness

Things to see and do

When you get to River Ness, it won’t take long before you feel you are a million miles from anywhere. Under beautiful Scots pine you will find perfect picnic spots to relax. Take time to admire the picturesque scenery, all just minutes from the bustling city centre.

Enjoy a walk through the history of Inverness, past spectacular buildings within easy reach on the river banks. Inverness Cathedral was the first new Cathedral completed in Great Britain since the Reformation, finished in 1869.

You’ll also pass Inverness Castle, built in 1836 and overlooking the River Ness. You can explore the castle grounds or just admire the building as you walk along the riverside.

Many visitors don’t expect to be able to ride on a miniature railway in Inverness.  The Ness Islands Railway is situated next to the river in Whin Park. It is the UK’s most northerly public miniature railway since 1983.

When to visit River Ness and the Ness Islands

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.


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