Along the Northern shores of Scotland, you’ll find the magnificent town of Inverness. Although this is one of the most-visited places in the country, it has still somehow retained so much of its small-town charm.
Even though many just pop over for a short visit after they’ve spent some time exploring Edinburgh, the cobblestone streets, Scottish charm, and riverside views steal the hearts of even the most reluctant visitors.
Luckily, a few days or a weekend in Inverness is the perfect amount of time to explore this compact city and take in some of the many things to do in the area.
Must-Do Things in Inverness For a Fabulous Weekend
It can be tough to know just what to do if you’re only in Inverness for the weekend. After all, you don’t really have a ton of time!
Here are a few things you’ll want to make sure you fit in during your trip:
1. Take a Cruise on Loch Ness
Exploring the waters of Loch Ness is the number one thing you should do in the Scottish city of Inverness. After all… who doesn’t want to search for Nessie?! She’s real, you know!
There are many companies that run boat tours on the Loch, and they’re all experts at leading hunts for the infamous Loch Ness Monster.
Hop aboard a boat and use sonar and other tactics to try your luck! Some of the Loch Ness boat tours even stop at Urquhart Castle, one of the most fantastically-preserved fortresses in the area.
2. Explore A Castle
Take your pick of Inverness’ two most amazing castles for some explorations through history.
As mentioned above, the best way to reach Urquhart Castle is via Loch Ness boat tour. However, you can reach it by driving about a half hour from Inverness to the Loch Ness town of Drumnadrochit.
This beautiful castle sits overlooking Loch Ness and even has small points where you can touch the water of the loch. You’ll have the chance to climb on parapets, walk crumbling castle walls, and visit the castle museum to learn all about the local history.
I was shocked by how much we enjoyed visiting the castle; there was so much more to do there than we thought! It’s truly perfect for visitors of any ages!
Another castle that Inverness is famous for is, of course, Inverness Castle! Located right in the heart of the downtown area, you’ll find this historical site very easy to reach.
This castle is actually not as old since it has been destroyed many times, but the visiting experience is amazing.
At the Inverness Castle Experience, you’ll have a tour guided by a seanchaidh- A Scottish storyteller. They’ll share the history of the Highlands with you.
While this experience is currently in development as the castle is being renovated, you should absolutely add this to your Inverness weekend itinerary once it’s fully operational in 2025.
3. Visit Leaky’s Bookshop
The largest secondhand bookshop in the United Kingdom is calling your name! Pop into Leakey’s Bookshop, which is tucked into the building of an old cathedral.
But this isn’t just your average bookstore. Picture a winding staircase, vintage antiques, the nostalgic smell of old books. Take me back!
This is the perfect spot to pick up a new piece of reading material for your travels. I know I spent hours perusing the shelves here, and it still wasn’t enough!
4. Learn at Culloden Battlefields
The notorious Battle of Culloden was the ending point for many of the Scottish Highland clans and the end of that period of history as we knew it.
This indoor and outdoor museum will guide you through the battle, including an incredibly realistic video that you’ll see.
Walk the grounds of Culloden and see where the clans fought on the moors that fateful, misty morning in 1746. See the clan headstones which memorialize those lost in the battle, and learn more than you ever thought you would about Scottish history.
5. Try to Go Through the Standing Stones
Just around the corner from Culloden Battlefield, you’ll find Clava Cairns.
The United Kingdom is popular for its standing stones- like Stonehenge- as we still can’t figure out how these circles got there!
Wind your way down a little dirt road and immerse yourself in nature for a moment as you, too, ponder these mysterious landmarks.
If you’re an Outlander person, especially, you don’t want to miss visiting Clava Cairns! It’s your chance to try your hand at going through the stones to Jamie Fraser. I tried, and it didn’t work, but hey…a girl can try!
6. Delight in Afternoon Tea
Is there anything more quintessentially UK than a bonnie afternoon tea? I think not.
Get fancy for a moment and spend some time during your weekend in Inverness sipping with that pinky out. Oh you fancy, huh?
Seriously…Inverness has some of the best spots for afternoon tea in Scotland. The Loch Ness Country House, in particular, is amazing.
What’s there not to love when it comes to tea, biscuits, scones, and cakes?
7. Peruse the Victorian Market
I’m a firm believer that markets in any town will give you the true pulse of the culture in the area. It’s here where you’ll see locals haggling and find homemade goods or souvenirs.
I make it a point to visit a market wherever we go, and Inverness is no exception. The covered Victorian Market is an indoor space with many vendors.
While some shops are more worth visiting than others, this is the best place to find something unique to remember your weekend in Inverness by. It has recently been refurbished and you don’t want to miss it!
A Weekend Bucket List for Inverness, Scotland
There you have it! The top seven must-do things during your weekend trip to Inverness.
As you begin exploring this Scottish city, don’t be afraid to head out on foot. Much of Inverness, unless you’re headed outside of the city center, is reachable via a quick walk.
Some of my favorite moments in Inverness were those spent meandering through the cobblestone streets, ending up wherever the road took us. It’s a fun way to adventure, and definitely worth your time!
Enjoy exploring during your weekend in Inverness!
Bio: Taylor from Traverse with Taylor
Taylor is owner and author of Traverse with Taylor, a travel blog that focuses on helping you experience Europe easily! She has been roaming all over Europe for more than a decade and loves great bookstores, amazing coffee shops, good beer, and exploring Amsterdam and Scotland, in particular. Follow Taylor from Traverse with Taylor on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok.
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