Scotland City Guides »


Inverness is the northernmost city of the United Kingdom and the main transportation link and de facto capital of the Highlands of Scotland. It was first settled in the 6th century and was granted city status in the 12th century, but it was not until recently that it started growing at a rapid pace. This is thanks to its newfound role as a high-tech manufacturing centre as well as the principal education centre of the highlands. It is currently ranked the highest of all Scottish cities for its quality of life, ending fifth on the scale for the cities of the United Kingdom.

The city of Inverness is famous for having an active traditional Scottish and Celtic culture scene and therefore being one of the centres of the Scottish Gaelic Renaissance. Apart from its Gaelic-based primary schools, which have ensured a percentage of Gaelic speakers far higher than the national average, it is an important city for anyone who plays or likes hearing the bagpipe. This is in part due to its annual hosting of the Northern Meeting, which is the most prestigious solo piping competition in the entire world. Another annual event in line with local traditions is the Highland Games, which feature sports such as Caber Toss, Stone Put and Scottish Hammer Throw.

There is little in the way of Theatre and Performing Arts in Inverness, but some might be sampled at the Eden Court Theatre. The local music scene is more noteworthy by far, with a good amount of different genres ranging from rock to traditional Scottish music appearing at pubs and clubs or at the larger Ironworks venue. The city of Inverness’ two music festivals, Rockness and the Tartan Heart Festival, bring about particular variety and activity in this department every summer.

The main landmarks of the city of Inverness are Inverness Castle, the Inverness Town House, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness College and a number of churches dating back to medieval times. Of these St. Andrew’s Cathedral is the most curious, as given lack of sufficient funds to complete the building it has been left with a peculiar square-topped look to its spires. While some of the old churches are situated within the city limits, many of them are found in surrounding villages rather than in Inverness proper. These could be enjoyed in conjunction with the many walking trails around Inverness, which brings nature lovers around the Ness Islands or the Caledonian Canal. Longer excursions could be made to Loch Ness and Castle Urquhart, to Culloden and the battlefield of the Jacobites and the British, to one of the quaint highland villages or to the historical Dallas Dhu Distillery for a tour of the processes involved in making Scotch Whiskey.