Inverness is a small Scottish town toward the northern end of the country. A short train ride away from Edinburgh, it’s a great side trip when you’re in the region, as it is filled with history and fun.
If anyone in your household has watched or read Outlander or if there’s someone with a penchant for military history, a visit to Culloden Battlefield is a must. There’s a visitor center and museum, which costs a small fee, but walking the battlefield is free. The site of the battle by the same name and the 1745 Jacobite Rising, it’s a significant spot in the country’s history. The wide-open spaces are also perfect for younger kids who need to stretch their legs and work off some energy.
Go even further back in time with a visit to Corrimony Chambered Cairn. Built approximately 4,000 years ago, it’s a passage grave created by Neolithic farmers for individuals living as early as 3,500 BCE. The graves were built according to astronomical alignments, to help the buried souls supposedly travel to the stars. The site is free, open all year and offers convenient parking.
Inverness is well-suited for a daytrip, if you’re brave enough to rent a car and try your hand at driving on the “wrong” side of the road. Just a few miles away, you can explore the beautiful shores of Loch Ness. There are plenty of frequent viewing points on the side of the road, and you’ll find many travelers stopping to take photos. Further exploration will lead you to Urquhart Castle, right on the shores. The breathtaking castle ruins are fun to explore for the entire family.
Inverness is highly walkable and you’re sure to come across some interesting shops while you traverse the city. However, it’s worth making a few special stops at some over others. The Inverness Victorian Market was built in the late 1800s as the first covered market in the city. It now hosts more than 40 locally owned shops with wares you won’t find elsewhere.
If you’re driving, make a trip out to The Dores Inn, which sits on the shores of Loch Ness with beautiful views. But, you’ll need reservations. If you’re walking, Castle Tavern is nearby Inverness Castle and the River Ness, two attractions worth a short visit for a photo while you’re out and about. For low-key and casual pub food, try Platform 8, right near the heart of the city and serving up affordable eats in a contemporary atmosphere.