24 Hours in Inverness – Your Ultimate Guide
You have 24 hours in Inverness, here is your ultimate guide on how to spend your precious time. Inverness makes for a fabulous base from which to discover the rest of the Highlands. That being said, you’d be missing out if you didn’t dedicate a day to discovering this historic little town as well. Today, we’ll give you the lowdown of the perfect day in the capital of the Scottish Highlands – from the tastiest spots for Scottish food to the best things to do in Inverness, from shopping to museums. All achievable in just 24 hours!
Morning – Arriving in Inverness
Breakfast in Inverness
Best begin with breakfast for your adventure packed 24 hours in Inverness. We’ve just published an article on some of the best places for breakfast and brunch in Inverness here. From traditional Scottish fry-ups to smoothie bowls, you’ll find the perfect spot for you in our guide.
If you’re not familiar with it, we do recommend the full Scottish breakfast, an interpretation of which can be found pretty much everywhere that serves breakfast. You’ll typically find tasty, if a little greasy, items like sausages, bacon, baked beans and grilled tomatoes on your plate, but north of the English border you’re usually also served some haggis and a potato scone. This filling meal will keep you energised well into the afternoon.
Walk around Inverness city centre
Your 24 hour stay in Inverness wouldn’t be complete without exploring the centre of Inverness. One of the great things about Inverness is that the centre of Inverness is very walkable, so after breakfast, take a leisurely stroll through town.
Walk through Church Street, lined with pretty old buildings and make sure to visit the Victorian Market: full of little independent shops, this indoor market is a great place to support small businesses in the area and bag yourself some local products from food to crafts and jewellery. Even if you don’t end up buying anything, you can take in some lovely local colour and Victorian architecture!
Bookworms will love browsing through the shelves at Leakey’s, a second-hand book store just a stone’s throw from the Victorian market. The shop is housed in an old church and is one of the biggest in Scotland.
After walking the length of Church Street, loop around and walk along the banks of River Ness. Check out the Tolbooth Steeple, an 18th-century tower that was once part of a prison and immortalised in paintings by JMW Turner. The Inverness Town House is located just opposite and houses a sizeable art collection.
Open to the public for guided tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, this Gothic building housed the only meeting of the UK cabinet outside England in 1921. Afterwards, take in some spectacular views of the city and the hills that surround it at the Inverness Castle Viewing Platform.
Afternoon – Step back in time or take in some greenery
After checking out the viewing platform, grab a bite to eat for lunch. Some popular lunch spots in town include Rendezvous, Cafe Artysans and the New Brasserie at the Palace Hotel, just opposite the castle across River Ness.
After a bite to eat, visit the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Celebrating Highland life and culture, this wonderful museum features both permanent and temporary exhibitions and art and crafts from people from the Highlands. The museum has many interactive displays, making your visit engaging for the whole family. You can try on an 18th-century kilt, learn Gaelic words and phrases and play the ancient board games Hnefetafl and Morells.
If the weather is nice and you’d rather stretch your legs, keep walking along River Ness, past the Ness Islands until you get to the Inverness Botanic Gardens. Opened in 1993, the botanic garden offers a tranquil break from your busy day.
The greenhouses bloom and thrive with diverse tropical flowers and trees and a waterfall cascades into a carp pond, making this a hidden oasis perfect for some recharging. The Cobbs café at the gardens is great for a coffee or a light bite before you head back to the city centre.
Evening – Dinner and a show
Whether you want to indulge in Scottish delicacies like haggis or a traditional fish supper, or something more international, Inverness has a good number of restaurants to choose from.
For Scottish scran, Fig & Thistle is an excellent choice. Located near the Eastgate Shopping Centre, this bistro serves delicious Scottish food with a twist: try the haggis and venison burgers or the Orkney salmon fillet in coconut curry sauce. The River House serves delicious fresh seafood while Saffron Indian Restaurant makes a mean curry at a reasonable price.
For fine dining, try the Rocpool – this restaurant is walled with large windows allowing you to take in the view of Inverness Castle. The menu serves modern European cuisine with a focus on Scottish produce.
Another great option is the Eight On The River restaurant here at the Palace Hotel. Try one of our burgers straight from the grill or some fresh North Sea Haddock. We’ve also got a popular pre-theatre menu of a main and a dessert for just £16.95.
Shows in Inverness
After dinner, catch a show at Eden Court Theatre or Ironworks. Eden Court hosts theatre performances, including many travelling West End hits, as well as film screenings. Meanwhile, Ironworks has a good deal of live music events on in every given month.
Night – Inverness Hotels & Nightlife
Nightlife in Inverness
If you’ve still got energy after the sun has set, head back out for some drinks and maybe a bit of a boogie! For live music, head to Hootananny, a friendly pub on Church Street. If you fancy a dram or two of whisky, head to the Malt Room – this cosy bar offers a good number of whiskies, as well as beer and wines.
For cocktails, you can’t go wrong with Bar One. A pioneer of creative cocktails in Inverness, this watering hole offers some pretty inventive drinks courtesy of its talented mixologists: try the Bubblegum Daiquiri or the Aurora Borealis: a cocktail that changes colour and glitters – it’s just like having the northern lights in a glass!
If you’d like to continue the night right into the wee hours, the Den Nightclub is open until 3 am and offers you a chance the night away at this stylish club. Keep in mind that there’s a dress code, so no hoodies or trainers are allowed.
After a full day of exploring Inverness, rest your weary head in one of the many hotels and guesthouses in town. The Palace Hotel Inverness offers stylish, yet cosy accommodation right in the centre of town: we’re located opposite Inverness Castle and just a ten-minute walk from Inverness Rail Station.
Our family-run hotel makes for the perfect base for exploring the surrounding areas, from Loch Ness to medieval castles and majestic Highland hiking routes. If you’re planning your holiday in the Highlands, have a look through our seasonal offers page or check our availability and #bookdirect by clicking the link below.
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