Things to Do on a Day Out with the Kids in Inverness
Inverness, the unofficial capital of the Scottish Highlands, makes for a great holiday destination for the whole family, with a plethora of attractions in and around the city that promise fun for all ages. With this in mind, we’ve compiled the guide below to things to do on a day out with the kids in Inverness. Whether you’re a local looking for new family activities or you’re travelling in Scotland with kids, you’ll find something for a fun day out with your list of things to do in Inverness.
Explore Inverness city centre with the kids
There’s lots to see in Inverness city centre for the whole family, so take some time to explore the sights! Wander around Church Street and its surroundings, perhaps popping into Inverness Museum & Art Gallery. There are downloadable kids’ worksheets available for the museum so the little ones can hunt down Roman coins or find facts about the Jacobite rebellion.
Next, make your way to the Inverness Castle Viewpoint to take in some stunning 360-degree views of the city and the surrounding hills. And if the little ones’ legs get tired, simply hop onto a hop-on, hop-off tour bus for an easy way to see the sights.
After you’ve explored the city centre, you could make your way along River Ness and to the nearby Ness Islands, connected to the mainland by bridges. This offers a nice and gentle walk suitable even for short legs. You’ll feel miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city!
Spend the day looking for Nessie
What visit to the Highlands would be complete without a bit of Nessie hunting? Get the kids in the car and drive down to Loch Ness to see if you might catch a glance of one of the world’s most famous cryptids.
Arriving on the western shore of the loch, 12 miles from Inverness city centre, you’ll be able to board the Loch Ness by Jacobite cruise. You’ll take onto the deep, mysterious waters and learn more about the history of the loch. You can also combine your cruise with a visit to the majestic ruins of Urquhart Castle which served as inspiration for the 2013 animated film, Brave. Pack some binoculars and see if you and the kids can spot the legendary Loch Ness Monster – or at least some birds!
After your cruise, you can continue a couple of miles down the road to visit the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition. The centre focuses on combining light-hearted entertainment and education on history and science. The result is a theatrical experience with a chance for kids to touch and feel real exploration equipment for themselves. Kids under six go free.
Indoor activities in Inverness
On a rainy day, a visit to Inverness Leisure Centre is a surefire way to burn off extra energy. You can hit the swimming pool together, or the kids can take on the climbing wall while you relax in the bistro. Alternatively, head to the Inverness Ice Centre for a spin. Skates are available for hire.
Frankie & Lola’s offers a jungle-themed soft play area and midweek toddler toys during term time. They also have a cafe with healthy, homemade food as well as some tasty cakes for you to treat yourself with while the kids play.
The Inverness Botanic Gardens offers a refreshing oasis once you’ve explored the city streets. Stroll through the peaceful gardens and visit the tropical house to see coffee, banana and pineapple plants plus many more! Here, you can also get acquainted with their pond of friendly carp. Entry is free but donations for the upkeep of the gardens are highly appreciated.
Outdoor activities with kids and teens
Whin Park is a great destination for a family day out especially in the summer months when the weather is sunny. The park has climbing frames, slides and lots of room for ball games as well as a seasonal kids’ train. The park offers toilets, a shop, a cafe and a pond with rentable rowboats during the summer months. During December, the park is home to an enchanting Winter Wonderland.
Landmark Forest Adventure Park is a thrilling destination for a day trip from Inverness all year long, offering rides and attractions like a shooting gallery, a tropical hothouse and optical illusions. The park is located in Carrbridge, a half-hour drive from Inverness, and offers a selection of restaurants so you can spend the whole day exploring.
For a bit of an adrenaline buzz, head to Treezone on the Rothiemurchus Estate in Aviemore, 45 minutes outside Inverness. Here, you’ll find a gravity-defying aerial adventure course that offers a great workout plus some amazing views of the Cairngorms National Park. The course is suitable for kids over 7, and kids under 12 need to be accompanied by an adult.
Older kids can also appreciate the historical significance of Culloden Battlefield, located just outside Inverness. Help their history lessons come to life with a guided tour of the battlefield of the Jacobite Uprising in 1745 and a visit to the interactive, 360-degree immersion theatre that lets you experience the battle firsthand.
A top suggestion for things to do on a day out with the kids and perhaps more so the teenagers in Inverness! Take your family on an exhilarating Beastie Boat ride down Loch Ness. The Beastie Boat is a fabulous new addition to a day out in Inverness. The Beastie Boats are brought to you by the much loved and trusted Jacobite Cruises!! Your fabulous adventure begins on the shores of Loch Ness at the Clansman Hotel. Park your car at the hotel, it it’s full you will be directed a few 100 meters further along to a private car park. Just plan to be in slightly further away and you wont be late, it’s only an extra 5 minute walk. Don’t worry, you will cross the A82 via the underground walkway.
When you arrive at the dock you will see a large serious looking RIB perfect for an hour of thrills on Loch Ness. Robbie will be your host and captain for your exhilarating adventure on Loch Ness. Enjoy speeding your way down the vast Loch Ness, taking in some truly special historical sights but at a much more exciting pace. Your captain and tour guide Robbie will not only fill you in on the history of the castle, he will make sure you we got a fantastic view from the water. It is an exhilarating adventure, one the whole family will enjoy even those hard to please teenagers.
Stay in Inverness with the Palace Hotel
If you’re looking for a home base for your Highlands adventure, look no further than Palace Hotel, Inverness. Our family-friendly, family-run hotel is centrally located on the bank of River Ness and overlooking Inverness Castle, offering easy access to all the attractions in the city and further afield. Take advantage of our leisure club: the kids will love splashing around in the pool while you enjoy a relaxing steam or sauna, while our food menus are packed with kid-approved classic dishes for refuelling after a busy day.