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Inverness

Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom Scotland Inverness

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Introduction

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Inverness is the city at the heart of the Scottish Highlands and the principal centre for administration and commerce. Advertised as "the Gateway to the Highlands" by the local authority, and long regarded as the capital of the Scottish Highlands, Inverness is regarded as the centre for commerce and industry in the Scottish Highlands, with continuing new investment in traditional industries and new hi-tech industries. It is also claimed to one of the fastest growing cities in Europe.

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Sights and Activities

Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle sits on a cliff overlooking the River Ness. The red sand stone structure evident today was built in 1836 by architect William Burn. It is built on the site of an 11th century defensive structure. Today, it houses Inverness Sheriff Court. There has been a castle at this site for many centuries.

A succession of castles has stood on this site since 1057. The castle is said to have been built by Máel Coluim III of Scotland, after he had razed to the ground the castle in which Macbeth of Scotland according to much later tradition, murdered Máel Coluim's father Donnchad I of Scotland, and which stood on a hill around 1 km to the north-east.

The first Inverness Castle was partially destroyed by King Robert I of Scotland and a replacement castle was sacked in the 15th century. In 1427 King James I of Scotland held a parliament in the castle to which the northern chieftains were summoned, of whom three were executed for asserting an independent sovereignty.

Other Sights and Activities

  • Inverness Museum & Art Gallery - This museum has a collection of Pictish stones and wildlife dioramas, as well as historic weapons. Closed in July 2006 for major refurbishment, due to re-open in January 2007.
  • Dolphin Spotting
  • Loch Ness - The largest lake in Scotland by volume and home to the infamous Loch Ness Monster.

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Getting There

By Plane

Inverness has an airport served by regular flights from Flybe for British Airways (and in the form of Loganair, a franchise partner), and Easyjet. Helvectic Airlines flies to/from Zürich (from May 2012 onwards) while there are seaonsal flights as well to/from Düsseldorf and Frankfurt with Lufthansa. It is sited between Nairn and Inverness and accessible from the Inverness - Aberdeen road. A small range of charter services serve this airport, details at the Inverness Airport website. A taxi from the airport into the city costs between £10 and £15. There is a good bus service, with departures every half hour to Inverness and connections to Nairn.

By Train

Inverness is accessible by rail. The main train station is in the centre of town. National Rail provides regular services. It is the western terminus of the Inverness and Nairn Railway. As such it is the terminus of the Highland Main Line (Inverness to Perth), the Aberdeen-Inverness Line (of which the Inverness and Nairn Railway is now a part), the Kyle of Lochalsh Line and the Far North Line (all the way to Turso and Wick).

By Car

Inverness is at the crossroads of the A9, running all the way north to Wick and Turso, the A96, running northeastwards and the A82 running southwestwards towards Loch Ness.

By Bus

You can take Mega Bus from most major cities in Scotland.

There are also many tour buses the head to Loch Ness that sometimes make stops in Inverness. These include MacBackpackers, Scottish Highland Tours, and Haggis Adventures among others.

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Eat

Madison's Casual Dining in Church Street, just off the High Street, is a great place to have a meal almost any time of day from breakfast through dinner. It has pastas, pizza, burgers from the local butcher made with Abedeen Angus beef and a range of other excellent dishes. Try one of their desserts if you have room as they are amazing. The place is really reasonably priced too.

Before you head out for food, however, be sure to check out a great local resource - Mi Inverness - for some great local deals on excellent food venues.

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Sleep

Ardconnel Street is approached by Raining Stairs or steps in Castle Street and has a number of B&Bs of high quality and reasonable price.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Abermar Guest House25 Fairfield RoadGuesthouse-
Ardgarry B&B3 Fairfield Road InvernessGUESTHOUSE88
Balintraid HouseBalintraid InvergordonHostel-
Eastgate Backpackers Hostel38 Eastgate High StreetHostel-
Highlander B&B28 Ardconnel StreetGUESTHOUSE83
Highlander Hostel23A High StreetHostel74
Inverness Student Hostel8 Culduthel Road, IV2 4ABHostel85
Inverness Tourist Hostel24 Rose StreetHostel82
Inverness Youth HostelVictoria DriveHostel84
Mardon Guest House37 Kenneth Street InvernessGuesthouse87
The Royal Highland Hotel18 Academy StreetHotel86
Bazpackers Hostel4 Culduthel RoadHostel84
Struy Guest House109 Ballifeary Road InvernessGUESTHOUSE81
Ard Garraidh Holiday House7 Holding, Ardersier InvernessGUESTHOUSE-
Corran Guest House9 Montague RowGUESTHOUSE-
Hillview HouseHillview House 26 Merlewood Road, InvernessHOSTEL86
Toredale Guest HouseToredale ToreGUESTHOUSE84
International hostel Rooms Inverness 217 Haugh RoadAPARTMENT-
International Hostel Rooms 17 Ardconnel TerraceAPARTMENT81
Glen Mhor Hotel9-15 Nessbank City CentreHotel-
Glen Affric Youth HostelGlen Affric YH Allt BeitheHOSTEL-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Free Internet access is available at Madisons Casual Dining in Church Street. Fast Wi-Fi access is also available from Riverdale Cafe also on Church Street. Just ask the staff for the relevant access codes.

Internet cafés can be found in many cities and towns. All UK public libraries provide access, often branded as "People's Network", usually at no or little charge, though there is usually a time limit. Some hotels/hostels also offer internet access, including wifi, but most times at a cost. Using the internet on your personal phone can become expensive very quickly, with carriers charging 100's of times the local rate for data. To avoid these expensive roaming charges, you can hunt for wifi at a local cafe or hotel, or rent a mobile hotspot via several providers including DATAPiXY, and XCOM Global.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to the United Kingdom is: 44. To make an international call from the United Kingdom, the code is: 00

In case of emergency, call 999 or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming.

Although the number is declining, you can still find payphones in many public areas, especially stations, airports etc. You can usually pay with cash and sometimes by creditcard or, for international calls, special phonecards are still available.

Mobile phones are heavily used. The main networks are T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and O2. 3G data services are available, usually priced per megabyte and coverage is usually very good in the UK, however it may lack in rural areas. Roaming on your personal phone plan can be expensive. To manage costs, consider purchasing a local UK SIM card for your phone. Several companies offer local SIM cards including Telestial, and CellularAbroad.

Post

The Royal Mail provides postal services in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mail's store fronts are called Post Office and offer services ranging from sending letters and packages to foreign currency exchange. Use the branch locator to find the nearest Post Office branch. There will be at least one post office in any town/city and there are quite often post offices in larger villages. It's common for a post office to be incorporated into a grocery store, where there will be a small counter located at the back of the store for dealing with post related matters. All post offices are marked with signs that say 'post office' in red lettering. Post boxes can be found at any post office and standalone large red post boxes on the streets or red boxes in the sides of public buildings.
For sending packages overseas, it might be a good idea to check prices and services with international companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 57.476695
  • Longitude: -4.231454

Contributors

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Inverness Travel Helpers

  • tiderace

    I have lived in Inverness for 25 years, and in the Scottish Highlands for 30. I work at Inverness Airport which additionally gives me an insight into travel aspects relating to the area. I travel frequently throughout the Scottish Highlands & Islands, so I can hopefully assist with any questions relating to the area at large.

    Ask tiderace a question about Inverness

This is version 32. Last edited at 13:21 on Aug 26, 13 by Utrecht. 18 articles link to this page.

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