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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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
You can take Mega Bus from most major cities in Scotland.
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.
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.
|Abermar Guest House||25 Fairfield Road||Guesthouse||-|
|Ardgarry B&B||3 Fairfield Road Inverness||GUESTHOUSE||86|
|Balintraid House||Balintraid Invergordon||Hostel||-|
|Eastgate Backpackers Hostel||38 Eastgate High Street||Hostel||-|
|Highlander B&B||28 Ardconnel Street||GUESTHOUSE||81|
|Highlander Hostel||23A High Street||Hostel||74|
|Inverness Student Hostel||8 Culduthel Road, IV2 4AB||Hostel||85|
|Inverness Tourist Hostel||24 Rose Street||Hostel||82|
|Inverness Youth Hostel||Victoria Drive||Hostel||83|
|Mardon Guest House||37 Kenneth Street Inverness||Guesthouse||86|
|The Royal Highland Hotel||18 Academy Street||Hotel||86|
|Bazpackers Hostel||4 Culduthel Road||Hostel||84|
|Struy Guest House||109 Ballifeary Road Inverness||GUESTHOUSE||81|
|Ard Garraidh Holiday House||7 Holding, Ardersier Inverness||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Corran Guest House||9 Montague Row||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hillview House||Hillview House 26 Merlewood Road, Inverness||HOSTEL||85|
|Toredale Guest House||Toredale Tore||GUESTHOUSE||83|
|International hostel Rooms Inverness 2||17 Haugh Road||APARTMENT||-|
|International Hostel Rooms 1||7 Ardconnel Terrace||APARTMENT||81|
|Glen Mhor Hotel||9-15 Nessbank City Centre||Hotel||-|
|Glen Affric Youth Hostel||Glen Affric YH Allt Beithe||HOSTEL||-|
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.
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.
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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Ask tiderace a question about Inverness
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.
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