Lockdown has been hard on us all but once things settle in their ‘new normal’, it’ll still be unlikely that any of us will be able to go very far afield from our homes for some time. In the spirit of that, we have put together a list of the places to see and things to do in the local area once we can get out and about safely. Luckily, Inverness and the surrounding area is blessed with many fantastic places to visit, eat, drink and be merry! If we can all support the local community by shopping local, the local community can help support us all!
Nestled right in the heart of Inverness city centre, this stylish and friendly bar/restaurant serves a terrific amount of local produce in the form of delicious modern dishes. A great choice for lunch or dinner in the city. A perfect starting point for a night out in the city or maybe even dinner before a show at Eden Court?
Another great choice for lunch or dinner! La Tortilla is one of Scotland’s oldest tapas bars and serves a variety of beautifully prepared Spanish dishes as well as a mean Sangria!
Standing on the banks of the River Ness with exceptional views of Inverness Castle, there is no better place to enjoy some contemporary cooking whilst drinking in the sights that make Inverness famous.
This unique restaurant was once a church and its design mixes original period features with wonderfully contemporary finishes. The restaurant also boasts a beautifully placed terrace that offers alfresco dining with uninterrupted views of the River Ness, a perfect place to enjoy modern dining in our scenic city.
Home of authentic Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine, Sam’s have been providing great food and a warm attentive atmosphere to the people of Inverness for over 30 years now. With their extensive menu of beautifully prepared modern and traditional cuisine, if you’ve never been to Sam’s then you’re missing out!
With a focus on locally sourced produce, this award-winning restaurant provides succulent, simple, Scottish dishes with beautiful views over the River Ness and towards our beloved architecturally enigmatic local theatre – Eden Court.
Prime specialises in providing steak and seafood dishes made from locally sourced dishes. It’s wonderfully situated on the banks of the Ness with views over Bridge Street and, of course, the historic Inverness Castle.
- Chanonry Point and then Lorimers
A popular day out is a trip to Chanonry Point. It’s the best place to spot a glimpse of the majestic dolphins that call the Moray Firth ‘home’. The point also boasts views over to the historic Fort George as well as beautiful scenes over the Moray Firth. You can work up a terrific appetite watching the dolphins swim, jump and catch fish, so the most appropriate place to find a fish supper for yourself is Lorimers just round the corner. Lorimers is a family-owned restaurant that is grand for its locally sourced ingredients for their Inverness-famous fish’n’chips.
- Clava Cairns and Culloden Moor Inn
The Clava Cairns has a huge amount of highland history stored in its wonderfully preserved standing stones. With its multiple stone monuments and beautifully idyllic setting, this place brims with the rugged romance of rural Scotland and is perfect for a wee walk and ponder before heading to the nearby Culloden Moor Inn for a well-deserved lunch. The restaurant is renowned locally for its friendly atmosphere, great food, and very generous portion sizes!
This award-winning family-run pub is a favourite of many a local come rain or shine. Its range of real ales and great pub-grub is favoured by many, but the real star is their bijou beer garden that looks out onto the castle that is flocked to by locals on a sunny day in the ‘Ness.
During the day, R&B’s is a terrific family-run bar-restaurant that serves quality locally sourced food to the great and good of Inverness. In the evening the place transforms into the city’s prime karaoke and music spot! You can’t go wrong with a night out in R&B’s for dinner, drinks and then a dance.
A bar that does a great cocktail! Bar One is sleek, contemporary but very comfortable. They provide good food and great drinks to those looking for a sophisticated night out in Inverness. Their cocktail menu is extensive and the staff more than accommodating to their patrons’ needs.
Hoots is the jewel in the crown of Inverness’s range of traditional Scottish pubs. They serve a great Scottish menu made from locally sourced produce and provide an extensive range of beers, ales, spirits and guest drinks. Hoots have won best pub in Inverness several times in its history and that is largely to do with the range of live music that occurs across its three floors. From traditional Scottish music to contemporary metal and dance, Hoots provides it all to the willing of Inverness. Its smoking area is a hidden gem for those still partaking in the lost art.
Dinner, lunch, or a drink and a dance, Foxes & The Den is as Inverness as the castle or the River Ness itself. They have an extensive lunch and dinner menu to be enjoyed with views over the river, alfresco or in one of their very comfortable booths. Night time is when Foxes &The Den really comes to life, with DJs and live music on pretty much every night of the year and they are open until the very wee hours of the morning.
Tourists enjoy the Loch Ness from the Drumnadrochit side of the loch, but the locals’ choice is absolutely the Dores Beach side. Its wonderful beach has the best views over the loch and is also the home of the Dores Inn, which has a relaxing country pub ambience, great locally sourced food, and terrific views over our most famous local landmark. It’s even home to a ‘Nessie Hunter’ who has set up shop on the beach in the hope of catching a glimpse of the loch’s mysterious inhabitant, Nessie.
Nestled at the bottom of Academy Street with a suntrap of a beer garden, MacGregor’s bar is a bar that lives and breathes Inverness. Built through crowdfunding and now a cultural hub for Inverness, the bar is the place for good locally sourced food, traditional music nights and for tasting the best of Scottish libations.
The Heathmount is not merely a hotel. It’s a great place for food and drinks too. Award-winning, independent and very stylish and friendly, the Heathmount is a destination for many for its extensive range of drinks, delicious food and its much-admired beer garden. Its location between the city centre and Crown makes it a popular destination for many.
No night out in Inverness is complete without a trip to the city’s most enthusiastic bar. MacCallums offers some big nights out in a small venue, with live music, DJs, and a hefty selection of craft beers, Scottish gins and whiskies to keep your dancing shoes on.
Another raucous night out can always be found in The Market Bar. It has live music every single night of the week, and although it could possibly have the smallest stage in Scotland, it has hosted some of the best acts to be found locally and internationally. The staff couldn’t be more friendly, and the place has become an Inverness institution, steeped in local infamy and history.
A day out on the loch is something that everyone, young or old, should experience. Jacobite Cruises do short and longer cruises that take in the stunning scenery around Loch Ness. Kids under 5 go free, so it really is a trip for the whole family to enjoy all year round.
There’s plenty more to be found in Inverness and the surrounding areas but it’s thanks to places like the above that Inverness continues to be a great place to visit and an even better place to live. Please remember to try and support your local businesses because when it comes down to it, they are here to serve our community come thick or thin.