With the wonders of the Highlands at your doorstep and a cosmopolitan city to explore, and with the River Ness, Gothic buildings and big city shops, Inverness is full of character and life, ready to be discovered.
Appreciate the beauty of the city and uncover all the hidden gems and unusual attractions people often forget about.
We’ve listed 10 unusual things to do in Inverness that will complete your city break. Why not book yourself a dinner, bed and breakfast break in our hotel & spa next to Inverness if you're planning a visit?
1. The Victorian Market
Instead of wandering along the High Street, walk inside the Victorian Market where you can find cafes, unique gifts and handmade treasures by local independent retailers. With fairy lights hanging, a warm Highland atmosphere and a traditional wooden roof, you’ll feel like you have gone back in time to the good old days.
Whether you’d like a gift for a loved one, a nosey around the shops, or a pot of tea and some cakes, the charming Victorian Market is the perfect place to visit in the heart of Inverness.
Inverness Victorian Market address: Academy St, Inverness, IV1 1JN
Hot to find the Victorian Market: View map
2. Leakey’s Bookshop
A hidden gem you won’t want to miss. Leakey’s Bookshop was established in 1979 within the beautiful old Gaelic Church and has over 100,000 books - a book worm’s heaven!
With every topic imaginable, a spiral staircase, comfy couches and a crackling fireplace, it’s the perfect place to admire and read a few chapters of a classic book.
It’s Scotland’s largest second-hand bookshop and we promise you won’t be disappointed!
Leakey's Bookshop address: Church St, Inverness, IV1 1EY
How to find Leakey's Bookshop: View map
3. Clootie Well
Tucked away in the woods with draping trees and ancient wells, lies the Clootie Well in Munlochy. It’s a spectacle of colour, character with colourful rags and cloths hanging from branches resembling the pre-Christian era and age-old Celtic rituals.
Everything tells you a story, from a time where rags were dipped in sacred wells and tied to branches as a prayer was said. It was believed that this would heal all illnesses. People to this day still leave offerings as well as dream catchers to add to the ever-growing collection.
It’s a popular sight in Inverness but often unforgotten!
Clootie Well address: A832, Munlochy, IV8 8AD
How to find Clootie Well Inverness: View map
4. Clava Cairns
A few miles south of the Culloden battlefield lies the Clava Cairns, the remains of the Bronze Age remnant.
Dating back around 4,000 years, this prehistoric site was once filled with monuments and a medieval chapel. The most formidable features of the Clava Cairns are the 3 circular burial chambers that date back to 2,000 B.C.
Beautifully laid and enriched in history, these ceremonial stones will leave you in awe of their beauty. At sunrise and sunset, the light is majestic - like nothing you’ve seen before!
Clava Cairns address: Inverness, IV2 5EU
Find Clava Cairns: View map
5. Ship Space
Inverness’ very own Titanic. Free to explore and anchored in the Caledonian Canal, the Ship Space is the creation of an engineer, Stanley Fraser, an Inverness resident who loves maritime life.
Stanley has built a magnificent 1:10 scale model of the Titanic, with a Parisian cafe, replica bridge and Macroni communications room. The architecture is incredible and well worth a visit!
It’s not too big so you will have plenty of time to explore all the other unusual things to do in Inverness.
Ship Space address: 16 Clachnaharry Rd, Inverness, IV3 8QH
How to find Ship Space Inverness: View map
Emotive and atmospheric, the final battlefield where the 1745 Jacobite rise came to an end.
Discover the true story at the visitor centre where you can immerse yourself in their 360 degree battle theatre. With artefacts from both sides of the battle, interactive displays and enriched information, you can truly understand this pivotal day in Scottish history.
In 1 hour, life in the Highlands changed forever as 1,500 men were slain and over 1,000 of these men were Jacobites. A visit to Culloden is a poignant experience. Headstones mark the graves of slain men and an eerie silence often falls across the moors.
You can also see the restored 18th century Leanach Cottage and its beautifully thatched roof, crafted with heather.
Culloden battlefield address: Culloden Moor, Inverness, IV2 5EU
How to find Culloden battlefield: View map
7. Velocity Cafe & Bicycle Workshop
Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast looking to tour Inverness on two wheels or looking for a freshly brewed cup of coffee, the Velocity Cafe & Bicycle Workshop is the place to visit.
From a fine selection of coffees, homemade soups, fresh breads and special homemade cakes, to a cool and crafty bike shop kitted out with all the supplies you need to go on a biking adventure.
If you need a bike, repair or some supplies, everyone knows to hit up Velocity.
Velocity Cafe and Bicycle Workshop address: 1 Crown Ave, Inverness, IV2 3NF
How to find it: View map
8. Visit Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster
A visit to Inverness is not complete without trying to spot Nessie within Loch Ness’ freshwater lake, maybe one of the ultimate unusual things to do in Inverness.
Loch Ness is one of Scotland’s largest and deepest expanses of water as it plunges to a depth of over 800ft, and it’s the largest string of lochs along the Great Glen.
No one has seen Nessie yet, but scientists believe he’s there so, don’t forget your camera for the ultimate selfie!
Whether you drive along the western edge to admire the views or explore the spectacular rugged landscape that surrounds the loch as you wander along its edge, make sure you visit Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition, and Nessieland, to discover more about the loch’s history, myths and mysteries.
If you’re really keen to spot him, make sure you go on a boat trip and keep your eyes peeled!
Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition address: Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, Drumnadrochit, Inverness, IV63 6TU
How to find Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition: View map
9. Inverness Botanic Gardens
With free entry for all, the Inverness Botanical Gardens, Nursery & Secret Garden offers a quiet space away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the ideal unusual thing to do in Inverness.
The gardens are filled with beautiful flowers, a wild flower meadow, ponds, a cactus house, a tropical house and so much more. It’s like a secret forest amidst the city.
Did we mention that within the formal gardens, lies a secret garden or as the locals call it, the G.R.O.W Project, run by adults who have transformed the ground into a beautiful space full of life and produce.
GROW stands for Garden, Recycle, Organic and Wildlife and as a charity they depend on donations and plant sales to keep their secret garden alive.
Inverness Botanic Gardens address: Bught Ln, Inverness, IV3 5SS
How to find Inverness Botanic Gardens: View map
10. Ness Islands
When the sun is splitting the sky there is no better way to explore Inverness than by wandering along the sheltered riverside paths around the Ness Islands.
The Ness Islands are a group of small isles in the middle of the River Ness which are all connected by Victorian suspension bridges.
If you’d like to make your island adventure even more fun, we’d recommend hopping into a rowing boat on the pond within Whin Park or take a ride on the Ness Island Miniature Railway - it’s open on weekends and during the school holidays.
It’s not far from the city centre and the views are worth the walk!
Ness Islands Address: Great Glen Way, Inverness, IV2 4RT
How to find Ness Islands in Inverness: View map
Visit Inverness & Discover all the unusual places & things in the Highlands Capital
As the capital of the Highlands, Inverness has everything you need for the perfect Scottish adventure or holiday.
Discover the history, explore the waters and stunning landscapes, find Scotland’s water monster and experience the Highland city life.
Whether you stick to the traditional things to do, or select one of our unusual things to do to see some of the more unique attractions and sights in Inverness, you’ll be immersed in the magic of the Scottish Highlands.
Bursting with life, adventure and luxury, find out why you should choose Crerar Hotels for your next adventure.