Exploring the History and Wonders of Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle is one of the most recognizable landmarks on the NC500, perched high on a hill overlooking the River Ness. This castle has a rich history dating back to the 11th century when King Malcolm III built a stronghold at the site after destroying Macbeth’s castle at Crown Hill.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating history and wonders of Inverness Castle.

old inverness castle

The History of Inverness Castle

Inverness Castle is one of the most prominent landmarks in the city of Inverness, Scotland. The castle sits on a cliff overlooking the River Ness and was originally built in 1057 by Malcolm III of Scotland, also known as Máel Coluim mac Donnchada.

Over the years, the castle has been destroyed and rebuilt several times, with each iteration reflecting the architectural style and needs of the time.

King Robert I
King Robert I, https://www.royal.uk/robert-i-r-1306-1329

The first Inverness Castle was partially destroyed by King Robert I of Scotland, also known as Robert the Bruce, in 1307.

Robert the Bruce was known for his military prowess and his efforts to gain independence for Scotland from England. He razed the castle’s battlements to the ground, leaving only the tower standing.

In 1428, James I of Scotland ordered the construction of a new castle on the site to exert his authority over the Highland clans. The castle was built with thick walls and a tower to withstand sieges and attacks. During the Jacobite rising of 1745, the castle was used as a prison for captured Jacobite rebels.

In the 19th century, the castle was transformed into a courthouse and prison, with a new façade added to the building. The castle continued to be used as a courthouse until the 1970s.

In the 21st century, the castle has been transformed into a tourist attraction, with visitors able to explore its rich history and take in the stunning views from the tower.

Inverness Tour
Inverness Tour, https://www.wowscotlandtours.com/tours-from-inverness/inverness-walking-tour/

Today, visitors can visit the castle and learn about its fascinating history. The castle offers guided tours, exhibitions, and stunning views of the surrounding area.

The castle is also used as a venue for weddings and other events, making it an important part of the community in Inverness.

With its rich history and stunning views, Inverness Castle continues to be one of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks.

Who owns Inverness Castle?

Inverness Castle is owned by the Scottish government and is managed by Highland Council.

A £15 million Scottish Government commitment made through the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal will help with the Castle’s transformation. It will open up a gateway for Highland tourism, reviving travel throughout the region and bringing in much-needed capital for the sector as the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts start to fade.

Who lived in Inverness Castle?

Queen Mary of Scots
Queen Mary of Scots, https://www.nts.org.uk/stories/mary-queen-of-scots

Inverness Castle has been home to many notable figures throughout its history, including King Duncan and Queen Mary of Scots. It has also served as a military stronghold and a courthouse and prison, with many notable prisoners passing through its walls.

What is Inverness Castle known for?

Inverness Castle is known for its impressive architecture and stunning views of the River Ness. It has played a significant role in Scottish history, serving as a royal castle, military fortress, and court.

Today, it houses the Inverness Sheriff Court and is a popular tourist attraction.

Can you go inside Inverness Castle?

Right now, Inverness Castle is temporarily closed due to renovations.

But before, the main castle building was not open to the public. However, visitors can see the exhibition and enjoy the breathtaking 360-views of the Highland Capital and the surrounding scenery.

Is Inverness Castle worth visiting?

Inverness Castle
Inverness Castle, https://www.encirclephotos.com/image/inverness-castle-history-in-inverness-scotland/

Absolutely! Inverness Castle is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Scotland. Its impressive architecture, stunning views, and rich history make it a fascinating destination.

Visitors can explore the castle’s history, learn about its role in Scottish history, and take in the stunning views of the River Ness.

How much does it cost to get into Inverness Castle?

Admission to Inverness Castle is £6 for adults and £4 for children under 12, and visitors can explore the castle’s history and take in the stunning views of the River Ness. The castle also features a museum and art gallery, showcasing the works of local artists.

How To Get There?

High Street, Inverness
High Street, Inverness, https://www.gpsmycity.com/attractions/high-street-44823.html

The area around the town centre of Inverness is very well marked with signs directing visitors to Inverness Castle.

At the very pinnacle of Castle Wynd, immediately above Inverness Museum, you’ll find this structure.

At the easternmost point of the Ness Bridge, there is convenient access for pedestrians from High Street. On-site parking is not available, but there are several paid lots located in the immediate neighbourhood.

Ness Walk, located on the other side of the River Ness, to the west, offers some of the most breathtaking perspectives of Inverness Castle.

Where to stay near Inverness Castle?

Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa

Best Western Inverness Palace Hotel & Spa is located right in the heart of Inverness, near the River Ness.

It is a historic property that has been recently renovated and features modern amenities, including on-site leisure club, swimming pool and spa, scenic restaurant, and enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep in one of our stylish rooms.

The Royal Highland Hotel

This hotel is a Victorian-era property and is one of the most iconic hotels in Scotland.

It’s a mix of modern standards of comfort with classic surroundings that creates a contemporary feeling of history. The Royal Highland Hotel is located in the city centre, close to the railway station and shops.

Premier Inn Inverness Centre (River Ness) Hotel

Premier Inn Inverness Centre (River Ness) Hotel is part of a chain of budget hotels that offer basic accommodations at affordable prices. It also offers all-you-can-eat breakfasts, family getaways without the hassle, flexible rates and worry-free business travel.

It is located along the River Ness and is within walking distance of many popular attractions.

Mercure Inverness Hotel

Mercure Inverness Hotel has the best waterside hotel Inverness has to offer, Mercure Inverness Hotel is a chic Inverness hotel that has just undergone a complete makeover while maintaining traditional Highland hospitality.

It is a contemporary property located on the banks of the River Ness.

Glen Mhor Hotel & Apartments

This hotel offers a range of accommodations, including hotel rooms and self-catering apartments.

Glen Mhor Hotel & Apartments is located near the River Ness and is a short walk from the city centre.

Highland Apartments by Mansley

Highland Apartments by Mansley offers luxury self-catering apartments in the heart of Inverness that includes complimentary WI-FI, equipped kitchens and luxurious bathrooms.

The apartments are also spacious and well-equipped with modern amenities.

Inverness City Suites

This property offers stylish and modern self-catering apartments in the city centre.

Each room includes a fully-equipped kitchen, dining area and spacious bathroom. Inverness City Suites are well-equipped with modern amenities and offer plenty of space and comfort.

Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness

Kingsmill Hotel is a 4-star luxury spa hotel located in a quiet residential area of Inverness.

It features elegant accommodations, a spa, and a golf course. They also offer impeccable dining options, extensive leisure facilities and spacious meeting and events place.

The Glenmoriston Townhouse Hotel

The Glenmoriston Townhouse Hotel is another 4-star hotel located on the banks of the River Ness.

It features stylish and luxurious accommodations and a popular restaurant called Contrast Brasserie. They also have a bar called Piano Bar that serves over 260 malt whiskies and 50 gins with live music during the weekends.


After exploring the rich history and impressive architecture of Inverness Castle, it’s clear that this fortress has played a significant role in the Scottish Highlands for centuries.

From its origins under the rule of Malcolm III to its continued use as a courthouse and administrative centre, Inverness Castle remains a treasured landmark that showcases the enduring strength and beauty of Scottish history.

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