Located in the northern part of Scotland's picturesque highlands, Inverness-shire boasts dramatic landscapes and a rich cultural heritage. Embracing the vibrant city of Inverness, the region is famed for the distinctive grey stone that is a fundamental part of the local architecture.

In our area guide, we delve into this diverse county that captures the essence of Highland living, along with the urban benefits of Inverness – an energetic city that evolves around the River Ness. We offer practical details about living in Inverness-shire, including education, transport, and property costs.

History of Inverness-shire

Inverness-shire has a rich and varied history dating back to prehistoric times. Archaeological digs have unearthed ancient settlements and standing stones, pointing to a lengthy habitation of the area. This reached its peak during the Iron Age with the construction of various hill forts.

The medieval era saw the establishment of Inverness as a trading port of significant importance. It was during this time the city saw the bouts of various Scottish clans for control of the region. The Battle of Culloden, which brought an end to the 1745 Jacobite uprising, took place near Inverness, marking a significant chapter in the area's history.

The modern day Inverness-shire is a blend of its rich past and the ever-increasing influencer of the present. Its distinct history is visible in the architecture, culture and the local stories that add an air of magic and mystery to the area.


Inverness-shire is home to a collection of remarkable landmarks that depict the essence of Highlands. The Loch Ness, famous for its mythical inhabitant the Loch Ness Monster, is Scotland's second largest loch and offers stunning views of the surrounding scenery. The Caledonian Canal, an impressive engineering achievement, stretches across the county from Inverness to Corpach near Fort William, traversing through multiple Lochs. The Inverness Castle sits overlooking the city and the River Ness, offering panoramic views of the city and beyond.

Landmarks we love

  • Fort George. Located in Ardersier, this colossal armed force fortress offers a fascinating glimpse into the country's military history.
  • Clava Cairns. Located right beside Culloden battlefield, the Bronze Age burial ground is an archaeological gem. The standing stones are perfectly lined up with the mid-winter sunset and are sure to give you chills(both literal and figurative)!
  • Tomatin Distillery. Nestled in the village of Tomatin, this distillery offers a behind-the-scenes look at Scotch whisky making and a taste of Highland hospitality.
  • Urquhart Castle. Overlooking Loch Ness, these ruins tell epic tales of power struggles, bestowed by a breathtaking view of the Loch.
  • Ben Nevis. A visit to Inverness-shire wouldn't be complete without seeing the UK's highest peak. Climb it or simply admire the mountain's majesty from Fort William.

Top 10 things to do in Inverness-shire

  • Hunt for the Loch Ness Monster. Traverse along the shore of the Loch or take a boat trip out into the water, all while looking for Nessie.
  • Step back in time at Culloden Battlefield. A visit to the battlefield is a chilling experience, where one can almost hear the echoes of the past.
  • Wander the streets of Inverness. The city centre is quaint, colourful and full of life, making it a perfect place for a leisurely stroll.
  • Take a dip in the Fairy Pools, Skye. Marvel at the sparkling blue pools and waterfalls, and if you're brave, jump in for a swim!
  • Visit the Inverness Botanic Gardens. See exotic plants, cacti and beautiful orchids, all nestled within the city.
  • Go white-water rafting on the River Ness. Enjoy a thrilling ride through Inverness-shire's dramatic landscapes.
  • Visit the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. It gives a comprehensive insight into the Highland's past and present.
  • Explore the Black Isle Wildlife Park. Spot deer, monkeys, birds and an array of other animals.
  • Step inside the Corrimony Chambered Cairn, a grave that dates back 4000 years.
  • Explore the world of whisky at the Tomatin Distillery. One of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, it delivers a fascinating tour.

Our recommended areas to live in Inverness-shire

  • Crown. A short walk from the city centre, Crown is regarded as one of the most desirable areas of Inverness. With its Victorian villas, local schools and proximity to the city, it's perfect for families and professionals.
  • Muir of Ord. A family-friendly village with its own distillery, Muir of Ord offers a peaceful rural living with easy access to Inverness.
  • Nairn. Known for its sandy beaches, Nairn is a popular seaside town with a vibrant community spirit, excellent schools and stunning properties.
  • Fort Augustus. Resting on the tip of Loch Ness, it exudes Highland charm and offers a range of outdoor activities, making it popular among nature lovers.
  • Fort William. With Ben Nevis in its backyard, it is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a slower pace of life.

Best schools in Inverness-shire

The schools in Inverness-shire are known for their strong sense of community and the high level of education they offer. Millburn Academy, in particular, is highly respected, offering excellent academic opportunities for children.

In the heart of Inverness, the Royal Academy offers a broad curriculum and is known for its exceptional exam results and commitment to nurturing individual talent.

Schools such as Beauly Primary and Dalneigh Primary offer a nurturing environment for younger children, while secondary schools like Glenurquhart High and Lochaber High are known for their emphasis on a well-rounded education.

In terms of independent education, Gordonstoun School, though technically outside the county but within reasonable reach, offers day and boarding options and is ranked among the best in the UK.

Inverness-shire's schools provide comprehensive education for children of all ages, ensuring a firm foundation for their future.

Transport links in Inverness-shire

Inverness-shire is well-connected transport-wise, despite its remote Highland location. Inverness Airport offers regular flights to major UK and European cities, while trains from Inverness connect to places like Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London.

The area's main routes - the A82, A9, and A96 - link to Scotland's major towns and cities. Bus services provide options for local travel across Inverness and the wider shire. Invincible to its scenery, many prefer a bike or walking.

The iconic Caledonian Canal is another mode of transit, offering a unique way of exploring the Highland scenery. Inverness-shire's transport network ensures that everyone, whether a local or a visitor, can easily navigate the county.

In conclusion, Inverness-shire encapsulates the best of Scottish Highland living. From its rich history and stunning landscapes to the bustling city of Inverness and tranquil seaside towns, the region offers something uniquely Scottish. The area's ties to folklore and tradition blend seamlessly with the modern lifestyle, offering a unique blend of old and new. With its impressive education system and excellent transport links, Inverness-shire is more than just a place to live - it's a lifestyle that embodies the essence of the Highlands.

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