Unspoiled and uncrowded, Scotland’s 790+ islands are steeped in tradition, with many containing remnants of ancient cultures and civilizations. Thanks to the country’s compact size, it’s possible to reach more than one archipelago from Inverness. Here are the top Scottish islands tour options.
Inverness Botanic Gardens (Floral Hall)
Bught Ln, Inverness, Inverness-Shire, IV3 5SS
Highlights of the Inverness Botanic Gardens include the Tropical Greenhouse, which mimics a humid climate to create ideal growing conditions for tropical plants such as coffee and birds of paradise; the aptly named Cacti House; and Cobbs Café, which offers a light food and drink menu for lunch or tea.
You can book guided tours, held regularly, by calling or emailing the visitor center in advance. While the gardens are within walking distance of the downtown core, hop-on hop-off bus tours stop here and offer hassle-free navigating.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Inverness Botanic Gardens are ideal for nature lovers and those looking for a quiet respite from the city.
Entry is free; donations are appreciated.
Visitors typically spend about an hour and a half exploring the gardens.
Cobbs Café offers a selection of beverages, pastries, and light lunch options.
The majority of the outdoor gardens is wheelchair accessible, as are the visitor center and garden café.
How to Get There
Located about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the city center, the Inverness Botanic Gardens is about a 30-minute walk or 8-minute drive from Inverness Castle. By foot, take the scenic riverside Ness Way to Great Glen Way and cross the river at the Ness Islands. Alternatively, take bus 4 or 513 to Cemetery Gates.
When to Get There
The gardens are open from 10am to 4pm daily; last entry is 30 minutes before closing. While the gardens are busiest on weekends, they rarely feel overcrowded. Inverness’ peak season is during the warmer summer months, June to August, so go in the early spring or late autumn for a quieter experience of the city.
A Rainy Day Escape
The Scottish Highlands are one of the rainiest locations in Western Europe, which makes the Inverness Botanic Gardens a fantastic place to escape overcast weather. Duck out of the drizzle and into the Cacti House or Tropical Hot House for a balmy change of scenery. Free entry means you can come and go as you please during bouts of rain.
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- Whin Park
- Tomnahurich (Fairy Hill)
- Eden Court Theatre and Cinema
- River Ness (Abhainn Nis)
- Inverness Castle
- Old High Church (Old High St. Stephen’s)
- Merkinch Local Nature Reserve
- Culloden Battlefield
- Clava Cairns
- Chanonry Point
- Glen Ord Distillery
- Fort George
- Loch Ness
- Urquhart Castle (Caisteal na Sròine)
- Loch Ness Centre and Exhibition