Highland culture and traditions

The Highland Culture Club!

If your trip to Inverness and Loch Ness is inspired by all things Highland culture and traditions then look no further, this page is packed full of great ideas to fill your itinerary full to the brim of local discoveries and cultural adventures!

Kilts - The national dress

Inverness is a city steeped in Highland culture. One of the best places to delve into everything associated with the Scottish Highlands, from the Gaelic language to traditional dress, is Inverness Museum and Art Gallery. Exhibits span millions of years of history and a huge range of subjects.  From there it is a short walk to The Scottish Kiltmaker Visitor Centre. The small attraction set within a kiltmaking workshop covers everything you need to know about Scotland's national dress.

If your itinerary includes a visit to Beauly, a trip to Campbell's of Beauly. An experience in itself, in existence from 1858 Campbell's has been a tailors, outfitters and retail outlet for all things tweed and tartan.

Kilt fitting

Clan History and Ancestry

Finding your historic roots and ancestry linked to the Highlands of Scotland, a visit to the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness could uncover the information you are looking for. The centre is responsible for collecting, preserving, and making accessible, archives relating to the history of the Highlands. The Family History Room contains a variety of resources which will be of use to anyone who is researching Highland roots.

From Inverness it is only a short drive to reach two of the most important sites that acted as a catalyst for an often brutal end to Highland culture and way of life at the time.  You can't help but be moved at Culloden Moor where the last pitched battle on British soil took place and the Jacobite Rising came to an end in 1746.  The excellent visitor centre reveals the background to the battle and the events of that tragic day.

In the aftermath of Culloden, the imposing Fort George was built on a promontory overlooking the Moray Firth, just north of the battlefield.  The government fortress was designed to prevent any further Jacobite threats. The fort is home to the Highlanders' Museum which has the largest regimental display outside London.

In the pretty settlement of Fort Augustus, travel back to 17th century Scotland at The Clansman Centre.  Inside a recreated Highland turf house, an authentically dressed clansman brings the past to life in an interactive experience. 

Clansman Centre

Enjoy a Dram!

Along with kilts, whisky has to be one of Scotland's most famous cultural icons so it would be rude not to sample a local malt or two.

The city centre has plenty of pubs where you can enjoy a dram but The Malt Room will satisfy both curious beginners and connoisseurs with over 350 bottlings and a range of tasting flights to choose from. The newest distillery in town is Uilebheist, opened in 2023 the distillery brews and serves their own craft beers whilst we wait for the Whisky to age. 

For distilleries out of Inverness but still on our doorstep you can take a trip to North to Glen Ord Distillery and visitor centre in Muir of Ord where you can taste and experience The Singleton Distillery Tour. Or just a few miles South of Inverness is Tomatin Distillery, producing whisky since 1897 when the first formal distillery on the site was established, whisky production has been a way of life for the local community since then and Tomatin's wonderful story reflects this.


Traditional Highland Music

Nothing better to enjoy your dram with than an evening of traditional Highland music and maybe even dance! You will find some fantastic music venues in the city of Inverness that have regular live music for you to enjoy, some may even break out into a ceilidh on a good night. Hootananny's, The Highlander Bar and MacGregor's Bar, all located on Church street in Inverness have live music sessions to enjoy regularly throughout the week.

The nearby Eden Court is another popular venue for an evening out, with music, theatre and cinema events taking place most nights of the week.

Local music

Traditional Scottish Food

Savour the Scottish Highland Flavour!
No cultural journey is complete without tasting the local cuisine. From cosy cafés offering homemade scones and tea to restaurants serving fresh, local produce, there’s an option for every palate. You cannot miss out on trying haggis, a Scottish culinary staple!

Aside from trying out some of the huge range of local cafe's and restaurants, you can take a local food and drink tour with Cath's Inverness Tours. Including a flavour of all the traditional foods, Haggis, Cullen Skink, Whisky, and some local ice cream. This tour is one not to miss if sampling local delights and learning all about the local history is an experience that you would really enjoy.

If you are looking for a special and unique experience that embodies Highland traditions, culture and food and drink, then a night at the Downright Gabbler is recommended. Delicious food and story telling with a range of themes to choose from it really is a night you will not forget.



For daytime entertainment, join spectators at one of the regular shinty fixtures in the city.  The sport has been played in the region for generations and is an aspect of Highland culture often overlooked by visitors.

You will find the fixtures for the Inverness Shinty Club here so you can see if a game co-insides with your visit. Or if you are based in and around Loch Ness there is also the Glenurquhart Shinty club based in Drumnadrochit.

Shinty - Inverness


As already explained above many of our historic locations will take you on an educational journey as to how historic events have shaped Highland cultures and traditions to this very day. 

Find out more about discovering our historic landscape and visiting some of the most iconic and interesting historical locations during your visit.

Engage with the locals

Highlanders are famously friendly and often have the best tips and stories. Don’t hesitate to strike up a conversation, you may be amazed what you might learn.

One of the most popular locals, that will happily pose for you are the very photogenic Heilan' Coo's - Highland Cows and they can be found dotted all over Inverness and Loch Ness, you can find out where using the interactive map HERE

Camerons Tearooms Cows

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