Free things to do in Inverness and Loch Ness
There’s no reason to break the bank on your trip. There are plenty of fun and engaging things to do and see for free in Inverness and Loch Ness. You don’t need money to enjoy the beautiful landscapes, fascinating history and unique culture of this part of the world, and the more you save the more you can spend in some of its amazing pubs and restaurants!
Inverness City Centre
Enjoying Inverness is an activity in itself, as a small city, Inverness is best enjoyed on foot and you can easily while away a day wandering the old and new parts of the city taking in the architecture, history and beautiful river that runs through its centre.
There are many attractions in the city that are free to visit, lets tell you of a few...
Inverness Museum & Art Gallery
Entry is free to the Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, so you get to enjoy one of the city's main cultural spaces without hurting your wallet. Perhaps the premier museum chronicling the history of the Scottish Highlands. It covers the area’s natural history to the Jacobites to today. There is lots to see, and with a busy schedule of talks, workshops and craft fairs, there is lots to do as well.
Leakey's is Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop and although it is a shop, the unique, beautiful building has become a popular landmark to visit when in Inverness due to its "Instagrammable" features. Family-owned and run since 1979 selling used and antiquarian books, maps and prints Leakey's is an incredibly interesting place to visit. Remember, although the shop is free to visit, please do support the business if you can!
Visit the Victorian Market
You don’t need to splash the cash when you take a walk around Inverness’s Victorian Market, though you might want to! Showcasing the finest wares from across the Highlands, a trip to the market is a good way to learn about the world-class produce that is made in these parts. There is an exciting new addition at it's centre with a new food hall showcasing local produce and food businesses.
The foundation stone of the Inverness Cathedral was laid on the 17th October 1866, by the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was to mark the beginning of the building of the Cathedral, only the second one to be built after the reformation.
The doors of the Cathedral are open 365 days of the year and welcome many people from around the world to both services, to find some space to reflect and to pray or to light a candle but also a place to enjoy the vision of the both Bishop and Architect.
For a gentle afternoon stroll you can easily walk the length of the town. One of the best places for a wander are the Ness Islands. Found on the River Ness, they are a scenic spot to enjoy all year round, though the colours of the trees in the Autumn are hard to beat. See if you can spot the wooden Nessie statue!
Free family fun!
Just a few minutes walk from the Ness Islands you will find Whin Park, a fantastic adventure play area with climbing structures and slides. Perfect for burning any excess energy and we are not just talking about the children! Although the adventure playground is free, for a small £2.50 fee you can also ride the miniature railway or have a paddle around the lake in one of the boats (£6) but visiting the ducks is free!
Inverness Botanic Garden
While the countryside surrounding Inverness and Loch Ness is renowned for its natural beauty, you can enjoy a more formal slice of greenery at the Inverness Botanic Gardens. Free to visit, the Botanics are a must-see attraction on any Inverness and Loch Ness holiday. Enjoy the hothouse and the flower meadow and learn about the innovative gardening techniques used to keep the place in bloom throughout the year. There is no entry cost, but as the Gardens are a charity, any donation when you visit is greatly appreciated.
The best free attraction in the neck of the woods also happens to be the main attraction. It doesn’t cost anything to take in the splendour of Loch Ness and have a walk along its shores. There are plenty of great walks and hikes you can enjoy that don’t cost a penny (though you might want to take a packed lunch).
On the north side of the Loch you can try the Abriachan Forest trails, which takes in some glorious views over the water and the Great Glen. Or if you want to work up even more of a sweat take a walk up Meall Fuar Mhonaidh, the tallest summit by the Loch.
Connect with Nature
Inverness and Loch Ness are surrounded by many areas of natural beauty where you can connect with nature and wildlife and none of them come with an entry fee! You can search for these locations on our “Things to do “ map using the filter “Walks, nature and wildlife”