Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted to visit Scotland. I remember watching movies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Braveheart and thinking how breathtaking the landscape was in Scotland, where these movies were filmed. So when my husband and I began planning our family trip we opted to skip the popular, capital city of Edinburgh, and instead visit the cultural capital of the Scottish Highlands – Inverness.
Inverness is a beautiful, small city with a population of just 70,000, located on Scotland’s northeast coast, where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth inlet of the North Sea. Its Old Town features cathedrals and churches from the 18th-century, and there are a handful of incredible castles in and around Inverness. I spent three days and nights here with my husband, baby daughter and mother-in-law. We and had a wonderful time, so in this post I’m sharing seven reasons why Inverness is the perfect family getaway destination to inspire your next family trip!
1) THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
When you envision what Scotland looks and feels like you are likely imagining the Scottish Highlands. This area is an amazing mix of culture, history and untamed wilderness. From majestic mountains to mysterious lochs (lakes) the natural beauty you will find in the Scottish Highlands is unparalleled. Inverness is located at the foot of the Scottish Highlands and provides the perfect base for exploring this gorgeous region. If you want to instill a deep appreciation for nature in your children exploring the Scottish Highlands should be on your family bucketlist!
2) RIVER NESS
The beautiful Ness River runs through the heart of Inverness and provides the perfect backdrop for walking, jogging, riding bikes and exploring along the water’s edge. I took my baby girl on daily walks along the river during our stay in Inverness and she loved watching the water and seeing all the birds and animals that emerged by the river. There are some great affordable hotels located on the Ness River such as the Best Western Palace Hotel, and also some good AirBNB options close to the river as well.
3) LOCH NESS
Everyone has heard of Nessie the famous Loch Ness monster but not everyone knows that Loch Ness is located in the heart of the Scottish Highlands! From Inverness it is beautiful 50 minute drive to reach Fort Augustus where you will depart for your Cruise Loch Ness tour. My daughter is only a year old so we decided to do one of the slow-paced cruises, which I highly recommend in order to take in the beauty of Loch Ness, but they also offer high-speed boat excursions which might be more fun for older children.
4) HIGHLAND WILDLIFE PARK
Established in 1909, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has been working to promote the awareness and conservation of rare and endangered animals for over 100 years. RZSS operates Edinburgh Zoo and the Highland Wildlife Park. I would never want to promote visiting a zoo but if you have kids you will likely want to take them to a zoo at some point so I would suggest instead visiting a Wildlife Park, and the Highland Wildlife Park is the best wildlife park I have seen. The animals here live on vast amount of land. More space is devoted for the polar bears (over 10 acres in total) than any other zoological institution in the world, and the successful work of the park enclosure design and development is being mirrored elsewhere.
5) INCREDIBLE CASTLES
Everyone loves castles, especially children! Perched on the shore of Loch Ness, Urquhart Castle is one of the most famous and picturesque castles near Iverness. We stopped here on the way back from our Loch Ness tour to take photos and I was blown away by how beautiful the location of this castle is. My baby girl and I also explored Inverness Castle which is right in the heart of the city. There are an array or fairytale castles around Inverness such as Ballindalloch Castle, Ardverikie Estate, Fort George, Caste Stuart, Dunrobin Castle, and Cawdor Castle that you’ll have a fun time exploring on your family getaway!
6) EXCELLENT FAMILY DINNING IN INVERNESS
There are some great restaurants in Inverness that have excellent food, nice atmospheres, and are kid friendly. My husband and I love to eat out but it is hard to find good, kid-friendly restaurants, so this was a huge plus! Two that I love in Inverness are The Waterside at The Waterside Hotel, and Contrast Brasserie at Glenmoriston Town House Hotel. Contrast has better food but Waterside has a more relaxed atmosphere for kids. Both are in a beautiful and convenient location across from River Ness.
7) EASY ACCESSIBILITY FOR FAMILY TRAVEL
Most small towns on the edge of wilderness are not easy to get to, but Inverness is easily accessible. Inverness is just a short direct flight from London. To reach Inverness from major hubs in the USA, like LA and NYC, you just have to make one stop in London. When traveling with kids you have to choose locations that are easily accessible and require a minimum number of flights so this makes Inverness an ideal destination for a family getaway.
I hope I have inspired you to consider Inverness for your next family getaway. There are plenty of other activities to do in Inverness beyond what I included here, and it is a beautiful, fun, and safe destination to visit with your children. My family had such a wonderful time here that we are already planning our next visit!
Have you been to Inverness or another destination in Scotland? Please share your tips or questions in the comments below.
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Read More About Scotland
- Hiking The Pap Of Glencoe In The Scottish Highlands
- 6 Amazing Places To Visit In Scotland
- A Scottish Highland Adventure
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