12 Best Day Trips From Inverness, Scotland - Updated 2024

| 5 min read

Inverness is a gorgeous city, nestled between the magnificent Moray Firth and River Ness. Being the largest city in the Scottish Highlands and a cultural center, Inverness is an excellent tourist destination and is usually frequented by people looking to explore its beautiful landscapes, prehistoric sites, and medieval ruins. When it comes to accommodation, you will find plenty of luxury hotels for an indulgent stay. If you would prefer a homier experience with the family, book a holiday cottage. Also, although there are many things in the city to fill up your itinerary, it is more rewarding to take a short day tour from Inverness to other renowned attractions in the vicinity if you would like to discover destinations that hold fun, entertainment, and relaxation for the whole family. Scroll down to see our list of the best day trips from Inverness, Scotland.

1. Keith

Glen Keith Distillery, Moray, Scotland – 02-02-08
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ulysses.Hood used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Keith, in Moray, although a relatively small town, has many attractions worth exploring. First, the town has four distilleries that produce top-quality whiskey and other spirits. What’s more, Keith provides access to the Speyside Malt Whisky Trail and Scotland’s oldest working distillery, which holds the ultimate whiskey blend experience. As an enthusiast of spirits and blended products, your day tour to Keith will a memorable experience that can only be described as fun and informative because you’ll get to taste and learn about different types of good scotch.

Before completing your Keith tour, browse through its traditional shops and restaurants for some souvenirs and great meals.

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2. Glasgow (from USD 326.0)

On average, it takes approximately three hours to visit Glasgow when visiting from Inverness and so it is important to start your journey a bit early, so you will have ample time to explore all the popular spots in Glasgow. On this trip, ensure you stop by the People’s Palace and the Gallery of Modern Art to gain historical and cultural insight into the region from the huge collection of photographs, films, prints, and other pieces of art contained in their archives.

The streets of Glasgow also have a lot to offer. Make sure to check out the magnificent Glasgow Green and landmarks like the cathedral and the statue of the Duke of Wellington.

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Half-Day Private Glasgow Must-Sees Tour

Duration: 4 hours

111 reviews

3. Edinburgh (from USD 23.0)

You need a whole day to explore the variety of tourist attractions during your day trip from Inverness to Edinburgh. The city is renowned for its sightseeing tours, which make maneuvering the town and its beautiful countryside easy and enjoyable. Here, you will be driven through some of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, including the National Museum, Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle, which holds the crown jewels and the Stone of Destiny, among other important memories in the Scottish rich history.

With the bus tours, you won’t miss anything – most of them have open tops and their terms are flexible, so you can stop in any area of your interest and hop on another bus to your next destination.

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City Sightseeing Edinburgh Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Duration: 1 hour

2074 reviews

4. St Andrews

St Andrews Castle Scotland
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another amazing destination for a day trip is St Andrews, a popular seaside town that is famous for many things, among them ancient buildings like St Andrews Cathedral, which holds a comprehensive collection of beautiful relics, sculptures, and other medieval artwork. The city also boasts a Secret Bunker, which is hidden in one of the local farms – the bunker was meant to be a safe house of the Scottish government in case of a nuclear or another World War.

St Andrews Aquarium is another spot worth visiting, especially if you love sea animals. The facility is home to a variety of captivating sea animals, including seals and British sharks.

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5. Aberdeen

Aberdeen Beach 2006
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brideshead used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Aberdeen is a hidden gem on the northeast coast of Scotland, not a long drive from Inverness. Many people who visit Aberdeen spend a significant amount of their time at the beach swimming, sunbathing, or strolling leisurely on the long stretch of soft sand. The Aberdeen Beachfront is packed with ice cream shops, cafés, and art galleries, where you can grab eat, drink, and shop for souvenirs before proceeding to your next destination at Slain Castle.

Here, if you are a fan of Dracula, you will have a lot of fun at the former gothic church, which has been transformed into a fantastic Dracula-inspired pub and restaurant.

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6. Linlithgow

Linlithgow Palace
Source: Photo by user Alistair McMillan used under CC BY-SA 2.0

History and culture are the major highlights of the Old Town of Linlithgow. The town is home to many ancient structures that give tourists a view of how life used to be in Linlithgow centuries ago.

Here, a great place to start your day tour is at Linlithgow Palace, the former residence of Stewart royals and the birthplace of Queen Mary of Scots. At Linlithgow Palace, you can learn more about ancient Scottish administration and, with its numerous rooms and stairs, kids are guaranteed a great time playing pretend, among other games. From the castle, head to the Linlithgow Canal Centre for a sightseeing cruise with a range of state-of-the-art vessels.

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7. Plockton

Source: Photo by user Mike McBey used under CC BY 2.0

A significant number of tourists often skip Plockton for other attractions in the vicinity, disregarding it as a mere village. Well, it may be a small village, but its charms are unbeatable. First, the town has a great setting, as it is nestled in the bay of Loch Carron.

The views of this extensive lake from the village are breathtaking. A boat cruise would be an excellent way to explore its coral beaches, secluded bays, and a wide array of aquatics. Here you will be taken through an area where you can see many seals basking on floating rocks – take plenty of pictures because such views are not common to many places.

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8. Isle of Skye (from USD 137.67)

day trips from inverness | isle of skye

A day trip from Inverness to the Isle of Skye is very rewarding, considering the countless attractions that await you on the way and destination of your tour. Among the other things that compel tourists to visit the Isle of Skye, the Fairy Pools and Portree top the list. But, before these spots, ensure that you stop along the way at Loch Ness to explore the freshwaters which are rumored to be habituated by a cryptozoological Loch Ness Monster, dubbed Nessie.

At the Fairy Pools, you can take a relaxing deep in its crystal blue waters or a nature walk on the stunning trails surrounding the pools.

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From Inverness: Isle of Skye Full-Day Trip

Duration: 12.0 hour

737 reviews

9. Loch Ness (from USD 27.0)

day trips from inverness | loch ness

The Scottish Highland is a famous tourist destination among water enthusiasts because of its pristine lochs and exquisite boat cruise trips. There is a lot to explore in this area, hence the need to focus on a single spot at a time. In this light, you can start at Loch Ness, where you can take a boat cruise to Urquhart Castle to learn more about the role it held during the Wars of Independence.

At the castle, you can explore the ruins, take leisurely strolls around the compound and, if you packed a picnic, there is a beautiful lawn where you can sit and enjoy a nice meal with your family and friends.

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Loch Ness Cruise and Urquhart Castle

Duration: 2 hour

431 reviews

10. Dornoch

Dornoch children and waves - geograph.org.uk - 2177539
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michael Dennis Stagg used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Of the many great places to visit near Inverness, nestled along the picturesque coastline of the Scottish Highlands, Dornoch beckons with its quaint charm, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes. This hidden gem offers a perfect escape for those seeking tranquility and a deep connection with nature.

Explore the town’s historic heart, where medieval buildings and narrow lanes whisper tales of a bygone era. Admire the stunning Dornoch Cathedral, a magnificent architectural masterpiece that is a testament to the town’s heritage. Venture beyond the town’s borders to discover the untamed beauty of its surroundings and immerse yourself in the rugged landscapes of the Highlands, with rolling hills, pristine beaches, and dramatic cliffs. Embark on coastal walks, enjoy birdwatching, or unwind on the sandy shores.

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11. Black Isle

Entering the Black Isle - geograph.org.uk - 3330451
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Robin Drayton used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Escape the bustling cities and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Scotland’s Black Isle. Nestled on the country’s northeast coast, this hidden gem is a haven of natural splendor, charming villages, and captivating wildlife.

Explore the picturesque coastline dotted with sandy beaches and rugged cliffs, offering breathtaking views of the North Sea. Embark on coastal walks, spot dolphins frolicking in the waters, and embrace the serenity of the surrounding nature reserves. Meander through quaint villages like Cromarty, with its historic charm and welcoming atmosphere. Visit local distilleries, taste fine Scottish whisky, and indulge in farm-to-table culinary delights.

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12. Stirling (from USD 18.0)

A day trip from Inverness to Stirling offers tourists a unique opportunity to experience Scottish royalty at Stirling Castle. The castle is a former residence of significant Scottish royalty, like Mary Queen and James IV and, over the years, it has been graced by notable figures, including ambassadors, knights, and nobles. Those who visit today get to interact with costumed characters portraying different people of the time, including bodyguards, royal maids, and other officials who used to work in the castle.

The castle also features other important highlights, including the Great Hall, a museum, and a palace vault, which is a favorite among kids who like dressing up and playing different instruments.

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Stirling Castle Entrance Ticket with Royal Palace Access

Duration: 3 hours

29 reviews

Most rewarding trips from Inverness

While there are plenty of best things to do in Inverness that let you most of your visit to the Scottish Highlands, do also consider our list of the best day trips from the city for a fun-filled, entertaining, and fulfilling holiday.

Frequently asked questions about day trips from Inverness

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Josiah Ndung'u is a Mechanical Engineering graduate and a travelling enthusiast who loves networking with new people, learning new cultures, having fun (especially at the beach), and sampling new...Read more

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