A photo of some Scottish Kilts

A Brief History of Inverness

Inverness is a bustling city rich in both culture and history. However, as the capital of the Scottish Highlands, the city has been witness to much bloodshed and drama. With Inverness becoming a major destination on everybody’s travel bucket list we’ve compiled a brief history of Inverness to help prepare you for a trip away to the Highlands.


The Middle Ages


Since the Middle Ages, Inverness as a city has remained relatively unchanged. In the 12th Century, King David I recognised Inverness as a royal burgh. The city was fast becoming a busy port and town. Traders of fish, furs, wool and timber headed to the city to set up in Inverness. During this period, the castle was built in addition to the bridge over the River Ness. The Middle Ages brought an element of darkness with it and Inverness was subject to infiltrations from both Scottish Clans and English militaries. The war of Scottish Independence occurred during this time period and Robert the Bruce finally won the control of the castle in the year 1307. Furthermore in 1562, Alexander Gordon – chief of the Gordon Clan – took the Castle of Inverness from Mary Queen of Scots for a total of three days. Two other clans came to the rescue of Queen Mary and finally claimed back the castle, where Mary stayed for a period of only four nights.

The 17th Century and 18th Century


In the year 1652 English military leader, Oliver Cromwell, began building a stronghold on the right hand side of the river bank in Inverness. However, this construction was to be in vein and was destroyed with the restoration of King Charles II. Though in 1745, Inverness Castle was inhabited once more by Bonnie Prince Charlie and his followers. Fearing that the castle would fall under control of the British Government the rebellion ordered for the building to be destroyed. They were conquered at Culloden.

19th Century and present day

The Caledonian Canal built by Thomas Telford brought the required transport links to Inverness, connecting it with the rest of Scotland. The canal offered a much safer route for merchant ships to travel than prior routes. In the 1850’s when railways were introduced into the Scottish infrastructure also brought more traffic to Inverness, including new trade from tourists. This included businessmen and Aristocratic families, coming often for deer hunting activities and salmon fishing. Queen Victoria is said to have been a very big fan!


The town’s new wealth brought the fortunes to form a building fund, of which monies were allocated to building the infirmary, the cathedral and the town house. There was further work commissioned in 1836 to begin building a second castle (on the same site as the previous castle) and was designed to be more comfort-orientated with the likes of gas utilities and running water. The Ness Bridge, Waterloo Bridge and Infirmary footbridges were also formed in the late 1800’s.


In 1921, Inverness hosted a meeting for the British Cabinet – believed to be the only occurrence of this event outside London. In 2001, Inverness acquired a city status – making the destination one of Scotland’s most recent cities on the map. Though today it is a bustling holiday destination, it still retains many of its original features, oozing an incredible history and plenty of local attractions.


A Brief History of Inverness


Of course, this is all but a brief history of Inverness. In order to truly take in the ambience of the city, a visit in person is best. Why not enjoy your own slice of history and stay at the Kingsmills Hotel – the very hotel that once played host to Rabbie Burns himself! Or head on over to Achnagairn Castle, by Perfect Manors for sublime five-star accommodation!