The region around Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn has a flourishing arts and culture scene that honours its roots and embraces the new. Blas takes place in venues across the Highlands and focuses on music, with a strong line-up of Scottish and European musical performance, as well as ceilidhs, plays, poetry and dance. There’s also a comprehensive education programme that takes place in Highland schools during the festival.
It’s summer time, and the hills are alive with the sound of music – and nowhere more so than the Belladrum Estate near Inverness, when the annual three-day festival hits this Highland spot. Generally held in early August, the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival is a music and arts festival that has grown rapidly since its inception in 2004. Belladrum also celebrates great food and drink from the highlands, so there’s plenty good local grub and craft beers on offer.
Movie buffs should look out for the Loch Ness Film Festival, which has been held annually in the region since 2010. This friendly film festival welcomes those in the industry as well as locals and tourists visiting the area. In Inverness itself, you’ll find a number of galleries, including the Castle Gallery. From this bright, contemporary space they display and sell a regularly changing array of contemporary paintings, sculpture, hand-made prints, crafts and jewellery. Scottish Flair Art Gallery sells a varied and diverse range of original Scottish fine art in all media types, for personal, business or investment buyers. Don’t forget to visit Inverness Castle Viewpoint which offers incredible 360-degree views of the Highland capital and the surrounding scenery from its viewing platform.
Bishops Rd, Inverness IV3 5SA
Eden Court is the largest theatre, cinema and arts venue in the region, offering up a full programme of concerts, opera, ballet, plays and much more. It also holds classes and events throughout the year, and is a real draw for visitors and locals for miles around. The best-equipped arts venue in the area, Eden Court has two theatres, a cinema, bar and restaurant, together with exhibition and learning spaces. Visit website
Inverness Whisky and Gin Festival
The Inverness Whisky and Gin Festival is held in April in various venues in and around the Highland capital. This is a five-day celebration of Scotland’s finest malt whisky and craft gin producers, offering up a heady mix of master classes, tastings, food, music – and, of course, plenty of craic.
Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival
Phoineas House, Beaufort, Beauly IV4 7BA
The Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival massively popular outdoor festival of music welcomes both big names and emerging acts across seven stages, attracting visitors from around the world. There are plenty of options for staying in and around the festival, with a number of different sites offering camping, campervan or caravan spaces. Visit website
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
Castle Wynd, Inverness IV2 3EB
Learn about the history and culture of Inverness and the Highlands at the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery in the heart of the city. Explore the fascinating range of artefacts and collections that celebrate Highland life and heritage.
B9090, Cawdor, Nairn IV12 5RD
Head east towards Nairn and you’ll come across Cawdor Castle. The impressive castle was built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor in the late 14th century. Visit website
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Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn attractions
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