For a small city, Inverness packs a large punch when it comes to live entertainment. Perhaps this is not surprising, as music, dance and festivities have always been very close to the hearts of those who call the Highlands and Islands home. With a wide-ranging breadth of styles and options, there should be something for everyone.
Converted from an old Nissen hut, and originally formed in 1944 to provide entertainment for troops stationed in Inverness, The Florians is an amateur drama club. Staging around five productions a year, from original plays to well known classics, the club is often referred to as a hidden gem. The physical venue was originally a rehearsal space, with plays being performed at Eden Court or on tour, but with the addition of tiered seating the players can now hold their performances in their own intimate small theatre.
Promising the promotion of cycling and happy healthy lifestyles, Velocity Café and Bicycle Workshop does not fall short. As a venue it hosts entertainment that might otherwise slip through the cracks, such as spoken word events with poetry and storytelling — giving a new twist to the ancient Highland ways of sharing tales. A flourishing social enterprise, it is worth checking out the listings to see what’s on.
Local bands and performers abound in this bar, situated in a wonderful location, right next to the River Ness. The varied music can be traditional, Scottish, Irish, or pop. This venue is always full of a mix of locals and visitors and also serves an extensive menu of food. There is the option to get involved with regular karaoke nights, should you feel the urge to test your own vocal skills.
Another bar offering renowned live entertainment, Hootananny’s — or Hoots, as it is more commonly known — is split across different floors. Upstairs is principally rock music, with other musical styles also represented, while the ground floor hosts traditional Scottish music. Every evening from Sunday through to Wednesday local musicians get together here to play and the impromptu results are always worth listening to. Saturday features what is billed as Scotland’s longest running ceilidh, and dancing is often also encouraged when bands play on Fridays.
Inverness and the surrounding area plays host to a number of festivals every year. These range in size, the biggest — Belladrum, or Tartan Heart — is now in its 13th year and shows no signs of stopping, having gone from 2000 attendees to 18,500. Other festivals include the Black Isle Brewery run Jocktoberfest, and The Highlands and Islands-wide Blas festival, featuring traditional music. Some festivals have yet to be announced, or are on hiatus; keep an eye on Inverness Festivals for a comprehensive list.
This traditional variety form of entertainment includes traditional Highland dancing, bagpipe playing, ceilidh dances and singing. There a number of options to experience Scottish Showtime shows in and around Inverness, including the long-running Scottish Showtime Xperience or Scottish Showtime at Bogbain Farm.
Finally, what guide to live entertainment in Inverness would be complete without mentioning the local Highland Games? Founded nearly 200 years ago in 1822, the variety of competitions that can be seen at the Inverness Highland Games is astounding: massed pipers providing a stirring soundtrack, the feats of strength from the ‘heavies’, the artistry of the traditional dancers, and the crowd favourite — the tug o’war. If you are in the area when the ‘Games are on, they are a must-see.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.