Car hire in Inverness
Hiring a car in Inverness
Home to the mythical Loch Ness Monster, the cliff-perched Inverness Castle, and Shakespeare’s legendary play MacBeth, Inverness is the gateway to the Highlands and rests at the mouth of the River Ness.
You will be greeted by smiles wherever you turn in Inverness. With a relatively modest population of around 57,000 people - the country’s sixth largest - Inverness was named the happiest place to live in Scotland in 2014, and again in 2015, due to its high quality of life rating. It only just lost out to West Yorkshire’s Harrogate as the happiest city in the UK overall.
Despite gaining city status in 2000, the centre of Inverness has retained a very charming, town-like atmosphere.
It may be the UK’s northernmost city but with the A9, A82 and A96 providing access, getting to Inverness isn’t a hassle.
What you need to know
It's a good idea to pre-book your hire car using our website before travelling to Inverness. That way you’re certain to have a vehicle waiting for you upon arrival, and you’ll also receive the most competitive price.
If your plans change, we don’t charge you anything to modify or cancel the booking either. We never charge for transactions and we also run a 24/7 contact centre if you need to speak to one of our friendly operators.
Those staying in the city centre can park their hire car at Rose Street multi-storey for £7.00 for 24 hours. Alternatively, there are plenty of pay-and-display bays, some offering four hours parking for around £2.00.
Where to pick up your car
As one of Europe’s fastest growing cities, there’s already an ample choice of car hire companies at Inverness airport (INV), with Europcar, Avis and Budget offering vehicles of all shapes and sizes straight out of the terminal.
Nine miles away in the city centre, Inverness Train Station serves as a base for several car hire providers too.
In addition to the airport and train station, there’s also the option of collecting your hire car in the city centre itself from a branch of Arnold Clark, Hertz or Thrifty.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time. Booking with Holiday Autos was easy and I received the car that I had asked for, just perfect!”
Where to go
Located behind Inverness train station is the indoor Victorian Market. With sections dating back as far as 1870, it boasts an alternative blend of small businesses offering products and services that you'll struggle to find on the high street.
If you need a quick fix of tranquility, there's the Inverness Botanic Gardens - a tranquil sub-tropical oasis plonked in the middle of the city. With a floral hall, greenhouses, landscaped gardens, and tropical fish pond, it's the perfect city interlude.
The Ship Space interactive maritime museum boasts a one-to-ten scale model of the Titanic which you can enter and explore. Visitors can also climb into a replica Nautile submarine - one of the mini submersibles that dives three miles down to the Titanic - and there's the chance to dress-up and pretend to be a captain, or explore a 45ft Watson class ex-RNLI lifeboat too.
Get clued-up on the Highland capital's past with Inverness Museum & Art Gallery's collection of Scottish geology and natural history, with everything from Pictish stones and silver to bagpipes and Highland weapons. Admission is free but it's only open five days a week, so check before visiting.
If the kids need to burn some energy off, then Landmark Forest Adventure Park - just 49 minutes down the A9 - is a good call, with a host of rides and games to wear the little ones out.
Half an hour up the A96 is the Highlanders’ Museum - Scotland’s largest regimental collection outside Edinburgh - with around 20,000 artefacts and 10,000 documents and photos on show over three floors.
Whisky is one of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world and anyone with a taste for the stuff should plan their visit to sync with Scotland’s Festival of Whisky & Gin, which tends to happen every April.
This ain’t ‘no fuddy-duddy, super serious festival’ though, instead the event organisers sell it as ‘five days of craft spirits heaven in the Highlands of Scotland’. That means it involves tastings aplenty at venues throughout the city, accompanied by live music, masterclasses and craic tours.
Glasgow is over three hours’ drive away, but there you’ll be able to indulge in some retail therapy on Buchanan Street, the 360-acre Pollok Country Park, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum which boasts 22 themed galleries and displays 8,000 objects, including Salvador Dali’s iconic Christ of St John of the Cross painting.
A little closer to Inverness though, there’s the Speyside Cooperage Visitor Centre - an 80-minutes drive on the A9 and A95 - which is an essential stop-off for anyone that has ever wondered how wooden whiskey casks are made.
At the UK’s only cooperage open to the public, you’ll see first-hand how Coopers shape, shave and char oak casks using traditional methods. You can even have a crack at it yourself if you fancy.
Top attractions in Inverness
Your hire car means you’re free to check out some of Inverness’ unique sights and attractions at your leisure. Make sure you try to cram these places into your visit.
Tomatin Distillery Visitor Centre
Whiskey lovers should head to the Tomatin Distillery Visitor Centre - 30 minutes on the A9 - which offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Tomatin’s award-winning whiskies are produced. Over-18s are treated to single malt samples too as part of their £7.00 entry fee.
A trip to Inverness wouldn’t be complete without at least trying to catch a glimpse of the Loch Ness Monster, so grab some binoculars and book yourself onto a boat trip out on the Loch, just a half-hour drive down the B862.
Granted, you’re unlikely to encounter Nessy herself, but you will get chance to appreciate some of Scotland’s most stunning sights, from the magnificent Urquhart Castle to the 60-mile Caledonian Canal. Many small villages and farms can be spotted from the water too.
The castle itself may be closed to the public for now, but visitors are still able to venture its grounds. A te- minute walk from the train station, it offers great aerial views of the city and River Ness.
East Midlands airport
Belfast city airport
Belfast international airport