The new details show how the castle will be transformed from its past uses as a prison and courtroom to a visitor attraction, encouraging visitors from local, UK and international shores.
Visits to the castle will start in the gardens, where Gaelic language and culture has inspired the design and interpretation of the plants and features to create a relaxing and informative area to stay a while and to enjoy spectacular views down the River Ness.
Within the South Tower of the castle all of the senses will be stimulated in this gateway for Highland tourism, created by exhibition designers Mather & Co. In-person guides combined with the latest digital technology will whet the appetite of locals and residents, encouraging everyone to explore the rich, vibrant landscape (cruth-tìre), heritage (dualchas), culture (cultar) and community (coimhearsnachd) of the area. The experience culminates in a full 360-degree immersive experience using audio and digital techniques to incredible effect to celebrate one of the Highland’s key features – our stunning scenery.
The stories inspiring the content for the attraction have been crowdsourced from across the Highlands, capturing the spirit of the area’s past, present and future.
Moving into the North Tower of the castle, the Highland Music Experience and Bar will offer a place for people to come together to share the best of Highland music, food and drink. The Experience will highlight and acknowledge the contribution of musicians to the rich culture of the Highlands.
Today, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the band Runrig (28 April 1973), it was announced that the opening exhibition will feature the music and stories of Runrig, recognising the band’s impact on the area’s cultural scene over the past half century.
Also in the North Tower, visitors will be able to get up close to the Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands. The tapestry is currently being crafted by people from communities across the area as part of the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project, a partnership project between The Highland Council and High Life Highland, which is being delivered in collaboration with VisitScotland.
The Inverness Castle project, opening in 2025, will benefit from £30m investment to support its re-development from the Scottish and UK Governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and a range of other partners.
The Inverness Castle project is part of the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, which is a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.’
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is supported by a grant from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF), led by NatureScot and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It is intended that this project will encourage visitors to explore and experience all parts of the Highlands and Islands, as well as inspiring them to attend and support festivals and events, visitor attractions and outdoor locations across the area.