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13 Best Free Attractions in The Scottish Highlands | Out About Scotland

13 Best Free Attractions in The Scottish Highlands

Author: Craig Neil

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Last updated on March 5th, 2023.

5 minutes to read.

Map of free attractions in the Scottish Highlands

Google Map of , scotland
  1. Ben Nevis
  2. Loch Ness
  3. Culloden Battlefield
  4. Glen Coe
  5. Glenfinnan
  6. Inverness Botanic Gardens
  7. Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
  8. Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve
  9. Lochaber Geopark
  10. (A) Smoo Cave
  11. (B) Steall Waterfall
  12. (C) The Commando Memorial
  13. (D) The West Highland Museum

If you’d like to discover even more places to visit, take a look at the Scottish Tourist Attractions Map.

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis
  • Address: The Glen Nevis Visitor Center car park is located approx. 1.5 miles from the roundabout in Fort William located next to the River Nevis. Latitude: 56°48’38.90″N Longitude: 5°4’38.17″W. Postcode: PH33 6PF
  • Opening Times: Open year-round.
  • Tel Number: N/A
  • Email Address: contact@ben-nevis.com
  • Website: Ben Nevis

About: There are many things to do near Fort William, but visiting the Nevis Range – particularly Ben Nevis – is by far the most popular.

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the British Isles. It is particularly popular with walkers due to the well-constructed mountain track from Glen Nevis on the south side of the mountain, while climbers can enjoy some of the best rock and ice climbs in the country.

Loch Ness

Loch Ness
  • Address: Loch Ness, Inverness-shire, IV63 6TU
  • Opening Times: N/A
  • Tel Number: 01463 219 219
  • Email Address: N/A
  • Website: Loch Ness

About: Although Loch Morar is the deepest freshwater loch, Loch Ness is the largest by volume. The area around Loch Ness is awash with picturesque towns, untamed wilderness, and breathtaking rolling hills that surround the world-famous loch that is home to the legendary Loch Ness monster.

Culloden Battlefield

Culloden Battlefield
  • Address: Culloden Moor, Inverness, IV2 5EU. Map reference: NH 745449 Lat: 57.47702, Long: -4.09302
  • Opening Times: Open year-round.
  • Tel Number: 0844 493 2159
  • Email Address: culloden@nts.org.uk
  • Out About Scotland visitor guide: Culloden Battlefield

About: The Culloden Visitor Centre, which stands beside the battlefield, features artefacts from both sides of the battle and has interactive displays that reveal the background to the conflict.

The site is also home to a number of monuments as well as a restored traditional Highland cottage.

Glen Coe


About: Glencoe is Scotland’s most famous and scenic glen. Glencoe is not only a holiday centre for hill walking and mountaineering, but it is also the perfect base to explore the Highlands.

There are a number of accessible Munros in the area, including Bidean Nam Bian and Buachaille Etive Mor.


  • Address: Glenfinnan, Highlands, PH37 4LT
  • Opening Times: Open year-round.
  • Tel Number: N/A
  • Email Address: N/A
  • Out About Scotland visitor guide: Glenfinnan

About: Glenfinnan is famous for several reasons but perhaps it is most renowned for the Jacobite gathering in 1745 when Bonnie Prince Charlie rallied 1,500 Highlanders.

The memorial at Loch Shiel is clearly visible against the Glenfinnan viaduct, made world-famous as the setting of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express train journey.

If you’d like to explore the Scottish Highlands on a guided tour take a look at my recommended Get Your Guide Highland tours.

Inverness Botanic Gardens

About: A visit to the botanic gardens is one of the best free things to do in Inverness that’s within walking distance of the city centre. The glasshouses contain plants from tropical rainforests and hot deserts and a waterfall pours into a pond filled with Koi carp, surrounded by bird of paradise plants and orchids.

  • Address: Castle Wynd, Inverness, IV2 3EB
  • Opening Times: Tuesday – Thursday 12.00-16.00, Friday-Saturday 11.00-16.00.
  • Tel Number: 01463 237114
  • Email Address: N/A
  • Website: Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

About: Although Inverness is regarded as the outdoor capital of Scotland, there are still plenty of indoor attractions to visit in the city.

The Inverness Museum and Art Gallery aims to teach visitors about Scottish history while also showing them how the Scottish Highlands are linked with the rest of the world. After browsing the collections you can relax in the café or browse the extensive shop.

Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve

Loch Lomond
  • Address: Balmaha, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G63 0JQ. From Stirling- follow the A811 to Gartocharn. From Glasgow- take the A82 north to Alexandria, and take the Balloch turning onto the A811 to Gartocharn.
  • Opening Times: Open year-round.
  • Tel Number: 01786 453354
  • Email Address: nnr@snh.gov.uk
  • Website: Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve

About: There are lots of activities for visitors to get involved with at this nature reserve. You can take tranquil walks on a wooded isle or head down to the loch shore to watch osprey on the hunt for fish.

There are also geese, wigeon, teal, and shelduck to keep a lookout for against a background of dramatic mountain peaks.

Lochaber Geopark

Lochaber Geopark

About: Lochaber Geopark boasts some of the best geology in the world, along with the UK’s highest mountains and deepest lochs. Outdoor adventure enthusiasts will love the mountain trails and the beautiful landscapes.

Smoo Cave

Smoo Cave clear min
  • Address: Durness, Lairg, IV27 4PN
  • Opening Times: Open year-round.
  • Tel Number: 01971 511259
  • Email Address: durnesstic@host.co.uk
  • Out About Scotland visitor guide: Smoo Cave

About: This dramatic sea cave is set into limestone cliffs in Sutherland and can be explored by boat or by the path from the car park on the cliffs.

Smoo Cave boasts one of the largest entrances to any sea cave in Britain and offers visitors the chance to walk into a number of subterranean inner chambers.

If you’d like to find free attractions in Aberdeenshire read this guide: Free Attractions in Aberdeenshire and Moray, and get close-up to the Highlands with this article: 360° Virtual Tours of Attractions in the North Highlands, and 360° Virtual Tours of Attractions in the Scottish Highlands.

Steall Waterfall

  • Address: Old Military Rd, Fort William, PH33 6SY
  • Opening Times: Open year-round.
  • Tel Number: N/A
  • Email Address: N/A
  • Website: NA

About: Steall Falls offers a first-class walk below Ben Nevis and the surrounding mountains as it passes through the stunning Glen Nevis. The lower falls are impressive after a rainfall and the glen is particularly scenic in summer when it blooms with a carpet of wildflowers.

The Commando Memorial

commando memorial
  • Address: Spean Bridge, PH34 4EG
  • Opening Times: Open year-round.
  • Tel Number: N/A
  • Email Address: N/A
  • Website: The Commando Monument

About: This monument in Spean Bridge is the site where thousands of allied troops came to train for warfare during World War II.

The three-figure bronze statue commemorates the sacrifice given by thousands of Allied troops and is fittingly set against the mountain backdrop where they trained.

The West Highland Museum

About: The West Highland Museum tells the story of the region, its people, and its history and includes fascinating artefacts from the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite uprising.

Discover more free places to visit in Scotland with: The Best FREE Things to Do in Scotland – Ultimate Visitor Guide.

By Craig Neil

Craig Neil is a travel writer from Edinburgh with a passion for visiting Scotland's tourist attractions from the rugged Highlands to the bustling cities. Join him as he shares personal experiences and tips & advice about touring Scotland. Follow him on Pinterest and YouTube.