Inverness Castle’s iconic North Tower could be opened to provide a major tourism boost for the city if the local authority’s plans are approved.
Originally built as a court in 1836, the North Tower was added as a prison four years later and is currently home to Inverness Sheriff Court.
Development plans have come as a result of calls for the Scottish Court Service to relocate in order to allow for the castle’s transformation into a tourist attraction, however the plans may go ahead before the suggested relocation of the Scottish Court Service.
The initial plans for the North Tower indicate there could be a visitor centre, open air viewing area and shop. Often referred to as ‘the best view in the Highlands’, the castle offers panoramic views as far out as the Black Isle and the Moray Firth.
Steve Barron, the Highland council’s chief executive, believes the North Tower as a tourist attraction could generate additional income for the city. He said: “Tourism is currently worth £88million per annum to the city of Inverness. Around one million tourists come to Inverness every year and we could increase those figures if we could offer more attractions and keep visitors here longer”.
A castle ‘working group’, created this year, is working with the Scottish Government and other partners such as Visit Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Historic Scotland to make the North Tower into a tourist attraction for visitors.
Fergus Ewing, Tourism Minister and local Inverness MSP, has shown his support by saying; “The man who designed the building said the view offered from the tower was the finest in the whole of the Highlands. I think that it is a wonderful quote and people will be able to take in the vista from the highest point in Inverness. There will be views in every direction”.
Download the Tourism Intelligence Scotland historical properties guide for tips on how to capitalise on Scotland’s heritage.