Highlands & Islands

Inverness Castle to celebrate 'spirit of the Highlands'

Inverness Castle in 20th Century Image copyright HLH/Highland Libraries
Image caption The castle was built in the 19th Century on a site where castles had stood previously in the past

Inverness Castle is to be transformed into a "must-see attraction" that will celebrate the "spirit of the Highlands", Highland Council has said.

Built in 1836 on a hill overlooking the River Ness, the property is currently the base for the city's courts service.

But the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service is vacating the castle next year and moving into a new building.

The planned revamp includes a museum, art galleries and hotel accommodation.

Work on the transformation will begin as soon as the courts service leaves the building.

The proposed new layout of the castle's ground floor includes the reinstatement of the original front door of the property's South Tower as the formal entrance.

Currently the main entrance is on a side of the tower.

Image copyright LDN Architects
Image caption The planned new layout of the castle's ground floor

Partitions inside the castle are to be removed to create more external space and disable access is to be improved,

The main court room is to be preserved in its original proportions.

The project forms part of the £315m Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal, which involves investment from the Scottish and UK governments, Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The castle revamp is due to begin next year

Inverness Provost Helen Carmichael said the castle project was "vital to the regeneration" of Inverness.

She added: "I am especially pleased to see that much of the work will be focusing on improving accessibility, both within the historic building and around the grounds which provide terrific views of the city and beyond.

"I look forward to further updates and seeing our much-loved castle be transformed into a first class visitor attraction."

The sandstone castle was built in 1836.

It was constructed on a mound overlooking the city and the River Ness. In 1848, a building known as the North Block was added and served as a prison.

But a castle had occupied the site from possibly as long back as the 11th Century.

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