Arts and Culture
The history of the Highlands is diverse and fascinating. Often bloody and dramatic, the historical events that have shaped these lands have left behind much to interest specialists, local communities and national & international visitors. The landscape boasts prominent battlefields, absorbing relics and imposing monuments; which can be found all over the region.
The last battle on British soil was fought at Culloden on the outskirts of the Highland capital, Inverness. Today it is a National Trust for Scotland site, complete with a modern interactive visitor centre.
The area has an abundance of spectacular castles, each with their own captivating history.Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness has stood for over a millennium and was the staging point for some of Scotland’s most dramatic episodes.
Highland history touches the hearts of many around the world, with many people being able to trace their heritage and ancestors back to the Highlands as a result of the Highland clearances. Archive centres in Caithness, Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh and Inverness provide facilities for people to investigate their Scottish links.
Highland culture is ingrained in much everyday activity in Highland, with influences from early settlers, such as the Picts, Celts and Norse, evident in the language, place names, environment, fashion and food.
Scottish symbols instantly recognised throughout the world include tartans and kilts. The people of the region take great pleasure in celebrating their culture through festivals of music, dance, theatre and food, with events available to residents and visitors throughout the year.
Many talented artists and performers live in the region, and draw influence from the stunning landscape and prominent culture. Individual and groups of performers, theatre companies, comedians and musicians visit the area on a regular basis, which means that the best arts and entertainment are always on offer.
An abundance of theatrical performances, fine artwork, jewellery, fashion and food products are readily accessible through a number of galleries, shops, art centres, theatres, and cinemas.
Numerous cinemas, eateries and theatres are available throughout the region for those who prefer a more placid approach to enjoying themselves. Eden Court Theatre in Inverness is now Scotland’s largest performing arts centre and showcases talent from world cinema, opera and the west end.
The latest music, comedians, theatre shows and cinema performances are presented in top quality facilities such as Eden Court Theatre and Cinema, Strathpeffer Pavilion and The Ironworks in Inverness.
Throughout the summer months and at other times of the year many music festivals are held in the region. Each offers an opportunity to experience the top bands and artists in some of the worlds' most spectacular locations, including:
Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival – A family friendly music festival near Beauly.
Loopallu - A quaint festival in late September held in Ullapool on the West Coast.
Blas Festival - An autumn celebration of Highland music and the Gaelic language.
At a number of locations there are workshops and tutorials where you can create your own art.
Specialty shops offer the finest local products ranging from beautiful pieces of art to up-to-the-minute fashion and jewellery.