Sandwiched between the northern tip of Loch Ness and the sea, Inverness is the commercial centre of the Scottish Highlands. It’s wrapped around by glorious scenery – but nowadays the city doesn’t just attract walkers, mountaineers and monster hunters. A rash of new, innovative restaurants have made this a local centre of gourmet excellence, and a small but select range of museums, galleries and theatres play to the cultural crowd. Shopping revolves around the 19th-century Victorian Market, which is packed with delightful independent boutiques and cafés. A boat trip on Loch Ness is, of course, obligatory for all first-time visitors.