Dating back to 1897, Old High St. Stephen’s is the oldest church and congregation in the Scottish Highlands capital of Inverness. The church is noteworthy for its Arts and Crafts/Gothic-style architecture, Ballantine stained glass, 1902 organ, and adjacent cemetery overlooking the Ness river.
Visitors to Old High St. Stephen’s Church can explore the main nave and pulpit, or sit in a pew and observe the intricate stained glass that Ballantine and Allen crafted in the early 20th century. The church’s turn-of-the-century organ, restored in 2011, can be played during your visit if you call to schedule in advance. The cemetery also offers insight into the dark history of Inverness and contains gravestones that date back to the 18th century. Due to wear, the bell tower is no longer open to the public.
While the church does not offer guided tours, volunteers are occasionally available to answer questions. Hop-on hop-off bus tours stop at the church and offer hassle-free navigating.
Things to Know Before You Go
- As a major landmark for the Jacobite Uprising of 1746, Old High St. Stephen’s is a must for Scottish history buffs.
- Call in advance to inquire about volunteer-led tours and church service schedules.
- The church is not accessible to wheelchairs.
How to Get There
On the banks of the Ness river and just steps from the city center, Old High St. Stephen’s is easily accessible on foot or by car. It’s about an 8-minute walk from the Inverness railway station. If driving, take the A82 to Church Street; there is parking at the Rose Street lot.
When to Get There
The church is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 4pm. Church services usually occur at 11:15am on Sunday. Inverness’ peak season is during the warmer summer months, June to August, so go in the early spring or late autumn for a quieter experience.
Old High St. Stephen’s is featured in the wildly popular Outlander books and TV series, written by Diana Gabaldon. Look for a re-creation of the cemetery in the first episode of season 3, when the Redcoats take the rebels prisoner after the Battle of Culloden.