Kingsmills Hotel History


Rich history. Unique architecture. Famous guests. The Kingsmills has a rich history dating back to the 18th century. One thing has remained consistent through all this time – a warm welcome guaranteed to every guest. Join us as we take a look into our past and how we came to be one of Inverness’ most renowned hotels. 

The Historic Kingsmills Hotel

The name “Kingsmills” dates back to the 1100s. At this time, all milling had to be done in the name of the Crown. The mills were spread across Inverness, and the hotel sits atop the site of what was the King’s Mill. Over 200 years ago, The Kingsmills House was built here and parts of the structure have been incorporated into the hotel today. 

The property was constructed as a private residence for William Inglis and his family, a prominent Inverness merchant and Provost of the city. Its idyllic location on the banks of the River Ness, amidst lush gardens and captivating landscapes, quickly earned it a reputation as an esteemed residence. Several monuments and dedications to him which can be found around Inverness. 


Connected through the ties of marriage, the Inglis family came into possession of the Kingsmills building in the late 1700s. The family was split between living in Scotland and trading as merchants in the Savannah. And one brother, known as William, chose to stay in Inverness and make the building his home.

William, following in the steps of his father, joined the town council. With a focus on creating and developing new roads, which would prove essential to the growth of traders and town business. His time within the council also saw the construction of the ornate Steeple on Bridge Street. As well as creation of the Royal Northern Infirmary. Truly devoted to the needs of the people, William spent much time dedicated to developing schemes and relief for the poorer classes. He also expanded trade services through sea travel. 


Image of Robert Burns in Kingsmills Hotel

Needless to say, William’s reputation preceded him. And on the 4th September 1787, Robert Burns, of notable fame, came to supper with him at the Kingsmills building, along with colleague William Dunbar. Most unusually, there is no recollection of local press articles to the arrival of the celebrity. However, there is evidence of correspondence between Burns and Inglis, expressing Burns’ compliments for the hospitality offered.

A philanthropist to the core, Inglis continued to work for the people until he retired in 1800. Sadly, his retirement was abruptly cut short, as he suddenly passed away four months later at the age of 54.

Numerous echoes of his much-adored presence remain to this day. These include the now pedestrianised Inglis Street, dedicated in his honour in 1792. There is also the life-size portrait interpretation of William, currently on show in the town hall.


So the Kingsmills is a part of Inverness’s rich history. And regardless of the company kept within its walls, hospitality and friendship has long been extended as a reoccurring value and continues to be to this day. One particular Jacobite solider is quoted to have said upon fleeing from the devastating battle of Culloden (1746), that he sought refuge in Kingsmills – for knowing he would be among friends. With friends, he was.

If you’d like to find out more about our historic hotel in Inverness, click through read our blog on the history of the Kingsmills Hotel.

Come and Stay With Us

Discovering the magic of the Scottish Highlands is easy with a luxury stay at The Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness. Call + 44 (0) 1463 257 100 or send us an email for more details.

Get in touch