Easy days out
Caithness is blessed with a lot of free and low-cost outdoor places to visit – blow those cobwebs away!
In walking distance
Visit Castle Sinclair Girnigoe (you can see it from the kitchen window( and take the kids rock-pooling on hidden Sandigoe Beach. Or go for a longer walk following the route of the John o’Groats trail over the headland to Staxigoe harbour and back up to the Cottage. More ambitious all-day walks include climbing Morven, Caithness’s only Munro.
Give your kids great memories
Take younger children looking for fairies in the Fairy Glen walk at Latheronwheel, or go one one of Caithness Seacoast’s harbour tours for children. If you family likes animals, take them to Puffin Croft petting farm and the Animal Centre at the Castle of Mey. If they’re explorers they’ll enjoy looking for the sculptures in Dunnet Forest. Teenagers may enjoy a taster surfing session with North Coast Water Sports.
Trips back in time
Follow the Yarrows Archaeological trail, visit our Iron Age brochs, or go even farther back in time and look for fossilised fish at Achanarras quarry.
Lighthouses, beaches and sea-stacks
Dunnet lighthouse is on the most northerly point of the British mainland, and Duncansby lighthouse protects mariners from ship-wreck on the famous Duncansby Sea Stacks. Fly a kite on Reiss Beach or look for sea-glass and china at Dunnet. Whether you visit our beaches for a walk, to exercise your dog or go wild swimming, you’ll find they are exceptional.
Book a tour of Caithness from one of the knowledgeable local tour guides, or take a boat trip past the lighthouse with Caithness Seacoast. If you prefer gentler experiences, you can book a painting classes with our neighbour Lisa Weller or learn how to make laid fiber pictures from Penny Irvine. And who can resist learning how to make chocolate from the Cocoa Campervan?
Tours with a tipple
Every distillery is unique, and you can book tours with three of them here in Caithness, with Old Poultney in Wick, the Dunnet Bay Distillery which is the home of Rock Rose Gin, and Wolfburn whisky. Or maybe the John o’Groats Brewery has more appeal.
Castles and cottages
Book a tour of Dunrobin Castle in Golspie for the day you arrive or the day you leave, or visit the Queen Mother’s home at the Castle of Mey. If crofting history is more your thing, visit the Badbea Clearance village or the museums at Laidhay Croft, Mary Ann’s Cottage, and the Heritage Centres in Dunbeath, Wick and Castlehill.
If you like jewellery and things for your home, you can buy direct from the makers such as Patricia Neiemann in Berriedale, Pottery at Forse, Linsday Gallacher’s studio in Thurso. The Coo’s Tail gallery in Thurso and the Ortak shop in John o’Groats both showcase many other local artists.
Planning what to do
Don’t take our word for it – here are websites, apps and books to help you find out more and plan what to do.
If you prefer books then check out
- North Highlands of Scotland – Charles Tait
- The North Coast 500 Guide Book – Charles Tait
- Exploring the NC500: Travelling Scotland’s Route 66
- The Rough Guide to the North Coast 500
- NC500 Pocket Map: The Perfect Way to Explore North Scotland
- North Coast Journey: The Magic of Scotland’s Northern Highlands
(Transparency: If you buy from these links you will be supporting independent bookshops and we get a small commission)
We know some of these businesses have plans to re-open this summer – check their websites for details.
- Boat trips
- Classes and workshops