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The Luxury Itinerary


For those looking to enjoy the finer things along the NC500. If you need to hire a car that you will you get there in the comfort you deserve, check out Thrifty Car Hire or Prestige Car Hire. To make your trip that little bit more comfortable, they will also drop it off for you at the airport. 

NB: Please note that all our itineraries are based on suggestions alone. If you would like a more comprehensive option please head to our interactive map.

Day One


Hope you enjoyed the trip up to Inverness!
Pick up your hire car and get ready to set off. It may be lunch time already so after your visit to Inverness Castle, take a stroll round across the bridge to the The Kitchen Brasserie for a delicious lunch time menu. 


Time to hit the road, follow the NC500 out of Inverness and through the towns of Beauly and Muir of Ord before heading west-bound. Enjoy the stunning scenery as you drive, spotting the islands of Skye and the Hebrides from the west coast.  Be aware of the infamous Bealach Na Ba with its steep gradients and bends – worth it for the stunning scenery! Stop past the hidden gem; The Potting Shed Café if you are in need of some fresh air and a delicious pick-me-up. 

Get ready to unwind at your home for the evening; the luxurious, 5* - The Torridon. Dan & the team offer an unparalleled welcome in the grounds of the amazing retreat. Explore the grounds and book yourself in for dinner at the 3 AA Rosette ‘1887’ restaurant followed by a nightcap in the Whisky Bar, which has over 350 whiskys to choose from. 


Day Two


After a wonderful evening and a sumptuous breakfast, it is ready to resume the adventure.  Begin the day with the an activity with the Torridon team, whether it be archery, mountain-biking or clay pigeon shooting, you will of course, have a great time. 

Please note, activities must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.


Once you have had a bite to eat, it is time to get back on to the road. Following the North Coast 500, you will find yourself immersed in amazing scenery.  Big Sands beach in Gairloch is calling your name!  Stop past for fresh air, a walk and of course an obligatory photograph!

A short drive away will bring you to Poolewe. Check in to your hotel for the evening; The Poolhouse. The gorgeous and elegant boutique hotel has an emphasis on design and you can find rooms inspired by the destinations of the HMS Naval Unit who were based in Poolewe during the Second World War.  The hotel also has an accredited restaurant serving delicious local produce – book your seats for a wonderful evening in the restaurant. 

Sometimes after a delicious dinner, an evening walk is just what you need. Enjoy the fresh Highland air and take a stroll through the town of Poolewe, admiring the views of Loch Ewe. 


Day Three


Rise and shine! Perhaps you fancy another taste of adventure? Ewe Canoe is close by in Aultbea and offers kayaking adventures across the Loch Ewe, alternatively, take the short drive back to Gairloch to try one of the, Glass Bottom Boat Wildlife Cruises.


Aultbea – Ullapool - Lochinver
Time for lunch, the Perfume Studio Café in Aultbea is the perfect stop for a delicious light lunch and also boasts a gift shop featuring amazing local produce and  locally crafted soaps and gifts. 

Spend the afternoon driving through the amazing scenery of Gruinard Bay, Loch Broom, the An Teallach mountains and of course take a moment to explore the main town of Ullapool. 

With many options to choose from tonight, we suggest The Albannach, the home of the North Highlands’ only Michelin Star. Another boutique hotel situated in the lovely village of Lochinver, The Albannach’s welcoming hosts Lesley & Craig will ensure you experience a stay you won’t forget. Check in for dinner in the evening to sample some of the Michelin-starred produce available here.


Day Four


We hope you slept well? Back on the road and just a short drive away is the picturesque Durness. Explore Smoo Caves, Britains largest sea cave and admire the sights of Sango Sands and Balnakeil Bay. Why not also take a stroll along to see the John Lennon Memorial Garden? Did you know, John Lennon used to holiday here when he was young, so much so, that it is said that this location inspired many of his songs? 

If you are fan of golf, don’t miss an opportunity to get a few holes in on the Durness Golf Club, which overlooks a stunning seascape. (Please note, visitors to the course are asked to contact the secretary in advance to inform them of their arrival at

Why not try Mackays Hotel, Durness for a spot of lunch before you head off? With all locally sourced produce, you can certainly get a taste of the area! 

Before you leave remember to refuel and why not stop past the luxury chocolatier Cocoa Mountain and pick up some truffles for friends and family (or yourselves!).


John O’Groats - Wick
Back on the North Coast 500 route now, passing through the amazing scenery of Ben Loyal, Ben Hope and Loch Eriboll. Be careful whilst driving as our friendly sheep and Highland Coo’s tend to like walking along the road too! 

After a beautiful drive east-bound you will find yourself in John O’Groats! Take a picture of yourself with official signpost with the Orkney Islands in the background. You don’t get much more north than this - and if you want to stay here for the night, then you can't get more luxurious self-catering in Scotland than the wonderful Natural Retreats! You can soak up the view of Orkney from their marvellous glass-fronted lodges, in supreme comfort and style...

Heading south now, you can alternatively check yourself in to Ackergill TowerSet in a stunning 3,000 acre private estate, overlooking Sinclairs Bay, you can enjoy another night of indulgence in this classic Castle. If you are in time for the afternoon, try one of their sumptuous Afternoon Teas, or alternatively book yourself in for a Managers' Tour of  the nearby Old Pulteney Distillery?


Day Five


Wick – Helmsdale - Golspie
Time to get back on to the road; remember to refuel before you leave! 

Follow the billowing road down the coastal edges of the east coast, soaking up the beautiful seascape as you go. Remember to take caution at Berriedale as there is a sharp hair-pin bend here on the edge! Have time? Why not pop in to the award-winning Timespan in Helmsdale to discover more about the heritage and culture of the area. 

With so much history to discover along the east coast, it wouldn’t quite be right without a stop to the stunning fairytale Dunrobin Castle just outside Golspie. The castle is the family seat of Clan Sutherland and boasts extravagant grounds featuring a awe-inspiring falconry and gardens.


Dornoch – Tain – Inverness
After a busy morning stop by Dornoch Castle Hotel for a delicious lunch and warm hospitality. Dornoch is also home a mile-long stretch of beautiful sands – perhaps a walk in the sunshine is a perfect way to walk off a delicious lunch? 

Check in to Links House, Dornoch to drop off your bags for the night before you set off again. This 5* Hotel is perched on the famous Royal Dornoch Golf Course, so if you like a spot of golf - you are in the right place!

Dornoch is a great base for exploring the east coast. Why not stop past the nearby Glenmorangie Distillery and take the managers tour of the distillery and discover more about the range and what goes in to the whisky to make it one of Scotland’s finest.  A bottle to bring back for the family perhaps?

Alternatively if you are looking to see more of the great outdoors, a short walk up to the Fyrish Monument will reward you with unrivalled views of the Highlands and will certainly wet your appetite in time for a sumptuous meal and a 'dram' back at Links House so you can enjoy your last night in pure comfort. 

An hours drive in the morning will have you back in Inverness..

Well done! you have completed the North Coast 500!