History & Heritage

Full of attractions and interesting places to discover. Caithness has something for all ages to enjoy.


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Caithness Horizons Museum

The magnificently restored building houses a permanent exhibition which tells the story of the county of Caithness from the geological period known as the Devonian (about 416 to 359 million years ago) to the present day. The Gallery hosts temporary exhibitions including displays of work by local artists. Caithness Horizons takes visitors on a truly remarkable journey into all that Caithness has to offer.
High Street, Thurso, KW14 8AJ
Tel: 01847 896508

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The Castle and Gardens of Mey

The Castle and Gardens of Mey have held Visit Scotland's highest award of a 5 Star quality assurance grading every year since their first unannounced visit in 2007. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother first saw what was then Barrogill Castle in 1952. Falling for its isolated charm and hearing it was to be abandoned, she decided to save it. The visitor centre, tearoom, shop, grounds and animal centre are open every day during the normal season from 10am until 5pm.
The Castle of Mey, Thurso, KW14 8XH
Tel: 01847 851473

Caithness Archives Centre

The Highland Archive Service preserves, conserves and makes accessible the archive collections in the care of The Highland Council, and provides a Records Management Service to the authority. The service is delivered through four archive centres, located in Caithness, Lochaber and Skye & Lochalsh, and the Highland Archive Centre at Inverness which also includes a Conservation Unit and a dedicated Family History Centre. This Caithness Archives Centre is located in Wick Library.
Caithness Archives Centre

Camster Cairns

The two Grey Cairns of Camster are among the oldest stone monuments in Scotland. They were built over 5,000 years ago. Even before their excavation and restoration by Historic Scotland in the later 20th century they were two of the best preserved burial tombs surviving from the neolithic period anywhere in Britain. Their location – on a windswept moor in the heart of the Caithness ‘Flow Country’ – probably ensured their survival from the ravages of later farmers.
Camster Cairns

Castlehill Heritage Centre

Castlehill Heritage Centre is operated by Castletown Heritage Society as a visitor experience and educational resource. Themed exhibitions are held throughout the year featuring the history, heritage, biodiversity and social history of Castletown and the parish of Olrig.
Castlehill Heritage Centre

Clan Gunn Heritage Centre

The Clan Gunn Heritage Centre tells the story of one of Scotland's oldest clans, from its Norse origins to the present day. Explore the history and heritage of Clann Gunn and discover where it fits into the Highland history of Scotland. The heritage centre is housed in the old Parish Church, Latheron which was built in 1734.
Clan Gunn Heritage Centre

Cnoc Freicead Long Cairns

Cnoc Freiceadain is a chambered long horned cairn, dating from the Neolithic. It measures 67m long NE-SW.This cairn forms the site of Cnoc Freiceadain Long Cairns, the other cairn is just under 100 metres away, it is slightly larger and set at right angles to this cairn NW-SE. Between them they occupy the top of the hillside. Both are grassed over with stones sticking out.
Cnoc Freicead Long Cairns

Dunbeath Heritage Centre

The Centre provides a focus for the work of Dunbeath Preservation Trust: a research base; a repository for research data, manuscripts, photographs and items of local material culture; an exhibition and interpretation space; a venue for lectures, storytelling and workshops; a gathering place for local people and visitors - young and old - alike.
Dunbeath Heritage Centre

Hill O' Many Stanes

The Hill o’ Many Stanes is a strange sight to behold. It is the largest and best preserved of several multiple rows of small stones which were erected by the inhabitants of Caithness and eastern Sutherland, around 4,000 years ago. The 200-plus stones, none of which are more than waist height, are arranged in at least 22 rows. These rows fan out slightly as they descend the south-facing slope. Located just 4 miles North East of Lybster on the A99 it is an interesting site.
Hill O

John O'Groats Information Point

This is an 'Information Point in Partnership' with VisitScotland and is located in the village of John O’Groats and offers a wide range of local information. Come and visit at the 'end of the road'! Open all year and located within the First and Last Gift Shop which offers a unique and wide range of gifts to complement a free information service.
John O

Laidhay Croft Museum

Laidhay is a two hundred year old rush thatched Caithness longhouse just north of Dunbeath, and is a typical example of the older style of Caithness croft dwellings. The croft museum incorporates the modified longhouse of the main building – the dwelling, with the stable and byre at each end, the detached barn with the original cruck roof and a cart shed to the south. There is also a modern shed, built to contain the museums large collection of farming implements.
Laidhay Croft Museum

Mary Ann's Cottage/Caithness Croft Museum

Mary-Ann's cottage is just a few miles from the most northerly point on the UK mainland - Dunnet Head in Caithness. This croft which was built in around 1850 has been preserved as it was lived in by Mary-Ann Calder, who until she was 89 lived in the croft and cooked using peat over an open range fire. It is now owned by the Caithness Heritage Trust who provide guided tours of the cottage from June to September, 2pm to 4.30pm (closed on Mondays). There is a small charge for viewing the croft.
Mary Ann

Sinclair & Girnigoe (Ruins)

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is the only castle in Scotland to be listed by the World Monuments Fund. This once impregnable medieval/renaissance stronghold is now the most spectacular ruin in the North of Scotland and is the subject of a preservation programme by its owner, The Clan Sinclair Trust.
Sinclair & Girnigoe (Ruins)

The Caithness Broch Centre

The Caithness Broch Centre explores three key areas: The 19th- and early 20th-century communities who first excavated the brochs; the communities who lived in the brochs; and the legacies the brochs bring to the present day communities. Open April to September.
The Caithness Broch Centre

The Wick Society

The Wick Society invites you to discover the rich heritage or Wick and to be actively involved in preserving, developing and presenting the enthralling story of Wick, and generations of its people. There is a museum and collections of photographs, a restored fishing boat; includes photo galleries, locations, and a history.
The Wick Society

Waterlines Visitor Centre

Waterlines is a visitor centre and museum which stands in restored buildings close to the attractive harbour at Lybster. Opened in 2001 the downstairs houses a nice cafe with facilities for visiting yachtsmen, while on the upper floor is a museum and exhibition area in two large rooms. Outside, beyond the far end of the building, is an array of the rocks found in the north east Highlands.
Waterlines Visitor Centre

Wick Information Point

This is an 'Information Point in Partnership' with VisitScotland and is located within MacAllan's in the centre of Wick and offers a wide selection of free information. Along with free information on places to visit, accommodation and activities in the area, MacAllan's can also provide you with all your traditional Highland Dress requirements.
Wick Information Point
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