Explore Caithness

Caithness

Beautiful scenery with a hint of Royal Excellence

Caithness Map

Caithness is located on the most north eastern part of the North Coast 500, and serves as the most northern county in Britain to still claim royal connections. The vast open landscape, also known as the flow country, is rich in archaeological remnants of a bygone age. The geological features of the Caithness coastline feature soaring sea stacks, raucous colonies of sea birds, and vertically faced headlands jutting out into the wild waters of the Pentland Firth.

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Photos: Dunnet Bay Distillery, Castle of Mey, Caithness Seacoast


Discover the attractions in Caithness worth that extra mile

Whilst we hope to promote the North Coast 500 as a designated route throughout the North Highlands of Scotland, we really want everyone to explore the places in and near the route too! There are hundreds of things to see and do that require that extra mile for the whole Highland experience!

Go ‘off the beaten track’ and discover the villages and hamlets off the route. Discover your own hidden gems. Check out our itineraries for inspiration and our ‘what to see and do area’ of our website.


Handy Information about your adventure

Did you know?

  • Dunnet Head is officially the most northerly point in Mainland Britain, whilst John O’Groats is the most northerly village.
  • Caithness is home to John O’Groats Wick Airport in Wick with  flights daily from Edinburgh or Aberdeen.
  • The X99 bus from Inverness will take you directly to the main towns/villages and runs 4 times a day.
  • There is a rail line connecting Wick & Thurso with trains passing every few hours.

NC500 Members in Caithness

Official NC500 Members

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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 […]

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Impala Guest House

Impala Bed and Breakfast, Broadhaven Road, Wick, KW1 4RF
+44 (0)1955 602 194

Situated in the Royal Burgh of Wick in a quiet area on the road to Staxigoe and Noss Head yet still only a short walk into the town center this B&B offers accommodation for up to 10 guests in en-suite rooms with sea or rural views, with a good choice of breakfast menu from full […]

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Wick Golf Club

Wick Golf Club, Wick Golf Club, Reiss, Wick, KW1 4RW
+44 (0)1955 602 726

In September 1870 Wick Golf Club was established to organise competitions, set and administer rules and handicaps for its members. The committee arranged to play regular competitions on a six-hole course set out in Wick’s Society Park, now known as the Bignold Park and provided a practise area at the South Head overlooking Wick Bay. […]

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Dunnet Bay Escapes

Dunnetbay Escapes, Mansfield, Dunnet, Thurso, KW14 8XD, United Kingdom
+44 (0)1847 851 242

Beautiful luxurious accommodation set in three acres of land overlooking Dunnet Beach with panoramic coastal scenery. Rooms are tastefully decorated to a high standard, with luxury bedding & towels , 40″ televisions, beverage facilities, silent fridges and a Bose music system. Hot tub & facilities available at an extra charge. Welcome food platter and bottled […]

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The Blends Guest House

The Blends Guest House, The Blends, Latheronwheel, KW5 6DW
+44 (0)7930 812 179

The Blends Gueset House is set in the idyllic harbour village of Latheronwheel and features six large rooms, accommodating up to twelve people. En suite rooms are available as are evening meals on request. Free Wi-Fi is offered to all guests. Group booking discounts are available. Facilities include a lockable garage for bikes, off street […]

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Thurdistoft Farmhouse

Thurdistoft Farmhouse, Thurdistoft Farm, Castletown, Thurso, KW14 8SX
+44 (0)7866 699 962

Available to book through airbnb either in its entirety or on a room by room basis,Thurdistoft Farmhouse  overlooks Dunnet Bay and Dunnet Head . It is conveniently placed midway between the two Orkney Ferry ports (20 – 30 minutes away). The National Cycle Route 1 passes the door. Rooms are en suite and the room […]

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Mackays Hotel

Mackays Hotel, Union Street, Wick, Caithness, KW1 5ED
+44 (0)1955 602 323

Mackays Hotel is located in Wick, in the beautiful area of Caithness. While it may be situated on the Shortest Street in the World, Ebenezer Place, Mackays Hotel has a big heart. Its historical home, dating back to 1883, has gained a wide recognition world-wide for its high standard of award winning service and fine food. You’ll find yourself relaxing […]

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Thrumster House

Thrumster House
+44 (0)1955 651 387

Thrumster House is a lived-in family home that has been welcoming visitors on holidays, sporting and fishing trips for many years. Here you will find a warm highland welcome and a house full of character and atmosphere. Enjoy sitting by the roaring fire in the main hall and a local whisky in your hand. We […]

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Caithness Horizons Museum

Caithness Horizons Museum, High Street, Thurso, KW14 8AJ
+44 (0)1847 896 508

Housed in the old town hall in Thurso, the Museum covers the history of the county of Caithness.  Permanent displays explore the Picts, Vikings, the Dounreay Nuclear Research Establishment and Robert Dick who was a local baker and botanist.  Our latest permanent exhibition opened in the Summer of 2017 and focuses on The Flow Country, […]

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Blue Door Coffee Shop & Diner

Blue Door Coffee Shop & Diner, Thurso Bay Caravan & Camping Park, Smith Terrace, Scrabster Road, Thurso, KW14 7UF
+44 (0)1847 892 244

A ‘roadside’ burger joint (the road, the A9 in Thurso) that overlooks Thurso Bay and the Pentland Firth. It serves up the most delicious top-quality burgers, milkshakes, coffees, and more. The Blue Door also makes its own ice cream–including vanilla, chocolate, and various flavours of the week–available in single dip, double dip, or cone to […]

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KW Kitchen

KW Kitchen, 5A Princes Street, Thurso, KW14 7BQ
+44 (0)1847 890 400

Small, family owned Take Away open from 7am -3pm Monday to Friday serving food such as homemade soup sandwiches, baguettes, paninnis, toasties, baked tatties. Cooked breakfast served till 10.30am. Homemade meals to go; pasta bowls, rice bowls, salad boxes. Packed lunches can be pre-ordered for pick up. We also provide catering for events please pop […]

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Seaview Hotel

Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats, Caithness, KW1 4YR
+44 (0)1955 611 220

Seaview Hotel is ideally situated for your holiday in the North of Scotland, with stunning views overlooking the Pentland Firth, Stroma and the Orkney Islands and only 300yds from the John O’Groats Ferry Terminal and a couple of minutes from the Gills Bay Ferry. As a small and popular family run hotel, the Seaview offers […]

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The Hideaway

The Lodge, Scarfskerry, Thurso, KW14 8XW
+44 (0)1847 851 851

The Hideaway is a true ‘home from home’ comfortably sleeping up to 4 people. Large living/dining area, fully equipped kitchen with microwave, oven and all the essentials. Bedrooms comprise of 1 double room and 2 single rooms, separate shower room. The living area has large flat screen TV/DVD Player, Free Wifi. Fully central heated & […]

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Whaligoe Steps Cafe

The Square,Whaligoe, Ulbster,KW2 6AA
+44 (0)1955 651 702

We are a small family run restaurant with an eclectic menu, reflecting our extensive travels before settling in Caithness. Come for our wonderful hearthbreads (baked to order), our fresh local seafood, excellent pizza’s, home made venison burgers and lots more. Our fresh soup and cake selection changes daily, and our house hot chocolate is blended […]

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The Castle and Gardens of Mey

The Castle and Gardens of Mey, The Castle of Mey, Thurso, KW14 8XH
+44 (0)1847 851 473

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 […]

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Riverside Interiors

Riverside Interiors, Riverside Road, Thurso, KW14 8BU
+44 (0)1847 893 553

We pride ourselves in our huge selection of high quality, unusual gifts. Our collection of Harris Tweed and Moon Wool is second to none in the North. We have a comprehensive range of high quality British homewear. Our jewelry department offers a varied range of contemporary jewelry including watches. We also have a comprehensive range […]

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Mey House Luxury Rooms and Breakfast

Mey House Luxury Rooms and Breakfast, Mey House, East Mey, KW14 8XL
+44 (0)1847 851 852

Providing luxurious accommodation and expansive, uninterrupted views of the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Islands, each of our super-king rooms is spacious and thoughtfully furnished, with large private bathrooms including a separate ‘feature’ bath and power shower. We want you to feel ‘at home’ at Mey House and provide a beautiful breakfast room with panoramic views, a […]

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Collie Rentals

Collie Rentals, 4 Grove Lane, Thurso, KW14 8AE
+44 (0)1847 895 808

Our self-catering apartments are situated in a quiet, residential area close to all amenities and within walking distance to the beach, river & coastal walks, Co-op & Tesco supermarkets. All apartments have 2 bedrooms which can either be super king size or twin. They are decorated to a high standard throughout. Pet friendly.

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Reay Golf Club

Reay Golf Club, Club House, Reay, Thurso, KW14 7RE
+44 (0)1847 811 288

The most northerly James Braid designed 18 hole links course on the British mainland. No need to book, just turn up and play. See our website for details of our fixtures and Opens. NC500 Member Discount Available: 10% off green fees for all NC500 members Proof of Membership required (Membership card or welcome email).

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Creag Na Mara

Creag Na Mara, East Mey, Mey, John O'Groats, KW14 8XL
+44 (0)1847 851 850

Creag Na Mara is located on the stunning Caithness coastline on the northern edge of Scotland. Situated 5 miles west of John O’Groats, 1 mile from the Castle of Mey and 15 miles east of Thurso. Creag Na Mara is the ideal place to stay for those travelling to Orkney, lying just 1.5 miles from […]

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The Inn at Y-Not

y-not, Meadow Lane, Thurso, KW14 8ER
+44 (0)1847 892 272

y-not is situated in the heart of the coastal town of Thurso. The bedrooms are well equipped with luxury beds and bedding, en-suite bathrooms with monsoon showers, Duck Island toiletries & state of the art LCD televisions. Our on-site restaurant y-not serves food from 8am through to 9pm 7 days a week. Proudly sourcing local […]

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Burnside Cottage Bed & Breakfast

Burnside Cottage, Gills, Canisbay, Wick KW1 4YB
+44 (0)1955 611 766

Burnside Cottage is a contemporary luxury bed & breakfast located just off the NC500, in Gills, which is a short drive from John O’Groats & close to the Pentland Ferry harbour. The property looks out over open countryside, and the isle of Stroma, with the Orkney Islands in the distance. Burnside Cottage benefits from ample […]

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Holborn Hotel

Holborn Hotel, 16 Princes Street, Thurso, KW14 7BQ
+44 (0)1847 892 771

The Red Pepper Restaurant proudly serving a selection of fresh locally landed seafood, arriving from boat to plate on the same day. The bar is a nice relaxed venue, perfect for an informal lunch/dinner. We offer a fantastic selection of hot and cold refreshments including local real ales, lagers, malts and spirits and fresh Italian […]

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Inver Caravan Park

Inver Caravan Park, Houstry Road, Dunbeath, Dunbeath, KW6 6EH
+44 (0)1593 731 441

Small, friendly, STB4* site welcoming all motor homes, caravans, and campers, adjacent to A9 just north of Dunbeath. Excellent facilities – underfloor heating, power showers, free drying room, laundry , discounts for walkers and cyclists. Dogs welcome. Two static caravans available for periods of 3 or more days. Bed and Breakfast also available (good if […]

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The Fragrant Mind

The Fragrant Mind, Norwin, Huna, Canisbay, Wick, KW1 4YL
+44 (0)1955 611 515

The Fragrant Mind is a small family run business, with a mission to deliver high quality, unique (all formulated & created by Olga), handmade perfumes,  personal care products, toiletries, candles and anything(everything!) else aroma-related. We strongly believe in the significance of the often undermined olfactory system as well as the individuality of people and hence will be […]

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Dunbeath Heritage Centre

Dunbeath Heritage Centre, The Old School, Dunbeath, KW6 6ED
+44 (0)1593 731 233

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.

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The Hawthorns Bed and Breakfast

The Hawthorns Bed and Breakfast, Mey, Thurso, KW14 8XH
+44 (0)1847 851 444

Located in the village of Mey, the Hawthorns B & B provides comfortable and spacious accommodation within easy reach of the Castle of Mey.  Boasting superb views across the loch to Dunnet Head, the Hawthorns’ sits directly on the NC500 route, 7 miles west of John O’Groats.  We offer 2 king-size rooms (one with wet […]

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Northern Sands Hotel

Northern Sands Hotel, Dunnet, Thurso, KW14 8XD
+44 (0)1847 851 270

Beautifully refurbished hotel in the idyllic village of Dunnet, blessed with an enchanted forest, nostalgic Dwarwick pier and an amazing sweeping arc of white sandy beach backed by rolling sand dunes. A variety of menus are available throughout the day, all year round, using an extensive list of local produce. Well-appointed rooms with extra-long plush […]

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Northern Saints Trails

Northern Saints Trails, Scaraben, Westside, Dunnet, Thurso, KW14 8YD
+44 (0)1847 851 467

We are a small group who have devised six circular routes within Caithness linking sites associated with the early Celtic saints of the area. We have a list of 33 saints and 32 sites. We have also listed similar sites on the non-Caithness parts of the NC500, giving a total of 50 saints and 50 […]

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Dunbeath Castle Gardens

Dunbeath Castle Gardens, Dunbeath, Caithness, KW6 6EY

Dunbeath Castle has two outstanding walled gardens (possibly the finest in the Highlands) which are open by appointment all year round. The Northern garden consists or ornamental grasses, Iris, Crocosmia, Primula, Libertia and other tough plants, along with ponds and a substantial water feature. The Southern garden is less exposed and hosts a wide range […]

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RSPB Scotland Broubster Leans Nature Reserve

RSPB Broubster Leans car park: Thurso KW14 7RB
+44 (0)1463 715 000

Broubster Leans is a strikingly diverse mosaic of wet grassland, pools, channels and rush pasture which is nestled in amongst stunning farmland in the far North of Scotland. Located just seven miles southwest of Thurso, the reserve welcomes an array of birdlife each year. Keep your eyes peeled for birds such as greylag geese, lapwings […]

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Dunnet Bay Distillery

Rock Rose Gin, Dunnet Bay Distillery, Ribbon House, Dunnet, Thurso, KW14 8YD
+44 (0)1847 851 287

Britain’s most northerly distillery, Rock Rose, is the new gin taking the market by storm. Take a tour of the distillery or purchase a bottle of the famous Rock Rose gin made from local botanicals. NC500 Member Discount Available: 20% off tours Free home delivery on bottle purchases Proof of Membership required (Membership card or […]

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The Portland Hotel

Quarter Bras, Lybster, KW3 6BS
+44 (0)1593 721 348

The Portland Hotel is a beautiful mid 19th century building. It is family run with a mix of single, twin, double and king/superior king beds or for that bit of romance the ever popular four poster bed. The hotel serves meals from 5pm for both residents and non residents. Just a short walk from Lybster […]

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Castlehill Heritage Centre

Castlehill Heritage Centre, Harbour Road, Castletown, Caithness, KW14 8TG

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. Opening Hours Open all year except Christmas Day & New Year Day  

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John O’Groats Campsite

John O'Groats Campsite, County Road, John O'Groats, KW1 4YR
+44(0)1955 611 329

At the end of the A99 you will find the John O’Groats Caravan and Camping Site on the seafront besides the Last House in Scotland. 4 acres of grass, hardstanding, electric hook-ups, showers, hand basins, WC,shaving points, chemical disposal toilet, hairdryer, laundry, deep sinks, washing machine, tumble dryer and ironing facilities are available. The site […]

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Old Pulteney Distillery

Old Pulteney Distillery, Huddart Street, Wick, KW1 5BA
+44 (0)1955 602 371

Pulteney distillery is one of the most northerly distilleries on the Scottish mainland. The extreme location and unique stills have resulted in a Single Malt Scotch Whisky that is bursting with the power and subtlety of the sea. The distillery is open to visitiors and offers tours of the facility which must be booked in […]

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Castle Arms Hotel

Castle Arms Hotel, Castle Arms Hotel, Mey, KW14 8XH
+44 (0)1847 851 244

Originally built as a single storey building as a staging inn for mail coaches which came via the coast road from Wick.  In the 1861 census it was listed as the Prince of Wales Inn but by 1871 it had become the Berriedale Inn and you can still see the iron rings for hitching horses besides […]

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Dunnet Bay

Dunnet Bay is a fantastic sweeping arc of white sandy beach backed by rolling sand dunes. Stretching for over 2 miles, the bay is fairly sheltered from the elements and offers great opportunities to sunbathe, paddle, swim and indulge in other beach sports. The beach is a surfer’s haven and offers some quite dramatic surf […]

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The Clachan B&B

13 Randolph Place, South Road, Wick, KW1 5NJ
+44 (0)1955 605 384

The Clachan has been welcoming guests from all over the world for 30 years. All rooms are tastefully decorated on the ground floor at the rear of the house to ensure a peacefull stay. We offer high quality accommodation along with a varied breakfast menu using only the best local produce. NC500 Member Discount Available: […]

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Clan Gunn Heritage Centre

Clan Gunn Heritage Centre, Clan Gunn Heritage Centre, Latheron, KW5 6DR
+44 (0)1593 528 798

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 […]

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