Food & Drink

The North Highlands are a culinary heaven for food lovers or ‘foodies’!

With natural local larder right on our doorstep, the North Highlands boasts rich fertile farmland, spectacular coastlines, glistening lochs, deep water fish ports as well as roaming game and foraged foods throughout the sparsely populated landscape. Enjoy the mix of fine dining, authentic eateries, smokeries, farm shops, chocolatiers, craft breweries and distilleries created from the land, larder and history.

Food & Drink - Day 1

Inverness to Torridon (approx. 110miles)

AM Taste your way around the North Coast 500!

We hope you enjoyed the eye-popping scenery to Inverness – a taster into what awaits you along the North Coast 500!

Not only will you experience spectacular scenery along your travels but our rich culture and history. We are particularly proud of our food heritage; it is at the very core of our culture. What do you think of when you hear the words ‘Scottish food and drink’’? Haggis, Whisky? Well, rest assured we have an extensive range of Scottish cuisine, see how many Scottish delicacies you can tick off the list.

Did you know that Whisky accounts for 80% of Scotland’s food and drink exports and is Scotland’s national drink?

Kick start your journey from Inverness, the capital of the Highlands! Travel through the picturesque villages of Beauly and Muir of Ord before stopping off at your first distillery on route, and also one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, Glen Ord Distillery.

Watch their distillers at work creating a magical malt whisky which is sweet, fruity and subtly spicy on the palate. With a number of tours to choose from, why not take the Grain to Glass Tour? A unique opportunity to see a working drum malting. Followed by a tour of their distillery and a taste of 4 different whiskies where the barley is provided by their maltings.

(This tour must be booked at least 1 week in advance, please contact the distillery on 01463 872004 or glen.ord.distillery@diageo.com – minimum of two people, maximum of eight)

PM Your first Highland dining experience

For your first Highland dining experience, join Coul House Hotel. Their range of dining options include both contemporary Scottish cuisine and some more of the traditional favourites whether you fancy lunch or afternoon tea there’s something for everyone to relish.

Back behind the wheel and a short distance after leaving the village of Contin are the spectacular Rogie Falls. Burn off those calories with a short walk through the woodland to the impressive falls. Depending on the time of year you can forage for wild blaeberries and during August and September there is an excellent opportunity to watch wild salmon leaping upstream.

Onwards through Garve you will enjoy the stunning drive west, notorious for its dramatic natural scenery, combining: rugged mountains, remote glens and mysterious lochs – in addition, the perfect ingredients for some truly outstanding food and drink. From wild game, seafood, shellfish to beef and lamb.

Roughly an hour’s drive from Garve, you will take on the infamous climb over the Bealach na ba to Applecross. The curvy mountain pass boasts the greatest ascent of any road climb in the UK, rising up to 626 metres (2,054 ft) above sea level. Got a head for heights? Similar to that of the Alps, the single track road consists of steep hair pin bends and switch backs and the odd sheep from time to time.

(Travelling by motorhome? If it is more than a standard VW T5 conversion (ie about 16 – 18 ft in length), please do not go over the pass, take the alternative route -A 896)

As you drive over the Applecross Peninsula to Torridon, be sure to stop off at Applecross Smokehouse at Kenmore, overlooking Loch Torridon and the Torridon Mountains. Enjoy some delicious smoked salmon, sea trout, shellfish, pâtés and cheeses hand crafted in a modern artisan smokehouse. Why not have some delivered on your return home while you reminisce over your NC500 tales?

Evening Call yourself a ‘foodie’?

Call yourself a ‘foodie’? Scotland is a world class destination renowned for using fresh, local and sustainable ingredients.

You will feel close to the land and in tune with the seasons when you stay at The Torridon, choose between their luxury hotel and traditional family Inn . They pride themselves on trying to source the best produce and you can be sure of its provenance and that the produce could not be more local. You will be delighted to find the Torridon kitchen garden and farm playing such a prominent part in their menus. The Torridon Hotel has a 3 rosette dining restaurant offering daily changing 3, 4 or 7 course menu. Why not experience their ‘Ultimate 7 Course Tasting Menu’? Following your meal enjoy petites fours and a digestif in their award winning, and supremely relaxing whisky & gin bar. Perhaps a ‘whisky nosing’ and sample tasting from their selection of over 350 single malt whiskies?

For the best Scottish pub food check out the Torridon Inn, they also offer a selection of up to 6 real ales from Scotland at any one time. Be sure to try the ‘Torridon burger’, acclaimed by one Scottish food writer as “the best burger in Scotland!”

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Unlock our Full itineraries

Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

Become a Member

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Unlock our Full itineraries

Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

Become a Member

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Unlock our Full itineraries

Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

Become a Member

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Unlock our Full itineraries

Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

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Unlock our Full itineraries

Sorry but full itineraries are only available to North Coast 500 members. We hope you've enjoyed a taste of what's in itineraries. Become a member to unlock itineraries. Members also get a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased online, receive FREE gifts (selected membership only), get access to exclusive goodies and much more.

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Vehicle Hire Suggestions

Hire a car:

Whether you need a compact car, an off-roader or something to keep the whole family comfortable, Arnold Clark, official partner of the NC500 offer an unrivalled range of vehicles to take on every terrain.

You can now experience luxury electric vehicles for both self-drive rental and chauffeur driven tours with Ecosse EV, official partner of the NC500.

Other car hire companies:

Focus Vehicle Rental, Highland Sports Car hire, Aberdeen/Inverness 4×4

Hire a bicycle:

Ticket to Ride

They provide transport for walkers, cyclists, bikes and all your gear between Inverness and Durness and all points in between.This is not a scheduled service but operates more like a cyclist taxi service.

Hire a motorbike:

North Coast 500 Moto Experience Inverness,Highland Motorcycle Hire, Muir of Ord, Haggis Tours, Tore

Hire a campervan/motorhome:

Highland Coastal Campers, Highland Trail Motorhomes, Highland Campervans, North 500 Motorhomes, Rover Rentals

Road Safety & Advice

General Advice:

  • Make sure to check our road safety section of our website- particularly how to drive single track roads!
  • Watch out for wildlife and farm life who also like to roam these roads!
  • The legal drink-drive limit in Scotland is lower than anywhere else in the UK: 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. If you are the designated driver and visiting breweries and distilleries across the route, many of them will provide samples for your to enjoy back at your accommodation provider or on your return home.
  • Make sure dogs are kept on leads. Adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Code. Wear sensible clothing and footwear.

Itineraries Info

All our itineraries are based on suggestions alone. If you would like a more comprehensive option please head to our interactive map. Itineraries are based on main seasonality opening times March-September – remember to pre book meals/activities/tours.

Luxury chauffer driven tours/ Motorbike guided tours

Alternatively, take a luxury chauffer driven tour by the all-electric Tesla supercar. Ecosse EV, is the official partner of the NC500 – providing luxury electric vehicles for both self-drive rental and chauffeur driven tours.

Or hire a motorbike and a guided tour with Haggis Tours.

Food & Drink Festivals

Scotland is internationally known for its food and drink. It’s no surprise that food and drink are at the forefront of our festivals and events each year. From farmers markets and shows to gin festivals, whisky festivals, beer festivals and music festivals. See below a a list of events happening in and around the North Coast 500 (For farmer’s markets across the NC500 see here).

**Burns Night (Every 25th January) ** Inverness Whisky and Gin Festival **Highland and Moray Food and Drink Festival  **Black Isle Show ** Jocktoberfest  **Dornoch Whisky Festival 

Additional Itineraries

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Route Sponsor

Our Corporate Partners

Achnagairn ecosse EV Ackergill Singleton Clynelish Natural Retreats Dunnet Bay Distillers Cottages and Castles Galbraith Arnold Clark