By Kirsten McVey
Published: 11th December 2018

Make yourself at home on the NC500 this winter!

Photo: By Hamlet Mountaineering

A place where magic and everyday life intertwine, the Scottish Highlands make an inspiring setting for a romantic getaway. The raw beauty of the north of Scotland truly comes into its own during the winter months – as the golden hues of autumn give way to glistening frost. Snow-capped mountains meet cosy lodges with roaring fires on this unforgettable trip.

With a myriad of hotels, lodges, B&Bs and hostels to choose from, planning your Highland adventure can seem like a mammoth task. This romantic guide to the North Coast 500 from ROX can be used as a guide to planning the ultimate Highland road trip in warmer months – showcasing fairy tale castles, white beaches and historical ruins. Here we shine a light on some of the best accommodation the iconic route has to offer during the winter period.

To find out more information about what accommodation is open over winter, check out our interactive map.

Cosy cottages and beautiful bothies

Searching for a place to stay at the beginning of your journey is made easy thanks to Rosemount Cottage & Bothy. The picturesque cottage and bothy date back to the 1800s and extend a traditional Highland welcome to all whilst featuring the latest mod-cons. Rosemount is ideally located for those keen to explore the Black Water River or head off on a scenic forest walk. Their other property, West Lodge in Scatwell, is located halfway up Scotland’s longest Strath and also offers a quaint and cosy stay.

On the west coast, you’ll find Opposite Skye Cottages, home to a cottage and bothy that’s romantic charm make the perfect setting for a special occasion. Not to forget the incredible Ben Damph Estate, a 1,500-acre Highland spectacle, while The Old Tea Shop in Caithness on the east coast is ideal for those looking explore John O’Groats, Thurso and the Orkney Islands.

Croft 103 boasts two five-star, self-catered properties, nestled on the shores of Loch Eriboll. Consciously and carefully built into the landscape, these low-impact buildings combine traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design. Croft 103 is perfect for couples who want to be at one with nature and the Scottish environment.

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Photos: Rosemount Cottage & Bothy, Ben Damph: Bothy, Opposite Sky Cottages: Ardoch Bothy, The Old Tea Shop

Winter Glamping

Embracing the great outdoors is a must on the North Coast 500; however, understandably the thought of roughing it isn’t for everyone. Sound familiar? Fear not! The route is scattered with adorable Glamping opportunities, allowing you to make the most of your surroundings without going full Bear Grylls.

The Shepherds Hut at ACE Adventures & Hideaways is the perfect place to rest your head after an action-packed day of white water rafting, canyoning or river tumbling. Step into a world of luxury and snuggle up in front of the wood burner. Bedding down in the heart of The Highlands has never been so chic than at Delny Glamping on the east coast. Surrounded by rolling mountains and roaming wildlife, visitors can enjoy sleeping under the stars with the Cromarty Firth as a backdrop.

Always dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights? Discover luxury at the end of the road at Natural Retreats in John O’Groats. Boasting unbelievable sea views towards Orkney, these glass front lodges offer the perfect viewing platform to see the night sky. Once you make it to the ‘top’ of the NC500, be sure to also check out North Coast Touring Park.

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Photos: ACE Adventures & Hideaways: Shepherd’s Hut, Delny Glamping, North Coast Touring Park, Natural Retreats

B&B charm with a difference

Find all the comforts of home in an unbelievable setting at one of the many bed and breakfasts along the route. For those hunting down the elusive Aurora Borealis, the Salmon Landings B&B is the perfect spot. Once an old salmon fishing station, the B&B allows guests the chance to enjoy their private cove and jetty when searching for the natural phenomenon. Scourie Lodge B&B and Gardens also boasts an intimate setting, overlooking Scourie Bay, the historic house makes for a cosy escape from the realities of daily life.

Alternatively, step into a world of luxury at Loch Dubh, a newly built croft house nestled amongst rolling hills. Those seeking romance should look no further than The Aird Hill B&B. Overlooking Badachro Village and with views of the Isle of Skye and Torridon Mountains, it’s hard to imagine a more idyllic location for a bed and breakfast. With unrivalled views, Dunnet Bay Escapes is a celebration of Highland hospitality.

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Photos: Loch Dubh, Salmon Landings, Scourie Lodge B&B and Gardens, Aird Hill B&B

A touch of luxury

Finding the perfect wedding venue to start your next chapter together is no small task and one we’re only too happy to help with. Already married or just planning a romantic getaway? These venues offer the perfect escape no matter what the occasion.

Voted as the best wedding venue in the UK by Harper’s Bazaar, Achnagairn Castle is the perfect venue to turn your dream wedding into a reality. For those planning a special weekend away look no further than the Achnagairn Mini Manors for an unforgettable trip. Glenmorangie House offers five-star luxury with the warmth and personality of a country house.

A place of undeniable tranquillity, time stands still at Eagle Rock. The ultimate setting for those keen to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this remarkable retreat is not only a feast for the eyes but good for the soul.

Step into a world of majestic beauty at Ackergill Tower. Standing above the rugged shoreline of Sinclair Bay, the northernmost tip of Scotland, the Tower is steeped in history.

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Photos: Achnagairn Estate: Mini Manors, Glenmorangie House, Ackergill Tower Hotel, Eagle Rock by Karen Thorburn Photography

Hunker down in bunkhouses or hostels

For those planning a few pit stops, a hostel or bunkhouse makes the perfect getaway. Kyle of Tongue Holiday Park, nestled on the shores of the Kyle of Tongue, boasts breathtaking views of Castle Varich, Ben Hope and Ben Loyal. A must for those keen to bag a few Munros on their trip. The Highland Haven in Caithness also offers a cosy retreat and a chance to make the most of the incredible surroundings.

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Photos: Kyle of Tongue Holiday Park (photos 1&2), The Highland Haven (photos 3&4)

Living the Highland life in country lodges

Always imagined yourself as being the lord or lady of the manor? A Highland country lodge could be the answer to all of your dreams. Staying in a Highland lodge is more than just finding somewhere to rest your head after a day of exploring, it’s a chance to enjoy relaxing bliss at its very best. And what better way to start your journey than at Coul House Hotel. Surrounded by lush woodland, this 18th-century house is deliciously different and an opportunity to make the most of moreish food and a warm welcome. For romantic getaways,  Forss House Hotel is a delightful 1810 country house hotel set in 20 acres of rolling woodland, on the meander of the River Forss or visit their sister hotel, Shieldaig Lodge. Located on the west coast, the lodge offers a break for the mind, body and soul.

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Photos: Coul House Hotel (photos 1&2), Shieldaig Lodge (photos 3&4)

A city scene

Heralded as the capital of the Highlands by many, Inverness is a city with a lot of love to give. A vibrant home of culture, entertainment and culinary delights, a visit to this charming city is a must Planning a Hogmanay celebration? Bring in the bells with live Scottish music at Ironworks. Or if you’re planning a romantic visit enjoy a dreamy dinner date at Wild Pancakes or a cosy supper next to the Caledonian Canal at Clachnaharry Inn.

Then, of course, there’s a small matter of where to stay. Situated on the banks of the River Ness, Glenmoriston Townhouse is  just minutes walk from the city centre or for those looking for a boutique hotel look no further than Heathmount Hotel. For city apartments check out Ardconnel Court, 2 Ness Apartments or Highland Apartments by Mansley

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Photos: Wild Pancakes, Clachnaharry Inn, Ardconnel Court Apartments, The Heathmount

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