What to do

Along the North Coast 500

The Scottish Highlands is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And a tour of the North Coast 500 is the perfect way to enjoy it.

Take your time to enjoy the finest experiences that Scotland has to offer. From ancient castles and rugged scenery to diverse wildlife and Highlands whisky.

North Coast 500 (NC500)

Create memories to last a lifetime

The NC500 highway is one of the best ways to see the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. At over 500 miles long, you’ll experience the rugged scenery that defines the north of Scotland.

All along the route, there are a wealth of opportunities to discover more. Travel across mountains, lochs and glens. Visit the towns and villages and taste the best of our distilleries!

To make the most of your tour, you’ll want to stop off in different places. Borlum House Farm is at the halfway point of the NC500. This makes it an ideal place for an overnight stop or a base for your treks and visits.

Tour the NC500


About 12 miles east

Thurso is home to many traditional shops, cafes and restaurants. Visitors come to see the circular wellhouse of Meadow Well and the Swanson Gallery. Thurso is also a destination for watersports lovers. Because of its river mouths, beaches and reefs it hosts several surfing championships.

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John o’Groats

About 30 miles east
John o’Groats is well known for the 876-mile journey to Land’s End in England. However, this Highland village is also home to untouched scenery and diverse wildlife. Visitors can see dolphins, seals and killer whales in the waters around John o’Groats.
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Orkney Isles

Various ferries available

Catch the ferry from John o’Groats to explore the beautiful Orkney Islands. Discover the UNESCO Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site. Key attractions are Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, the Stones of Stenness and the Maeshowe chambered tomb.

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About 60 miles west
Durness is the most north-westerly village in the British mainland. Alongside the rocky coastline are immaculate beaches. Walkers and climbers enjoy exploring the cliffs, mountains and moorlands that surround Durness.
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About 115 miles south

Inverness is the capital of the Highlands and boasts a wide range of attractions. Visit Urquhart Castle on the shores of Loch Ness. Or Fort George, built by King George as the largest artillery fortification in Britain. Hike around Loch Ness and try to spot Nessie. Then stop to sample the famous Highland Whisky at one of the local distilleries.

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The Castle & Gardens of Mey

About 25 miles east

The Castle of Mey is the most northerly inhabited castle in Scotland. Owned by HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1952 to 1966, it’s now run by a charitable trust. Built in the 1500’s the castle overlooks the Pentland Firth and the Orkney Islands. Enjoy the romantic walled garden that accompanies the castle.

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Castle Varrich

About 33 miles west

This crumbling castle is set in a stunning location near Tongue in Sutherland. It’s a two-storey tower house previously owned by the Bishop of Caithness then the Clan Mackay.

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Dunrobin Castle

About 60 miles south

Dunrobin Castle is the ancestral home of Lord Strathnaver. The enchanting castle has been in his family for over 700 years. Unusually for a Scottish castle, the building resembles a French chateau with towering spires. It was a naval hospital during the First World War and a boarding school from 1965 to 1972.

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Strathnaver Museum

About 20 miles west

Explore the Norse and Gaelic ancestors of Scotland. The museum is based in the former Parish Church of Columba in Bettyhill. The museum is home to a unique collection of Mackay memorabilia from the Clan Mackay Society. It also tells the stories of the Highland Clearances and crofting life.

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Dunnet Head

About 25 miles east

This nature reserve is home to puffins, guillemots, cormorants and a variety of other seabirds. Because it’s the northernmost point in mainland Britain, Dunnet Head also has several old military buildings from the Second World War.

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Forsinard Flows

About 20 miles south

Forsinard Flows is part of the Flow Country, a key natural treasure for Scotland. The landscape includes blanket bogs, straths and mountains. The blanket bogs have formed over 10,000 years with deep peat. This habitat is home to a variety of wildlife including red-throated divers and otters.

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Smoo Cave

About 60 miles west

About one mile east of Durness is Smoo Cave. This spectacular sea cave is part of the limestone cliffs. It has one of the biggest sea cave entrances in Britain at 50ft high.

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Loch Eriboll

About 45 miles west

Cyclists love to explore Loch Eriboll. As you cycle around the loch the road changes from flat terrain to steeper climbs. Visit Choraidh Farm Park halfway around the west side for a break and a cup of tea with some home baking.

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Ben Loyal

About 40 miles west

Known as the Queen of the Scottish Mountains, Ben Loyal makes a great day out. With 4 peaks visitors get a full 360-degree view of the surrounding bogs, moors and mountains.

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Assynt Geopark

About 95 miles west

The North West Highlands UNESCO Geopark begins at The Summer Isles in Wester Ross and extends beyond Durness and Loch Eriboll. The geopark celebrates Scotland’s major geological heritage with sustainable development.

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Borgie Glen

About 28 miles west

Borgie Glen is a vast area with red deer and buzzards. The landscape consists of hills, heather moor and tiny lochans. It’s also known as the ’empty lands’. Walkers can climb to see ‘The Unknown’, a thought-provoking sculpture by artist Kenny Hunter.

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Dunnet Bay Distillery

About 20 miles east

Home to Rock Rose Gin, Vodka and other premium Scottish spirits. Enjoy north coast stories with tastings in the distillery’s coastal-themed tasting room.

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Old Pulteney Distillery

About 33 miles east
Visit the whisky distillery in Wick. Home to the Old Pulteney Single Malt Scotch Whisky, known as The Maritime Malt, after Wick’s seafaring past.
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Wolfburn Distillery

About 12 miles east

Wolfburn is the northernmost whisky distillery on mainland Scotland. Their whisky is made in the traditional way by hand with the finest ingredients.

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Borlum House Farm is at the top of the Scottish Highlands on the NC500. Our beautifully restored 1700’s farmhouse is in the quiet little village of Reay. We welcome visitors from across the world.

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