A day out in Dornoch
Whether you are a local, here on holiday or just passing through on the North Coast 500, Dornoch is the perfect place for a day out. Below are 4 itineraries of things to do to fill these beautiful bright Winter days in Dornoch.
Start the day with breakfast in the The Courthouse Cafe Dornoch. Choose from their fantastic menu and sit back and admire the court scene mural, browse the newspapers provided and review the Carnegie memorabilia. Wander up Castle Street to Dornoch Stores to get yourself some tasty treats. The store offers a full range of food and drink including fruit, vegetables, meat, game, fish, cheese and dairy products. They focus upon local Highland and Scottish produce and have a fantastic range to choose from the make the perfect picnic!
Head down to Dornoch Beach and spread a rug on the sand or choose from one of the benches to enjoy your lunch on. If you have children, make the most of the new playpark which is situated next to the beach. After lunch take a leisurely walk along the golden sands towards Embo. Stop to paddle in the shallows or explore the rock pools.
For your evening meal, book a table at The Eagle Dornoch. The Eagle serves some great locally sourced and wholesome pub grub as well as a wide range of real ales and more than fifty Malt whiskies available for you to try, a few of which are locally distilled. It has a great atmosphere and is the perfect place to get ‘the craic’ with the staff and other guests. The Eagle also has rooms if you are looking for a bed for the night.
Start the day with a nail treatment at Dornoch Hair and Beauty which is situated in St Gilbert Street in the centre of Dornoch. They have a range of treatments available- what a wonderful way to start your day out! For those amongst you who don’t enjoy having your nails done, why not treat your dog instead?! Make an appointment to see Vicki at Ultimuttly Groomed– she specialises in all aspects of dog grooming including hand stripping, bath & brush, full grooms, nail trimming, and clipping and can provide a luxurious experience for your VIP pooch.
After you (or your dog) have finished being pampered, head to Cocoa Mountain on Castle Street to enjoy a cup of the “best hot chocolate in the world”. They also serve a range of teas, coffees and soft drinks and you can choose from their award winning handmade chocolates to make a bespoke selection box to take home. Then pop across to the Barn Owl Bothy to browse their wonderful range of arts and crafts which have been made by local designers and makers.
The Coach House Bar and Restaurant (formerly the Dornoch Inn) offers an extensive Bar Menu including Dornoch Farm Butcher burgers, steak pie, Bannermans of Tain scampi, all day breakfast, toasties and sandwiches. Their restaurant menu includes starters such as ham hoche terrine, haggis tower, crab cakes, pork spare ribs and breaded brie wedges, mains of slow braised blade of beef, lamb shank, haddock and chips, slow cooked belly pork, steaks, chicken, venison and curry of the day and homemade puddings such as pear crumble, sticky toffee pudding, fresh fruit pavlova or cheese cake.
Time for a walk to blow away the cobwebs after lunch! Dornoch is rich in history and a very good introduction is to follow the Historylinks Trail, available from Historylinks Museum. This walking tour starts and ends at the museum and takes in many interesting sites around the town.
After your walk pop into some of our independent shops. Jail Dornoch is the perfect place to start. Situated in the centre of the town, it is a wonderful, historic building- Sutherland’s 19th century jail. In 2000 it was completely transformed into a unique shop selling clothing, accessories, arts and gifts. Just over the road is the Jail’s sister shop, Country Interiors, which is an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful decorative objects, gifts, soft furnishings and furniture.
Once you’ve spent the afternoon shopping it’s time to relax over dinner. The Dornoch Castle Hotel’s Garden Restaurant overlooks the formal walled gardens and is the perfect place to end your day in Dornoch. They have maintained an AA Rosette status for six years running and use locally sourced produce to highlight all that Scottish cuisine has to offer. Enjoy a whisky after your meal in the world famous Whisky Bar and be sure to try the Thompson Brother’s Gin which is distilled on site in the Dornoch Distillery. If you are looking for a bed for the night after your day out then The Dornoch Castle is a wonderful place to spend a night in the Highlands.
Start your day by exploring Dornoch’s high street; the perfect place to take a wander on a sunny Autumn day. It’s picturesque and historical centre was shortlisted in 2016 for the Great British High Street Awards and has many hidden delights ready to explore. Look out for the independent shops including Lily & Roux which sells beautiful children’s clothes, St Finnbarrs a charity shop tucked away behind the Cathedral for wonderful vintage finds, and the renowned Dornoch Bookshop which has an incredible range of books including Scottish, Travel, Biography, Fiction, Crime and Cookery sections aswell as an acclaimed children’s corner.
After lunch visit the relaxing Aspen Spa which is based in the Carnegie Courthouse in the centre of the town.Treat yourself to one of their luxury face, body, massage, nail or grooming treatments. Their shop has a range of gorgeous products as well as a health, home spa & beauty products and gifts vouchers. Complete your afternoon of relaxation by booking onto a Whisky or Gin tasting at the award- winning Carnegie Whisky Cellars. Whether you are a novice wanting an introduction or a connoisseur, the tasting experience in the original Dornoch Courthouse Record Room with its atmospheric vaulted ceiling and with walls lined with exclusive bottles of malt whisky will be an experience to remember.
Wake up early and head along the old railway line towards Embo. During this walk you will pass through woodland, fields and beaches and walk alongside the world-famous Royal Dornoch Golf Course. When you get to Embo, pop into Embo Community Grocer for a newspaper and snack to enjoy on the beach before you start your walk back to Dornoch. Before lunch do a spot of shopping in Simply the Best Fairtrade Shop which sells an incredible range of fair trade gifts and food. Dogs are welcome and so if you have been walking with your dog you can take them in to browse with you!
For lunch go to Harry Gow’s. They have quiches, sandwiches and other savoury treats as well as ice cream and fantastic sweets and cakes. Everything is made fresh on site and there is wifi so you can catch up on emails whilst you eat. Afterwards head to Kingcraig fabrics to take a look at their Scottish Woollen goods which include travel rugs, scarves, bags, hats, tweed and tartan fabrics as well as luxury knitting yarns. Why not buy something unique and order a cushion, curtain, bag or cape in your choice of fabric.
It is definitely time for tea and at Links House you can experience an Afternoon Tea that is extra special. Sandwiches and savouries, homemade cakes and mini desserts surrounded by the charm, grace and elegance of one of the world’s finest small hotels. You can also buy gift vouchers if you would like to treat a friend.
End your day by booking a bespoke tour around the local area with Dornoch Private Hire (DPH) Sit back and enjoy the views in comfort in one of their luxury vehicles.
For accommodation options check out the Visit Dornoch website.