10 Things to DO – Day Trips

10 Things to DO - Day Trips

About 10 Things to DO – Day Trips

Dornoch is a fantastic place to base yourself if you are keen to explore the Northern Highlands. We have complied a list of our top ten Day Trips to help you plan your trip to Dornoch this summer.

Falls of Shin

Just 19 miles from Dornoch are the Shin Falls, on the road from Bonar Bridge to Lairg. The Falls are spectacular in their own right and very easily accessible, just a short walk from the road and car park. For much of the year Shin Falls are recognised as one of Scotland’s best places to see salmon leaping. Depending on the weather, fish can usually be seen jumping from mid May until late autumn as they make their way up river to spawn. The new Falls of Shin Visitor Centre opened in May 2017 and has a restaurant, shop and adventure playground. There are a range of woodland walks from the Falls car park from 20 minutes to over an hour. There is also a woodland play area (Suitable for children and adults!)

Castle of Mey

The Queen Mother acquired the Castle of Mey, the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland, in 1952. She renovated and restored it and created the beautiful gardens you see today. For almost half a century she spent many happy summers there and shorter visits at other times of the year. 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. Their annual assessments include all aspects of the castle, gardens, animal centre, gift shop and tearoom. Experience this stunning castle for yourself this summer. It is an easy and stunning 1 hour 50 minute drive form Dornoch, straight up the A9 (North Coast 500 Route)

Whaligoe Steps

Whaligoe Haven is surrounded on three sides by 250ft cliffs and forms one of the most remarkable harbours you will find anywhere in Scotland. It is reached by the Whaligoe Steps, which descend to the harbour: and a trip down the steps and the hard slog back up them make for a spectacular experience.
There is also a fantastic cafe to have your lunch or a cup of tea in after the walk!


The ferry port of Ullapool is situated on the shores of Loch Broom and is a beautiful 1.5 hour drive from Dornoch. This charming village is surrounded by incredible natural beauty including mountains, lochs and stunning shore lines.  Ferries go daily to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. The village has a small museum housed in a Telford Church, An Talla Solais, an arts centre with frequently changing exhibitions and workshops, a swimming pool and fitness centre, shops and several pubs.

Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin Castle is Scotland’s most northerly great house and a wonderful day out. As well as the castle itself which dates back to the 1300’s and is full of treasures, the gardens, museum and falconry displays all contribute to an enjoyable visit for the whole family.
For full information on opening times and more information on the Castle and it’s grounds, click here


This beautiful, historic village sits close to the tip of the Black Isle and can be accessed via the Nigg-Cromarty Ferry (http://bit.ly/2slnB3S) during the Summer months making it the perfect day trip from Dornoch. Great gift shops, cafes and even the chance to spot a dolphin on the way over!

Handa Island

A remote island off of the west coast which is famous for it’s sea bird colonies. Discover magnificent Torridonian sandstone cliffs that rise from the Atlantic providing stunning ocean panoramas. Each summer, nearly 100,000 seabirds breed here, including internationally important numbers of guillemots, razorbills and great skuas. A real adventure and definitely one to add to the list for your trip.

Chanonry Point

Situated between Fortrose and Rosemarkie on the Black Isle, this is the best place locally to watch dolphins. This narrow peninsula is an ideal location with views across the Moray Firth to Fort George and with lots of fellow dolphin watchers you are unlikely to miss any sightings. Visit an hour before the high tide for your best chance of Dolphin sightings.


A harbour village on the A9 between Brora and Caithness, Helmsdale has beautiful scenery, a picturesque harbour and lovely places to eat and shop. Make sure you don’t miss Timespan Museum and Arts Centre which can be found in the centre of the village. And why not try your hand at panning for gold in the Kildonan Burn whilst you are there!

Bonar Bridge

With the newly opened Kyle of Sutherland Hub, Bonar Bridge is a great place to go for a day out whilst staying in Dornoch. The Hub has a cafe, soft play area for children and a gym with fantastic views up the Kyle towards Lairg. Bonar Bridge also has another cafe, a shop, post office and award winning restaurant the Crannog. Visit Loch Migdale whilst you are there for great walks along the loch and through the hills above.