Dornoch Travel Guide

  • Dornoch
    by Bigs
  • Dornoch Beach
    Dornoch Beach
    by Bigs
  • Dornoch Castle Hotel
    Dornoch Castle Hotel
    by Bigs

Dornoch Things to Do

  • see Dornoch Castle

    This building is rather forebidding to look at. It sits in the main street in Dornoch opposite the gaol. It was built in the 15th Century, but is now a hotel.

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  • visit the beach

    There is a lovely sandy beach at Dornoch. Nearby is a caravan site which attracts visitors.At the northern end are rocks which are fun to climb on. The beach itself streches a long way. For those who prefer to just sit and watch the sea, there are seats up above the beach and a car park.Lower down are stretches of bent [Marram grass], and several...

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  • The Bishops' Palace

    The Bishop's Palace was first constructed in the 13th. Century to provide a home for the first Bishop of Dornoch Gilbert de Moravia. Little remains of the original building just one of the towers. As the Palace extended it remained the home of succeeding bishops up until 1557 when it changed owners. During this period in history the Catholic Church...

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  • A modern interior but so beautiful

    The stunning interior of Dornoch Cathedral contains twenty eight stained glass windows. Three of the windows commemorate the steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. These windows depict his later interests in life of learning, peace and music. The natural wood of the pulpit, pews altar and other furnishings are made from wood from the...

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  • The Castle Square

    The Castle Square provided a shady spot for us to sit and enjoy all the comings and goings of this pretty town. The square is lined with mature trees and lots of fragrant and colourful hanging baskets which adorn the lamp posts. I did like the old 'Victorian' water fountain with its chubby cherub seated happily in the middle. Take a drink with you...

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  • Dornoch Cathedral

    When Gilbert de Movaria became Bishop of Caithness in 1222 he moved his seat from his diocese in Halkirk to Dornoch. It was in this town he built his Cathedral Church financed with his own money. By 1239 the Cathedral was finished and was consecrated at its first Mass. During the Mass the bones of the previous Bishop - Adam Bishop Gilbert were...

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  • The Free Church of Scotland

    In the year 1843 there was a split in the Church of Scotland. Most of the members of the Parish Cathedral Church including most of the elders and the two ministers left the Church of Scotland to join the Free Church of Scotland. The first service was held in a tent on the links here in Dornoch. While the people of Dornoch worshiped in the tent, two...

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  • Visit the Tourist Office

    The impressive building which is home to the tourist office is built with red sandstone and dates back to the 15th. Century, as do many buildings in Dornoch. The stone is local and the design of stepped gabbles synonymous in the Highlands. Before becoming a tourist office this was the local post office. The staff are friendly and accommodating,...

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  • The two bays at Dornoch

    When we arrived at Dornoch Beach the weather was hot, sunny with clear blue skies. The car park was almost full and to our horror so was the beach, well not quite full of people but there were a lot of young families here. Not surprising really as there is a large Caravan Park adjacent to the beach. We did try the first bay but the dogs exuberance...

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  • go to jail

    On the opposite side of the main street from the Cathedral, lies the Town gaol. It is a solid stone building with conical towers. It is now a craft centre and gift shop. It is interesting to visit and you might find some gifts not to be found in other places.

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  • Visit the cathedral

    The Cathedral is situated in the centre of Dornoch. It is a squat sandstone building and well worth a visit. The original Dornoch Cathedral dates to the thirteenth-century when it was built by Bishop Gilbert de Moravia but was burnt some centuries later and lthen rebuilt.On December 21, 2000, the pop star Madonna had her son Rocco christened in...

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  • Visit Ullapool on the West coast of...

    We toured across from Dornoch in the east of Scotland to Ullapool in the west of Scotland through the most fantastic scenery. It was amazing to think we were on the east coast in the morning and 2 hours later on the west coast. It was also several degrees warmer, the west coast of Scotland being warmed by the Gulf stream. Ullapool is a very pretty...

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  • OLD JAIL

    What used to be the old jail is now a gift and crafts shop. There is also a small (free) art gallery upstairs which had some nice stuff and at the back of the shop there is a mockup of one of the cells of the jail.

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  • BEAUTIFUL BEACHES

    There are miles of sandy beaches around the Dornoch firth and this one is just beside the golf course at Dornoch itself and within walking distance of the main square. The golf course is a championship course, ranked 11th in the world and the most northerly first class course in the world. (source: Rough Guide to Britain. I know nought about golf...

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  • DORNOCH CATHEDRAL

    The town of Dornoch is about 12 miles from Carbisdale, where we were staying, and my parents had told me it was probably the best place to go for grocery shopping near by. So hence we ended up here one afternoon and were surprised to discover there was more there than just a supermarket! The town sits on a headland overlooking the Dornoch Firth....

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Dornoch Hotels

See all 4 Hotels in Dornoch

Dornoch Restaurants

  • lovely cake

    This busy cafe in Dornoch is fairly basic, but has a good selection of cakes and pastries The carrot cake was excellent and a very large slice. I actually wrapped half of it in my napkin and took it home for later. Unfortunately my cousin called me to see an email she had opened. On my return I found the napkin on the floor and her dog...

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  • Sandwiches to satisfy

    The Dornoch Inn is a very pretty place, in summer they have lots of flowers around the walls and doors. You can eat in the bar or outside, in the evening you can eat upstairs in their 'One Up' Restaurant. We ate in the small bar area which is nicely decorated with well spaced tables and features old stone walls giving it a homely feeling. We did...

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  • Dornoch Hotels

    4 Hotels in Dornoch

    390 Reviews and Opinions

Dornoch Transportation

  • Car travel is the easiest option

    We prefer to travel by car as it is easiest for us and we have full control of when and where we can visit. Dornoch can be reached by citylink buses and stage coach buses - journey time is about one hour from Inverness. Trains also run from Inverness to Tain - from the station it is a ten minute taxi ride into Dornoch. If you do take a car good...

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  • by bus or car

    In recent years it has become easy to reach Dornoch from Inverness. Take the A9 across the Kessock Bridge, then cross the Cromarty Firth and head north towards Tain. About 2 miles north there is the Dornoch Firth Bridge. From there it is a short drive into Dornoch itself, by turning right at the signs after the bridge.Buses leave Inverness Bus...

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Dornoch Shopping

  • Antiques & on-line shopping

    A very nicely laid out shop with some stunning art work and lovely (if pricey porcelain) I did like this shop and the freedom to browse without any hard sell or stuffy staff. In fact the staff were very friendly - more interested in you as a person and where you were visiting from with absolutely no pressure to buy anything. If you like antiques...

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  • An Aladdin's Cave of almost everything

    The Gift Shop seems large from the view of the outside - which by the way is very pretty. Once inside however they seemed to have used every available space to show case their gifts. As a result it is pretty cramped and difficult to maneuver but easy to find what you are looking for. All sorts of everything can be bought here including children's'...

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  • Tweeds, trinkets and some art

    To be honest I was more interested in this building the shop was housed in than actually doing some shopping!! As the name suggest it was once the town jail and dates from around 1840. I loved its pepper pot turrets and 'castle appearance' The stepped gable roof has two crosses on the top, after I had down loaded the photos I notice the crosses...

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Dornoch Local Customs

  • How cloth was measured

    This stone which we found in the old kirk yard of the Cathedral is not a marker for the Dead but an old medieval measuring device. It is called a Plaiden Ell, an ell is an old Scottish unit of measurement used for hundreds of years, which was a standard unit of measurement for cloth at exactly thirty seven inches. The present Kirk yard is enclosed...

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  • MASS PIPE BANDS

    While looking round the art gallery a crowd was gathering outside so of course we had to go find out why! It turned out that there was a mass pipe band marching up and down the street for whatever reason. I never used to like bagpipe music but I must admit it does make me come over all patriotic so we stuck around to watch it all. Truth be told we...

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Dornoch Warnings and Dangers

  • A Great Disturbance from the skies

    To the unassuming visitor with an untrained ear - the sound of an ear piercing approaching fighter jet can cause quite a stir and literally 'stop you dead in your tracks' I have heard this sound often in various parts of Scotland especially the empty Highlands so the thunderous noise only reminded me to look up and catch a picture of the jet as it...

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  • low flying aircraft

    All year round there are complaints from the locals about the low flying aircraft practising bombing on Tain Range.The sound can be most annoying, and even scaring to those unprepared for it. The planes come hurtling down the firth, over the Dornoch Bridge on their way to Tain bombing range.

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  • when the wind blows

    The Dornoch Bridge has made a tremendous difference to the life of the north of Scotland. Before the bridge was built it entailed a long drive round the Dornoch Firth via Ardgay and Bonar Bridge.The new bridge crosses the firth near the Old Meikle Ferry railway station. But, when there is a strong wind the bridge may be closed. The force of the...

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Dornoch Off The Beaten Path

  • Skelbo Castle

    This ruin is near the road leading to Loch Fleet. If you climb the road that leads to the castle , you will find the broken walls of a strong keep, part of the curtain wall, a courtyard blocked with rubble from fallen buildings and behind this an old mansion house, with crow-stepped gables.The castle has had quite a long history , dating from the...

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  • Travelling through the Highlands

    We travelled through the mountains from Dornoch to Ullapool on a beautiful sunny but cold day and passed through the most fantastic scenery. This picture was taken from inside the coach, looking through the side window.

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  • Wild Life in the Highlands

    On the same journey from Dornoch to Ullapool we saw lots of red deer; they had come down from the snow on the mountain tops to find food and we were lucky to see them so close up. This picture was taken from the coach window.

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Dornoch Sports & Outdoors

  • uglyscot's Profile Photo
    Men playing golf 2 more images

    by uglyscot Updated May 24, 2011

    The course has been a Royal club for over a century and was built in 1877. It is rated in the top 20 golf courses worldwide.
    This famous Golf Club is near the beach. It's wild, isolated and, absolutely beautiful. The course is not difficult, though some greens have a challenging approach as they are built on a natural raised plateau.
    Of historical interest is the witch's stone which is in a garden by the 18th tee. It commemorates the last burning of a witch in Scotland. Janet Horne was tried and condemned as a witch in 1727.

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    • Golf

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