Things to do in and around Dornoch
There is so much to see and do in Dornoch, from world-class golf, to exploring the rich cultural heritage, beach and woodland walks along the region’s spectacular coastline and countryside and discovering the mysterious beauty of the Highlands of Scotland. Here are just a few of our favourite visits and activities. We are happy to help you plan your stay and reserve golf, restaurants and other activities.
Dornoch beach is a Blue Flag safe beach with gentle shallows, miles of golden sands and sheltering dunes, ideal for family day’s out and beach walks.
The golden coastline around Dornoch Firth stretches for miles and is popular throughout the year with walkers taking a gentle stroll, or hiking right up north to Embo. Balloan Self Catering is especially well situated to enjoy the incomparable beach bordering the championship golf course. A spectacular landscape indeed!
Balloan Self Catering is situated just five minutes from Dornoch Championship Golf Course. The world-class course is ranked 5th in the world and is the most northerly first class course in the world. Struie Course, ranked the 50th best links course in the UK is also closeby. Both courses welcome non-member golfers seven days a week, as do their clubhouses, serving high quality cuisine and refreshments.
Golspie, Tain and Bonar Bridge golf clubs are also situated close to The Steading, making us the ideal accommodation choice for your Scottish golf holiday. Visit our Golf in Dornoch page for more information.
Dornoch – Where Can I Eat ?
Settle down to taste something special at some of Dornoch’s finest restaurant, cafes, pubs and takeaways! Why not make your Scottish holiday special at one or two of these lovely places to eat in Dornoch:
Mara Restaurant at Links House – one of the most exceptional fine dining experiences in the Highlands. The Royal Golf Hotel – The Conservatory Restaurant is open to non-residents and serves food all day. Dornoch Castle Hotel – special candle-lit dinners in the Garden Restaurant Sutherland House – traditional Scottish dishes made from locally sourced ingredients Highland Spice -enjoy a wide range of Indian cuisine, from mild to spicy The Coach House Bar & Restaurant – food served in the first floor One Up Restaurant and in the bars The Eagle – great locally sourced and wholesome pub grub The Courthouse Café – Enjoy breakfast, a leisurely lunch with a glass of wine, or tea and coffee with cake served in the old Courtroom. Luigi Dornoch -Luigi is a contemporary & friendly café/restaurant centrally located Dornoch Greens Restaurant – Prides itself on food prepared with wonderful locally produced ingredients. The Oyster Catcher – This is a small intimate, quality seafood restaurant in Portmahomack Crannag Bistro – Nestled in the heart of the pretty Kyle-side village of Bonar Bridge, the Crannag offers a true taste of the Northern Highland
Nature and wildlife
The natural landscape of Dornoch provides a safe haven for many resident and migratory species. Visitors might glimpse ospreys, red deer, dolphins, wild fowl, otters and seals, during their visit. The region is often described as Europe’s Last Great Wilderness and provides the perfect backdrop for your walking and hiking holiday in Scotland, and Balloan Self Catering a warm and welcoming place to return to after a day’s outdoor pursuits in the Scottish Highlands.
Cycling enthusiasts will enjoy the varied terrain found in and around Dornoch. There are trails to suit all levels, as well as several excellent road routes. We recommend the 34 mile round trip from Dornoch to Spinningdale; passing round by Loch Buidhe to the Mound and back to Dornoch via Embo. The undulating route passes through some spectacular scenery. A great way to explore the Scottish highlands!
Cycle hire is available at Sam’s Bike Shed in the centre of Dornoch.
This beautiful Cathedral was built in the 13th century, by Gilbert de Movaria, who became Bishop of Caithness in 1222 and subsequently moved his seat from his diocese in Halkirk to Dornoch, where he built his Cathedral Church financed by his own money. The current Reverend: Reverend Susan Browne, became the first female minister to preach in a Cathedral in Scotland.
In 2000 Dornoch Cathedral was thrust into the limelight when Madonna and Guy Ritchie chose it for their celebrity wedding. Now the cathedral is a sought-after wedding location for couples from all over the world, seeking an authentic Scottish wedding location, fusing a grand history and intimacy.
The Bishops Palace
Constructed during the 13th Century, The Bishop’s Palace of Dornoch was home to the first Bishop of Dornoch Gilbert de Moravia. The history of the palace is long and complex, yet a solitary tower is all that remains of the original edifice. In 1922 the palace was sold into private ownership; renovated in 1947, it was subsequently turned into a hotel, but is still worth a visit to appreciate the rich heritage and architecture of this prestigious landmark.
Castle Square in the centre of Dornoch is a lovely shady spot to sit and enjoy the activity of local life in this picturesque town. Mature trees and fragrant hanging baskets bring the scene to life. The centrepiece of the square is an old victorian water fountain, which you can no longer drink from, but still adds to the charm of the place.
The Jewel in the Crown of the Scottish Highlands! Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses and one of Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited castles. It’s an iconic landmark in the Royal Burgh of Dornoch. Resembling a French chateau, the design was influenced by the works of two of Britain’s greatest architects: Sir Charles Barry who designed London’s Houses of Parliament and Scotland’s own Sir Charles Barry. A visit to the castle is a wonderful family day out. Visitors can explore the house with all its treasures; the beautiful gardens and onsite museum. The Birds of Prey display is highly recommended
Explore the Whisky Trail
For lovers of single malt, Dornoch is the ideal place to learn more about the process and history of Scotland’s national drink. Here you can visit four famous distilleries: Clynelish, Balblair, Glenmorangie and Dalmore. Visit us and raise a glass to your holiday in Scotland.