Things to do around Thurso

1 Historylinks Museum, Dornoch

Enjoy the history of Dornoch including the Vikings, Cathedral, feuding clans, Scotland’s last witch, golf and the railway. Many unique films and slide shows. There is much to involve children.

Open April, May and October Mon – Fri. Open 7 days June – September 10am – 4pm

Tel: 01862 811275     www.historylinks.org.uk

2 Orcadian Stone Shop, Golspie

Enjoy our wonderful display of minerals, crystals and fossils – the largest private collection in Scotland. Buy gemstone wellery, mineral specimens, fossils, stone giftware, geological maps and books.

Open Easter – October

Tel: 01408 633483     www.orcadianstone.co.uk

3 Dunrobin Castle, Golspie

Dunrobin Castle dates from 1400 and contains magnificent displays of furniture, paintings and family silver. Falconry displays and natural history museum. Formal gardens, tearooms and gift shop.

Open daily from 1 April – 15 October

Tel: 01408 633177     www.dunrobincastle.co.uk

 4 Timespan Heritage & Arts Centre, Helmsdale

Explore the history of East Sutherland by visiting this fascinating museum and arts centre. Regularly changing heritage and visual arts exhibitions. Quality local art and craft shop. Relax in the riverside cafe.

Open Mon – Sat 10am-5pm/ Sun 12pm-5pm

N Tel: 01431 821327     www.timespan.org.uk

 5 Dunbeath Heritage Centre

Explore the rich past of a Caithness strath. Neil M. Gunn’s “Highland River” and “Silver Darlings” landscape. Local history,  guided walks, art installations and archaeology exhibition. Bookshop.

Open Sun – Fri 10am – 5pm Apr – Sep / Mon – Fri 11am – 3pm Oct –Mar

Tel: 01593 731233

6 Clan Gunn Museum, Latheron

Follow one of Scotland’s oldest clans from its Norse origins to the present day, its skirmishes with other local clans and the Scotsmen who discovered America before Columbus. Video presentation, clan archive and shop.

Open daily June – Sep

Tel: 01593 741700

7 Northshore Pottery &

Patricia Niemann Jewellery, Latheron

Studio and showroom shared by Jenny Mackenzie Ross, potter and sculptor, and Patricia Niemann, goldsmith and designer. One-off items of stoneware, porcelain, fine jewellery, glass and textiles made on site.

Open Mar – Dec Wed-Sat 10am – 5pm

Tel: 01593 741777     www.patbat.com

 8 Waterlines Visitor Centre, Lybster

Lybster’s history as Scotland’s third largest herring port and the natural history of the area. Video and live TV of nesting bird colonies. Facilities for yachtsmen. Coffee shop.

Open daily May – Sep

N Tel: 01593 721520

 9 Yarrows Archaeological Trail

The two horned cairns known respectively as South Yarrows South and South Yarrows North are located on a ridge verlooking the Loch of Yarrows and form part of the Yarrows Archaeological Trail. Three chambered cairns known as Warehouse North, South and East can be seen on the ridge to the south of the Loch. A fine example of a broch (Iron Age tower) stands on the lochside, and a number of Bronze Age hut circles are visible along the trail.

 10 Thrumster Station

Thrumster Station on former Wick- Lybster light railway with picnic area and walks to woodland and archaeology sites

 11 Camster Cairns, Historic Scotland

The Grey Cairns of Camster remain among the best preserved chambered cairns in Northern Scotland. Careful excavation and restoration makes them accessible to visitors.

Open all year round

www.historic-scotland.gov.uk

 12 Clan Sinclair Study Centre, Noss Head, Wick

A collection of 3000 books and other research material which is a must for scholars and historians who are interested in Scottish history, Freemasonry, The Crusades and Knights Templar.

Tel: 01955 606700

13 Caithness Archive Centre, Wick

As part of the Highland Council Archive Service, the Caithness Archive Centre is responsible for collecting, preserving and making accessible archives relating to the history of the county of Caithness.

Opening hours: Mon, Tue & Thu 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 5.30pm; Fri 10am – 1pm, 2pm – 5pm; Wed, Sat, Sun – closed.

Tel: 01955 606432     www.highlandarchives.org.uk/caithness.asp

 14 Wick Heritage Museum

The largest museum in the North of Scotland. Allow at least 1.5 hours for your visit. There is enough nostalgia and information to last you a lifetime!

Open Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm Last entry 3.45pm

Tel: 01955 605393     www.wickheritage.org     www.johnstoncollection.net

 15 Pulteney Distillery and Visitor Centre, Wick

Most Northerly distillery on the Scottish Mainland. Old Pulteney 21 Years Old wins ‘World Whisky of the Year’ in Jim Murray’s 2012 Whisky Bible awards. A tour is the ideal way to experience the traditional methods of producing our award winning whisky.

Open May – Sep Mon –Sat 10am – 4pm Oct – Apr – Mon – Fri 10am – 1pm/ 2pm to 4pm. Tours 11am and 2pm or by arrangement

Tel: 01955 602371     www.oldpulteney.com

 16 Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, Noss Head

The finest medieval/ renaissance castle in the north of Scotland and the only one to be listed by the World Monuments Fund. Currently the subject of a preservation programme.

Open all year

Tel: 01955 606700     www.sinclairgirnigoe.org

 17 Lyth Arts Centre

A unique and attractive arts venue presenting a wide programme of music, theatre and visual art with summer exhibitions of work by both established British and foreign artists as well as the best fine art and craft by local artists. Tea/coffee and home baking available.

Open daily July and August 2pm – 5pm.

N Tel: 01955 641434     www.lytharts.org.uk

 18 Caithness Broch Centre, Auckengill

An ambitious high quality exhibition looking at who lived in the brochs, who excavated them and the legacies the brochs bring to the present day communities..

Open Apr – Sep Mon – Fri (plus Sat July & Aug) 10.30am – 4.30pm

Tel: 01955 631377

 19 John O’Groats Ferries

Day tours of the Orkney Islands from John O’Groats every summer morning – Let us take you away for a fascinating day out. Wildlife cruises from John O’Groats harbour run daily at 2.30pm from 20 June to 31 August.

Open daily May – Sep 8am – 8pm

Tel: 01955 611353     www.jogferry.co.uk

 20 The Castle of Mey

The Queen Mother’s home in Caithness with walled garden, animal centre, tearoom and gift shop.

Open May – Sep, closed 26 July – 9 August

Tel: 01847 851473     www.castleofmey.org.uk

 21 St. John’s Pool & bird hides, Brough

A unique birdwatching experience in Northern Scotland Hide open all year.

N      www.stjohnspool-birds.co.uk

 22 Mary Ann’s Cottage, Dunnet

Historic croft cottage showing how successive generations of one family lived and worked over 150 years. Display of 19th century farming implements. Visitors are personally conducted on a tour which brings to life Mary-Ann’s story.

Open June – Sep 7 days a week 2pm – 4.30pm

Tel: 01847 851765

www.caithness.org/community/musuems/maryannscottage

 23 Seadrift Centre Countryside Ranger Base

Visit the Seadrift Centre to be introduced to life around Dunnet Bay and beyond, season by season. Have fun discovering all about the local wildlife, geology and history with the interactive displays. Chat to the local Countryside Ranger based here to learn even more about what to see in the area. Free entry.

Open May, June and Sep 2pm – 5pm July and August 12.30pm – 5pm except Thurs and Sat.

N Tel: 01847 821531

www.highland.gov.uk/leisureandtourism/what-to-see/rangers/

Email: paul.castle@highland.gov.uk

 24 Castlehill Heritage Centre, Castletown

Heritage trail round site of 19th century flagstone works. Magnificent coastal setting. Eco-friendly heritage visitor centre, garden and archaeological research lab. Themed exhibitions, displays and traditional skills workshops. Picnic area.

Open Wed, Sat and Sun 2pm – 4pm other times by arrangement

Tel: 01847 821204     www.castletownheritage.co.uk

 25 Caithness Horizons, Thurso

The restored Thurso Town Hall and Carnegie Library is an accredited museum and 5 star visitor attraction that interprets the history of Caithness. Permanent and changing exhibitions, audio visual theatre, shop and cafe. Free entry.

Open Mon – Sat 10am – 6pm all year round Sun 11am – 4pm April – Sep

Tel: 01847 896508     www.caithnesshorizons.co.uk

 26/30/32 Scottish Natural Heritage

National Nature Reserves (NNR) and other sites ranging from Achanarras Fossil Quarry (26) and geological trails at Knockan Crag (30) to coastal woodlands of Loch Fleet NNR (32)

For more information visit     www.nnr-scotland.org.uk

 27 RSPB Forsinard Flows National Nature Reserve

Visit our 4 star visitor centre at the Forsinard Nature Reserve on the A897 between Melvich and Helmsdale. Be green, get the train from Inverness, Thurso or Wick, straight to the door. Discover the bog pools and wildlife of the flow country on a guided walk with one of our staff or use one of our leaflets to explore at your own pace! Free entry

Open Visitor centre April – October 9am – 5pm. Free entry. Guided walks Tues & Thurs May to aug. Self-guided trails open all year; Dubh Lochan trail 1 mile, Forsinain Trail 4 miles (a 10 minute drive from Forsinard to the start/finish point)

Tel: 01641 571225     www.rspb.org.uk/Forsinard

 28 Strathnaver Museum

The theme of the museum is the tragic story of the Highland Clearances as well as artefacts from crofting life during the 19th century. Dedicated Clan Mackay room.

Open Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm closed Sun

N – ground floor only.

Tel: 01641 521418     www.strathnavermuseum.org.uk

 29 North West Highlands Geopark, Assynt

Scotland Geopark, extending over 2000sq km, comprising some of Britain’s finest mountain and coastal landscapes with a wealth of classic rock formations which are internationally recognised for geological research.

Email:     info@northwest-highlands-geopark.org.uk 

www.northwest-highlands-geopark.org.uk

31 Ferrycroft Visitor Centre, Lairg

4 star visitor attraction. New family friendly displays, touch screens, listening posts. Wildlife, archaeology, local history, hydro scheme and the mart. Tourist Information Centre.

Open Easter to October admission free.

N Tel: 01549 402160     www.visitlairg.com

Produced by Caithness & Sutherland Visitor Attraction Group – Design and artwork by Designsmith – Photographs courtesy of Caithness Biodiversity Group – Information correct at time of publication – March 2012