Dornoch is delightful historic town surrounded by spectacular scenery along with miles of golden sandy beaches. It is close to the National Nature Reserve at Loch Fleet and borders the scenic Dornoch Firth and Moray Firth. Dornoch is an ideal holiday destination with the Royal Dornoch golf course, historic places to visit, and interesting shops. Dornoch as a seaside resort has a wide variety of holiday accommodation, from caravan and camping to hotels, B&B and self-catering cottages. Visit Dornoch for a holiday in the Scottish Highlands.
Dornoch is under 2 miles from the main A9 road and many people pass this wonderful town on their way north to John o’ Groats or driving south to Inverness while on the NC500 route without realising they are missing a gem of a holiday location in the Highlands of Scotland. Dornoch is around 45 miles from Inverness, about an hour’s drive.
Dornoch is home to one of the best golf courses in Scotland – the Royal Dornoch, formed in 1877, with its Championship golf course recognised as one of the top golf courses in the World. There is also the 18-hole Royal Dornoch Struie course, that is more affordable for people on holiday who wish to play on daily basis as weekly tickets are available for this wonderful golf course. Non-members are welcome at the clubhouse. Within an hours drive are many other first class golf courses as well as traditional golf clubs that welcome visitors.
The Dornoch Cathedral was established in 1222, with the first church service being held in the Cathedral in 1239. The building was mostly destroyed in 1570, being burnt down by the Mackays of Strathnaver during local feuding. It was only after the Countess of Sutherland provided £15,000 (well over a million pounds today) in 1835 that the building was restored to the impressive building we see today. It is now a place of worship for the Church of Scotland with visitors of all faiths welcome to services, or for a visit to see the beautiful windows inside the building, and to learn more about the history of the Cathedral.
Dornoch has award winning sandy beaches that is open to all, where you can walk your dog, or have a family picnic, where children can play at the water’s edge, or have a swim. The walk to Dornoch Point provides views down the Dornoch Firth. The nearby family run Dornoch caravan and camping park is an ideal location for a family, dog friendly holiday, visit website for Dornoch caravan park. It is next to the beach and the golf courses. The town has hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation to suit most needs, all with a warm highland welcome for visitors staying a night, or on a short break or longer holiday. The nearby holiday park at Embo is also very popular.
From Dornoch you can walk along the coast to the Embo and onto the National Nature Reserve at Loch Fleet. Remember to take your binoculars and camera with you as there are ospreys, buzzards, and seals around along with other wildlife. Wildflowers are found throughout the sand dunes and in the woodlands around Loch Fleet.
Within the town you will find shops, cafes, pubs and hotel restaurants, along with historical buildings and a local museum. The town has been a coastal resort that has welcomed and looked after visitors for many years, it provides an ideal base to explore the Highlands of Scotland, while being close enough to Inverness for day trips to the city and along the Morayshire coastline, to the towns of Nairn, Elgin and coastal communities such as Findhorn and Burghead.
Closer to Dornoch is the wildlife rich Black Isle, known and loved for the amazing Moray Firth dolphins that can often be seen off the coastline at Chanonry Point near Rosemarkie, or by taking a wildlife boat trip. Inland is the beautiful scenery along the Moray Firth to Bonar Bridge, and Invershin, following the River Oykel, one of Scotland’s salmon and sea trout rivers. The drive alongside the River Oykel provides wonderful and outstanding scenery, where if you walk or cycle you will experience the beauty of the Highlands of Scotland.
This area of the Scottish Highlands is rich in wildlife with nature reserves, woodlands and coastal areas that will delight people who love nature and wildlife.
Golf on the Championship Royal Dornoch is available for golfers that wish to experience one of the best golf courses in Scotland. For all the family there is the 18-hole Struie course. Nearby are many excellent golf courses that can be played from your holiday base at Dornoch, many within an hour or two's drive, or less from the town.
Dornoch Castle was built around 1500 as the home of the bishops of Caithness. In 1859-60 it became a court house, and was made the headquarters of the Sheriff of Sutherland. It later became a hotel. The Castle is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Andrew McCornish. Read more on wiki or download the castle history (pdf).
Dornoch Cathedral - Visit the Dornoch Cathedral website for details of services and visitor access to the Cathedral. Services can also be viewed online. Aerial drone video of Dornoch and the Cathedral by By Robert Wilson provides a wonderful birds eye view of Dornoch and the surrounding area.
You can find additional information on Dornoch on the internet, I have added a few relevant ones: History and information on the Dornoch Mercat Cross (Historic Environment Scotland website), Kyle of Sutherland Angling Association website, Kyle of Sutherland Fisheries, dolphin and nature boat trips, Scottish Wildlife Trust - Loch Fleet. For old online maps see Historical maps zoomed into Dornoch (maps cover all of Britain) on the National Library of Scotland maps website.