IT’S regarded as Scotland’s ultimate road trip. The North Coast 500 takes in more than 500 miles of the fantastic North Highlands and all it has to offer.
The route starts and ends in Inverness, going round the capital of the Highlands, round the West Coast and back via the beautiful north coast. Before you travel this scenic route, here are a selection of must-visit places and ideas you simply have to include on your itinerary…
At Inverness 4×4 they can offer a large selection of vehicles for hire to make the experience even more enjoyable. Why not hire a Range Rover or Land Rover Discovery, Defender or the amazing Mercedes GLC?
With a base in Inverness, they can have your chosen vehicle waiting for you at Inverness airport ready to drive away. Start your adventure today! Visit the website here.
Set within 20 acres of Victorian parkland, the luxurious Old Drynie House Bed and Breakfast is situated on the Black Isle. It is rated 4 stars by VisitScotland and boasts a 9.6 “Exceptional” rating on Booking.com.
It was also awarded “Luxury B&B of the Year”. Don’t take their word for it; here is a review from last summer: “Situated in a stunning location on the Black Isle, Old Drynie House is the perfect place to start and finish the NC500. Alasdair and Deirdre took a genuine interest in us, and on our return welcomed us back like old friends. Old Drynie House is probably the finest example of Highland hospitality you could wish to find.”
Start and finish your NC500 journey with Old Drynie House, only a 10-minute drive from Inverness City centre and, for a real taste of Highland hospitality, make sure to book direct with Alasdair or Deidre on 07989 387 676 or enquire through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gairloch Heritage Museum takes visitors on a journey through the history of Wester Ross, exploring the culture, customs and natural heritage of this beautiful area.
The museum has been described as a ‘Highlight of the Highlands’, and the ‘Best Little Museum in Scotland’. Museum displays tell the stories of the people and landscape of Gairloch and the surrounding area from prehistoric times to the present day, celebrating the unique Gaelic culture of the area.
Prize exhibits include the first Pictish stone found on the West Coast mainland, one of the largest Fresnel lenses ever made, from nearby Rua Reidh lighthouse, and the oldest rocks in Europe. Displays, including a replica croft house and locally built fishing boats, show how people lived, worked, and worshipped in times gone by.
If you have ancestors from the Gairloch area, the museum is the place to explore your family history.
As well as archival records, visitors can access the wealth of research on local families undertaken over the years by museum volunteers, and a library of more than 4000 photographs.
With interactive activities to help families enjoy the displays and temporary exhibitions running throughout the visitor season, this is a must see attraction.
Is this Scotland’s most fantastic beach house? The Estate Office’s location in Applecross, at the heart of the North Coast 500, is perfect. This lovely house sits right on the beach, with wonderful views across Applecross Bay, towards Skye, Raasay and the Cuillins.
Inside, the Estate Office is fresh, bright and very well presented, with six bedrooms and four bathrooms. One bedroom with en-suite is on the ground floor so useful for guests with mobility issues. The enclosed garden is ideal for kids and dogs. A moment’s walk takes you to the famous Applecross Inn – renowned for its food and friendliness. Other great eateries are also within walking distance.
Applecross is a gem of a spot – be sure to travel here via the spectacular Beallach na Ba – not for the faint hearted, but the views are magnificent.
Cottages & Castles is the UK’s No. 1 for self-catering holiday properties in Scotland. With over 500 to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect base to tour the North Coast 500 and visit some of Scotland’s most amazing scenery and heritage.
Whether you’re local to the Highlands or visiting the area from further afield, a motorhome is a great way to explore the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
Find out what everyone is talking about and take the ultimate road trip round the north coast of Scotland in the comfort and luxury of one our Zefiro 675 motorhomes. Go at your own pace and take in the stunning beauty of the coastal road with bookings available from as little as £100 per day!
For an unforgettable drive, head up the Bealach
The Bealach na Ba (“Pass of the cattle”) is not a single attraction, it doesn’t have a visitor centre, and there are no visitor facilities as such. But the Bealach is an unforgettable drive up and along one of the most dramatic roads on mainland UK, rivalling many a Swiss mountain pass and with terrific views across much of Wester Ross, the whole of Skye, and the Islands of Rum and the Outer Hebrides. You will NOT forget this drive as long as you live!
Isle Maree is a must-visit location
Isle Maol Rubha, Isle Maree, has the remains of a chapel, graveyard, holy well, and holy tree on it, believed to be an 8th century hermitage.
Isle Maree also attracted the sick and the insane, who drank from its holy well and plunged into the loch three times in the hope of a cure. The same island also contains ancient stands of oak and holly which have been linked with ancient Scottish druids.
A major feature of the Loch is the large number of islands which it holds; the larger contain pristine remnants of ancient Caledonian Pinewood. Some of these Scots Pine trees are over 350 years old, and stand on ground which has changed little in the last 8000 years.
Melvich Beach is one of NC500’s underrated beaches
Hidden away on the rugged north coast, Melvich Beach is one of the NC500’s most underrated beaches. With nesting terns in the dunes, jumping salmon along the pretty halladale river flowing into the sea nearby and gorgeous golden sand – Melvich Beach has all that’s great about Scotland’s beaches.
Don’t miss out on one of the most breathtaking landscapes
Dating back to the 16th century and laying precariously on a rocky peak jutting out into Sutherland’s Loch Assynt, Ardvreck Castle represents a major part of highland history.
Now accompanied by a parking area and much-improved path, there can be no excuse for missing out on one of the most breathtaking mountain landscapes in central Sutherland.