Touring in Scotland's Far North
Scotland certainly packs a punch with its offerings to visitors from around the world. The North Highlands region is known for its rugged beauty and compelling history. Our great advantage is both the variety and proximity of attractions to Links House, outlined in a summary of the Tours shown below . It is also possible to explore any section of the North Coast 500 from Links House in a single day – see Map.
Links House can offer a ‘Guided Tour’ service, with an experienced and knowledgeable Driver/Guide. Half-day tours cover local attractions such as Dunrobin Castle and Full-day tours will enable guests to visit a combination of attractions, with a lunch stop at a recommended restaurant.
Links House provide an excellent ‘Guided Tour’ service . Some example tours are shown below
Just to the north of Dornoch, is said to be the most northerly of Scotland’s great houses.
The family seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherland since the 14th century, it is the largest stately home in the North Highlands, boasting an incredible 189 rooms. Resembling a fairytale French château, Dunrobin was designed by Sir Charles Barry, who was also responsible for the Houses of Parliament, and Sir Robert Lorimer.
Dunrobin underwent two main renovations. The first major re-design and renovation took place between 1835 and 1850 by Sir Charles Barry, who was already famous for his work at the Palace of Westminster. The second renovation was undertaken by the Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer, following a fire during World War 1, when Dunrobin was used as a field hosital for wounded servicemen
Dunrobin Castle’s formal Victorian garden is said to have been inspired by that at the Palace of Versailles in Paris and has changed little in 150 years. The sheltered gardens support a plethora of plants, including the extraordinary native South American plant, Gunerra, with its rough giant leaves.
This tour explores the far north of Scotland.
A full day tour to this far northern outpost can follow the Caithness loop of the NC 500 route, using the Links House NC 500 map. Some attractions along the way include the Timespan Museum in Helmsdale, the most northerly tip of mainland UK John O Groats and the Castle of Mey. The castle and Gardens was the home of the late Queen Mother and is a popular visitor attraction.
This tour explores the geographical and historical phenomenon of Loch Ness.
There are various ways to find out more about Loch Ness – either by a visit to Urquhart Castle or to the Loch Ness Centre Exhibition or by taking a cruise on the loch with the Jacobite cruise company. Following Loch Ness, it is a short journey to the Highland capital Inverness. This is the largest urban settlement in the Highlands and Islands region and provides visitors with a good choice of pubs and restaurants and some good shops. It also has a Castle that was blown up during the Jacobite rising of 1745, a Victorian market and a famous second-hand bookshop – Leakeys.
Venture West tour explores the western coast of the North Highlands in the Wester Ross region.
The route takes in the interesting Highland town of Strathpeffer, the Corrieshalloch Gorge (UK’s deepest gorge), the Arctic Convoy Museum in Aultbea and the Inverewe Gardens. The Loch Ewe area of Wester Ross was the centre of naval operations during World War 2 for the Arctic Convoys, in support of Russia against German forces. The small museum in Aultbea tells more about this part of the war effort. The Inverewe Gardens, created in the mid 19th century by Osgood MacKenzie and his daughter, is now home to an amazing collection of plants, shrubs and trees from all over the world.
The Outlander Tour is a must for any fan of the drama series Outlander.
From Links House we travel south west for 50 minutes to the first stop at Beauly. This is the heartland of the Fraser family, where Jamie’s family and ancestors are from. After a visit to the Beauly Priory and a quick coffee break at the more modern Beauly Deli, we travel over the mountains to Loch Ness. A visit to Urquhart Castle will set the scene for the background history to the Jacobite movement and give a chance for visitors to be at the waters edge – where Claire saw the Water Horse! This is followed by the short drive to Inverness and a lunch break and walk around the town. The final part of the tour takes in Clava Cairns, the Neolithic burial site where Claire is transported back in time and finally to Culloden Battlefield.
Near Inverness dates from the late 14th century.
This private fortress of the Thanes of Cawdor is perhaps most famous for featuring in Shakespeare’s Macbeth though its severe exterior belies a surprisingly sumptuous interior filled with fine furniture, tapestries and works of art.
The castle boasts three gardens, an area of woodland – Cawdor Big Wood – and its own nine-hole golf course. The Walled Garden dates from the 16th century and now serves as the castle’s kitchen garden. The Flower Garden can be enjoyed from Spring through to Autumn (Fall) and is replete with herbaceous borders and ornamental trees. The Wild Garden is the newest addition to the estate and is full of azaleas, rhododendrons, daffodils, willows and bamboos, all set among tall ancient trees.
In Caithness was formerly known as Barrogill Castle. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother is said to have fallen for the isolated charms of the castle while mourning the death of her husband, King George VI, in 1952.
Having acquired the castle, The Queen Mother set about renovating and restoring it as well as creating the stunning castle gardens that remain to this day. For nearly half a century The Queen Mother would spend her summers there, surrounded by members of the Royal family, in splendid isolation.
The castle was built between 1566 and 1572 and from a distance its turrets and gun slits give it a striking appearance. The castle gardens –protected from gales and sea spray by the 12 feet tall Great Wall of Mey – consist of the Walled Garden, the East Garden and a woodland area, which mostly remain faithful to the original 1952 design. The Queen Mother, herself a keen gardener, is said to have contributed greatly to the evolution of the garden during her tenure.
Recently the Diamond Jubilee Rose Garden was planted to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 10th anniversary of the death of The Queen Mother.
We customise a variety of Whisky Tours, depending upon guest requirements.
A local Whisky Tour can take in any of our nearest Single Malt Distilleries – Glenmorangie, Balblair, Dalmore and Clynelish and this can be followed by a visit to the award-winning Carnegie Whisky Cellars in Dornoch. A Speyside Tour is also an excellent option for guests who wish to visit some of the big names of Speyside – such as Macallan and Glenfiddich. This is an opportunity to tour the new 100 million pound Macallan Distillery.