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Day One – Inverness to Wester Ross (120 miles)
This driving route could start in Inverness, or further south and we can tailor-make it to suit. Your first destination is in one of the most scenically beautiful and secluded locations in the whole of Scotland in the wild and rugged area of Wester Ross. Your route today includes Loch Ness and the famous Bealach na Bà (Pass of the Cattle), with its series of exhilarating hairpin bends.
Hidden away down a winding single-track road, your accommodation in this heart-stopping corner of Scotland is a recently refurbished Victorian hunting lodge swathed in 26,000 acres of fabulous lochside estate.
After a long drive through vast scenery, take time to relax inside cosy lounges with roaring wood fires, perhaps enjoying a dram from the collection of over 200 malts, or a G&T from one of over 100 gins. Suitably refreshed, with abundant space to roam, enjoy a stroll around the grounds – often having the entire place to yourself – and let the spectacular waterside views sink in.
With a focus on the very best produce from the local larder, dining here is an event to savour. Unhurried, friendly service dovetails perfectly with the superb, ever-changing menu.
Day Two – Exploring Wester Ross
You’ll want to take a little time to stroll the beautifully presented grounds, immersing yourself in the simply spectacular vistas in every direction. This area is right off the beaten track and completely unspoilt. It is perfectly possible to walk all day without seeing another soul, should you so wish. Photographic opportunities are limitless. The mild climate in this part of Scotland is due to the proximity of the Gulf Stream and this encourages a wide diversity of plant and wildlife. Scots Pines are a real feature and are extremely important for national and international conservation. Whilst you are here you may be lucky enough to spot a pine marten, or a golden eagle, or maybe even a peregrine falcon.
Day Three – North to Ross and Cromarty (110 miles)
Your 110-mile route today takes in some of Scotland’s most awe-inspiring coastal touring routes, through ancient crofting settlements and tiny villages, alongside shimmering lochs and in the shadow of intimidating and dramatic mountains. We’ll provide recommendations for our favourite sightseeing, historic and dining stops along the way.
Your hotel in Ross and Cromarty
On a rugged and dramatic peninsula, facing the awe-inspiring Summer Isles archipelago at the mouth of Loch Broom, your hotel is a soothing destination for those wishing to take themselves away from it all. Guests have long loved this location, arriving here to experience an outdoor atmosphere quite unlike any other, where wild land meets calming water under endless skies, returning to the hotel to enjoy a well-earned drink or hearty lunch at the bar, exchanging stories with friendly locals and fellow travellers.
Having recently changed hands to enthusiastic new owners, the hotel’s longstanding reputation as an oasis of calm has been enhanced by a renewed focus on service and a freshening of the en-suite rooms, while the in-house restaurant has undergone a transformation, offering a visionary menu created of the very best local produce to match the staggering views from its picture windows.
Day Four – Around Ross and Cromarty
While we wouldn’t blame you for spending the day relaxing at your hotel, you may be inclined to don the walking boots, pack a picnic and take to the tracks for some of Europe’s best walking, while a serene crossing to discover the Summer Isles could deliver a genuine holiday highlight. On the other hand, the area is riven with challenging driving routes, the equal of any in the UK; we’ll make sure you have plenty of our carefully curated recommendations to help you along the way.
Day Five – Further North to Caithness (138 miles)
Another unforgettable day on the road awaits, with a 138-mile route taking in the drama and romance of Scotland’s far north-western corner and along the North Coast towards your next stop by Thurso. On the way, you’ll uncover even more of the country’s dramatic coastline, taking in hidden hamlets amidst menacing rocky shores, gleaming lochs, expansive sandy beaches and changing scenery along every mile.
Your hotel in Caithness
Beautifully positioned within 20 acres of woodland, below a waterfall by a gently meandering river, this gem on the North Coast is one we never tire of going that bit further to experience. With just 14 comfortably appointed rooms, an acclaimed restaurant serving a menu of the very finest local produce, and with some of the North Coast’s best attractions on the doorstep, this is the perfect spot from which to discover this most fascinating corner of Scotland.
Day Six – Caithness calling
Today you will enjoy a day out with our local driver-guide to explore this fascinating corner of the country, from the famous headlands of John O’Groats and Dunnet Head, to the tiny fishing coves and bays only the locals know. The day can be tailored to suit your preferences.
Later, relax at your hotel with a dram or two before dinner in the cosy and inviting dining room.
Day Seven – Slowly South to Cadboll (129m)
Head away from your hotel, complete your journey along this North Coast section to John O’Groats, where you’ll want to take the time to record your appearance at the UK’s northernmost village, before taking the road to Wick and south to your next hotel. There are some fabulously evocative stopping-off points here, like atmospheric Keiss Harbour and French-renaissance-styled Dunrobin Castle, as well as more terrific driver’s roads, and we’ll make sure you have all the recommendations you need to get the most from your day.
Your hotel in Cadboll
Your accommodation in Cadboll is a fabulously presented house owned by a world-famous malt whisky distiller. The quality of accommodation on offer here is quite simply superb, and every detail is formed to ensure your complete comfort and relaxation. Sumptuous rooms and bathrooms combine with beautifully appointed drawing- and sitting-rooms, where a dram or two is to be enjoyed by a roaring fire. Dinner, which is included on your final night, is served in the breath-taking dining room amidst superb art and artefacts, around a vast antique table, dripping with the finest-quality settings.
Day Eight – Completing the North Coast 500 (65 miles)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast this morning, followed, perhaps, by a bracing stroll on the beach, before heading off for the final 65-mile leg of the North Coast 500 towards Inverness, and picking up your route home.
Your route follows the contours of the far north of Scotland, starting and finishing in Inverness. It is described here in a clockwise direction, but works equally well anti-clockwise.
£1695 per person for April & October, £1755 per person from May to September
Prices based on two people sharing a double/twin room in premium four and five star hotels for seven nights on a bed & breakfast basis, and the final night including dinner.
The holiday also includes a private guided tour of Caithness.
Before your departure, you will receive personalised holiday information including full directions, recommended routes, and suggestions on places to visit depending on your interests and our local knowledge to help you get the most from your holiday.
All itineraries and room types are presented subject to availability at specific hotels.
All our holiday prices include a service charge of £9 per person per night towards the costs we incur in researching, planning and designing your holiday.
We guarantee to refund this service charge if you believe that arranging your holiday through McKinlay Kidd has not met your expectations for value. All we ask is that you write to us within 7 days of your return and explain your reason for claiming the refund. This will ensure that we can improve the experience for all our future guests.
Drive the North Coast 500, Scotland’s acclaimed 516-mile touring route around some of the country’s remotest parts, and chances are you’ll end u...
Loved the opportunity to stay in different hotels that we may not have considered otherwise. Drove the whole route with the car roof down.Peter, East Kilbride, Scotland
Great value for money. Every night and location was very special and the hotels were only eclipsed by the views we experienced.Steven, Lytham, UK
We had very high expectations and you delivered, eg with the room quality in each hotel. All email communication was very prompt and effective as wellJason, Melbourne, Australia
This holiday can be arranged from April to October.
To check the latest availability for this holiday complete the form below or call us. We will respond to your availability check within one working day if at all possible. Please bear with us on this - we work with a hand-picked selection of smaller hotels, guest houses, and other independent businesses, ensuring that you have the chance to explore off the beaten track and really get under the skin of the destination.
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