Thurso

Travel Guide
Thurso

Britain’s northernmost mainland town, this cheerful vacation resort is a popular surfing center and excellent base for excursions into the surrounding countryside.

Thurso makes a convenient stopover point for visitors continuing to Scrabster, where ferries depart for the Orkney Islands. Many visitors simply transit through this charming town, but it’s worth slowing down to enjoy its quaint traditional shops, bars and restaurants. Walk along the river, check out the history museum and watch surfers on the beach.

Learn about the history of Caithness country at the superb Caithness Horizons Museum. Tracing the development of Caithness from nearly 400 million years ago to the present, the museum features wonderful audiovisuals as well as fine Neolithic and Bronze Age artifacts. Don’t miss the Dounreay exhibit, which explores the impact of the Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR) and its Nuclear Power Establishment on the county.

The town also has lovely beaches, particularly along Dunnet Bay. One of the world’s top cold surf destinations, Thurso offers some of the most consistent surf on mainland Britain. Take a surfing lesson or enjoy watching experienced surfers challenge the waves.

View the ruins of Old St. Peter's Kirk, a church dating back to the 12th century or take a stroll along the River Thurso. One of the most popular trails begins near Waterside House, offering a gorgeous 45-minute walk through the countryside.

Take the bus to visit the nearby Castle of Mey, a favorite summer home of the late Queen Elizabeth. Dating back to the 16th century, this beautifully restored castle offers delightful insight into the life and interests of the Queen Mother. Check out the view over the castle’s Walled Garden to see islands in the North Atlantic Ocean from the top of the turret.

Travel to Dunnett Head to see its evocative 19th-century lighthouse. Set on the northernmost point of the Scottish mainland, the lighthouse’s headland offers magnificent views across the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Islands.

To get here, take the train or bus from Inverness. Thurso is also well connected to Orkney and Shetland by ferry. Enjoy your discovery of the many laid-back charms of Thurso.

Park Hotel
Park Hotel
3 out of 5
Oldfield, Thurso, Scotland
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is AU$129 per night from 2 Nov. to 2 Nov.
Situated in Thurso, this eco-friendly hotel is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Caithness Horizons and within 6 miles (10 km) of Scrabster Ferry Terminal and Dunnet Bay Beach. ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (201 reviews)
"Nice rooms with good amenities. Location was great and quiet. Great dinner and breakfast options, friendly staff."

Reviewed on 6 Oct. 2021

Park Hotel
Pentland
Pentland
3 out of 5
Princes Street, Thurso, Scotland
The price is AU$148 per night from 31 Oct. to 31 Oct.
Located in the heart of Thurso, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.4 km) from Caithness Horizons and within 6 miles (10 km) of Scrabster Ferry Terminal and Dunnet Bay Beach. ...
3.9/5 Good! (125 reviews)
"Close to town, our room was newly decorated but still some snagging issues. Could do with a king size bed plenty of room for one"

Reviewed on 9 Oct. 2021

Pentland
Northern Sands Hotel
Northern Sands Hotel
3 out of 5
Dunnet, Dunnet Head, Thurso, Scotland
The price is AU$194 per night from 23 Oct. to 23 Oct.
Situated near the beach, this eco-friendly hotel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Dunnet Bay Beach, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Dunnet Head Lighthouse and Castle of Mey. ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (62 reviews)
"Great location on NC500, comfortble and spacious room and bed. Very friendly staff, and restaurant with good menu options (including vegetarian), and of excellent quality."

Reviewed on 28 Sep. 2021

Northern Sands Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
The Hideaway
The Hideaway
2 out of 5
Celtic Firs, Scarfskerry, Thurso, Scotland
The price is AU$145 per night from 2 Nov. to 2 Nov.
Situated in Thurso, this campsite is 2.5 mi (4.1 km) from Castle of Mey and within 6 miles (10 km) of Dunnet Bay Distillery and Dunnet Bay Beach. Gills Bay Ferry ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (8 reviews)
"A no-nonsense point to sleep and eat while viewing the sights of Caithness and Orkney (via ferry)"

Reviewed on 29 Aug. 2019

The Hideaway
Unique rustic cottage, amazing views of wild places. Family and pet friendly
Unique rustic cottage, amazing views of wild places. Family and pet friendly
Kips Cottage, 94 Kirtomy, Thurso, SCT
Situated by the sea, this romantic cottage is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Strathnaver Museum and within 6 miles (10 km) of Farr Beach and Torrisdale Beach. Strathy ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (47 reviews)
Full of rustic charm
"This little cottage was everything we wanted for a peaceful romantic getaway -it’s olde worlde and in a beautiful location .it’s not 5 star luxury by any means but if ur into quaint and rustic it’s fabulous"

Reviewed on 10 Sep. 2021

Unique rustic cottage, amazing views of wild places. Family and pet friendly
Bungalow with sea-view, near small town of Thurso.
Bungalow with sea-view, near small town of Thurso.
4 Miller Place, Thurso, SCT
The price is AU$247 per night from 22 Nov. to 22 Nov.
Situated in Thurso, this ski holiday home is 0.9 mi (1.4 km) from Scrabster Ferry Terminal and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Caithness Horizons. Dunnet Bay Beach and ...
4.9/5 Exceptional! (10 reviews)
Astounding views
"Very clean and peaceful."

Reviewed on 12 Sep. 2021

Bungalow with sea-view, near small town of Thurso.
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Thurso

Top activities in Thurso

Cities near Thurso