Your Complete Guide to Thurso

Thurso is the most northerly town in mainland Scotland and is part of the North Coast 500 route. This town is an excellent base for those that want to explore Scotland’s Highlands and Islands.

Planning a trip to this dreamy holiday destination? Read My Voyage Scotland’s complete guide to Thurso.

Things to do in Thurso

This may be a small town, but there is lots to see and do during your visit to Thurso. Spend the day getting to know the town first, take a picnic to its glorious bay and browse around the many traditional shops in this area. 

If you are looking for things to do in Thurso, we have collated a list of the most popular activities here and places to see in and around the town below.

North Coast 500

The beautiful town of Thurso lies on the epic 500-mile Scottish driving route. North Coast 500 is renowned for being on of the most scenic drives in Scotland. This is a popular road trip for tourists that want to see the best bits of the North Highlands. 

This world-famous adventure is loved by camper van owners, bikers and cyclists and no matter what method of transport you choose, you will be amazed by the views you come across on your travels. 

John o’Groats

If you are travelling to this part of Scotland then you must go to John o’Groats. 

Once you have a got your obligatory picture with the John o’Groats sign, take a tour around this amazing part of Scotland. Explore the challenging cliffs around Dunnet Head and take in the beautiful scenery that is unique to this part of the world. 

Northern Lights

Many travel to Thurso to try and catch a glimpse of the enchanting Northern Lights. VisitScotland says that “even when there are low geomagnetic readings, this spectacle can often be seen from Caithness, dancing in clear skies over Orkney”. 

There have been several signings of the Aurora Borealis from Thurso, however, you have to be in the right place at the right time to see this natural wonder. 

Surfing and water sports

When the sun is shining, surfers from all over Scotland will travel to Thurso to enjoy the sport. Thurso hosts many major surfing events and championships, including two World Championships for Kayak surfing. 

Surfing is not your only option, there are plenty of waterspouts providers in the town that can help you to explore the plentiful reefs of Thurso.

Thurso Golf Club 

Thurso’s golf club was founded in 1893. This unique club is proud of being the most Northerly Golf course on the mainland of the United Kingdom.

Its tree-lined parkland course attracts visitors from all over the world as it welcome golfers of all abilities on to its grounds. 

From parts of this course, you will get once in a lifetime views of the Scottish islands and Thurso’s surrounding countryside and hills.

Hotels in Thurso 

There are many hotels and cottages in and around Thurso. You will find a range of options when looking for accommodation, family-friendly guest houses, boutique hotels and comfy cottages.

We have cherry-picked a selection of hotels and B&Bs in Thurso below.

Forss House

The extravagant Forss House sits in the heart of Thurso town. Guests love this four-star hotel because it has everything they need for a comfortable and relaxing stay. 

Onsite you will find a restaurant, bar, garden for you to use at your leisure. A continental breakfast is also available to guests every morning.

This is an excellent place to stay if you want to enjoy outdoor activities in and around this area, why not try hiking and cycling during your next trip.

Pentland Hotel

This pet-friendly hotel in Thurso ticks lots of boxes. It is a six-minute walk away from the bay, and a short drive from the town’s castle. 

Guest who have stayed here in the past have rated this hotel’s great breakfast options and friendly service too and many say they return to this little place in Northern Scotland every year. 

Rooms here are reasonably priced and tend to book up fast during seasonal periods. 

B&Bs in Thurso

If you fancy something a bit more traditional, Thurso has some great B&Bs on offer.

Thurso House 

This traditional Caithness stone cottage is a popular choice for tourists visiting Northern Scotland. If you want somewhere ‘wee’ and traditional, this ‘Sunday House’ is the perfect B&B choice for you!

Just like tradition, the owners of Thurso House Michael and Sheila Elder welcome guests from all over the world to their humble holiday home providing ‘shelter and refreshment’. 

Valley Views

Valley Views Guest House sits just outside of Thurso. It is an excellent base for travellers  as it is 25 minutes from John O’Groats, 15 minutes from the Castle of Mey and 2 miles from the centre of Thurso.

You may have guessed it but this wonderful B&B offers guests panoramic views across the bay to Dunnet Head. 

It’s peaceful, country location makes it a popular choice for couples that are looking for a romantic retreat in this part of the UK.


Skara B&B is open 365 days a year. Guess here are met with panoramic sea and coastal views and friendly comfortable accommodation. 

This wonderful holiday home is a gentle 20 minutes walk from the centre of Thurso, and if you drive you can also park onsite for free. 

Imagine yourself here in the residents’ lounge enjoying the host’s complimentary beverages everything from herbal, peppermint, and chamomile tea to other hot drinks like coffee and hot-chocolate.

Self-catering Thurso

Looking for the full self-catering option? Have a look at our suggestion below.

Baillie Farm Cottage

If you are looking for family-friendly self-catering accommodation in Thurso, check out Ballie Farm Cottage. 

Escape to the countryside and you will be rewarded will be views of the Forss river and quiet, peaceful countryside surroundings. This pretty cottage is situated six miles south-west of Thurso and sleeps up to four adults in two bedrooms.

Guests can choose to rent the cottage for a full week or by the day – perfect for those wanting a short or weekend break near Thurso. 

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