Wick is a former Viking settlement in the North of Scotland. This town, which extends across the River Wick along both sides of Wick Bay, was once one of the busiest herring ports in Europe during the 19th century. Since then, Wick has grown, and now you won’t believe how many things to do in Wick there are!
The town is named after the Norse ‘Vik’, meaning bay, and attributes much of its heritage to its Viking history. The Vikings used the mouth of the Wick River as a passage for their longships and trading vessels. Ever since, the River Wick has been a staple industry for the tiny fishing village for a long time, slowly growing into this principal town with a large harbour.
Travellers can look forward to a wide variety of excellent attractions and events in Wick.
Things to do in Wick
Did you know that Wick is split into two towns? There are many things to do in Wick proper and Pultneytown, and you should explore both during your visit here.
The town’s surrounding areas boast beautiful white beaches, historic ruins and incredible wildlife. You can enjoy some of the best single malt whisky in Scotland at the Pulteney Distillery or even voyage along the coast and see the fantastic wildlife this far north town offers.
Many visitors also come to this principal town in the far north of Scotland to see the remains of the Castle of Old Wick, known to the town’s locals as the Old Man of Wick. The heritage site sits at the edge of high cliffs, located about half a mile south of Wick Bay and the River Wick.
Two towns mean twice the number of things to do, right? But don’t be overwhelmed, and check out our guide for the top things to do in Wick!
If you are looking for white-sanded beaches in Scotland, tick Sinclair’s Bay off your list. Sinclair Bay is one of the top things to do in Wick! This beautiful tourist spot is known locally as Reiss Beach, so you may hear it being called this during your visit to Wick.
Many visitors come here to spot rare Scottish seabirds and marine life such as seals and orcas.
Sinclair’s Bay is located in Caithness near Wick, and it has 16th-century castles at both ends of the bay and high cliffs situated behind it. Get lost in its sand and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of Sinclair’s Bay.
Looking for more exciting things to do in Wick? Get wet and wild during your next trip to the Scottish Highlands!
Wick is a popular destination for those visiting Scottish beaches for water sports during the summer. Wick and Sinclair’s Bay’s most popular choices for visitors are windsurfing and sand-yachting.
You can also visit Wick Harbour Marina and River Wick and enjoy an exciting tour of the East Caithness coastline. Those that choose this boat tour in Wick can explore caves around the coastline, visit Whaligoe Haven and get close up views of rare species of birds and marine wildlife.
These trips are family-friendly, with seating for 12 passengers.
Wick Heritage Centre
Located in Bank Row, Pultneytown, this exciting tourist attraction is open from Easter until October.
Learn more about Wick’s history and view exhibitions on the town’s herring fishing heritage. Many displays here delve into what working life, community life, and family life have looked like in the 19th-century and even older.
Most famously, you will find the Johnston Photographic Collection, which depicts 115 years of history of Wick. The Wick Heritage Centre is a must-see visiting these stunning Highland towns.
This famous distillery is the most northerly on the Scottish Mainland. This site has made Pulteney single malt whisky for over two centuries, and Wick locals are incredibly proud of its history.
Pulteney Distillery has been crafting single malt Scotch whisky since 1826. This must-see tourist attraction in Wick is located by the town’s stunning harbour, and Pulteney Distillery believes that the whisky that it makes is the embodiment of the town’s history and community. It is most famous for its “Genuine Maritime Malt”.
Guests to the distillery can experience the distilleries’ craftsmanship firsthand during a tour or tasting experience.
Castle Sinclair Girnigoe
The Castle Sinclair Girnigoe is undoubtedly one of Wick’s most spectacular attractions! The Girnigoe Castles sits on the edge of Sinclair Bay and boasts some of the best views of the North Sea.
However, the main attraction is the Castle itself. It shows its age since it was built in 1470, but the Castle is still striking. Castle Sinclair was once a trendy cultural, artistic, and social hub for the powerful Sinclair family.
Wandering through the ancient stone Girnigoe castles amidst the sea stacks and sheer cliffside is a fantastic experience you should see while in Wick town centre.
Journey on Caithness Seacoast
Feel the thrill as you zoom through the towering sea stacks of Caithness and scout the various species that make their home in the waters near this fishing port aboard the Caithness Seacoast.
These incredible voyages along the coast of Wick Bay allow you to experience Scotland in an entirely new light, with plenty of wildlife like puffins, dolphins, seals, and much more!
You can’t beat the smell of fresh air, and the feeling of racing along the waves – The Caithness Seacoast can offer you an experience unlike any other.
Taking a visit to the famous John o’Groats is one of the top things to do in Wick, as the northernmost town in Scotland is but a 20-minute journey from the city.
A quick picture with the famed John o’Groats signpost is always a great way to commemorate a long journey north, but don’t forget to check out the surrounding trail walks and gorgeous views while in this tourist town.
John o’Groats is too important to skip out on, especially when it’s just a few miles north of Wick!
Castle of Old Wick
One of the most striking medieval sites is perched near the town of Wick, with absolutely incredible views. The Castle of Old Wick is a sight to behold and is about a mile south of Wick itself.
As you take a brief walk up to the Castle, you can enjoy some of the most dramatic scenery you’ll likely see in Scotland. Twin gullies and cliffs, colossal sea stacks, and the ancient ruins of the Castle of Old Wick create a sense of wonder as you explore the site.
The Old Man of Wick is a grand sight near the town of Wick, so make sure to visit this monumental place while you’re travelling through.
Wick John o’Groats Airport
Not interested in taking the long route of the North Coast 500 to arrive at Wick? No problem! The Wick Airport is an excellent way to get straight into the action and avoid a long journey if you’re short on time.
For budding plane spotters, the Wick Airport is also your one-stop shop for fascinating aviation sights, with many different kinds of aeroplanes landing every day that you won’t be able to spot elsewhere in Scotland.
Whether you’re coming or going, enjoy some time at the Wick Airport and the surrounding attractions.
Just South of Wick Bay is the impressive Cairn o’Get, a fascinating historical site that allows you to immerse yourself into the Scotland of 5000-years ago! This burial cairn was once thought to be over 3-metres tall and sealed by massive stones and now can be fully explored by visitors.
You can see this cairn today, although it is no longer the behemoth it once was, along with other prehistoric and Neolithic monuments scattered around this hotspot. It also boasts incredible views of the surrounding highlands.
Taking a trip down to the fantastic Cairn o’Get is definitely worth your while and an experience you won’t soon forget!
Nucleas: Nuclear and Caithness Archive
The Nuclear and Caithness Archive is one of the most unique attractions you can see while on holiday in Wick. Located near the Wick Airport, check out this incredible Archive before heading to Wick proper.
The Archive contains photographs, film, and documents that help describe the UK civil nuclear industry dating over 70 years! You can learn about atomic bombs, the Cold War, and how Wick played a part in gathering intelligence on atomic sites.
This fantastic visitor centre is open to the public, and you can even research and trace your lineage through the Caithness Archives nearby.
Noss Head Lighthouse
The Noss Head Lighthouse is a strikingly picturesque tower fashioned in gold-and-white like many other famous Scottish lighthouses. This Lighthouse was built in 1849 and still stands as one of Wick’s premier destinations to visit.
If this Lighthouse genuinely enchants you, book a room next to it and spend a day or two relaxing. That’s certainly a story to take home after your holiday!
The Noss Head Lighthouse is one of the most famous viewpoints and attractions you can experience while travelling through the North Coast 500 and Wick.
Welcome to Ebenezer Place, the Guinness World Record holder for the shortest street in the world! This pint-sized stretch of concrete is an adorable oddity within Wick’s town centre and makes for a great destination to visit for curiosity.
The street is a mere 2-metres long and houses only one address, the MacKays Hotel. If you’re feeling the novelty, feel free to book a room at this excellent piece of accommodation.
But whether you’re interested in staying at MacKays Hotel or just checking out the world’s shortest street, a visit to Ebenezer Place is well worth the trip!
The fascinating Nybster Broch settlement dates back to over 2500-years old! It includes a few incredible pieces of history like an old stone fisherman’s building and the Caithness broch centre. Was this settlement once a tiny fishing village?
The Broch is also located near the coastline, making it a great place to explore. You may be lucky enough to spot pods of orcas and dolphins bounding through the Scottish waters or enjoy the wide variety of seabirds in the region.
Nybster Broch is an attraction you won’t want to miss when visiting the former Viking settlement of Wick, Scotland.
Old Keiss Castle
The mighty Old Keiss Castle sat north of Wick at the end of Sinclair Bay and was one of the three incredible fortresses used to control this portion of the Scottish Mainland.
This impressive tower castle is a fantastic sight as you head north from the town of Wick and a must-see for anyone who has an interest in Scottish highlands history. The Old Keiss Castle is said to have been George Sinclair’s favourite residence, and the Castle was used as a fort during the second world war.
Old Keiss Castle is an excellent attraction a few miles north of the town of Wick that warrants a visit to its historic and incredible abodes.
North Coast 500 Alpacas
Just South of the town centre of Wick is the fantastic North Coast 500 Alpacas, one of the best places to check out if you’re travelling along this famed route. With not only stunning views of the North Sea and the cliffs that make Wick heritage what it is today but an unforgettable experience with these adorable creatures.
You may be surprised to find alpacas this far north, but don’t dismay as these furry creatures are happily living here just south of Wick. Feel free to take a selfie or take it even further and have a premium alpaca experience like an alpaca picnic or wedding!
North Coast 500 Alpacas certainly is a unique experience that is difficult to say no to since these alpacas are so adorable.
Scotland allows for unbelievable views into history, especially the Neolithic era. This is more true than a trip down to the Camster Cairns, South of Wick, and home to over 4000-year old burial cairns.
Although the Cairns have been reconstructed in recent years, they still offer an unparalleled view into the fascinating burial rites of civilizations and tribes. While most cairns were ravaged by modern farming, Camster Cairn is one of the few cairns you can visit throughout Scotland.
This Neolithic site is one you shouldn’t miss out on while traversing through Wick.
It’s very easy to feel minuscule when walking down the impressive Whaligoe Steps amongst the three sheer cliffs surrounding you and the ocean crashing against the sea stacks.
These 250-feet tall cliffs form one of the most incredible natural harbours, and you can reach this special spot by making your way down the Whaligoes Steps. Three hundred sixty-five steps move you down towards this powerful location in the middle of Scotland.
If you’re interested in stunning views of the sea and the impressive towering cliffside all around you, then the Whaligoe Steps are your destination!
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