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Thurso
Travel Guide

Thurso which includes street scenes and heritage architecture

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
The price is £90 per night from 21 May to 21 May
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. ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (172 reviews)
"easy to find this hotel and easy to park my car. Pleased with the friendly staff and show us the bedroom. No complains from us"

Reviewed on 12 May 2021

Park Hotel
Forss House Hotel
Forss House Hotel
4 out of 5
Forss, Thurso, Scotland
Get Rates
Situated in Thurso, this hotel is 5.5 mi (8.8 km) from Caithness Horizons and within 12 miles (20 km) of Scrabster Ferry Terminal and Dunnet Bay Beach. Castle ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (122 reviews)
"Great stay at forss hotel. Staff were very accommodating during covid times."

Reviewed on 9 Oct 2020

Forss House Hotel
Northern Sands Hotel
Northern Sands Hotel
3 out of 5
Dunnet, Dunnet Head, Thurso, Scotland
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £120 per night from 3 Jun to 3 Jun
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. ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (48 reviews)
Nice hotel to stay at.
"Nice hotel to stay whilst on a pit stop tour of Northern Scotland"

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2020

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.
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 cottage is 0.9 mi (1.5 km) from Strathnaver Museum and within 6 miles (10 km) of Farr Beach and Torrisdale Beach. Strathy Bay is 7.5 ...
4.3/5Excellent! (40 reviews)
Great cottage
"It was a lovely cottage nice and cosey although there was a problem with mice in the kitchen and rafters which was a little irritable at nights but apart from that it was good"

Reviewed on 23 Nov 2020

Unique Rustic Cottage, Amazing Views of Wild Places. Family and pet Friendly
The Old Tea Shop
The Old Tea Shop
4 out of 5
Celtic firs, Whitebridge, Scarfskerry, Thurso, Scotland
Situated by the sea, this cottage is 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from Castle of Mey and within 6 miles (10 km) of Dunnet Bay Distillery and Dunnet Bay Beach. Dunnet Head ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (13 reviews)
"Beautiful house close to dunnet, we had a great quiet stay. Felt like home, everything you need u find and more. Will definetly recommend it and come back!"

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2019

The Old Tea Shop
2 Bedroom Apartment - Thurso Self Catering
2 Bedroom Apartment - Thurso Self Catering
Grove Lane & Meadow Court, Thurso, SCT
The price is £160 per night from 16 May to 16 May
Situated in Thurso, this apartment building is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Caithness Horizons and 2.2 mi (3.6 km) from Scrabster Ferry Terminal. Dunnet Bay Beach and ...
2 Bedroom Apartment - Thurso Self Catering
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.

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Reviews of Thurso

3.9

Guest rating

5 - Excellent
13
5 - Excellent 22.413793103448278%
4 - Good
27
4 - Good 46.55172413793103%
3 - Okay
16
3 - Okay 27.586206896551722%
2 - Disappointing
2
2 - Disappointing 3.4482758620689653%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

9 Oct 2019

Thurso appears to have little to offer to the tourist

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

5 Oct 2019

Beautiful scenery and plenty of places to explore, you would need about a month in this area to fully explore and see all the beautiful places throughout this whole area. Would recommend a visit to this beautiful part of Scotland.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

29 Aug 2019

We will be back next year to do the 500. Trust me on this long trip of ours we have stayed in alot worse

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

25 Aug 2019

Great. Lots of places to visit

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

18 Aug 2019

Nice little town

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

31 Jul 2019

Great place to stopover on a beautiful trip around the north coast of Scotland!

Cities near Thurso