Discover Dornoch on your tour of the Highlands

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What’s on in Dornoch in January

What’s On This Month?

Although January is generally a quieter month after the Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations, it is still packed full of fantastic events taking place in and around Dornoch; Burns Night Celebrations, ballet, cinema, live music and guided walks are among the huge range of activities taking place this month.

Take a look at our ‘What’s On’ Calender here to discover some fantastic events taking place across the Northern Highlands.

Our Pick of the month is Rachel Sermanni and Friends who are playing on Saturday 27th January in the Carnegie Hall in Portmahomack. For more information & to book: 07547589762

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Plan your Summer Holiday in Dornoch and enjoy a short break in Scotland

There is so much happening during the summer in and around Dornoch. Take a look below for details of some of the Highlights of the Dornoch summer calendar. It’s time to plan your short break in Scotland!

Sutherland Show– Saturday 21st July 2018

Sutherland Show is a great day out for all the family with plenty to see and do including the trade stands, main ring of entertainment, sheep, cattle, horses and ponies, poultry, dog show, flower and vegetables and food and crafts.

Well behaved dogs are welcome on leads. Download the show catalogue for the full programme.


 Festival Week– Monday 6th – Saturday 11th August

Dornoch Festival week takes place every year in the week after the Highland Gathering (this year Friday 3 August-

This year you can expect to see all of the usual fun and games including: Sandcastle Competition, Pram Race, Pet Show, Duck Race, Fancy Dress Football, Teddy bear’s picnic, Kid’s treasure hunt, Arts and Crafts, Pipe Band, Baking competition, Family quiz night, Car treasure hunt and loads more besides! A full programme will be available nearer the time both online and in the shops and Visitor Centre.

Get in touch with for further information.

Dornoch Highland Gathering– Friday 3rd August 2018 at the Meadows Park, Dornoch.

The Dornoch Higland Gathering has been held every year since 1887, bar the war years and one unfortunate rainy day. It is a day that locals look forward to all year, where everyone can have fun. Visitors are very welcome.

Come and enjoy the competitions for  piping, Highland dancing, tossing the caber, putting the ball and throwing the hammer. Watch, or take part in, the track & field events of running, cycling, long jump and high jump. See the different techniques used to  “Tilt the Bucket”!

With fairground attractions, stalls and refreshments, children’s races and mini Highland games, this is a day out for all the family. In the evening the Games Night Dance is held in the Marquee at Meadows Park (licensed bar).

Grannie’s Heilan’ Hame

Grannie’s Heilan’ Hame in Embo is open daily during the summer from 9am. There is a Soft Play Area, Swimming Pool, Children’s Entertainment, Amusement Arcade, Bingo & Evening entertainment. Facilities open to all Dornoch visitors. Entry: £15 per head for a weekly ticket. For more information: 01862 810383

Dornoch Beach

Dornoch’s safe, Blue Flag beach, is ideal for families with its gentle shallows, sheltering dunes and miles of golden sands. Perfect for paddling and swimming on warm summer days, exploring rockpools and taking a gentle stroll or carrying on north to Embo.

To book accommodation, see our wide range of quality hotels, B&Bs and Self Catering:

We hope to see you in Dornoch soon!

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Ten things to DO in Dornoch: For Dogs

Susanne Arbuckle from Adventures around Scotland visited Dornoch in July to test out how dog friendly it is. Here is her report to add to our top ten suggestions below.

1) Dornoch and Embo Beaches

Dogs love our beaches! Miles and miles of golden sand to run on and gentle shallow water for a good swim! Both beaches are popular throughout the year. Walk up to the Dornoch point for views towards the Kyle of Sutherland or carry on north to Embo.

2) Camore and Skelbo Woods, Dornoch.

Skelbo woods have a fantastic circular route which takes you through pine woods and native deciduous woodland, over streams and past ancient ruins. It takes about an hour and is a perfect place for your dogs to have a good run!

Camore Woods has miles of well maintained forestry paths for you and your canine friend to explore. Stroll though the native pinewoods and enjoy glimpses of the surrounding countryside and coastline.  You can walk to the woods from the centre of Dornoch for a five mile loop.

3) Dornoch Inn

The Dornoch Inn overlooks the centre of Dornoch: the Cathedral, Castle and Jail. It serves a great range of homemade food including lasagne, burgers and steak & ale pie. The Sunday carvery is very popular and great value with 2 course for £11.95. Dogs are welcome in the bar area, so why not pop into one of their regular live music nights and have a dance with your pooch! 

4) Simply the Best Fair trade shop, Dornoch.

Simply the best sells a wonderful range of fairly traded, organic, ethically sourced and eco friendly gifts, clothes, jewellery and toys. Dogs are welcome to come and browse with you, and they even provide a water bowl and dog treats!

5) Mitchell’s Chemist, Dornoch.

Take your dog shopping in the chemist! Mitchell’s sell much more than you would expect a chemist to stock and are also home to the Post Office. There is a photo printing facility and they stock all beach essentials- suncream, hats and flip flops! Dogs are allowed in and there are also two dog loops outside if you would prefer to leave your dog to watch the world go by whilst you browse. Water bowl also provided.

6)  Coast Candles, Dornoch.

Coast candles are Dornoch’s very own hand poured candle shop. They are situated right in the centre of the town at Dornoch Square. The shop is filled with fantastic scents and is the perfect place to visit to get a gift to take home with you. Well behaved dogs on leads are welcomed and water/treats are provided.

7) Eagle Hotel, Dornoch

The Eagle is a friendly hotel in the centre of Dornoch. It welcomes non residents to eat in it’s cosy restaurant area.

The Eagle’s menu includes authentic home cooked food and award winning real ales. There is a lovely beer garden as well as tables outside on Castle Street. Dogs are welcome to join you outside, whilst you have a meal or a drink in the sun. Dog water bowl provided.

8) Gordon House Coffee Shop and Gallery, Dornoch.

The coffee shop at Gordon House Gallery is a small bespoke affair offering homemade soup, made to order sandwiches, toasties, ciabattas and fresh salads as well as a decadent selection of cakes from luxurious cheesecakes and giant meringues to moreish scones. There is seating outside with views of the cathedral where your furry friend is very welcome to join you. They also supply a dog water bowl.

9) Dornoch Castle Hotel

The Dornoch Castle hotel is famed for it’s Whisky bar and fantastic locally sourced menu. Whether you want that special candle-lit dinner in the Garden Restaurant which overlooks the formal walled gardens, or a more informal meal in comfortable surroundings in front of the roaring log fire in the 11ft fireplace, which was formerly the Bishop’s kitchen in the 1500s, there is an excellent choice of dishes. If you want to bring your dog with you to experience the ambience of the historic Castle Hotel, visit on a sunny day and enjoy your food in the wonderful walled garden where dogs are more than welcome to join you whilst you eat.

10) Dunrobin Castle

Dunrobin is set in beautiful surrounding between woodland and the sea. The Castle itself does not allow dogs but there are plenty of places in the grounds where you can stroll with your dog during your visit. You can easily get down onto the beautiful beach below the castle and wander as far as Brora to the North or  Golspie to the South. There is also the Big Burn walk as well as Ben Braggie to climb so lots to explore in the area around the castle.


Other Dog Friendly places:

  • Kincraig provide dog water outside their shop.
  • Historylinks Museum has a pole to tie dogs to and provide water.
  • St Finnbarr’s Charity Shop has  railings outside which are ideal for dogs to be tied to whilst you browse. There is also a bowl of water provided.
  • Spend £10 at Dornoch Farm Butchers and receive a free dog bone!


Dog friendly accommodation in Dornoch:


Royal Golf Hotel






St Callan’s Manse

The Bank House

Del Mar


Self Catering:

Knockbreck House

Balloan Cottage

Green keeper’s Cottage

8 Gilchrist Square

Wester Whinhill

Golfer’s rest

Golf Cottage

Collies Lodge

Curling Pond

Blacksmith’s Cottage

The Hideaway

Achnacarry Cottage

The Coach House

Drumdivan House

2 Bridge Street

Balvraid Steading

Links Cottage


Glebe House

2nd Green


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Visit Dornoch in 2018

Visit Dornoch in 2018 to see all the Highlands has to offer in one place! An hour north of Inverness, Dornoch is an ideal stopping point on your tour of the North Coast 500, and a great base for a longer stay to explore Sutherland, Caithness & Ross-shire.

To help you plan your break we have produced a leaflet with all the main events for 2018, together with details of things to do, places to see, shop, eat and stay.

Dornoch is a great destination at any time of year – take a walk on the beach on a crisp November day, enjoy a dram at the Dornoch Whisky Festival in October, or join us for the famous Hogmanay Street Party.

During the summer the Pipe Band plays in the Square on Saturday evenings, and Community Markets are run on 2nd & 4th Wednesdays of the month. Join us for the major event of the year – the Sutherland Show on 21st July or the Donegal to Dornoch Country & Western Festival on 28th July. Come to the traditional Highland Games on 4th August, followed by Festival Week – with activities for all the family.

If you are interested in arts & crafts, then check out our 9th annual Fibre Fest in March where you can take part in master classes for weaving and printing, browse the quilting exhibition or buy wool, fabric and accessories from the market place. The Dornoch Gallery is open 2-16 June with local craft and artwork on display and for sale.  We also have 20 independent shops in Dornoch with something for everyone.

Dornoch is steeped in history, so come and experience the calm in our 13th century Cathedral and discover more about our past in the 5 star Historylinks Museum. Follow the heritage trail signs through our charming streets and see when the last witch was executed, the last train left Dornoch, St Finnbarr set up the first Christian settlement here and the post came on foot!

If golf is your passion, then playing Royal Dornoch Championship Course is a must, as it is rated number 5 in the world! Then check out the other local courses in Brora, Golspie, Tain and Bonar Bridge. We have woodland, hill and beach walks and cycle routes aplenty and wildlife to view including seals and birds at Loch Fleet, salmon at Falls of Shin and dolphins at Channory Point.

Take part in a whisky tasting at the Carnegie Whisky Cellars and learn more about the north Highland distilleries, or join a Coast Candle Company workshop and awaken your senses by making your own candle.

With a wide range of high quality accommodation (please see our listing of hotels, B & B and self-catering) and wonderful cafés and restaurants, Dornoch is an ideal base for your Highland holiday.

For a preview – check out our video


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Dornoch Christmas Gift Selection

Visit Dornoch for a relaxing start to your Christmas shopping!

With 20 independent shops to choose from including Jail Dornoch, Carnegie Whisky Cellars, Cocoa Mountain, Coast Candle Co, The Dornoch Bookshop and Lily & Roux children’s boutique, you can be sure of an exciting range of quality gifts for all the family.

Check out our 6 pages of gift suggestions below

Enjoy a sweet treat and a glass of bubbly at our late night shopping event on Thursday 30th November 6- 8pm. You are guaranteed a warm welcome and free parking in Dornoch!


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Late Night Shopping 30 November

Get into the festive spirit and start your Christmas Shopping in Dornoch on Thursday 30th November when shops are open till 8pm.  Kingcraig Fabrics will welcome you with wine and nibbles as well as are offering a 10% discount and free entry to a raffle with all purchases – their ‘Handmade in the Highlands’ range includes cards, purses, i-pad covers, socks and bags.

The General Store has some great offers for Christmas gifts or simply to make your own festive celebrations really special. Their Christmas wine crates offer something for everyone from a great value Party Box to special Classic Selection, with wines chosen to complement the Christmas Feast. The Christmas Hamper would make a wonderful gift and many of the items are exclusive to this selection and are not even available in store! They will be bringing back MR WHIPPY for one night only – free cheeky monkeys for children!!!  There will also be free prosecco and panettone giveaways that evening and they will also be launching their raffle to win a GIANT CHOCOLATE ROBIN (it weighs 5KG!)

For stocking fillers, Dornoch Christmas cards and unusual toys (e.g. Kaleidoscope, clay modelling dinosaur, train whistle) go to Historylinks Museum. On your way stop at Cocoa Mountain for a hot chocolate while you sample and place your Christmas order- they will be running a 544 promotion on the night – every 5th item is free! Their Signature Collection Gift box is very popular (£26).

The award winning Carnegie Whisky Cellars has a range of gifts to tempt you from a Glencairn whisky glass at £6, to a bottle of Wolfburn Small Batch No. 128 at £67.

While in the Courthouse, call in at Aspen Spa and choose a luxury gift or treatment voucher for the lady in your life.  Their Delilah Xmas crackers contain 2 colour intense lipsticks in nude or red shades, a fantastic gift for £28. Voya have released the popular Christmas spice candle (£25) again this year which sold out last year.

No trip to Dornoch would be complete without a visit to Jail Dornoch, which offers a superb selection of unique Scottish gift ideas, jewellery accessories, luxurious cashmere and quality country wear and its sister shop Country Interiors, which is an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful decorative objects, gifts, soft furnishings and furniture.  There will be a 10% discount on the night and customers will enjoy Prosecco and chocolates while they browse.

A visit to Coast Candle Co. awakens the senses, with a range of hand poured fragrant candles in all shapes and sizes. You will be welcomed with a glass of fizz, sweet treats and a complimentary Christmas wax melt. With luxury in mind head up to Links House at Royal Dornoch for their range of J & L Tweed products (make-up bag £30, men’s wash bag £70) and gift vouchers for a special lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.

In High Street you will find Lily & Roux children’s boutique which is offering a fantastic 20% off everything for the late night event only!! They are fully stocked for the party season, and have added a few wooden toys for the run up to Christmas.  Across the road is The Dornoch Bookshop – a fantastic place to browse at any time of year and great for Christmas presents, cards and book tokens. Finally don’t forget Mitchell’s Chemist which has gifts for all the family including perfume, toiletries, mug & sock pack (£15.95), cushions and designer bags.

Why not treat yourself to a cocktail or hot drink at the Castle Hotel at the end of the evening.


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