Yes, motorhomes of that size or larger are going to struggle on the narrow side roads and curvy parts of the route. Our main interests are Driving, Wildlife, History, Walking, Stately Homes/Gardens and similar – so very wide ranging. Thanks for a very informative guide to the route and kit to take. Larger grocery stores along the NC500 can be found in Inverness (several large supermarkets including Tesco, Lidl, Asda, and Morrisons), Thurso (Tesco, Lidl, and Co-op), and Ullapool (Tesco Superstore). For example, if you are starting in Edinburgh or London, Spaceship Rentals is another place to check for campervans and motorhomes. You’ll end today in the largest village along the western section of the NC500. Maybe Black Isle? If you are planning to travel in Spring or early summer, you want to be particularly careful as dogs can spook and do harm to young livestock (there are lambs everywhere!) For trails, beaches, and parks, many allow dogs but some do not, but this is usually clearly posted. Now you’ll arrive at the fairytale castle of the Scottish Highlands, After leaving Dunrobin Castle, you will soon see a sign for Càrn Liath which is an Iron Age, Just outside of the village of Brora is the, About 5 miles north of Helmsdale is the former clearance village of, Just outside Dunbeath along the route is the, Our recommended final destination for the day is the town of, Looking for activities? Clynelish Distillery Nestled in the countryside of the tranquil coastal village of Brora, Clynelish is a perfect stop on your NC500 journey. Hi guys – I just wanted to send you a big heartfelt “thank you”! There are several places to rent campervans in and around Inverness, including Highland Campervans, Loch Ness Motorhomes, and Rover Rentals. Hope that helps, and just let us know if you have any further questions! Hope that helps and just let us know if you have any further questions! Most attractions along the route are open seasonally so if traveling outside of the summer months, some will be closed. Some of the above have the rooms easily denoted on their website or a third-party website, but others will require you to call and inquire. Yes, there are several whisky distilleries you can visit along or near the route, especially along the eastern part of the route. This way bad weather, road closures, or wanting to extend your trip a bit won’t matter too much. Glad that our NC500 guide has inspired your upcoming road trip! You can easily do the full peninsula drive from Kinlochewe and return to Inverness in a day. You can purchase my Edinburgh city guide for a full look at the city’s must-sees. Here are several more hotels which we think also have at least one wheelchair accessible room, but are on the more pricey end of accommodation along the route: – Kingsmill Hotel in Inverness (have several accessible rooms) Although the routes seem similar in terms of length, the coastal route takes much longer (at least twice as long) as it is slower, steeper route (not suitable for large vehicles). Our planning guide covers background information about the North Coast 500 route, advice on when to go, an overview of the highlights, car and campervan rental options, tips for traveling with your dog, camping tips, guided tours, safety and driving tips, a suggested packing list, and a list of helpful resources. Same with your motorhome as you want to prepare it for winter and bring your winter supplies (or make sure the rental comes that way). Wild camping is allowed, but only for tent campers who follow the Outdoor Access Code rules and regulations. If you have questions about any specific places or have trouble finding a place to stay in a certain area, let us know and we can try to help. Inverness offers everything from humble cafes and McDonald’s to fine dining, so you should be able to find something that appeals. Waiting until the last minute to book lodging can leave you with few options, particularly if you are traveling between mid-May to early September. The main factor is that it is often cold and windy during that time of year. Most of his tours are in the Assynt area so a good base would be Lochinver or Achiltibuie. or double click on the map image below to explore or save the map. Very much appreciated. Just outside of Dornoch (but not open to the public) sits, If you like Pictish stones and lighthouses, you might want to make the detour to explore the, If you are doing the Lairg Loop, you may also want to make a detour to see. Also the nearby Glencansip Lodge which used to serve evening meals has stopped doing so this year. There are at least two companies that offer wildlife tours from there (we did ours with EcoVentures) with a good chance of seeing dolphins, seals, and seabirds. If you make a purchase using one of these links it means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Orkney? It also helps prevent environmental damage and helps contribute to the local economy. I think your itinerary looks great, and it will give you plenty of time around the North Coast 500 route, especially along the western part of the route. -Day 5 Dog friendly B&B in Ullapool – Ferry Boat Inn Getting to and from the NC500 Starting Point? It takes travellers along the coast and through beautiful valleys across six remote regions of the Scottish Highlands: Inverness-shire, Wester Ross, Easter Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, and the Black Isle. A lot of the outdoor tours generally don’t take place in winter for obvious reasons, but the operators may offer alternative tour suggestions for winter. To print, once you are a newsletter subscriber, to print (or save as PDF), all you need to do is go to the article you want to print and click on the Printer icon button. North Coast 500 Lodging Recommendations: In this section, we list recommended hotels across a number of budgets and types. Oct 31, 2020 - Explore Brenda Towle's board "Scotland road trip", followed by 135 people on Pinterest. So that could be a good place to add an extra night. Editor's note: Please check the latest travel restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government advice. Police Scotland says it has since increased patrols and enforcement activity. I would recommend taking clothing for all weather. But if you decide you want to stay further west to spend more time on the peninsula or get back to Inverness earlier in the day, that can work too. If you decide to stay those extra two nights along the route, I might suggest adding a night on the Black Isle. The official NC500 route follows the single track minor road along the coast to Applecross. The trips are private so be sure to contact Tim (the owner) in advance to book if you are interested. Your e-mail will not be published or used for any other reason other than those outlined above. For a longer walk we can recommend heading up to the summit of Meall Mor, where you can get great views over Ullapool, Loch Broom, and Loch Achall. This is wonderful. For those planning to cook their own meals, most towns of any size have a small grocery or general store that sells basic groceries, snacks, prepared sandwiches, etc. Ross-shire and Ross & Cromarty). You can check out the local ferry routes and schedules here. If you take a short detour northeast of Contin, If you enjoy birdwatching and nature, you might want to head up to the, You have now completed your NC500 road trip and are now back in the Capital of the Highlands, the city of, As noted in Day 1 there are plenty of things to do in and near Inverness. We’ve eaten at about 70% of the restaurants we list, so feel free to give us a shout if you have any questions or want a recommendation for a certain type of food or for a certain budget. Lots of places along the route are seasonal and close for the winter months (many close from October to April) and this includes many major attractions, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, campsites, museums, and tourist-related shops. Mileage: ~ 79 miles / 127 km (107 miles / 172 km if drive on to Durness) We recommend driving this route if the weather is decent and you have the time, are not afraid of curvy steep roads, and you are not driving a large motorhome or towing a caravan (oversized vehicles are prohibited on the Bealach na Bà section of the route). Click here to see our current giveaway and enter! So plenty to fill up a full day. It’s so well organized, is an exceptionally complete overview of all there is to see along the trip, it is just fantastic. I’d recommend renting the smallest size campervan or motorhome/RV that you need as the narrow roads of the Highlands are not designed for large vehicles and larger vehicles are prohibited on some roads. Area of Scottish Highlands: Wester Ross (a.k.a. If you are one of our monthly newsletter subscribers, you can print or download most of our articles (including this one) as a clickable PDF file. Dunnet – 1 Night We have booked allour accommodation, following your route, but everywhere is fully booked in Lochinver, can you suggest other locations that we could easily substitute without taking us far off route? So if you have a question about something after reading over the itinerary, feel free to ask us in the Comments section at the end of this article. When you’re driving Scotland’s North Coast 500—a 516-mile route circling the upper Highlands, around rugged mountains and rocky shores, majestic lochs and lush glens—there’s only one option for the first track: Also happy to answer any other North Coast 500 questions as you plan your trip. Below is a quick outline of our suggested North Coast 500 itinerary route and the starting and ending points for each day are shown in the map below. The roads are mostly narrow and single-track and parts of the route can be congested in the summer months with tourists. There are opportunities for hiking, tasting local seafood, visiting gardens and waterfalls, learning about local history, and much more today! Notable Detours: If there are any notable detours off the driving route that day, such as the Black Isle, trip to Orkney, or Coigach Peninsula loop, we list them in this section. Late Night Options – If you are arriving into the town late, you have a few options of places to check including, There are no hostels that we know of in Wick, but if you venture a bit further along the route you can stay in, Just northwest of John o’ Groats you can make a short drive to. There is also lots of stunning scenery along today’s route and several popular spots to stop and park for scenic views and photos. Glad you are finding our North Coast 500 travel tips useful! If you have any questions, feel free to ask us. So if you are planning to arrive around 9pm or later, we’d recommend picking up something to eat before you arrive. We recommend that you use our North Coast 500 itinerary as a suggested guide rather than an inflexible itinerary. The caves were excavated in 1889 by the geologists Peach and Horne, where they (and later others) found the remains of a number of animals, many now extinct in the UK including lynx, bears, wolves, and lemmings. These are good places to stock up on groceries if you are staying in self-catering lodging or camping. In fact, you can stop to see the northernmost spot on mainland Britain and visit the most northerly town. Definitely recommend booking in advance! Bird and wildlife reserve areas often do not allow dogs for obvious reasons. We recommend staying overnight in Wick tonight but if you can’t find something in Wick, or want to drive a little further, you might consider spending the night a little further north in John o’ Groats. First, before you take off on your epic North Coast 500 road trip, we recommend reading our North Coast 500 planning guide to get you oriented with all the basic things you need to know to plan your trip. If possible,can you supply a list of dog friendly places to stay. If you want to bypass the coastal route and the Bealach na Ba section you can take the A896 past Shieldaig towards Kishorn and Ardarroch. Sadly the Kinlochewe Hotel was fully booked with a large party so instead I’m spending 2 nights at the Ledgowan Lodge Hotel which apparently is only 10 miles from Kinlochewe. You could easily spend a full week exploring the islands. So it is likely some places you want to visit won’t be open and you’ll have limited options for food (especially evening meals) and lodging (many of our recommended hotels and B&Bs closes for parts of the winter). We normally stay in Cromarty and within walking distance of some place to eat so we can just walk to dinner and back. Read More NC500 Cycle Tour with Wilderness Scotland Read More Achnagairn Estate Set on 30 acres, 7 miles away from Inverness city centre, the estate provides a perfect escape for the NC500 visitor. – Rocpool Reserve Hotel in Inverness This will allow you to explore those towns and areas more in depth, explore more of the things off the route, and be able to go along at a slower pace without feeling rushed. The site is especially helpful if you are having trouble figuring out which bus to take or how to do a multi-leg journey. – The Torridon in Torridon Best Scotland road trip for: an epic adventure; Length: 516 miles; Time needed: one week Note that if you are really short on time today, you can skip part of the route today and drive straight from Kinlochewe along the A832 towards Achnasheen to Inverness. Many holiday rental homes also accept pets, but that is going to generally be a more pricey option if than B&Bs or camping. Train connections to Inverness are good from most areas of the UK. – For any places you are keen to visit, I’d check their operating dates/hours in advance. The North Coast 500 is the most popular road trip in Scotland and we’ve put together a comprehensive 1 week North Coast 500 itinerary to help drivers navigate this driving route. Just be sure your rental is fully insured. It is about a 5 hour drive from Cairnryan to Inverness. How do you decide how long to drive the North Coast 500? Thankyou so much, we have just had the best week with glorious weather on our nc500 trip, using your itinerary as a guide. You have some choices today regarding how you get to Inverness. Enter your email address below and we will send you all of our latest news, events and offers straight to your inbox. We’d recommend at least 2 full days on any of the above islands to make the most of a visit. Starting & Ending Point: Wick to Tongue (or Durness) Reservations are recommended at many of the restaurants so I’d recommend calling ahead to book if there is one you really want to eat at during your stay. Hopefully things will be open and restrictions will be lifted in Scotland by then! Note that if you would like to do any activities along the route (e.g., wildlife watching boat tours, fishing, golfing, clay pigeon shooting, guided hikes, surfing lessons, cooking classes, geology walks, etc.) If you have a question about which map you need for certain hikes or areas, feel free to ask. Glad to hear you had a great time and that our North Coast 500 itinerary was so helpful during your trip! Today you have lots of things you can do, including birdwatching and wildlife spotting at Loch Fleet, learning more about the Highland Clearances and local history of the region, touring the impressive Dunrobin Castle and its gardens, and visiting dozens of archeological sites. Today you’ll drive through the rest of the North West Highlands Geopark so it is a good day for stops to learn more about the local geology. If you have 7 days, I don’t think you’ll regret it, but you can do the route in 5 days if you have less time. Day 3: Wick to Tongue Id imagine this will be our bible for our adventure. It’s an amazing place! Tain also has a golf course and a whisky distillery. We have found that the more expensive lodging providers and the larger hotels are the most likely to have fully wheelchair accessible rooms, so it is a bit more challenging for those looking for budget and mid-range places. This bypass takes about 25 minutes to drive from Shieldaig to Ardarroch. We were in Elgin last year – stopped at the cathedral, town museum, and had a wander around, had a nice visit . Many shared services (toilets/laundry/showers/waste disposal) have closed or are more limited due to the coronavirus, and many campsites are taking only people who book in advance. Note that in many of the smaller towns, these stores close between 5:00pm and 6:00pm (17:00 and 18:00). Scotland's route 66 is the most popular roadtrip in Scotland. This route today provides lots of scenery of lochs, mountains, and coast as you take in the rugged vistas around Torridon and then head along the Applecross peninsula for coastal views. We have seen lots of great photos from those who live along the northern part of the NC500, although we’ve only seen them once ourselves there. Shetland, because it is so far north, has been the best place for us. If you are looking for a stroll in Ullapool, there are nice places to walk around the harbor area and around Loch Broom. Now, wild camping is camping away from the road and not in a motorized vehicle. – Bayview House in Brora