Plan your trip around the North Coast 500…
The North Coast 500 is a 516-mile scenic route around the north coast of Scotland, starting and ending at Inverness Castle. The route is also known as the NC500 and was launched in 2015, linking many features in the north Highlands of Scotland in one touring route. Not only is the NC500 one of the world’s best road trips (in our ver valid opinion!), but it’s also one of the most beautiful. While the North Coast 500 is an experience in itself, you’ll find plenty of hidden adventures along the way.
We want everyone who visits the North Highlands to have the most unforgettable experience whilst driving the North Coast 500, and so we hope to bring you some top tips on how to make the very most of your trip.
Plan your trip
The North Coast 500 is filled with beautiful views, exciting adventures and thrilling activities. One of the many activities available at the coast is North Coast 500 Golf.
With around 30 courses and tours you’ll be spoiled for choice. There are courses perfect for any ability or price range with the added bonus of the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands. Are you a seasoned golfer? Why not purchase the North Coast 500 Golf Passport for only £20 and save on every single course! Some even offer free club hire to cancel out hauling clubs around with you.
Get on your bike
Calling all cycling enthusiasts!
The North Coast 500 has numerous routes to spice up your trip. If you don’t plan on bringing a bike don’t fret! You can hire one at Ticket to ride in Inverness (which is conveniently where you start your journey) If you’re a NC500 member you can get a 10% weekly bike hire discount. There are 4 or 5 bike shops actually in Inverness hands to pick up anything before beginning your journey. On the journey there are many bike workshops in towns and villages incase of any issues you may face.
The wild side
Now this one might seem a bit strange considering Scotland’s chilly reputation but you can actually go snorkelling whilst on your North Coast 500 adventure. The West Coast snorkel trail is accompanied by beautiful beaches. If the cold’s putting you off, you can avoid this by opting for a warmer day or kitting yourself out with the right equipment such as wetsuits and fins. Who says you have to travel abroad for the tropical experience? Why not level up your adventure with sea kayaking.
Are you an animal lover? The North Coast 500 has a range of wildlife you can see including the adorable Highland Cows, stunning dolphins and slippery salmon! There are plenty spots to see the gorgeous cows, a boat trip to see the dolphins and during the summer months the salmon have to make the heroic leap back to their birthplace.
A wee tipple
As Scotland is the whiskey capital of the world, don’t pass up the opportunities to take advantage of this. Fancy a tour around the NC500 Whisky Trail? Every distillery is different so you can discover the ins and out of different distilleries and how they do what they do. Fancy something a little more hands on? Why not have a go at Whisky blending at Shieldaig Lodge? The whiskies are even served on tasting antlers so there’s always that highland element! You can taste samples and make your perfect blend, these can then be bottled, labeled and delivered! Whiskey not your thing? Never fear there is also a Gin flight experience!
But wait, there's more!
Do you have a passion for fishing? Why not accompany a skipper and help him on his creel fishing boat for the day! Enjoy the harvesting of the catch, the best restaurants in London and the Highlands serve this shellfish. Don’t worry all your hard work won’t go to waste! After your trip you will served up a feast at Shieldaig Lodge! You also have the option to see the area’s wildlife including dolphins and seals!
Fancy adding a little culture into your trip? Why not visit Gairloch village? The home of the Gairloch heritage museum, Achtercairn hill and Flowerdale. Or you could visit a Broch which is an ancient building exclusive to Scotland. There’s Dunbeath Broch, Jarlshof Broch and Carn Liath Broch. The perfect way to get an insight to Scotland’s heritage!
Another little piece of history you can visit on your journey is a wreckage of a WW2 B-24 Liberator. The Crash site is located on the route behind Shieldaig Lodge which is also the route to the Fairy Lochs! A propeller and a whel forms a memorial is classed as a war grave.
There are so many gorgeous gardens dotted around the NC500 including Attadale Gardens, Inverewe Gardens, Scourie Lodge Gardens, Dunrobin Castle and Dunbeath Castle Gardens. All of them are visually stunning and unforgettable.