Thurso (Scotland)

Thurso is in the Scottish Highlands.


Delightful small town on the far north of Scotland. There are lots of shops and nice places to eat in the area. There aren't many places this north in Scotland where you can stop off for provisions so Thurso really is ideal for that. Worth a walk around (approximately 2 hours). There is a lovely beach with some beautiful views over Thurso Bay where you can see lots of birds. There are occasional visits by whales. Surfers can be seen all year round. Waves are regularly over 10 feet (3 m).

Walk up river from the harbour and you could see seals fishing in the river or resting on an island in the river. Pick your time right and you can see otter there too. The Thurso River is a good salmon fishing river.

Thurso is a very good base for exploring the North Coast, with The Stacks of Duncansby, John O'Groats, Dunnet Head, the Castle of Mey and lots of spectacular cliff scenery nearby.

Get in

By train

Thurso is at the northern end of the Far North mainline which runs from Inverness and splits into two branches, one going to Thurso and the other going to Wick. The train station is located a very short walk west of the town centre.


Down by the Harbour/River mouth A good place to watch for the aurora borealis (Northern Lights), surfers, seals, otter, sea birds, boats and sunsets/sunrises.


Groceries are available at Lidl, across the road from the Campground on the Scrabster Road. The town also has Co-operative and Tesco supermarkets as well as smaller stores.

J A Mackay has a very good selection of local produce from jams, cheeses, biscuits, chocolate to an extensive range of whiskies.

Recommended - Caithness Biscuits make excellent shortbread and other biscuits. Reid's of Thurso make excellent oatcakes, shortbread and cakes. Caithness Summer Fruits make excellent jams and marmalades. For take away Fish 'n' Chips use Reid's down by the river.


Le Bistro A small restaurant with a busy atmosphere. Serves excellent Cullen Skink.

Tempest Cafe Down by the harbour. Does lovely salads and excellent cake.



Pentland Lodge House 4 star guest house 01847 895103 url="" A beautiful listed building with contemporary style rooms. Conveniently situated with ample parking.


If you are staying at the Thurso Bay Caravan & Camping Park, WiFi is available in the Park's cafe and lounge.

Go next

Thurso is only a couple of miles from Scrabster, which is the ferry terminal for a route to Stromness on one of the Orkney Islands. The trip takes about an hour and a half and passes by the Old Man of Hoy.

Relatively nearby, within the general scale of Scotland (about 15 miles or so), is Dunnet Head. The most northerly point in the UK, the Head is home to a lighthouse and little else.

From Scrabster, a footpath leads up onto Holborn Head, a more accessible point from which one can see Dunnet Head and much of the local scenery. It is also home to a lighthouse.

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