7 Day Tour Multi Day Tours Self Drive NC500 Self Drive Tour

£899.00 per person
8 Day Self Drive Tour
More than 1

NC500 Self Drive Tour

Enjoy more than 500 miles of the best the North Highlands has to offer. The route way runs to and from Inverness, venturing to/from Inverness, the Highlands' capital, up the rugged North Coast and back via the scenic West Coast. Scotlands NC500 is one of the worlds most scenic driving routes. There are many opportunities to see Scotlands famous landscapes. From rugged landscapes, white sandy beaches, lots of wildlife, museums and heritage sites, castles, taste a dram of whisky, sample the local produce, and don't forget to meet some of the wonderfully friendly people who live there
  • Itinerary
  • Location
  • Gallery
  • Essential Information

What's included

NC500 , Scotland Discover Destinations
Departure Location
Return Location
Price includes
    • Economy Car hire. (Corsa or similar) - Upgrades available, please contact us for details
    • One Drive included - additional driver can be booked during check out.
    • Campervan tour available - please contact us or see our Campervan NC500 tour online
    • Accommodation on a mix of levels, B&B's, guest houses and 3 Star hotels - Upgrades available on check out
    • Daily Breakfast
    • Vehicle CDW insurance
Price does not include
    • Any items of a person nature
    • Fuel for vehicles
    • Vehicle security deposit
    • Any upgrades on vehicle insurance
    • Any entrances to attractions - but can added on after booking

Day 1 Arrival Inverness

Arrive in the Highland Capital in time to Lunch. We hope you have enjoyed your trip to Inverness. Pick up your car or campervan and head towards your hotel for check-in, after check-in, why not enjoy the Highland Capital. Stroll around the city centre, take a trip to Culloden or enjoy the shops of Inverness – the choice is yours.

Overnight Inverness Hotel or Guest House

Day 2 Inverness to Dornoch

Now the adventure begins. Follow the NC500 from Inverness, passing through the villages of Beauly and Muir of Ord. First stop Beauly, thought to be named after Mary Queen of Scotland commented on her visit in 1564. It comes from the French beau lieu or “beautiful place”. If you are an Outlander Fan there are three must stop of places. Wardlaw Mausoleum, Lovat hotel, owned and Beauly Priory.

Carry on to Robertson Farm shop to see the Highland Cows, and buy some local crafts. Then onto Glen Ord Distillery, one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries. Make sure you prebook your tour and experience the distillers creating a magical malt whisky which is sweet, fruity and subtly spicy and maybe purchase a bottle of Singleton Glenord in the distillery shop.

Head off again, driving along the Cromarty Firth (a narrow inlet of the sea), a great spot to watch seals basking on the rocks along the shoreline. Spend the latter part of your afternoon exploring the charming, Royal Burgh of Tain before arriving at the historic town of Dornoch, which also has a golden beach and championship golf course, Royal Dornoch.

Overnight Dornoch

Day 3 Dornoch to John O’Groats

After an enjoyable night’s stay in Dornoch, it’s time to carry on the journey along the coast North to John O’Groats.

On route why not stop at Dunrobin Castle? This castle dates back to the early 1300s home to the Earls and later, Sutherland’s Dukes of Sutherland.

Carry on north, and we will find ‘Carn Liath’, one of the most enigmatic and complex prehistoric structures – the broch. Built during the Iron Age Brochs were massive, drystone towers. Some of these could reach 40 feet high. Most brochs are now in ruins, but Carn Liath is one of the prehistoric highlights on the North Coast 500.

Carry on north, and we will find ‘Carn Liath’, one of the most enigmatic and complex prehistoric structures – the broch. Built during the Iron Age Brochs were massive, drystone towers. Some of these could reach 40 feet high. Most brochs are now in ruins, but Carn Liath is one of the prehistoric highlights on the North Coast 500.

There are many other castles on the way to John O’Groats, Old castle of Wick and Castle Sinclair are both worth a stop if time allows. Also one other stop we recommend is Whaligoe Steps. These steps are built into the cliff face and lead down to the harbour area below.

Overnight John O’Groats

Day 4 John O’Groats to Durness

After a hearty Scottish breakfast, you can now explore the most northerly point of the Scottish Mainland. But first get your photos taken by the famous John O’Groats signpost.

Visit Duncansby Head. Duncansby Head has two spectacular sea stacks, the largest being 60 metres high. Enjoy the beautiful views and the sea air at the most North Easterly tip of Scotland. Wander along the coast and enjoy the views.

If you wish to see another castle, how about adding in a private tour and lunch at the Queen Mother’s Pad! Britains most northerly castle with beautiful views across the Pentland Firth over to Orkney. Once the home of the Queen Mother. Enjoy the walking in the walled garden, around the Animal Centre and enjoy the Castle Shop for some beautiful gifts.

Onwards to Thurso, Dunnet Head where you can see Puffins and sample some Gin. If you enjoy Scottish spirits or locally made goodies, get yourself along to Dunnet Bay Distillery. Here they make the famous Rock Rose Gin and Holy Grass Vodka? Meet Elizabeth, their traditional copper pot still, take a tour of the gardens and see some of their multi-award winning products. Drive up to Dunnet Head. At 58degrees north, geographically it is the most northerly point on mainland Britain. There is an array of wildlife and birdlife – such as the North Atlantic puffin, razorbills, guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes, shags and cormorants the grey seal. Historically it also has significant World War II importance, see if you can spot the remains of old military buildings. Then onto Thurso where you can spend an hour in the 5-star Caithness Horizons, which provides a detailed look at the area’s prehistory, including standing stones, great exhibits on the area’s social history. The development of the cutting-edge nuclear power plant at Dounreay is reflected here, and even has Dounreay’s control panel!

Carry along the coast to your overnight stop of Durness.

Day 5 Durness to Ullapool

On the eastern edge of Durness, be sure to take the 20-minute cave tour of one of Britain’s largest sea cave, set into limestone cliffs. Smoo Cave was formed over many thousands of years and was originally a small swallet cave, carved along a weak fault line. Then head for some “Chocaholics Heaven” with a visit to Cocoa Mountain. It is one of the best reasons to travel to Durness to taste their amazing hot chocolate served at Cocoa Mountain cafe. You will never have a better mug of hot chocolate. Probably the most geographically remote chocolate producer in Europe! Spend some time exploring Balnakeil Bay, looking onto Cape Wrath admiring Sango Sand’s sights before taking the loop south to Ullapool. On this route, the scenery is impressive. The area may lack prehistoric and historical sites, but it certainly makes up for it with magnificent panoramas and landscapes, so take your time driving and enjoy the views.

Overnight Ullapool

Day 6 Ullapool to Applecross

Get ready for another epic day and some spectacular scenery and incredible roads. Enjoy some of the best scenery in Scotland and maybe spot a deer or two.

Stop at Inverewe Gardens, a pretty and extensive estate and gardens, instigated by Osgood Mackenzie in 1862. Inverewe House is now a museum with a twist, where you are encouraged to interact with a variety of objects, play games and even take a piece of Inverewe home from our seed bank. The Sawyer Gallery hosts exhibitions throughout the year that reflect the characteristics of Inverewe and the surrounding environment.

Driving around the coast, we pass through the villages of Poolewe, Gairloch, Badachro (great gin distillery here), Shieldaig before driving along the Applecross peninsula. On this stunning peninsula is a small “Shangri la” village called Applecross, a beautiful little fishing village. Visit the Heritage Centre, the Smoke House, Walled Garden TeaRooms, walk along the shore. Maybe visit the award-winning Applecross Inn and try their speciality of Pasta with Squatlobster (My favourite). Visit the old church, which is reputed to be the site of the first Christian Church. The settlement is linked with St. Máelrubai (Old Irish form) or Maelrubha, who came to Scotland in 671 from the major Irish monastery of Bangor, County Down. He founded Aporcrosan in 672 in what was then Pictish territory, and was the monastery’s first abbot, dying on 21 April 722 in his eightieth year.

Overnight Applecross

Day 7 Applecross to Inverness

On the Road back

Today is the last leg of your journey, and we head back to Inverness, but not before you experience the Beallach! Leaving Applecross, you will find yourself at the spectacular Bealach na Bà. “Bealach na Bà” is Gaelic for ‘Pass of the Cattle’. This route will take you along one of the most dramatic mountain roads on mainland UK, rising to 626 metres(2,054ft) above sea level; the third-highest Road in Scotland. The rest of your journey will take you through Strathconnon, Lochcarron, Achnasheen, Achanalt on to Garve and after that you are back into Inverness.

I hope you have enjoyed the NC500 as much as we do.

Day 8 Departure

Drop off your vehicle and start your journey home

Gur math a thèid leibh! agus Slàinte mhath!

More about NC500

More about Scotland

Scotland, land of Celtic myth, history and breathtaking beauty, has countless treasures crammed into its relatively compact territory – from big skies to ancient architecture, from spectacular wildlife to superb seafood and to top it all incredibly friendly, hospitable and down-to-earth people.
Outside the ancient and beautiful UNESCO World heritage capital city, Edinburgh, and other urban centres like Glasgow, once home to the largest shipping industry in the world but now a lively city of art, culture, great dining and bars, the visitor is entranced by mountains glistening with the silver threads of icy rivers and waterfalls tumbling from highlands to lowlands. Here you’ll find villages with stations where you need to put your hand out to request that a train stops and then suddenly, around the next mountain corner, a landscape peppered with gleaming lochs and expansive vistas.
Scotland has some of the last significant wilderness areas left in Western Europe. Here you can see golden eagles soar above the lochs and mountains of the northern Highlands, watch minke whales off the coast of Mull and spot otters tumbling in the kelp along the shores of the Outer Hebrides.
Scotland is also an adventure playground: you can tramp the sub-arctic tundra plateau of the Cairngorms, sea kayak among the seal-haunted mystic isles of the Outer Hebrides, mountain bike on world-class trails near Scotland’s highest mountain, trek along the valley or mountain trails and balance along tightrope narrow ridges between the peaks of the great Cuillins on Skye or take a speedboat ride into the legendary white water of the Corryvreckan whirlpool.
Scotland is a land with a rich and multilayered history. A place where every corner of the landscape is steeped in the past. A deserted croft on an island shore is a testament to generations past.

More about this tour

Further details for NC500 Self Drive Tour

Product Type:
Tour/Cruise including overnight stay
Essential Info:
  • Tailored quotations are available. Please contact us for more information.
  • Orkney and Outer Hebrides extensions available, again please contact us for more information
  • Prices based on 2 persons travelling in an economy car - for quotes for other combinations please contact us
  • Children and family prices on request. Please contact us for a quote

Tour Suitability

Share on social networks
Our Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and get exlusive first minute offers straight into your inbox.

website designed & hosted by hicreate

Find us at

Find us at